Lil Tour of Colorado
The time has come to do the RR for our annual "out west" ride. I say annual because the last 2 years it has happened and we caught ourselves saying "next year were going do this" quite a few times. So, it's an annual event. First year it was a solo ride, the next year by brother, Mike, joined me and this year my son joined in the fun.
It was great to have my son Alex along this year. Alex and I have gone on a camping bike trip every year since he was 12, except for last year. He was tied up with summer jobs after his first year of college and didn't have time for a ride with the old man. This year he planned ahead and got a week off for the ride.:clap This was the first time he rode in the mountains, I think he liked it!
Every good Colorado ride starts in Wyoming, right? Ours did anyway. We trailered the bikes from western WI to Laramie Wyoming, about 14 hours of windshield time. We choose Laramie because it was on the interstate and looked like it would not take long to get the bikes on some nice roads (Medicine Bow NF). Minimize truck time, maximize bike time! We would hook up with the Colorado section of the CDR on the first day of riding.
We pulled into the Laramie Americas Best Value Inn on the west side of town about 11:00 pm Saturday night. I had made
arrangements with Charlie, who manages the place, to leave our truck and trailer there for the week. Thanks Charlie!
Sunday Morning packing the bikes and getting ready for a week of Colorado back country!
First days route.
Sunday's route took us down WY 130 to Wy 11 through the national forest. We would hit WY 70 just outside the small town of Encampment and then ride WY 70 over Battle Pass and across the Continental Divide.
Early on in the NF the GPS tried routing us down this rocky trail, we decided that it was a little early in the ride for this punishment.
Just before Encampment the old KLR must have been getting tired, took an nap right in the middle of the road.
There is photographic proof that all the bikes on this ride were tired at one time or another.
North Platte River
Small store at Encampment.
The kid on top of the divide, he loves climbing rocks.
The bikes at the divide outlook.
We turned off of WY 70 on to FR807 then onto Stock Road. Stock Road is a wonderful dirt 2 track that was a blast to ride. In fact, with fully loaded 650s there were some downhills that created a little bit of a pucker factor. There were also some awesome views.
Enjoying the view after a significant climb.
The views in this valley were amazing.
Crossing the Wyoming/Colorado border, no visitor center here handing out free maps!
:lurk Looks good!
Shortly after crossing the border we got on NF FR129 (gravel) which then turned into Colorado CR129 (paved). We were originally thinking of camping at Hahn's peak, but it was pretty early when we drove through there so decided to drive to Steamboat Springs for supper then head east on CO 40 and spend the night at Walton Creek camp ground.
Supper was here, great burgers! Ran into a nice couple on a BMW with a doggy box on the back, had a nice chat with them.
Here are a few videos of the first days ride. The mud holes don't look like much in the video, but they were tricky. In one video you can just barely see the Ninja is stuck in the mud.
Quote of the day "doing a wheelie thru it, don't worry"
I should explain our route. Our plan was to ride from Laramie WY connect up to the CDR and ride that to Salida CO. At Salida we would start riding the TAT route (or a version of it) to Dove Creek CO. From Dove Creek our plan was to explore some of the Delores River Canyon and then head north to Mesa on our own route. As you will see many deviations were made for many different reasons. By all accounts a great route, a great ride and a great time even with a little drama thrown in.
We arrived at Walton Creek Campground at dusk and most of the nice sites were already taken. We kept slowly climbing the mountain road hoping to find a nice open site. The road ended at a tower (cellphone maybe) site, there were fire rings up here but we didn't like the fact that there were no trees and there was a threat of thunder storms. From here we did spot a nice circle of pines at a lower elevation. We drove down to the pines and found a nice campsite and fire ring. We set up camp in the dark. While we sere setting up camp a sheriff's car stopped on the road next to us, the deputy reminded us there was a burning ban in place.
We were sleeping by 10:30 only to be woken a few hours later by what I thought was a open pipe harley, but as the noise got closer and closer it had more than 2 cylinders barking. What ever was making that racket was on its way up the mountain. I looked out the tent window and saw the pick up truck throwing gravel and running WFO around the switchback just a few hundred feet from our site. What an asshole. They drove to the top where the tower was, stayed there for about half an hour then retreated down the mountain. There were quite a few campers in this area, I'm sure he impressed them all.
Morning shot of camp
Camp view from the tower site.
Our plan for the day was to get as close to Salida as possible. A late start, bad weather and a wrong turn limited us today.
We left camp and went back to Steamboat Springs to get back on the CDR. Our campsite was about 20 miles off the route in the Medicine Bow - Routt NF, not much we could do if we wanted free camping.
This is on CR 18, an area called Pleasant Valley
We detoured some of the gravel route and took CO 134 and US 40 to get into Kremmling a little sooner, everyone was getting a little hungry and grumpy. After lunch at Subway we drove down to Gore Canyon overlook to take a peek at the Colorado River.
We were lucky enough to see this train go through the tunnel.
After viewing the Colorado it was time to head down CR 33 past Williams Fork Reservoir.
As you can see the reservoir level is very low.
The late afternoon brought thunder storms. This would be a reoccurring event on this trip. It was raining pretty hard when we reached Dillon at about 5:00 pm, we decided a motel would work good this night.
This is a shot of Dillon early in the morning, we slept at the Day's Inn and fueled up at the Shell Station.
This place had great Pizza and the beer was pretty good too.
We got a good night's sleep at the Super 8 and took advantage of the continental breakfast. We fueled the bikes and were ready to put some serious miles on, hitting the road by 8:00 am. Next stop Salida.
Dillion to Breckenridge was all pavement. On the south side of Breckenridge we started the gravel climb up to Boreas Pass, fantastic views.
The Kid climbing some more rocks. Notice the orange rain pants, we nick named them his "KTM Racing Pants".
Some more views.
A narrow gauge railroad once snaked up this pass.
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