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Old 08-11-2011, 03:57 PM   #1
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
T.A.T.-Part 2----OK TO OR

This is my 1st Ride Report, bear with me..will probably make some mistakes, but at my age, I've done plenty before.

We started the T.A.T. last August. I did a Google based blog and it worked out fine, but the ride report will get to a lot more people.

If you'd like to read what we did, and see the pictures, follow this link:

This link takes you to the Introduction page. One the far right edge, is a list of all the reports, by date. Start at bottom, and just click on each day. Sometimes I've seen it where you can just scroll from day to day, other times, you have to go back and click each day...

Okay, 2011. On Monday August 8, my friend Brooks and I (Doug) loaded the bikes in the truck, and headed towards B-ville,Bartlesville) OK. This is the closest "city" to where we ended last year.

Made it to Econo Lodge in Bartlesville about 5pm on the 9th. The 3rd member of our group,(Rich, a/k/a Columbus) (you'll have to read last years adventure to learn how we named him that), had left home on his bike (2010 Honda XR650L) and would meet us here tonight.

Other bikes: Doug- 2008 KLR 650, Brooks 2003 BMW Dakar 650
We're all running Dunlop D606's on rear, Brooks and I have them on front also, Rich has a Metzler Unicross.

I attached a picture of Rich, getting ready to load up at Econo Lodge. Haven't figured out how to attach more than one photo, so will do next few days ASAP and add more pictures.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:00 PM   #2
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Get going Amigo....... Cannot wait for your RR
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:10 PM   #3
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Mobile, Al
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Oh good another TAT ride report I can read before I go. Put your pictures over on Google Picasa and link to them in your report.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:53 PM   #4
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
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Will try the photo link idea with Picasa
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:24 AM   #5
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
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Well I tried Picasa, and up loaded 40 pictures, then hit wrong button, thinking I was removing one, and wiped out two hours of work. Will try again tonight. Just have gotten behind due to long days. Will do the narrative now, and up load a lot of pictures ASAP.

Wednesday 8-10-11, day of departure.
Most of the night, we were aware of thunder and lightning all around us. Rain was heavy at times. At 6AM, we decided to sit tight for a few hours to let the storm system pass through. Having a netbook along is a nice luxury, having Weatherbug or similar site to watch live radar is even better.
By 11AM, it had cleared around Bartlesville, and we only had to dodge one small system between us and our destination, Alva, OK.
We had unloaded the bikes the night before, now we loaded them up, drove across the street to top up tanks, and head out.
We drove North on 75 about 6 miles, and picked up the East-West path of the TAT. The roads now were gravel, and fairly hard packed. There were a few spots where vehicles had made decent sized ruts in the softer sections, but we were doing okay.
We passed a beautiful wildlife preserve, noticing all the birds out enjoying the freshly fallen rain puddles. The cranes were all “fishing” in the ponds. Mother Nature was happy.
We started to notice the gravel roadbed was now softer. The top appeared to be just fine gravel, but immediately underneath was a layer of red mud/clay. We learned rather quickly to stay away from the shoulders that looked hard and dry and ride in the vehicle tracks that had been recently made. The heavier vehicles had squished the mud out and left a more solid base, although it was wet and made for mud spray that would escape the protection of the front fender, and blow back on your boots, legs, and front area of bike.
We were now on a much higher section of ground, like a small mesa, and passing a large Prairie Grass area. We had some light rain off and on the past hour, but the sky’s once again cleared, and it appeared the worse part of the storm had gone to our North.
With no rain in site to the West, we stopped and took off the rain gear. Rich and I took a few pictures of the plains and our muddy bikes, and we were off again.
The light breeze and sun dried the roads quickly, and they got better and better as we moved Westerly. We were happy campers to be out of that slippery, sticky red clay. I honestly don’t think we encountered a single vehicle all afternoon. I started calling this part of Oklahoma the “quilt State”, as the sections on a map are all the same size, like the pieces of a quilt. Exactly a mile square. Every mile, you have an intersection to pass through. Most have no Stop or Yield sign, just slow down look both ways (you can usually see ½ mile), and keep going. What does change many times, is the road. One section will be gravel, then maybe a section of dirt, then hard base stone, the back to gravel. On the dirt sections, I started to see the tracks of a single lone motorcycle. It was sporting a rear tire like a D606, so it was easy to identify. No doubt he was on the TAT, as he made every turn on the route sheet. Then all of a sudden, I saw two tracks. One on each side of the road. Who was the mystery rider, and why did he just catch up to number one? Well we soon found out. We came to a sudden stop, facing a Bridge Closed sign. The single riders tracks turned around, and went back to the last intersection, just like we were about to do. The jog around was easy, especially with a GPS, and we kept moving.
We rolled into Alva about 7:30PM, due to the delayed rain start.
We had ridden 221 miles for the day, and bikes and us were mud covered, so a quick trip to car wash was in order, after check-in.
Before leaving Bartlesville, I had called the motel listed on the map, but they were full except one room, which could not accommodate the three of us. Owner recommended another place nearby. I called the Ranger Inn, and booked us a large room.. so we pull into the Ranger Inn, BIG sign out front has three lines below name, 1st says “Luxury rooms”, then “Jesus is Lord”, last, “Wi-Fi” . Now the people were very nice, but I do have problems with misleading or false advertising. The 1st was nonexistent, the last re: Wi-Fi, yes they had it, but signal was so week, I couldn’t get on in the evening. In the morning, I did connect. No coffee in the rooms, so I walked over to office, no coffee or “breakfast” either. We ventured across the street to a new Bistro, and had a good breakfast..
Plenty of small motels in Alva, so call around if you can’t get into Western Motel (listed on TAT map).
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:26 AM   #6
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
photo link

