4 Midwesterners Tackle Colorado on Big Bikes

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by dajuice, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    Four Midwesterners took our big bikes out to do some backcountry riding in Colorado and it was most excellent! We rode, we camped, we ate, we drank… you know the drill. We'll share our route, post our photos and tell our tales. Spoiler alert… we all made it back with no broken bones or completely busted bikes… Even the KTM!




    The Crew


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    Goknot (Bjorn) - KTM 990 Adventure, Minnesota


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    Sideshow (Chris) - BMW R1200GS, Wisconsin


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    Superpete (Pete) - BMW F800GS, Minnesota


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    and myself, DaJuice (Brant) - BMW R1200GSAW, Minnesota


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    Route Overview (Denver to Telluride and back)


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    Teaser Photos:


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    Download our tracks here: LINK

    I recommend also downloading the GPX file from Cannonshots CannonTrek.CO tracks also if you are going to leverage any of this for planning your own trip. He has a fantastic set of waypoints in his file we leveraged for our own planning. In the next post I'll also get some links to other resources we used.

    #1
  2. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    :lurk
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  3. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Who's the professional photographer of the group?
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  4. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    I'm in.....but, what kind of Adventure is it without broken bones?
    #4
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  5. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    Lets see, we had 4 phones, 2 DLSRs, a Mirrorless and a point and shoot between the 4 of us... I'm gonna say we went with the spray and pray method of qty over quality. I noticed that I tended to take the shot that kept us out of the photo trying to get a landscape shot I could hang on the wall while missing out on the candid shots of the rest of the group that told a way better story! The other 3 guys were way better at capturing us in the moment so I'm going to leverage some of their photos and I'm hoping they chime in too.

    Hey, seeing your post reminds me that we didn't lose anyone either!
    #5
  6. HuckIt

    HuckIt Adventurer

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    Nice pics!
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  7. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    I picked up a new toy this winter, a BMW R1200GSAW. My intent is to trade in long distance riding for some flower sniffing and photography for a bit. I knew I'd be heading to Colorado the 1st week of July to witness the start and finish of Butt Lite 8 in Denver so I called up Sideshow to see if he wanted to join me for some Colorado big bike adventures while our friends were riding the rally… Yup!

    Sideshow and I had taken our DRZs to the San Juan's a few years back. Before that trip we had planned meticulously. The problem was we had absolutely no idea how much ground we could cover each day! On the 1st day of that trip we covered about 3 times as much ground as we were expecting! Time for a new plan. So each night we'd string some tracks together out of a base camp then go have fun.

    Some eye candy from that trip since this post needs photos!


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    Learning from our previous trip, we did some research and found some nice tracks we thought we'd be able to do on the beasts knowing we'd just go as far as we could each day, then set up a tent or grab a motel wherever we ended up. We knew when we needed to be back so we'd just go as far as we could until we had to turn around!

    Now that Sideshow and I were officially in we floated the idea to some of our friends. Goknot and SuperPete didn't take much convincing. They were in and we had a perfect number of people for a trip like this. We all had decent cameras and comparable bikes. We now had a mission… go find some fun roads for beastly adventure bikes and capture some photos to make all of our friends jealous they couldn't come with ;-)

    Gear upgrades got floated during the planning and I was looking for a new dual sport jacket. I found a good deal on the old Klim Badlands Pro… Sideshow and SuperPete jumped on the deal too. We were going to look Sponsored! Or like posers… whatever, at least our pants don't match! For a while I had lost track of who all had these. I figured we might all 4 be sporting the same digs.

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    While goknot was taking that photo he told us we were supposed to look mean… OK, 2nd photo:

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    Here are some valuable resources I leveraged in the planning:

    CannonTrek.CO - I referenced the link to the gpx file in the 1st post which was an excellent collection of tracks and waypoints for various campsites, food, etc. This is the ride report itself which gave me an idea of just how difficult some of the sections would be.

    COBDR - Every section of track I've been on following a BDR route is epic. Even I can figure out how to fold their maps and their videos make winter in MN go by faster!

    Dynobobs post about passes - Contained in his ride report about the San Juan's

    EnderTheX's ride report about the San Juan's. He expands upon a rating system I may use HERE In post 337. This was a good read. These two guys are a hoot!

    Steve Farson's book, Motorcycling Colorado is excellent. Sideshow brought his copy with and we used it several times to plan on the fly.

