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Old 11-16-2014, 02:37 PM   #1
Duma OP
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Joined: Apr 2014
Location: Colorado
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Solo Colorado BDR Ride

Day 1 Monday, 18 Aug 2014

Greetings fellow dreamers, planers, riders. The cold weather has given me a little time to collect all of my thoughts, and photographs on my COBDR ride.

So I decided to do the COBDR. From that decision to me starting off on the ride was around 8 months. My 30 year old Honda XL600R was not going to cut it. Something new or just newer was in order. Test rode the KTM 1190 Adv, and rented an R for the day from House of Motorrad. Also test rode the BMW GS800. I really liked the KTM Adv R. The off-road ABS works amazingly well. So that's what I went with. Not being as proficient as I needed to be off road. I started watching every off road training video I could get my hands on. Read a couple of good books and caped it off with 5 days of off road rider training at RawHyde.

While I did a couple of overnight camping trips on the bike, this would be the first multi-day trip on a still very new to me bike.

I ran back and forth on going solo. One of the big things that I wanted to do on this trip was take photos. I knew that if the group was not interested in photography, they would not put up with me stopping as much as I did.

The plan. Take a couple of days, ride down to the four corners of Colorado from Denver. Via the most scenic way I could find, and stop off at Mesa Verde on the way down. Then start the COBDR. Looks like you could do the COBDR in 6 days. I'm giving myself 8, one of those days could be just to explore and area. 2 days to get home. That takes me to 12 days of the 15 I have off. I also figured that I would camp two days and then one in a hotel. All in all I thought that this plan was pretty conservative.

I think part of having an adventure is watching your carefully laid out plans go all sideways.

I got off work on Fry evening. Planed on getting everything packed and sorted out on Sat, then leave on Sun. I ended up getting everything packed and ready to go around 4:00pm on Sun. So I decided to leave Mon morning. The plan is having issues and I haven't even started.

One of the things that got me all wrapped up was trying to find out where I could camp preferably for free? I had figured out about the motor vehicle use maps, the problem was I couldn't get paper copies of them. I had found pdf files of them, but they were big and would the phone display them? Thankfully found an app for the phone called pdf maps that would not only read the maps, but using the GPS would show you your position on the map. Very cool. So getting that worked out was one less thing to worry about.

Finally on the road! At 11:00am. At least once you leave, all of the worries, the part of you that is still in that planning mode, it's all done. What a relief. The excitement is kicking in. The ride started off really well. South of Denver I got on to Rampart Range Road. I have heard that it is really busy on the weekends, the bottom half seemed a bit more secluded. I think all the motorcycle single track trails are on the north end. I only took my DSLR out once. Kind of disappointing. Right now I'm wishing I just brought a smaller point and shoot. The DSLR is in one of the saddle bags, and is a little bit of a pain to get to. Anyway, I'm on my way. The trip has begun.


Rampart Range Road

While on Rampart Range Road, I decided to take a little side diversion down Balanced Rock Road. Coming down was a little challenging, but fun. There were only a couple of sketchy areas. Once I got to the bottom, noticed the weather was moving in. So I was very interested in getting out of there. Made my first mistake. Didn't air down the tires at all. As I started back up I was thinking how nice it was to be going uphill. I thought it would be easier. Not really. Got into a rut, and as I tried to get out. The back end spun around and I dumped it. I dumped it on the downhill side also. It was low speed and no damage to the bike, bags, or me. At first it didn't feel like I could even move the bike. So with the rain starting, I took a couple of bags off the bike. Now I could lift the bike a little, but it was still on the downhill side. So with a bit of cursing I was able to pull the handlebars off the ground and pivot the bike to one side of the road where there was a nice berm. Problem was I got the bike to close to the berm. Now when I tried to put my back into the seat, and lift with my legs, my feet were to close and I had no leverage. So I ended up lifting the bike by the handlebars. It was a maximum effort lift.

So now with the bike back up but, now pointed in the wrong direction. I rode down the hill till I could turn around, thankfully it wasn't far. I deflated the tires a bit, got the bike turned around. Round two worked much better. On the way out, there was another difficult area. This time I had a much more aggressive attitude, I just gunned it and rode it out. I think it's on the GoPro so maybe I redeemed myself a little. Dumping the bike was a little disappointing but also a relief at the same time. I knew it would happen, I just didn't really want it to happen this early in the trip..... It was also good to know that I could pick to bike up with the side cases full of crap. All in all it was a really good experience for me. if nothing else it showed me that I could get out on my own, without straining my back.


Another campsite on Rampart Range Road

The original and now unrealistic plan was to get into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and camp down there for the evening. Oh and do that via Buena Vista, Independence Pass and then come down south on the west side of Gunnison National Forest. I only made it just north of Buena Vista.

I think the theme for this trip is, it's going to take a lot longer than you think!

Did I mention that the gas gauge on my brand new bike is not working?