OK..finally got a bunch of photos uploaded. Just follow this link to Picasa and click on TAT 2011. I've tried to put a caption under each. I attempted to have album save pictures in order taken, but of course it didn't. I'll be adding to the album real soon.

added 8-25-11: I've had tons of problems with Picasa (above link). Have opened a photo-bucket album, and have gotten 105 photos up loaded so far. Haven't had time to caption yet. Here is the link to photo-bucket:


Doug329 screwed with this post 08-25-2011 at 06:08 AM Reason: add photo-bucket link
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:22 AM   #7
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
Day 4 Trinidad to Salida, CO

We left Trinidad about 0820AM...Sam warns on map, start early (7am), long day. Remember, Sam is always right.

We get about 10 miles, and decide to check Brooks rear tire, which was fine at motel before leaving. Not good, nail we thought was all out, has now emerged it's ugly head. Apparently some was still in tire. Brooks pulls remaining 1/2 inch out. Slime immediately appears, but appears to seal hole. Top up air, and decide to ride 5 more miles and recheck.

Recheck, very soft, nail has apparently enlarged hole in tube. Time to change. We find a nice shade tree to work under. Takes just about an hour to change, clean-up, and be ready to roll again.

We start climbing elevation. Good gravel roads, good average speeds (40-45mph), making good time. Lots of cattle guards, open range areas. Many cows, the western road hazard. Slow down, go slow. Most will wander away from road shoulder, a few will stand ground, and may enter road as you approach. If the "cow" has horns, sometimes called careful, they may charge..use caution.

Road changes from gravel to almost bedrock base in parts. Dry but HARD riding surface. Beautiful rock formations. We're in 7k foot elevation areas, Aspen trees, pines, cedar. The smells are wonderful.

Get into some moderate technical areas, uphill, narrow one lane, rocky road. Slow, but steady going. Mid afternoon cloud passing overhead. This is a daily thing in CO. Starting to mist heavy, put on rain jackets.

Road is now reddish clay/gravel...wet, no dust. A little slippery. Again, another area of San Isabel National Forest. Starting to see some signs of camp sites (it's Saturday, the weekend). We also encounter some on-coming traffic today. First rule in mountain...KEEP RIGHT. You never know what's around the blind curve. Murphy's Law, approaching vehicle will be around next blind bend.

