I posted this in the West Fest thread but thought I'd add it here:
OK, YFFF! (You Flatlander FF's)
Bonnie Abbzug and I went out and did some reconnaissance for ya. It was a real chore, let me tell you.
So here's an attachment with a dirt/gravel route from Canon City, Colorado, to Buena Vista (just a few miles south of the Official West Fest campground).
This is 103 miles of gravel roads and dirt two-track, with very little pavement. The pavement that was neccessary (only a few miles) is all pretty nice, too. You go from red-rock canyon desert-like areas, up into aspen trees. The route gets you up high soon after Canon City so you get out of the heat.
Much better than the pavement route, IMHO. This way as soon as you get to the mountains, you can get off of the pavement!
I would have no hesitation taking a loaded V-strom fitted with tourances on this route. Hell I'd throw Bonnie on the back of there for traction, too, but that's just me.
There are a few spots you would need to pay attention, but a big bike is fine for this.
The route goes through some very scenic and remote country and there is no fuel, so gas up in Canon city. There is one waypoint for the tiny little store/restaurant in Guffey if you need to stop for food.
There is also one waypoint where the route crosses Hwy 285. At this point you could bail out and slab it into town. The next section has a very short steep downhill and a couple of short stretches of sand-wash- about 1/2 mile total. Also one small stream crossing. If you just loathe sand (
) you could bail down 285, but let it be known you'll be missing a really fun section with the most amazing views all day. Don't say I didn't tell ya.
This route is a little bit circuitous- you may notice more direct routes along the way. I gave priority to the fun roads, scenery, and avoided some of the more populated areas. You won't see many people on this...
One more thing: You may or may not come across some closed gates or barbed wire gates. This route is entirely open, public roads, so if you come to a closed gate go on through, and just close the gate behind you.
This route took us about 4 hours from Canon to BV, but we were definitely smelling the roses and did couple of backtracks to find routes. I'd give yourself 3-4 hours.
Some pics from the ride. Don't look if you want to be suprised.
I hope someone takes this route! It beats hell out of riding pavement to BV.