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Old 10-17-2014, 11:14 PM   #1
realshiny OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Great Plains
Oddometer: 17
Target: Colorado! Will the Bullet hit or misfire?

I've got 10 days free, a motorcycle, some camping stuff, so...
This year I'm heading to Colorado, Montrose, specifically, to meet some old motorcycle rally friends and ride the million dollar highway. But I'm leaving early and plan to wander around quite a bit and hopefully have some good primitive camping fun.

In the process I hope to find answers to these smoldering questions:
  • Can I fit all my stuff in that saddle bag?
  • Can only 500cc haul my mass and my gear successfully?
  • Will the mighty Enfield motor thru the mountains or succumb to altitude sickness?
  • Will the stock bench seat be comfortable?
  • Can I manage to camp for free until Montrose?
  • Will I ever find a Colorado state map? (yes paper, as I don't have a GPS)
  • Will these stupid questions ever end?


Bought a Great Basin saddle bag from Giant Loop and this will be its inaugural trip. Expensive! Well built, but it better be for $400! I like the portability of transferring to almost any bike i might get. Was it worth the money? I guess I'll find out.

Put new shocks on that I got from

Broke the brake lever installing new handlebars the week before but the replacement has not arrived. Got dirt bike brake controls and unhooked the brake light switch. I almost always use both brakes together so I will rely on the foot brake light switch.

Found out the magic button no longer works and I don't have time to fix it before the trip. Guess I'll be kick starting only on this trip.

Day 0, Friday - Supposed to leave Early this morning.

Bought aluminum dirt bike style handle bars. After installing them I realized my old bar end mirrors didn't fit, so back to the store, in the rain on Friday thru Kansas City traffic. I swear this might be the most dangerous part of the trip! After tapping the bars, the right side installed perfectly but I managed to strip the threads on the insert. Crap! Back to the store for a new set of inserts and screws! Just managed to install everything late Friday night with some green loctite on the insert threads. I'll try to leave in the morning.

Day 1, Saturday

Packing last minutes stuff and left around 11am. I've been planning and prepping for weeks but now it seems I'm running around getting last minute stuff packed. Oh well, better late than never.

Here's the bike all clean-n-shiny! All packed up like a little burro!

Yeah I know the heat shield isn't doing anything but adding weight...but it looks KewL!

And it is my lazy habit to take pics of the odometer before and after the trip. Here's the before:

I'm kind of a map nerd so I've got a big ziplock bag with my Kansas map, some pens, small notepad, and some highlighters to mark my progress on the map. Kinda like old-school gps! Well, not really, just old. I'll get a gps someday. I looked all over for my Colorado state map, guess I'll get one at the border welcome center.
Leaving west out of Topeka. Decided to take Highway 4 and stay off I70.

Made it to Dover when I saw this!

It was still late lunch hour and this was just too tempting.

I felt like the stranger in the old west show, walking in to the saloon. As everybody stared, I was awkwardly wondering if I should "wait to be seated" or... Dang! pretty full in here! Just then an old guy in his 80's said, "You can sit with us!" On past trips, I've decided be gracious and accept other people's generosity if offered. I've had a hard time with this but am getting better. I try to be generous myself, so why deprive others of this? I've decided I like old people. He talked about his days of riding, his trips. His wife sat across from him with a calm, knowing half smile, adding affirmation noises at the right time. They were finishing up their meal when mine came.

Somehow, during the salting, peppering, ketchupping, mustarding, he paid for my dinner! After I found out, I was shocked. I thanked them both sincerely as they were leaving and wishing me a safe trip. Good people, they are!

Stopped for a break at Lindsborg. Always liked the town, so I found the city park and flopped on the grass and ate supper, a mashed up peanut butter and honey sammitch. Looking up:

The sammitches view:

This evenings challenge will be to find a place to stealth camp. So before it gets dark, I am eagle-eyeing every side road, tree clump (tough to find in west Kansas, sometimes) for a good, out-of-the-way place to string my hammock. Brought the asym Hennesy Jungle XL. I'm almost 6'4" so its not as flat of a lay as it would be for a shorter person, but it was the largest i could find at the time and that was several years ago.

Find a spot somewhere near Hoisington in a tree line next to a gravel road and harvested bean field. Tried to cover the shiny bits with my jacket and bags.

Now just wait for dark before moving around too much. Don't want to attract any attention.

Going to get some well needed rest and I notice some lighting in the far west as I drift off.

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Old 10-18-2014, 10:06 AM   #2
realshiny OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Great Plains
Oddometer: 17
Day 2, Sunday 8/31

Couldn't sleep, so I just got up around 12:30am and packed and hit the road. Riding at night is sketchy sometimes, so I kept the speed down and watched for deer. Sorry for so much narrative here, no night pics.