We start a slow, maybe 10 mile down grade, with many switchback turns. Road is wet, and now full of washboard effects. Maybe 5 miles into section, I don't see Rich's headlight after last couple of bends...I pull over to wait for him to catch up. 20 seconds, no Rich, I turn back, meet him in 1/4 mile. He explains back end slid out on one of the curves. No major damage. Good riding gear saved his hide, side cases and barkbusters saved the bike...just some scratches and slight spring in cases, mounting rack.

We continue to hard road. This takes us to next dirt section of TAT. Rain was brief, and stopped now, but time is getting late. We vote to cheat a little and head directly to Salida via super slabs so we get in at reasonable time.

We check into Super 8 at 630PM...all very tired and sore. 238 miles, and we skipped last section. Super 8 has a pool, and three hot tubs. Boy do they do wonders for us. Lucky when I called this AM, they gave us their last "family room", three queen sized beds. Place is not new, but well maintained. Staff is super nice. They have laundry which we use. Pool and hot tubes we use. Decent breakfast. Price is more than fair considering this is a big tourist area, and summer. We like it so much, we're going to stay Sat night, then explore on Sunday, (take a rest day??), then continue to Ouray, CO on Monday.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:31 AM   #8
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Waiting for more!

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Old 08-16-2011, 08:00 AM   #9
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
Day 5- Salida CO area

First I have to insert the "proper" link for the photo album:

Now, on with the story.

We had cut off the TAT yesterday, so we could make it to motel at decent hour. Now, it was time to back track to Cotopoxi and pick up TAT where we left off.

First few miles were paved, and I'm thinking maybe this isn't best way to wear my tires (much prefer dirt)..but after a few more miles, changed to dirt/gravel. This road meandered through one scenic valley after another as we slowly kept gaining in elevation. The lush green fields supported cattle and a few horses. Many small ranches along the way. Saw the usual small ground squirrels, a small mule deer, 3 small prong horns. When you're leading the pack, you see the most wild game.

As we got to the higher elevations, the road now hugged the side of the mountains. The road is cut into the slope, and follows the contour of the mountain, kind of connecting one with the next. Lots of great photo opts. Road was good all the way, with only a few minor tech spots from washouts, where you needed to stand on the pegs to maintain good control.

We eventually came down the mountain in a long series of switch backs. I'll try to post one picture on this page of a sign, on the way down. I got a chuckle out of it. We had been coming down grade for maybe five miles, no special signs. Then this one...No kidding, do we have a choice? No guard rails, and a sheer drop off if we don't "obey" the I said, "do we have a choice?"

So we get back to motel (The great Super 8), about 12:45pm. Time for a snack and short rest before afternoon adventure.

About 3pm, we figure we best get moving again (this is a rest day?). Our destination is Hancock Pass. We have read all the ride reports this season, seen the pictures, and know Sam has removed this pass from the TAT, but what the heck, we have to find out for ourselves.

We travel paved roads for a while, then enter the National Forest area, and the road changes to hard dirt,gravel. Another five miles, and it starts to narrow. Now maybe a lane and a half wide, but easy riding. Past a few old gold/silver mines (pictures will be updated to album tonight), and another turn (just follow the signs for Hancock Pass), onto a single lane trail. Get to kind of a trail head, and the last little sign pointing left "Hancock Pass". This is where the FUN begins. Nothing but pure rocks. Medium size, and not glued into the base with clay. Most are loose. We go in about 300 feet, and there is a 120 degree, uphill turn to the right. Looks serious, so we send Rick (a/k/a Columbus) ahead to check it out. Age has it's privileges, send the kid out first.

A short time later, he returns and reports that this part appears to be the worst. So off we go. Oh, forgot to mention. Before starting up, four ATV and UTV riders come down, I ask lead guy how it is. He says rough, but passable. Not much help. They had just been crawling slowly over the rocks as they came down. Didn't look very easy for them, and they had four wheels.