Back on Highway 24 to Buena Vista,it is a really beautiful ride. Hartsel is just north of where the Colorado RawHyde training took place. Since the gas gauge was not working on the bike got gas and a big sub sandwich at Biggies. It was going to be getting dark soon. Needed to find a camp site. Lucky, lucky me I pressed on North of Buena Vista. With the help of the pdf map program. I saw that there a road off the highway that lead into national forest. So I took a chance on that. I found a nice campsite. It was right off the dirt road but nobody came by. Got everything set up just before dark. It would have been better if I had gotten there a little earlier, I might have see all the broken glass. The good news, no flats and no rips or tears in the tent.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:19 PM   #2
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nice infra red shot

i carry a DSLR around with me quite a bit,, almost all the time solo,,, heres what i have found works well for me

i use a cotton carrier chest rig ALOT but had to leave my jacket unzipped a bit to clip in the camera, and thats oki since i also wear a backpack and the chest strap would help keep the jacket shut,, but they are now releasing a strap shot clip that i'll be getting to use on my backpack strap. it'll be real nice

http://www.cottoncarrier.com/

most of the time its fine there,, but if it gets dusty or looks like a sprinkle i throw a shower cap on it, the clear plastic with elastic band like in a hotel room gratis,, works well
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Old 11-16-2014, 06:54 PM   #3
Duma OP
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Actually it's not infra red. It was an HDR shot converted to B&W via Silver Effects.

I didn't really want a camera on me when I was riding. I would be to afraid of damaging the camera or me if I fell on it! As you mentioned dust would be an issue.

I originally planned to put it in the tank bag. Unfortunately that space got taken up with power distribution. I had one of those cigarette lighter splitters in there. I was charging my cell phone/gps, go pro battery charger, last but not least the mophie battery. Used that to recharge my Sena at night.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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Day 2 Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014

Day two of fun and excitement. I decided a good breakfast was in order so rode back 5 miles to Buena Visa and grabbed some French toast and scrambled eggs at the Branding Iron. It was nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the great weather. Bike full of gas, me full of food, time to hit the road.

Got sidetracked a bit early, saw the cool remnants of a railroad bridge. Turned around and took some photos. I figured out now that if I take the DSLR out it's about 20 minutes. That covers unpacking the camera, and tripod. Taking the photos, and then repacking everything. I will probably be using the cell phone for most of the photos, and the DSLR for the bigger panoramas.



Continued up HW24 to the Twin Lakes reservoir, and Independence Pass. Once you pass the reservoirs what a beautiful ride. Both up and down the pass. There was a big bicycle race going on in the area. At the top of the pass saw quite a few of the support vehicles. They told me that they were not going over the pass this year. That defiantly helped me with the traffic. Which wasn't bad being a Tuesday. The views and scenery are just breathtaking. It was great coming into Aspen again. The last time I was here was for a paragliding event years ago. The road takes you right by one of the landing zones. Grabbed pizza for lunch, being on vacation means that you don't have to watch what you're eating, right?


Independence Pass East side.


Heading down Independence Pass towards Aspen

With the inop gas gauge I have been getting gas more frequently than necessary. I'm still trying to get a good reliable mpg for the bike. Some people may not like having people come up and start talking to you when you are fueling up, I thought it was cool. People have asked me about where I'm going and how long, what I've seen. It's like that saying, if you want to meet people get a cute dog. Or in this case a motorcycle.

Headed south on HW133. Really nice ride through the canyons. As you pass the town of Redstone you can see the old kilns right by the road. A little further down the highway is the turnoff to Marble, and my objective the Crystal Mill site. This is a super iconic old mining building. Great place to take photographs. Another great diversion. It's day 2 and I haven't even gotten as far as I thought I would get on day 1. Humm yes, it's going to take a lot longer than you think!

So once you pass through Marble to trail to the Crystal Mill the road gets a little steep. After the fact it's not a big deal, but at the time, and it was getting late in the day around 4:30. So I got about half way up and stopped. I didn't want the trip to be on a ridged time table but.... The loose schedule was already blown out the window. So I turned around and went back down to the base of the hill. Got out the map and tried to figure out how far could I get in the remaining time, and hopefully salvage some of my schedule. Thankfully I was to get help from a local. Asked him about what conditions were like up ahead and about camping up there. Was told the road wasn't too bad and that there was usually nobody up there during the week, so I should be able to find a really nice camp site. I think statements like "do it or you will regret it", and "When are you ever going to come back out here"? So schedule be dammed I was off. For the most part the road wasn't bad, little rocky in sections. It was a little slow going and there were some harry sections for me, but what a camp site.


Lizard Lake on the way to the Crystal Mill site


Not a bad view from the camp site.

I didn't want to have the same problems that I had last night.... Found a great place right off the Crystal River. People have those little sound makers in their offices. You get ocean waves, or rain, babbling brook. I had the real thing! I got camp set up early. Everything set up, and me relaxing in my chair by 7:30. Went down to the river and splashed some very cold water on me. What a great end to the day.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:42 PM   #5
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Day 3 Wednesday 20 Aug 2014

My job as a commercial pilot is to get people from point A to B as quickly as possible, and with as little fuss as possible. For me the real appeal of this trip is the journey. The diversions are just part of it.

