I am going to set up a day, maybe in early December, for any of you that want to meet for a Friday afternoon Happy Hour to go over maps and debate routes and discuss the seven day route. I'll keep you posted.......
Below is some of my initial brainstorming.
Here is the overall route.....just a starting place. The Green Circle is Colorado Springs.....the start and the finish. The other circles, indicate where we will stop for the night.....and the route is clockwise. Map Source calculated the route at 980 miles......which once we are all done, I bet we easily eclipse 1,000 miles.
Potential Day #1. This will be the "warm-up day" and for the group to get an idea of where everyone's skills are and how proficient they are on their bike. We will depart Colorado Springs and head up Gold Camp Road to Cripple Creek. Then we will ride down Shelf Road to Canyon City...... All of this is incredibly tame and easy dirt road. Our first test will be Hayden Pass on lightly loaded bikes. Then we drop down in to the northern end of the San Luis Valley, back up over Ute Pass and down into Saguache where we will spend our first night, at The Lodge (Showers, bathrooms, grass for tents or a bunk room for the non-tenters.)
Gold Camp Road is nice, easy dirt road riding....(two-up on VStroms).
Potential Day #2. This day of about 140 miles will get even tougher. We will leave Saguache and enter into the northern end of the Rio Grande National Forest. It will probably take us about 4 hours to get through this section of trails on our way to Highway 160 and Creede. One highlight will be a short rest and stop at the Wheeler Geologic Area. From Creede we will ride north, crossing over San Luis Pass and down to the 788 Road. The final leg will be the climb over Cinnamon Pass and down into Silverton for the night at the Red Mountain Campground and Cabins.
Just down from Cinnamon Pass.
Potential Day #3. If you make it past day three, you will probably be able to finish the trip. From Silverton, we will head west and climb over Ophir Pass....pretty easy. Then we loop around through Telluride and head east, climbing over Imogene Pass....much tougher. Once again we loop around east to west and climb over Black Bear Pass.....much, much tougher....and drop back down into Telluride. The final leg for the day is a ride northwest on Last Dollar Road, looping around on dirt to Naturita. They have a campground and a couple of Motels.
The ride from Black Bear Pass to Telluride.
Potential Day #4. This will be the desert riding day of the trip. The first section is a run of Forest Service Roads along the Uncompahgre Plateau, dropping down into Gateway, CO. Then we will ride up the Dolores River, turning right onto the obscure and rough....Sheep Creek Road. Once climbing out of the canyon, we will ride through Lost Horse Basin and Ryan Park, looping around the mesa into Utah for a dozen miles and then back into Colorado. We will ride up on Pinon Mesa, dropping down through Glade Park, riding through and taking in the amazing sights of the Colorado National Monument. Then a quick run through Grand Junction and up on Grand Mesa for the night. There are a half dozen campgrounds and lodges we can choose from.
Here's a pic of the ride up Sheep Creek.
Potential Day #5. This is a big mileage day, catching up from the days of riding the high passes around Telluride. This day will be about 200 miles, but nearly all of it is nice, maintained dirt. Basically, we are riding from Grand Mesa, back roads to Crested Butte. Then, we will have the one big challenge of the day...... Pearl Pass. We cross this pass to get over to Aspen....then we will loop around north to Basalt and ride over Hagerman Pass to Leadville.
Here's a pic of a rider climbing up Pearl Pass. A KTM 640 Adventure seems to be doing just fine.
Potential Day#6. Today will total 100 miles and take everyone over 4 very high passes: Weston, Boreas, Georgia and Radical Hill. Leadville to Fairplay over Weston Pass...and on up to Como. Then over Boreas Pass to Breckenridge. Then we will loop around, and up Tiger Road to the top of Georgia Pass. Then we will run the Continential Divide for a few miles, over to Radical Hill. Down Radical Hill to Montezuma and in to Dillon for the night.
Here I am, standing at the top of Radical Hill.
Potential Day #7. We will depart Dillon and back track a little, headed for Webster Pass. Once we are down on the other side, we will basically ride "back roads" over to Rampart Range and drop down into Monument, via Mt. Herman Road. This will be a pretty easy day......but we should end with an easy day to reflect on our week. Once we get back in the Springs, I would like for us to congregate at some location, for a beer to toast our accomplishment and photos (TBD).
Here's a pic of my son and I, riding Rampart on the old 600's. It's easy riding.