Still on highway 4, which can be desolate, and hit reserve around 3am. Pulled into McCracken, a little bitty town, parked on main street, and took up residence on a bench to consume smashed up pop tarts and consult the map.

It was so quiet out, only the occasional bark and once a pack of coyotes in the far distance to break the silence. It was the kind of quiet where i could hear everything happening in town. I heard a door to someone's house open and shut, a car door and start up. Heard them drive off somewhere. I wondered what the hell they would be doing up in the middle of the night? Then they came down main street, it was the paper lady. Stopped just to my right. I said "How's it going?", in my friendliest, non-serial killer voice as she warily dropped off the bundle. I could tell she was wondering what the hell was I doing sitting there in the middle of the night? I asked where the nearest gas station was as she walked sideways, reaching a hand out to guide her around the hood, never taking her eyes off me. There was a station, of course closed, just a block away. She offered this fact as a useless vocal token. I mention that I was aware of it and could actually see it from here. She started talking about country roads, back to Hays, blah blah. I really only asked to lighten the mood and thanked her as she speedily left.

I have been threading the needle on the storms so far, but now need to go north, to I70, to Wakeeney to get gas. Just about ran down a coyote that couldn't decide whether to dodge left of right until I was braking hard right on top of him.

I get to Wakeeney just as the storm does so I stop under the shelter of a gas station that had gone out of business. A lightning strike took out power to what seemed like the whole town while i lay down to wait out the rain. I actually get a little nap in. Around 5am and the rain is light enough that I get gas and take off on I70, going to turn off when I get to 40 in about 50 miles. No one is up yet but the big trucks. I go as fast as I can, 60-65, and am glad to see state highway 40!

Quick rest stop at Fort Wallace

Now in Colorado, by gum!

Actually, was looking for a place to drop-a-deuce, but was unsuccessful. What looked like a hill, once behind it was still in plain view of the traffic! umm... moving on.

My goal is to get to Colorado Springs, eat, and find a place to camp. No luck at the border getting a map! I'm sure there's a welcome center on 70, but not on 40. When I arrive at Colorado Springs, I wander back and forth on what looks like the main arteries, slowly building an image of the city in my head. I have got to find a map! Stopped at several gas stations before scoring a hit. Have to pay for it, though, but now I can eat and plan my escape to the woods!

While waiting at a light, I notice my exhaust is louder. I find out i've shook off my nuts and a stud. My header is being held on by gravity, dirt and the lower muffler clamp! Look to my left and notice an O'Reilly's auto store so in 15-20 minutes, I've got my nuts (ahem...) and stud back on and everything looks mounted and tight! What luck!

It is still early enough in the day that can make it to Sevenmile Canyon Recreation Area in the Pike National Forest, about 35-40 miles west on 24.

I pass up the pay-to-camp area (suckers!) and follow the forest access roads. The road turns from rough to steep and rocky. I point and shoot, and make it up this road. The enfield strikes a heroic pose in the sun's spotlight after the conquest!

Actually, that's all the farther I dare go. This tree stump divides the road nicely.

No noisy neighbors! No crowds! Listen to the wind give rise to the voices of the pines! Actually there is one truck that I passed, don't see anyone around. They must be on a hike. They are gone before dark.

I think the hammock will be a great choice from here on. Don't have to worry about the hard, rocky ground, or finding a level spot. lol good luck with that around here! haha.

Finally some nice pics! I walk up the hill and survey my camp site! Great! I feel like I've picked a prime camping spot. what I came for.

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Old 10-19-2014, 10:24 AM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Englewood, CO
Oddometer: 126
Strong start Looking forward to reading more!
2014 V-Strom 650 ADV

1Man2Wheels screwed with this post 10-19-2014 at 10:25 AM Reason: Typo
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:17 PM   #4
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Joined: Mar 2005
Oddometer: 566
Like your style, writing and riding!
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Old 10-19-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
realshiny OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Great Plains
Oddometer: 17
Day 3, Monday 9/1

Had a pretty good nights sleep, not too cold. Feels good and crisp though. Head out of Pike National Forrest, west on 24 across a big plain. Make it to Hartsel, no gas so keep going north on 9 to Fairplay. I don't realize how cold I am until I stop at Subway and fumble my way through trying to get the card out of my wallet. I eat a very early lunch, technically it still morning, but I didn't eat last night.

I notice my bike seems to be leaning an awfully lot while on the side stand. A closer look reveals I've shook off the nut holding the side stand on so its extending out on the stud! I find out the stud goes all the way through and secures the exhaust on the other side, that nut is almost off too! So I move that nut to the other side and tighten it up some. Its a holiday so no stores are open. I decide I can just use the center stand until I fix it.