So after it rained most of the night, I was a little concerned about the conditions. Mud and wet slippery loose rocks on the road to the Crystal Mill site. I still had to get out of here also. I did walk up the road a ways from the camp site to see what it was like. As far as I walked it was loose rocks. So unfortunately I decided to pack up and leave. I think my concern for the schedule and making sure I had enough time for the COBDR won out. I'm a little disappointed, unfortunately it's just the way it has to be.

The good news is I got out without a problem, aired up the tires and tried to make up some time on the highway. Stopped for lunch at Zacks BBQ in Hotchkiss. Got a most excellent burger. Continued south on HW 92 into the Black Canyon I think. Had to stop and take a panorama shot of Lands end Peak and Mt Lamborn. Thought the high desert and mountains in the background was pretty cool. As I entered the Black Canyon area took a couple more shots, this time with the cell phone camera. Really beautiful, twisty ride. I had stopped to fiddle with the GoPro about half way through. Just as I was getting ready to continue on, two sport touring bikes went on by. So I decided to give chase. They probably weren't pushing it nearly as hard as I was on TKC 80's. I followed these 2 for about 20 miles. Had a great time just blasting through the canyon. Defiantly went a lot faster than I would have gone alone. It was fun to push things a little bit.


The Black Canyon of the Gunnison.



I've been using my cell phone for GPS navigation. Found out something interesting. Cell phone gets quite warm in GPS mode. If you also put said phone in the map pocket of your tank bag. The map pocket with no ventilation. Your phone will overheat. Then it shuts down. No GPS for you. Waving you phone around in the rest area parking lot looks a little funny, but it does help cool it down.


After Montrose headed south on HW550. I had this fleeting idea of getting to Durango tonight. That was not going to happen, but I did make it to Ouray.



Once in Ouray I was looking for a place to camp. Still didn't want to get a hotel at this point. On the way to the Amphitheater campground, I noticed a dirt road splitting off to the right. So I decided I would check it out and see if there was a free spot somewhere I could set my tent up. Just off the road there was a nice little spot under a huge pine tree. It would be nice if it rained again. Looked great except it was fairly close to the road. Once again saw a local coming down the road, got to talking with him about sites farther up. He said if I took the road up to the meadow there were some great sites up there. Best thing, nobody else was up there. So I pressed on up the hill to the meadow. This was by far the best campsite of the trip. Nobody there, quiet, and very picturesque. Got a great site overlooking the meadow and the base of the mountains. All to myself. I just couldn't believe it. I got to sleep with rain fly open so I could see the stars.


Not a bad view from my campsite.

Looks like it should only take 3 hours to get to the 4 corners, and then the BDR trip will actually start! I'm very excited. I splurged on this trip. I brought a 3 man tent that has been great. I can easily change inside the tent, and stow all of my luggage inside if necessary. There is enough headroom so I can sit on my chair and not have my head on the roof of the tent. I also brought a cot. While it takes about 5 min to set up, it's comfortable! I can get a good night's sleep on it.

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Old 11-16-2014, 08:05 PM   #6
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keep it coming!

thanks for the efforts of puttinga trip report together
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=348508
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:11 AM   #7
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:24 AM   #8
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Duma...? Who is this? I thought I could guess but I am not having any luck

Dusty from Rawhyde
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #9
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I've been putting your training to good use Dusty.
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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Day 4 Thursday 21 Aug 2014

I got up early before sunup, and set up the go pro for a time lapse shot. Unfortunately wasn't in the right spot for a really cool sunrise video. Ahh well live and learn.

So started the day off with some oatmeal, and dried apples and mangos. Bonus had some hot chocolate. I think I just wanted to stretch out my time at this perfect camp site. Once again I had the whole place to myself last night. I should clarify, I was the only human there. There was a group of deer in the meadow below my campsite. In the middle of the night when you are a bit groggy, deer sound a lot like a bear. Or at least until you shine a light on them.

On my way out I decided to visit the amphitheater, got to see what I missed. Oh yes the campsites are right next to one another. I did stop off at the scenic overlook and set up the DSLR for a panorama shot. Got to talking with another traveler there. He was doing a 6 week bicycle trip! That's impressive.

Got on the road and did the rest of the million dollar highway to Durango. It's listed on the Butler motorcycle map as one of the gold roads. The best of the best. It lives up to the billing. Once again you could stop every mile and find something cool to take a photo of. While riding up, I found a great small pull off that had a good view back towards Ouray. Now the road is narrow already and the pullout was maybe half a car wide, but I wanted this shot. So I stopped, and as I was getting out the cell phone for a photo. A small rock about the size of my fist came off the upper mountain. Landed about 5 feet away. I promptly threw the camera back into the tank bag and beat it. The ride on the million dollar highway was one of the real high points of the trip.