So caution to the wind, we start up. This is all 100% peg time. Slow, steady uphill grind. Searching every inch of the way for the proper line. More ATV's and UTV's coming down. Just barely enough room to pass, as you don't want to stop going uphill, and besides, there isn't a good place to stop in this area.

Another third of a mile, and we see a safe place to pull off and allow another bunch of 4 wheelers come down. Lead guy stops to talk. I ask again, re conditions. "Rough, but we made it over the top". Again, not much help.

Rich and I continue, but Brooks got into a spot he couldn't get a good restart from. Finally gets moving, picks a line, turns hard, and engine quits, which means if you're on pegs, it kind of throws you towards the front, and off balance, then you fall over like Arte Johnson on the tricycle on "Laugh-In". A short time later, Rich had the same experience. Picking up these 650's on these rocks is not fun. Basically, we had had enough fun and thought best to not hurt ourselves or our bikes, so we got turned around, and headed back down. "Mr Garmin" showed we had gotten to within .5 mile of the summit.

Our hats off to all those who have made it over the top, it's not easy. Of course a nice light 250cc or a trials bike would put the fun back in the challenge....another time.

We made it back, tired and sore..and headed for the hot tubs.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:16 PM   #10
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: NorCal (The REAL California)
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Subscribed! Looks like you are having fun. Too bad you didn't get over Hancock pass, you were SO close!
Great album, if you want to get some of them to show up in your posts, copy the URL for a photo from your album, then select the little yellow "picture" icon above the text box when you are posting (looks like a mountain and sun), then paste the URL into that popup.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:53 PM   #11
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
Day 6 Salida CO to Ouray, CO

Monday 8/15/11, another beautiful day.Clear and cool at 8:00 AM (65 degrees). Quick breakfast, and prepare to leave at 9AM. As we prepare to leave the motel. Brooks is doing a last minute prep check on the Dakar, lights, turn-signals, lock to lock with steering to check for "kinks", etc. He turns to left, and engine stops. Re-starts, moves bars again left, engine stops again. Obviously an electrical short in a main wire to ignition.

It's off with side panels, and the investigation starts. In about 20 minutes it's tracked to bundle coming from main ignition switch. After removing the wrappings, a red wire is found, totally broken. The ends were touching allowing contact, and ignition, but turning hard left, and it separates ever so little, but enough to stop motor. Luckily, there is just enough slack to splice the wire together, (saves running to auto parts store for new wire). This is also a good time to modify the factory attachment area for the wire harness, so more slack is available, to prevent this for happening again. Total time, one hour, and we're ready to roll.

In hindsight, it is this stopped engine that most likely made Brooks flop yesterday, when he turned left hard, going over and around the rocks.

Picked up TAT a few miles outside of Salida. Roads were good. Nice gravel, good running. Ran pretty much in the valleys, past ranches. Shortly after turning onto a narrow 2 track road, I noticed a sign marking an original stage coach route. I turned around and went back to learn more. Sign described crossing there of original stage line. A look to right revealed the original path going up slight grade and out of sight. Additional signage said trail was open to motorcycles and ATV's, but to stay on path etc. Would have loved to explore that a little, but just not time today.

Gas/food stop was in Sargents, CO, at Tomichi Creek Trading Post. Restaurant and fuel available. We decided we didn't need fuel, but got something to drink, and sat outside in the shade. Four guys approached us, and started looking over bikes and asking questions. Seems they were from Texas, and hauled bikes up to this area, just to ride, and get away from the heat. They had parked on other side, and we hadn't seen their bikes when we pulled in. We talked for a while, and looked over their bikes; 2001 KLR, 1989 Honda Trans Alps, 2010 Suzuki DR400, and 2002 Honda XR650L. Quick group photo, and we all left within a few minutes.