    I also used these websites:


    http://coloradogravelroads.com/


    https://www.coloradomotorcycleadventures.com/rides

    The next post I'll get into the trip out and the start of Butt Lite VIII.
    #7
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  8. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

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  9. little foot

    little foot Super Mediator

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    Great start!!!!!
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  10. Takin'aTrip

    Takin'aTrip I have miles to go before I sleep

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    I'm leveraging into this RR from my desk at work :D
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  11. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    OK, lets get rolling!

    Plan was for the Minnesotan's to meet at Pete's place near Minneapolis on Friday and load bikes in the trailer. Yes, trailer :(. We needed to trailer for a few reasons.


    1. We had to bring a 5th bike with to deliver to someone already in Denver at Butt Lite VIII.


    2. I needed to fly out of Denver after our trip to make it somewhere for work.


    3. We could drive through the night and arrive rested and ready to party in Denver.


    4. Driving I-80 through Nebraska is most scenic at night :wink:


    We rolled out of Minneapolis at 6pm Friday night to head for Albert Lee, MN where Sideshow was going to meet us.

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    Timing worked out well, Sideshow showed up just minutes after we arrived as the sun was setting.

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    Unfortunately, he then stepped in doggie do-do while loading up and spent our 1st fuel stop trying to get more of the smell off his shoes. Sorry to the next guy cleaning his windshield!

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    A fuel stop or 3, breakfast at the J&L Café in Sterling, CO and a stop in Thornton to pick up a set of wheels I had bought from a guy and we arrived at Butt Lite 8 rally HQ at the Denver Marriot Tech Center where we'd leave the truck and trailer for the week.

    I bought the wheels so I'd have two sets for my GSA. That way I could run around on some 80/20's most of the time but quickly switch to knobbies if needed to a trip. They already had a set of brand new Anakee Wilds on them so I figured I'd give them a whirl. While swapping wheels in Denver I noticed the set I bought had a bearing seal on the front that was a different size than the one I my bike… turns out BMW did a production change in April of 2014 and wheels built before then had a different size spacer! Well, Sideshow kept a cool head and said, just swap the seals! Here I am now happy after figuring out that would work!


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    The next few photos are from the start of Butt Lite VIII, Butt Lite is usually around a 7 day scavenger hunt on a motorcycle put on by a group that started in Minnesota, TeamStrange. I did Butt Lite VII and I've never been put on a set of better roads to more interesting places. I highly recommend these LD rallies to anyone at all curious. There are several smaller versions all over the country, 8-12 hours in length to get your feet wet. The bikes here are set up for serious long distance. I walk around and steal ideas :D

    90+ bikes tucked in the night before the start:


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    Riders come from all over the world. This is Olaf Moon's bike, an Australian.


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    This guy has a FLIR system! I'm not kidding, look at that monitor! If you can find it amidst all the other crap!

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    This guy is from Canada… you can't make this stuff up.


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    Here are a few from the morning of the start. They would be released at 6AM Sunday morning after being up late into the night trying to plan a decent route from what I hear was a nasty rally packet! I'm not at all sad I decided to play in the mountains instead of ride in this.



    This is Ian, another Aussie, but he's living in Zambia and tells me he finds these rallies relaxing… I find him demented.

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    Kirsten - she was in my pick for top 5 in this rally and didn't disappoint! 2nd Place!


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    Antsy riders


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    And now that everyone is gone, John came out to realize he has a flat. Good thing he had a friend bring him a spare tire mounted on a spare wheel... and a Pit crew!


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    If you want to know more about rallys head over to teamstrange.com or send me a PM.


    Next post we finally get to go play in the dirt!:happay
    #11
  12. MotoVentures

    MotoVentures Stromaholic

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    Awesome start - I'm in! :lurk
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  13. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Long timer

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    Yee Haaa.... Let the fun begin! :clap
    Oooops I guess it has started. . . with the dog-shit episode :fpalm
    #13
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  14. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    Day 1.0 - Rampart Range Road

    Ok the Butt Lite Riders are off, lets kiss the Marriott good bye and go find some dirt!

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    Just before we hit the dirt we stop to top off the tanks. These characters from Mad Max pull up next to Sideshow. Instead of gawking he asks WTH is going on! They are on their way to a renaissance fair or something. Sideshow can fill in the details. I'm sure they'll fit right in as soon as they get there.