The view as you leave Ouray heading south to Durango

I contemplated not even stopping in Silverton. Figured that just wouldn't be acceptable, so I did a quick pass through. I really liked Ouray, I like the feeling and the sort of earnestness of it. Silverton seems much more of a tourist trap. I probably say that because I just didn't spend enough time there.




Silverton City Hall



Came into Durango, didn't have time to check it out unfortunately. Really disappointed that I just rode by Mesa Verde. That was part of the original plan. I was planning to spend half a day there. I was really trying to get back on track. What I decided was that the primary purpose of the vacation was the COBDR. I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to complete it. So..... I just rode on by. I had gotten my work schedule for Sept. I'm working on Monday, I don't remember if the trip is commutable or not. I'm concerned that I will have to commute into work the night before, and kill one of my vacation days. It has put a cloud over the trip. I'm trying not to think about it.

Stopped in Cortez and got a really good sandwich at "once upon a sandwich". I don't really know how to articulate the feeling of going from Durango to Cortez and the 4 corners. There is a shift. It seems to become less inviting, dirtier. Maybe it has something to do with the scenery going from just beautiful mountains to a flatter and bleaker, high desert planes. I don't know.

Rolling into the 4 corners monument is just a little weird. You wonder what things might have been like if Europeans didn't find America. What would a Native American civilization look like now?

4 corners signaled the official start to the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route. Awsome!

COBDR Day 1 Thursday 21 Aug 2014

I stepped up to the 4 corners plaque and took my photo. Thus anointing the beginning of my adventure. All though I already have had an adventure just getting here. I'm very excited to begin the real portion of the ride. It's also nice that I'm not getting farther away from home. I need to be less anxious about the time, and schedule. Wahoo!! The trip has begun.


The Journey Begins

So here I am at the 4 corners and it's 4:30 pm. Time to go! Hopped back on the bike and started the back up to Cortez. In a stroke of prudent thinking, once in Cortez I decided to see if there were any restaurants open in Dolores. That was a good thing, there aren't. I broke down and grabbed a subway sandwich for munching on later and ran up to Dolores.


Chimney Rock

Dolores marks the shift from asphalt to dirt. From here on out the bulk of the riding will be off road. Thankfully the roads and trails today have been very straight forward and easy. No mud, no big hills, just nice trails. Sort of getting your feet wet. There were some small very bite sized steep sections. The bike is working out great so far. No mechanical issues. The riding through the pine forest has been really nice. Not much in the way of views, it's fairly flat.

I was starting to get late so I needed to find a place to camp. The nice thing is, it's all dispersed camping along this section of trail. I didn't' t want to camp off the main road so I took a side trail for a bit. Explored some dead ends. Eventually just find a nice flat spot off the trail 20 feet. No rocks, putting in the tent stakes was easy. Neat site in the trees. Got everything set up real quick.

I figured out that if I set up the tent. Then assemble the cot, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag, all outside the tent. It saves a bunch of time and tracking dirt into the tent. Did a bit of housekeeping. I've been recording about 1-2 hrs of GoPro footage a day on this trip. Every night I have to fire up the laptop and transfer files to my external HD. I have the HD rapped up pretty good. If it dies and I louse all my video footage I'll be crushed. I'm also recording my GPS tracks, those along with the Cell, and DSLR photos get dumped to the laptop also. If I have a bit of time and a power plug I can look at some of the video and put what I really like onto the laptop. That way if the external HD dumps I won't lose everything.

Tomorrow is Friday so the wonders of dispersed camping will come to an end. Although with other people around I won't have to worry about animals as much. Starting late today will give me a jump on tomorrow. I'm looking at going over Ophir pass tomorrow. I have done 4 nights in the tent, the plan was 2 nights tent 1 night hotel. If I stay in a hotel, I want one with hot springs and to have some time to enjoy it.

If it takes 6 days to complete the COBDR starting tomorrow. That's Sat - Thurs. If I have a pad day that's still finishing on Fry. Then a day to get home. So I think everything is still doable, but it's getting tighter.

I had an idea of taking photos at Black Bear pass. Not go down just take photos. We will see how the time goes. I don't know how or if the time will work out.

Looking at the route for tomorrow, I'm really looking forward to Ophir pass. This will be the first big pass of the trip. A real mountain pass. Looking at a 4 wheel drive book, Ophir is a green pass. Doable with a family car. So should be fine for me.

So far the big variable for me is the weather. Hopefully it doesn't rain, that and no mechanical issues.
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:57 PM   #11
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COBDR Day 2 Fry 22 Aug 2014

Hey it rained last night, and it's still raining! Lovely....

Well it's 5:30 in the morning, think I will go back to bed. Maybe the rain will stop by the time I get up.

This will be my first full day on the COBDR! Very excited. Also excited that it stopped raining. Camped last night at a totally unprepared site, about 10 miles north of Deloris. It was very nice, once again no people, no noise, very secluded.