My destination is to ride over Boreas Pass and eat dinner in Breckenridge. Continue up 9, then north on 285 to Boreas Pass Road.

First stop Camp Como.

Distant mountains:

The road ahead:

Now we're getting somewhere!

Gaining some elevation, the road is hard packed with some rocky places. A proper dirt bike / dual sport could fly over it. I take my time and enjoy the view. No sense in getting beat to death!

Trying to show how high up (plainsman talk) I am.

This is the last picture with my old cannon. Just after this I see an overlook trail and stop to hike it. I remember not to use my side stand when dismounting, big mistake. Unfortunately my big foot catches the luggage, I loose my balance and my back pack comes in for the assist to drag me down! I drop the bike and fall flat on my back. Still had my helmet on and my back pack takes the impact. Of course the once lonely road sees a burst of gawkers looking at this guy flopping around next to a dumped bike! I feel foolish and hurry to right the bike as gas is leaking out. Damn! Its a little heavier than I thought it would be! I had a sick feeling I dented my pinstriped tank that Raj skillfully hand painted at the factory. But my earlier choices turned out to be good ones. The aluminium handle bars, no problem, nice and straight. The bar end mirror, small scratch big deal. The Great Basin held the bike off the ground and the tank was still purrty. The GB looked as good as new as well.

I hike 20 feet or so and reached for the camera because the view is stunning. Crap! Busted camera! I need pics to prove I was there! I hike some more and find a seat with a view and dump a load of mountain brownies. I cover it with rocks just in time to meet a nice old couple hiking up the path. Whew! Another awkward moment averted.

When I get to Breckenridge, I decide to buy a new camera and come back tomorrow for proper documentation. I eat at Bubba Gumps in Breckenridge, ok but not worth the price. I ask the wait staff about cameras and they wisely direct me to the next town up 9, Frisco. There be Walmarts there, arrrghh. Sorry, some pirate got through.

So I get a Cannon Elph 340 16mp camera but begin to wonder if I made the right choice as I'm wasting time at a laundry mat charging the Special battery pack. I decide before it gets too dark, I need to find a camp site near Boreas pass. So I head back and miss the turn because the street sign doesn't say Boreas Pass Road from that direction, its says something else. Once I realize I've gone too far, I turn around and find it. Once again, a gps would've been nice! I find a spot above 10,000 feet elevation and setup camp. I stuff hand warmers between my two layers of socks because I know its going to be a cold night!

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Old 10-20-2014, 06:39 AM   #6
WYO George
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Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Rolling Hills,WY
Oddometer: 434
Very nice report so far, love the Enfield!
My lame, but photo intense day trips around Wyoming can be found here:
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:03 PM   #7
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Joined: Mar 2014
Location: N.E. Louisiana
Oddometer: 1,957
2008 Yamaha Road Star
2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
2014 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Two lane blacktop isn't a highway, it's an attitude.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #8
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Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Southeast Minnesota
Oddometer: 157

What the hell, I'll ride along, stay safe.

"A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence" Author Unknown
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:32 PM   #9
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Grayson, Ga.
Oddometer: 233
I'm in
Happy trails!
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:46 PM   #10
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Oddometer: 37
Nice report

I'm In. Sorry about your camera. Been thinking about taking this same trip, so I'm interested in your experience.
Even the wind and the waves obey Him
2007 F650GS
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Alaska
Oddometer: 985
Originally Posted by ChazW View Post
I'm In. Sorry about your camera. Been thinking about taking this same trip, so I'm interested in your experience.
Yeah, that trip is on my to do list as well. Great work with the report so far OP and nice pictures. Keep it up!
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:03 PM   #12
Joined: Oct 2014
Oddometer: 5
Fun to follow. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your adventures.
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:52 PM   #13
realshiny OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Great Plains
Oddometer: 17
Day 4, Tuesday 9/2 - part a

After sufficient heat loss was achieved from my extremities, i could sleep no more. Early morning light reveals another beautiful camp site.

My trusty burro waiting for the days adventures.

I don't make it too far before I have to stop and take more pictures!

I literally tell myself, out loud, "stop taking so many pictures!" These are not common scenes for me and the pictures posted are nice, I think, but to see them in real-time is, for me, beyond words.

Day 4 continued on next post...

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Old 10-20-2014, 10:13 PM   #14
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Joined: Apr 2014
Location: Southern California
Oddometer: 102
Following.... I grew up on Enfeilds in New Delhi. I like your writing style.
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Old 10-21-2014, 06:31 AM   #15
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Michigan & Colorado
Oddometer: 48
Brave man. One of these October morns at 10,000 feet ur sure to rise with a coat of snow!
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