Continued on TAT, and soon found us heading up and over Cinnamon Pass. I'd guess last 8 miles we were on "pegs" most of the time. Lots of rocks, good grade, intense concentration on proper "lines". Quite a few 4 w/drives, ATV's, and UTV's. Many major sharp switchbacks, all upgrade.
As I was about to round one, I looked up hill, checking for traffic coming down, picked what I thought was a good line, and started to roll on throttle. On pegs, going around corner, upgrade, rear tire hit some major loose gravel, and immediately spun out, dropping me and bike like I had hit a patch of ice. Engine guards and barkbusters did their job. No damage, no injuries. Rich pulled up behind me, and we set her up. Just then a Deputy comes down grade, stops to check on us, and talks for a brief time. He answers our questions about Engineers Pass, which is a leg off this route.

Traffic coming up grade, so time to move out. No further problems as we reach top and stop to rest. We do the required photo opt, read the signs, and start downgrade. Another 6 or 8 miles and we come to an abandoned mining town. We all stop to rest and take some pictures. Really a lot of history here, great scenery, and information. Do to late start this AM because of the electrical problem,we decide not to go over California Pass,(next on this route), but to turn left and go down to Silverton, and pick up Rte 550 there. We took 550 North to Ouray, going over Red Mountain Pass (11,018 feet). Easy ride, as it's all pavement. Great "S" bends and curves down to 7700 foot level, and town of Ouray.

We had reservation at Best Western. Many good places in Ouray, but 1st 5 I called were booked for tonight and tomorrow night. Best Western gave us an off site (3 blocks away) condo with 2 bedrooms, and a loft with Queen, and separate bath, for less than what others wanted for 2 rooms with queen beds.

Quick clean up, a couple of cocktails, and we were off for Main Street (one block, uphill) and a little window shopping as we looked for a dinner place. It was 9PM already, and most stop serving at 9PM, except O'Brien' s Pub. We took an outside table and had a great dinner. Bowl of Irish beef stew, small salad, all of $7.50. Great service, neat place.
Back to condo, and in bed by 10:30PM, all three of us pretty well whipped. I can't remember sitting and standing (on pegs) so many times, since the last Italian wedding I attended.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:29 AM   #12
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Good stuff, Doug. Can't wait for more. We're heading out to do the CDR on Sat. so may not be able to keep up with your report for a few days. Good luck on the rest.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:47 PM   #13
Doug329 OP
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
CDR Ride

Thanks Dickosaurus,

You guys have a great ride...take notes, that ride is on my "list" for next year on the new Super Tenere. I'll try to get this report updated tonight after dinner.

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Old 08-18-2011, 09:55 PM   #14
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Vine Valley, NY (Finger Lakes Region)
Oddometer: 68
Day 7 Ouray area-2nd day

This will be our 2nd day in Ouray. At 0630AM, it was 51 degrees, and a clear mid 70's day is predicted.

We did a few housekeeping chores, PM on the bikes, and about 0930AM, walked the two blocks up to the main hotel complex. Our goal was breakfast. We found a separate building, set up like a small restaurant, just for guests. (this sure beats camping at our age). There was a Chief at the omelet table, ready to make anything you wanted. Next table had everything from scrambles eggs, sausage, bread, bagels, juices, cereals, yogurt, fruit, coffee waiting. The big rush of diners had passed, so we had a leisurely breakfast. Big Rich made three trips for "refills"...just bound to get his money's worth,...which he did.

About 11AM, we gas up (now 81 degrees), and start over the "back-road" between Ouray and Telluride. This takes you across Imogene Pass. "Mr Garmin" shows a total one way distance of about 16 miles. Local Jeep guy says a good 4 hour trip one way.

The first 8 or 9 miles were pretty easy, usual uphill grade, narrow gravel road. About 2 miles up, I see a red Humvee on right shoulder, 4 passengers looking up the side hill. I start to pass, and tap the horn so driver knows. By this time all on-board were pointing cameras up hill. I looked that way to see what they were looking was a small brown bear. First one I've seen out here.