So getting on the road my adventure started early. The hill I was coming down was a little muddy. I was in one of the wheel ruts on the right side. I wanted to get into the center where hopefully it would be drier. It unfortunately just looked drier. I got the front out and, but the back did not come out right away. Now I'm a bit crossed up, gave it a bit of gas. The back came out, but the area between the wheel ruts was just as muddy. Now I'm going faster than I would like and front end is starting to plow when I try and turn. I had to desperately dab my feet down a couple of times to keep the bike upright. I ended up just going into the other wheel rut on the left, and skidded and slid the rest of the way down the hill. I'm trying to learn from these instances. Sometimes the gas is your friend, and this was one of them. While the ruts are muddy, being in a track if it goes where your want to go anyway is not so bad. You will never stray too far off.

There would be more adventures in the mud to come. Getting back on the main hard pack dirt road, I quickly forgot about my muddy experience.




There is a little general store at Ground Hog reservoir. Pulled in to get some Gatorade and munchies. Nice lady working there asked if I was riding alone? I said "yes". Asked me where I was going? She knew about the ride, and I told her that I was going north. She very emphatically told me don't you get on to 611 north. The road is so muddy it's hard for a 4 wheel drive truck, and they spent 2 hours pulling another group of 3 motorcyclists out of there. One evidentially broke his leg. She told me to stay on the main road to Dunton and from there link up with the highway to Telluride and re join the ride from there. I thanked her for the advice and continued on.

So when I got to this turn off, well I decided I would just take a look-see for myself. Maybe it's dried out a bit? Maybe I think I can ride better than I really can? Probably the latter. So I started up the road. The road of Doom! It was great, all large rocks deeply imbedded into to road. No problems. Then it went to strait dirt, or in this case mud.....


I looked ok before I rode on it! Really



After my previous adventure in the mud. This time I stayed in one of the tire tracks/channels. So at least I didn't dump the bike. Getting onto the center between the tracks was no help at all. Thankfully there was a turnoff that would lead me back, to the main road. It just required that I make it about 150ft on the muddy road. I almost made it the whole way. The last 30 feet had some large puddles. With the back end just squirming around, I realized I needed to swallow my pride and walk with the bike.

I kept hearing the ladies voice from the general store "Don't you go up there it's muddier that hell, and it will take 2 hours for help to arrive if you get stuck". Walking with the bike wasn't easy either but, picking up the bike in the mud with no traction would be impossible. Thankfully I made it back to the main road. Good thing, I didn't want to find out hard it would be to pick up the bike in the mud. Or how long the wait would be, if I needed help. Lesson learned mud sucks. I did end up having a fairly nice diversion to link back into the COBDR.



Well the diversionary ride was beautiful, nothing lost there. Went through Denton, CO to HW 145. On the trail, stopped and chatted with some mountain bikers going from yurt to yurt. They were on some sort of supported ride. At least these guys were not hauling all of their gear on the bikes. I've see the bicyclists riding all loaded up. It's hard enough on the motorcycle, can't imagine hauling all this stuff on a bicycle, would not be fun. It was a good break to talk to them about how there ride was going. The mud was clogging up their clip less pedals, but whenever it got really hairy they could just pick up the bike and walk out. On HW 145, went north to Telluride for lunch. I was taking photos before the turn off to Ophir pass. Got to talking with 3 other motorcyclists who were just about to go over Ophir. They invited me to go with them, and I probably should have. The problem was, I was starving. Lunch in Telluride just had way to much pull.



Riding into Telluride is wild. The mountains form a U shape around the town. So as you come in, you just see everything. Unlike Ouray, where you only get a good look as you are leaving and get higher up. Yes the speed limit in Telluride is very low. Yes there are also just a few cop around, so don't speed! It was worth it, because there was a farmers market today. Corn on the cob, fruit, bread, and some sort of asian noodle dish. It just hit the spot.

By the time I finished lunch and got gas there were ominous clouds building. Looking at the radar map didn't show good things coming my way. I have been camping out for 4 nights, it was time to relax at a hotel. It was a good thing I didn't try to get over Ophir pass. The rain started in 10 min later. I decided to bail to Ouray. The hot springs sound wonderful.

Gortex riding gear, works great! Riding through the poring rain, I only got a little damp around the neck, the rest of me was totally dry. This was on the 1 hr ride from Telluride back to Ouray. Stayed at the Wiesbaden Hot Springs in Ouray. Now the rooms are a little small, they are trying to maintain the historic look and feel. You want big rooms go to a Holiday Inn. The pool in front is heated, and very nice. The magic of this place is in the basement. They have a hot spring cave under the hotel. It's very hot just standing in the cave, but they have a small pool down there. It will let you know what a lobster feels like being dunked in boiling water. After 4 days, the lobster pool was great. I still really enjoyed camping in the tent. The funny thing is, the 4 days that I have been tent camping. I haven't really looked in a mirror. Looked like someone else looking back. I have to shave for my job. The last time I stopped shaving was like 20 years ago. That only lasted about a month. Defiantly a different look.