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    Here is the plan for day 1:


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    OK, well this is what we did anyway… I'll get to that. The 1st stretch of track we hopped on was Rampart Range Road. The road itself is very high speed gravel. A great warm up! There are campsites and day use parking areas all the way up and down especially concentrated on the northern half closer to Denver. There are dirtbike tracks all along here spidering out from the road. Sounds like a great weekend escape for a dirt bike if you don't have time to go far. This was 4th of July weekend so I was expecting it to be busy and it was but not nearly the dusty traffic jam I was expecting!

    Here is a day use area along Rampart Range Rd that is a good example of the terrain. Very nice high speed gravel.


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    SuperPete taking a moving photo… there will be lots of these! That is the advantage to the point and shoot although Sideshow was rolling the dice and trying it with his DSLR also!


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    I notice that Sideshow is always paying attention when Pete gets the camera out. He is almost always waving... or maybe he rides like that full time.

    Now is a good time to remind everyone that I just got this bike this spring. Goknot and I had planned a long weekend camping trip closer to home that I was going to use as a warm up ride but work got in the way. I was a little nervous that I wasn't going to be able to handle the pig in the terrain I intended to do when I bought it and therefore flushed some serious coin down the drain! I rode a few gravel roads before we came out but I was pretty green on the beast! I actually had not even dropped it yet! I was pretty sure I'd change that at some point that week and it didn't take long.

    This picture is taken immediately after my 1st drop halfway though the 1st day! We were way too nice to each other on this trip. Aren’t we supposed to point, laugh, take a photo and then help the poor SOB pick up his bike?? I wasn't even on the bike when it went over… it just sunk into the dirt and rolled forward. I still called it a crash though, got mine out of the way ;-) Good thing, I didn't drop it again the rest of the trip!!

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    There was an offshoot in CannonShots tracks that I'm showing as blue on my map. That is a doubletrack to an overlook looking at the USAF academy. I really wanted to do that road after seeing his pictures of it. The overlook itself wasn't spectacular but the double track in and out was a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from Rampart where we'd just spent 2 hours.

    Pete says the Academy is over that way!
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    Goknot doesn't care…


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    Pete took a few moving shots on the way back to Rampart.

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    Sideshow made a liar out of me, he isn't waving in that last one.

    There is a couple miles that actually runs through the academy property.

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    About halfway back I catch something in my mirror that looked to me like Petes left side case letting loose and tumbling into the woods. I stop and sure enough, its gone! Sideshow was riding sweep and saw it too so was ready and waiting for us to come back to him.

    Goknot was on top of documenting this one.

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    Upon inspection we determine that the bracket that the latch on the SW Motech's has bent a bit and allowed the bag to come loose. SuperPete applied some SuperPete strength and bent it back. Good as new! Although this wouldn’t be the only problems he had with these bags on the trip.

    With our 1st crash and 1st mechanical problem out of the way we made it back to Rampart Range Rd.

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    We inch closer to the end of Rampart Range Rd and Garden of the Gods. Goknots tells us its over that way.


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    Pete smiles, Goknot cringes but is still pointing.


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    Its down this road anyway…


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    It was, but it was crawling with people… it was the Sunday of 4th of July weekend so we didn't stop as the intent of our trip was to get away from civilization!

    We're about half way through day 1 at this point. Time for a snack in Manitou Springs then on to Old Stage Rd... at least that WAS the plan.

    Next post brings our first detour.
    #14
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  15. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Glad you went with knobbies. When Jack did the TSDAT ride, Randy had the factory Anakee tires on his brand new GS. This was his first wipe-out. Your tip over could have been worse, you weren't even covered in cow shit after it. How did the bag hold up after bouncing down the road?

    Starts at 11:55

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    #15
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  16. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    Knobbies were a definite help! Had I not bought those wheels I would have swapped the stock ones before this trip for sure. I need every advantage I can get! There were some greasy mud holes that even with the knobbies were interesting.

    I think the bag was fine. He did have other problems on this trip with the system but I don't think they were caused by this incident.

    Thanks for the video... I had my GoPro along on this trip but never mounted it once!
    #16
  17. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

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    I am in!
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  18. MotoVentures

    MotoVentures Stromaholic

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    Loving it so far!
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  19. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    :lurk I love big bikes. Looking good!
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  20. jeepme79

    jeepme79 Adventurer

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    I have to listen in on this one.
    #20
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