About mile 9, it gets tougher. Bigger rocks (some as big as VW's), a stream bed you ride for 200 feet before climbing out, roadbed is not gravel anymore, but hard base with rocks protruding up through the surface. Even evidence of metal rings being set in rock cracks that Jeeps can hook winch cable to, to pull them up over rock(s). If you could get a good line on flattest, smoothest side, we'd use it. Sometimes there was a line around the side of the rock. Probably a mile from top (Pass), we came across a BIG rock, Rich was in front, and took a line head-on, putting power to Honda just before his front tire hit rock...he shot up side, to flatter sloped area, and made it to flatter spot maybe 200 feet above rock...I on the other hand, have to ride a little faster than Honda, due to gearing, and couldn't get speed up before Rich went up rock, so I chose a line around right side. All was good till my rear tire hit smooth part (still a 20 plus degree uphill), and 606 lost traction. I could hear the tire spin, and smell the rubber burning, but my forward motion slowed quickly. Due to angle, front brake would not hold bike, and I slid backwards, maybe 25 feet before flopping over. Rich couldn't even see me, but had been waiting above for me. When he didn't see, or hear, me, he walked back down. With his help (again), the beast was raised, and we stood there resting. While we were there, a Jeep with three guys, comes down grade, (very slowly). Gets down rock, then stops to see if we're ok. I ask how the rest to Pass is, Their reply, "it gets rougher". We say Thanks, and they are off. A Jeep going up stops, same questions, same answers. One passenger says they wouldn't recommend going any further. We thanks them, and they continue. We get the bike headed down hill, and Rich walks back up to get his. We have now decided not worth hurting ourselves or bikes. We have too many miles left to travel.

Now we're ready to head back way we came, and a solo biker is coming down grade. He stops. he looks pretty old. We talk. I'll call him biker Jack (we didn't get his name). We learn he has a full time home in Santa Fe, NM, and a cabin near Ouray, where he and his wife spend two months each summer. He's been riding these passes for years, and gives us a lot of good information on ones we've crossed, and attempted to cross. I look at his bike, and older Honda, early 90's, XR500. It has a close ratio gearbox, and a rear sprocket I'd guess at between 55 and 60 teeth. Now this is a bike designed for this type of riding. Either that or a good trials bike would be perfect.

We bid farewell, as he pulls away, heading back to camp to check on his wife who he left behind "to stack firewood".

We hadn't seen Brooks since shortly after we started, but find him at the condo when we get back, about 2PM. Turns out, he missed a turn to Telluride, off main trail, and when he discovered it, came back finding it, but looked at what we had already gotten into, and got smarter faster, and didn't follow our paths.

The pictures will give you a decent idea of what we got into, but they never seem to convey the true grade of the trail. Always much steeper than it looks in a picture.

About 4PM, we're rested, and decide to venture back up to Main Street for some window shopping, and find a place for dinner. We eventually seek refuge form the daily afternoon passing black cloud, in a business named Ouray Brewery. Lucky us.

A fairly new business, we settle in at the bar. One side of the bar is equipped with swing seats. Rich immediately selects one. We however chose an old fashioned bar stool. We have a couple of beers (local), and then order from the menu. Brooks and I have the Trout on rice. It was delicious. Prices are reasonable. After dinner, we head across the street to the homemade chocolate and coffee store. Ice cream and coffee top off a great evening. Back at the condo, we do some emails, reading, and call lights out by 10PM..another tiring but good day.

Doug329 screwed with this post 08-18-2011 at 09:58 PM Reason: forgot to add picture
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:43 AM   #15
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More pictures please! If you guyr tried Imogene pass from ouray then you took the hard way but once you get to the top the view is worth it all. The other side is a cake walk in comparison. You shouldn't have listened to the folk in the cages, as it is very doable on you current rides. Maybe next time?

Keep the report coming.

Hey Dickasaurus....Maybe we'll see you around Silverton when we get up there!
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"If it can't kill ya-it's not a sport"......It ALMOST killed me tho.....
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