The forecast for tomorrow is not to promising. Storms in the afternoon. Hopefully the weather will be nice when I do Ophir pass. Depending on the weather and time. I can see about going to Black Bear pass and trying to take photos of Telluride. Not ride down.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:55 PM   #12
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:58 PM   #13
Duma OP
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Deja vu, I left Ouray this morning only to come back again. I do like it here. Taking a cot was a little bit of a splurge for this trip, and while it very comfortable doesn't compare to sleeping in a nice bed.


Main Street Ouray.

So after my wonderful soak last night, and a good night's sleep in a bed! I decided to walk down the main street looking for food. Ended up at the Timberline Deli for breakfast, very nice. Packed up the bike and off I went back to Telluride. Instead of just going back to Telluride via the freeway. I took "The Last Dollar Road". I love the names. Which also has signs on it telling truckers, you do not want to be on this road. I guess GPS units lead them astray. So any way, throwing my schedule farther out the window, I decided to take the last dollar road. It was a nice scenic ride, only a couple of muddy sections (it rained last night). There is a great spot to have lunch on the road. It has magnificent views. You could also camp there, but it's a little rocky. I wanted to stay all day.


Great view from Last Dollar Road (Bigger Version Here)

I do understand why people wear dual sport helmets. They have better ventilation at lower speeds, and.... more importantly they allow you to wear goggles. When I flip up my visor at lower speeds then I get the bugs in the face. Goggles would have prevented that.

Once I got to Telluride joined up with the COBDR trail just off to the west. You end up following along the river. I was originally planning to camp on the west side of the river, unfortunately didn't get a chance to check it out. Continued on to the base of Ophir pass. So this is the first REAL mountain pass of the trip. It looks just like the pictures and videos that I saw before I left. Took a break and got to talking with a group of dirt bike riders. They were troubleshooting a problem with one of their bikes. They were just finishing up, and I figured I should let them go on ahead of me. They would defiantly go faster than me. As we were talking though a white SUV started up the pass. After grabbing a couple photos, I started up the pass.



The dirt bike guys launched up the hill at a phenomenal speed. As I started up I could see the white suv going at a much more sedate pace. I probably should have waited till the suv up and cleared the pass. Live and learn.

So as the road narrowed I realized that I was catching up to the suv fairly quickly. I needed to find a place to stop, because there is no place to pass. Found an ok spot and stopped. Now I had been riding on the outside line, it's a little smother. Once you stop, it gives you a chance to look around. Look at the drop off, it's a long way down. I'm also only about 2 ft from the edge. I've got to get moving so I will stop looking down. So I get moving again, and catch up to the SUV again...... Stop again. This time I take my cell phone out to take a couple of pictures. That takes my mind off things a bit. The SUV is almost to a pull off area, and he knows I'm here. My leg is starting to shake a little. I wonder how many time the bike would roll if I went over? LA LA LA LA Happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Got to get going again. Worried if I kill the engine while trying to get going I will dump the bike. "Remember your training and you will survive" flashed through my head. Gun it and went! Now according to trail books you can take your family sedan up Ophir pass. Unfortunately there are a couple of sections where the road washed out a little. They filled it in with nice loose fist sized, and grapefruit sized rocks. Hit a loose rock aimed for the inside line, have to dab my feet down a couple of times. Steering is almost going lock to lock. Gave it a little gas to help it stabilize. I made it though. Pass the SUV, he has nicely pulled off to let me by. Little more excitement than I really expected. Who am I kidding, a lot more excitement than I was expecting.


Trying to take my mind off things.



There is only one switch back. So instead of doing something decisive like making the turn, or pulling off into the pad area where I could take some photos. I stopped in the middle. I'm trying to see if I want to get the DSLR out and take some photos. Either way I have to backup a little, to go left or right. The SUV is now behind me, and I'm blocking the road. As I'm backing up looking at the SUV not the hole that I will soon put my foot in. The bike slowly starts to lean beyond my one legged recovery point. I can't get my other leg over the duffle bag on the back. The bike keeps slowly leaning over. I give up, and jump clear. Hey.. at least to SUV driver offers to help me pick it back up. No damage to the bike. All in all fairly painless.

I'm kicking myself. Instead of unpacking the camera and taking some shots, I let my embarrassment get the better of me and I just rode up to the top. On the way, there was another washed out area with big rocks. This time saw it early picked a good line, steadily accelerated through it. No problems.

While taking photos, another solo rider in a BMW GS pulled up. We both sort of commented "This is the easy pass? What is to come?"


Made it in one piece.

Down the pass had no drama. Linked up with hw 550. You have to ride on 550 north for just a bit and go over Red Mountain pass. One the other side you peel off the highway and take a short jaunt through the Red Mountain Mining area. Then on the Corkscrew, Hurricane, California, and Cinnamon passes to Lake City.

I was on the south side of Red mountain pass, it was sunny. Not so on the other side. The clouds pushed right up to the top. Kind of fun riding in the clouds, but the visibility was less than a mile. So much for taking photos of Telluride from the top of Black Bear pass.

The first half of the Red Mountain Mining area, was fine. There are some cool old abandoned buildings, and the low visibility enhances the spooky aspect. The second half allowed me to get reacquainted with the clinging embrace of mud. It's also started to rain again. Went through a muddy nasty section glad to get through it. Didn't realize that I missed my turn and the road I was on dead ended. So I got to go back through the nasty muddy section again. Very happy once I got back onto the highway.



Back on HW 550 north for a short jaunt to the start of Corkscrew pass. Talked to a couple of other motorcyclists. They just finished coming over the pass from the other direction. Told me about more mud. Also that there were some sections that would require a little as they put it "momentum" to get through. Ugg. One of them showed me some pictures, they were awesome. Unlike now it was clear when they started from Lake City. They strongly recommend not going over today partially because of the mud. Also for the lack of visibility. It just wasn't going to be worth it, to go over the passes in the mist and fog and see nothing at all.

Hey Ouray is only about 9 miles away. Hot springs....... So back to Ouray I went. They were having Mining Days in town. There is still active mining going on in Ouray. There was a mining competition using hand held human powered mining equipment. Interesting to watch, glad I don't have to do it for a living. There was also good food. Ribs, hotdogs and corn on the cob.

I couldn't get back into the Wiesbaden Hot Springs hotel. That was unfortunate. With the mining event in town most of the hotels were full. I did find a room which was good. If it wasn't raining I would have gone back up to where I tent camped my first time through.

I'm getting a little tired of the rain, and the mud it brings. The two rain delays are setting me back enough to cause me some concern.

Stay tuned! More to come.
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:52 PM   #14
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COBDR Day 4 Sun 24 Aug 2014 (Picture Heavy!)

Never thought I would leave Ouray. I mean I like it here, but times a wasting. The weathers good, only partly cloudy. Left early, got gas. Hey when the gas gauge doesn't work, I just have to get gas almost every time I go thought town. Today I only ended up riding something like 50 miles, but what a 50 miles it was. For me it will be the hardest riding that I have ever done.


This was the same spot on the Million Dollar Highway 2 days ago I tried to get a photo from, no falling rocks today


The COBDR in one day has you do Ophir, Corkscrew, Hurricane, California and Cinnamon passes. If you ride faster, and don't stop and take photos, maybe you could do it all in one day. The question is why? Why ride though these incredible areas and not stop to take it all in? Anyway, the good thing for me was that I did Ophir pass yesterday. So today I just have Corkscrew, Hurricane, California and Cinnamon passes. This would defiantly be jumping into the deep end of the pool for me.

First up was Corkscrew pass. The ride up to the base was a little muddy in sections. In the beginning you are riding in the trees. It blocks the sun from drying out the road. There are just a couple of steep sections. Then you arrive at the base of the mountain where you can look up at the ride to come. Sort of like at the base of Ophir pass. I watched videos of people going up Corkscrew pass, and you really don't get how tight and steep the switchbacks are. Or at least to me.


On the way up Corkscrew pass.


I don't think my head was really in the game yet. I just really was having a hard time figuring out just how to tackle the switchbacks. The road is just a little muddy, and the traction just seems to come and go. The first switchback I pulled into a pullout area, got the bike turned around a bit. The second one I was just not aggressive enough. Came around the corner, stalled the bike. That almost invariably leads to dumping the bike. Which was the case here. I did manage to get it to fall onto the uphill side. I picked it up fully loaded with out to much difficulty. Sad to say this was I think the first time that I really thought "What am I doing out here, should have stayed home and bought an Xbox." It was a very disheartening experience. My confidence at this point was shot. Not a good place to be at all. I'm just starting my day out. I Don't remember what exactly I did to re-motivate myself. I ended up buckling down, and just taking one switchback at a time. Going back down would suck, so... Let's keep going!

So taking things in a small piecemeal fashion got me up the mountain. At the top I was a little bit frazzled. No mistaking that. Realizing that I'm in terrain that is probably above my skill level, doesn't help your stress level. It's also a big day with lots more to come. At the top not only was I able to take a little break and get off the bike, I took some really nice photos. Taking the photographs was great for my mental state. It put me into an area where I was confident in what I was doing. Thankfully that confidence came with me when I got back on the bike. I had turned the corner, crested the hill. I knew I could do this.


Top of Corkscrew Pass. The much much bigger version is (here) Zoom in it's 4000 x 1200

The ride down from Corkscrew was no problem. Riding up to Hurricane was the steepest and rockiest ride of the trip. As I was going up the hill, I remember how I thought the road from Marble to the Crystal Mill was steep. Nothing compared to this. To compound matters there were a couple of people on their quads also going up the hill. They can just stop on the hill and get back going up without a problem, and they did. Me on the bike, I could probably get back going without a problem. I just wouldn't want to do it willingly. I ended up passing one or two groups of quads on the way up.

As you get closer to the summit the road gets really steep. I'm leaning about as far forward as possible. The bike just goes. All the weight on the back is giving me plenty of traction. I am the weakest link. As I got near the summit and there was a road that branched off. It was flat, a good place to take a breather. There were also quads coming down the hill, so I took the side road and stopped. Really wanted to make sure I was going the right way. GPS said I was, what a relief. I also figured it would be easier to climb the hill without dealing with traffic coming down the hill. There was actually more traffic than I thought. Some jeeps coming up, and dirt bikers coming down. Talked to the dirt bikers. One of them told me "You might have a real problem near the top it gets real steep and loose, you should probably turn around." At this point I felt bipolar. On Corkscrew pass I had no confidence, and was wondering why I was here. Right now, I knew I could do this. Some steep hill was not going to slow me down.

I thanked them for the heads up, and waited for the jeeps to clear. The road I was on was very steep with loose rocks, but I didn't think I could do it. I knew it. The steep scary section right below the top, was no problem at all. Made it to the top, and looked around thinking "that was it?", actually that's not true. Once you get to the top the view is what you really notice. It's only surpassed by California Pass.


Hurricane Pass. Another much much BIGGER version is (here)


To get from Hurricane to California Pass is short and easy. As you come down from Hurricane you get to a Y intersection. Rt takes you to California, left takes you to Lake Como, via the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail. Supposed to be a fairly nasty red jeep trail. Lake Como is the very turquoise looking lake in both panorama photos from Hurricane and California passes. I should have taken the slight diversion left just to take some photos of Lake Como. I will have to do that next time. After the Y as you come back up to California Pass, there is one tight switchback. It's a little like the switchbacks going up Corkscrew. The switchbacks that I seemed to have such a problem with. Thankfully it finely seemed to click for me. Taking the switchbacks that is. I finally remembered my training. Worked great.

California Peak had probably the best views of the whole trip. You can park right by the California Peak sign. The views there are nice, but what you really want to do is to climb up the trail 120-250ft to the top. From the top you can look right down the spine of the mountain. It gives you about a 270 deg view. I'm so grateful to the guys yesterday how told me not to start this section yesterday when the clouds and visibility was low. I would have missed the great views. I just can't stress enough, the need to have good weather and fairly clear skies for this section of the COBDR (Ophir to Lake city). It was defiantly work waiting a day to do it.


California Pass. Best view of the trip. Super Sized View (Here)

As you come down California Gulch you pass through Animas Fork. This was a great place to explore the ruins of the town. Hey they got bathrooms too. The historical society to trying to maintain the residential structures. Really neat to wander around and look at the cabins. It's a great place to have lunch. Or for me a meal bar.






On the way up to Cinnamon Pas

Up to Cinnamon Pass, the road is very straight forward. There are only a few slightly rocky sections. The views at the top are nice, nothing like California. Even though I didn't do Ophir pass today, it's starting to get a little late. So no big panorama shots from the top of Cinnamon Pass.


Looking down from the top of Cinnamon Pass


Near the bottom of Cinnamon Pass

It's a long ride from the top of Cinnamon to Lake City. The road is nice and easy though. Has that old railroad grade feel to it. It's a nice change of pace. You get to sit back, and just take the scenery in as you ride by. Just before Lake City you pass Lake San Cristobal. There is camping along the lake. I think it's all pay sites. I pressed on into town, wanted to get gas. I should have made a gas tank dip stick. At least then I would know really how full the tank was.......


On the way to lake city.

Stopped at Southern Vittles for a big burger, and pie. The pie was great.... I'm burning a lot of extra calories riding the bike here. Also when you are on vacation, aren't you also on vacation from any sort of dietary constraints also?

I thought about going to the camp site by the lake. I figured that, it being Sunday and all there wouldn't be many people out camping tonight. So I pressed on, and started sec 3 of the COBDR. There were a couple of pay campsites, just off HW 149 on the way to Los Pinos Pass. They were about half empty. I hadn't seen any traffic on the dirt road so I figured I could continue on and find a nice free spot farther in. Found a nice little spot right off the road, and next to Cebolla Creek.

It was a nice clear night so I got the camera set up for a star shot. It came out pretty good.


It is a long exposure shot.

Looking ahead, the ride tomorrow seems to cover a lot of ground. End up in Buena Vista. I've been thinking about breaking up the trip into two parts. I have 6 days off a week after the end of my vacation. I could just do the COBDR in two parts. I think I just really want to do the trip all at once. As kind of a point of pride. If that makes sense.

The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow. What a relief. The riding tomorrow should also be a nice change of pace. Looking forward to it. I might have gotten a little sunburned, ugg. Got to remember to put the sunscreen on.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:19 PM   #15
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Thanks

Thanks for the report thus far. I'm defiantly subscribed!
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