5 days to explore CO: An One Legged Adventure

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by 247ride, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago
    The Video:



    The riders:

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    The leg:
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    #1
  2. lucydad

    lucydad n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    SW Colorado! Durango is my home town.

    Incredible roads, just be sure your twisty and hill skills are up to it and your brakes working....
    #2
  3. cidi

    cidi cidi

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Just South of Denver, CO
    Colorado backcountry discovery route. It shows you the best of Colorado. Goes either way north to south or south to north.
    #3
  4. FloorPoor

    FloorPoor Been here awhile

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    Nice vid! Looks like GREAT stuff.
    #4
  5. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

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    Lucky:) We were in your area and it was indeed incredible!

    We did part of it, but we'll be back to finish it up. Definitely a great route!

    Thanks for watching:) It was hard to condense so much footage in 3 minutes (not talking about the editing part which is not my favorite). It was a great ride. We'll do again:)
    #5
  6. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

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    Here it comes. My first attempt to a ride report. Not my first ride or adventure, but this trip is worth the effort:)

    The Plan: go to Colorado and ride:)

    Where: ...that was the tougher decision. But thanks to the wealth of knowledge sharing on this forum, it made the research easier. So, the plan was to stay in Ouray and ride around for 4 days (Alpine Loop, part of TAT, other passes) than start moving east towards Salida and do part of COBDR for 2 days. Well, the plan is always subjected to change:)

    Thanks EnderTheX and Cannonshot for their great and inspiring reports and sharing the tracks!

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    What: Decided that I'll ride a 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S and my friend a 2008 Suzuki DR650 and trailer the bikes from Chicago (taking the WeeStroms would have been another option, but decided the lighter bikes would be more fun and a safer choice)

    The Bikes:
    The KLX250S has stock suspension and gearing, but it has an aftermarket pipe and it was rejetted (still had to remove the airbox lead to get it to run at higher altitudes - it was kind of loud but it ran). Went super light by carrying just the tools, spare tubes, camera and some food. No issues whatsoever with the bike, but I wish I had changed the front sprocket to -1 tooth (I had with me but couldn't remove it in Ouray) and probably fine tune the jetting. But who has time when you just want to ride:)

    The DR650s had more done to it. Cogent Rear Shock, Front Fork Intiminators & Springs, -1 tooth on front sprocket. Well, we rejetted the bike, but had to change it back stock in Ouray (it ran like crap and that was the easy fix).

    I would take the KLX again. It was fun to ride (I am no dirt expert), did great on pavement (I even managed to pass a car).

    The Riders: me/247ride (Dragos) on the KLX and my friend/cocovas (Cosmin) on the DR.

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    Ok, enough writing, let's see some pictures.
    #6
  7. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Day 1: drove from Chicago to Denver. The only excitement: crop dusting airplanes doing some crazy stunts, cars passing by and some cool sunset.

    Nice and clean in Chicago:
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    Day 2:
    Scenery got better:)
    Made it to Ouray:)
    Weather did not look promising (it was cold and rainy) and the DR650 ran like shit:(:
    But we got it all sorted out, even the weather (meaning we'll ride whatever mother nature throws at us).
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    Had to remove the carb and get it back to stock (30 minutes job on the DR: needle and main jet):
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    #7
  8. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Our base camp was in at KOA Ouray. Great place to camp or rent a cabin (if your budget allows and available, the de-luxe is super nice) and close to the town. If I would be to do it again, I would stay further South (Silverton)... but staying in Ouray gave us the chance to ride up and down Million Dollar Highway twice a day at least:)

    Decided to take it easy in the first day, see how the bikes run and adjust, get warmed up for the tougher rides. Well, the only adjustment was taking off the lead of the air box on the KLX:) Sounds like it is better to do the work at home as much as possible. Went riding:)

    Plan for Day 1: Last Dollar Road, Telluride, Alta Lakes, Ophir Pass, Clear Lake and head back to KOA Ouray via Million Dollar Highway.

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    We got super lucky with the weather. It was nice and sunny. Last Dollar Road was fun to ride, had some ruts from recent rain and we had to drag the bikes under one tree. Once we got close to Telluride, decided to skip seeing the town and keep riding:)

    Did a quick detour up to Alta Lakes (really nice area) and we rode around some steeper climbs off the main trail.

    We went up on Ophir from West to East. It gets rocky at one point, but other than that it was a nice and probably the most scenic ride. Well going down hill was a different story.
    I don't have any pictures but you can watch the video (the blurry/foggy part at minute 1:30): I almost stopped before one of the first switchbacks and my friend passed me. He slows down and the next thing I see... he is down. Still not sure what happened... it wasn't a difficult part. Oh well. It happened. We pick up his bike, ask if he is ok and he says that his ankle might be busted but it's ok... so we keep riding.

    Next place we stop is probably 1h later when we get to Mineral. Well, it was NOT ok. He could not put any pressure on his right leg... he'll have to post some pictures of the damage. So we decide to just head back to camp and figure it out how bad it was... Never as planned:) We almost did the entire planned route (minus Clear Lake).

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    Dunlop D606 :)
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    The I was here picture:
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    Still going strong up hill Ophir (standing on pegs will become a treat 20 minutes later):
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    Resting at Mineral, the leg did not look good... Well the scenery was amazing. reminded me of our home.
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    Mop handles make great crutches:)
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    #8
  9. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Cosmin shared some of his pictures. Not looking good after Day 1. He decided it was not a good idea to see a doctor. Why would you go to see one when most likely they would put you in a cast and send you home... And I agreed with him. Tough it up and keep riding:)

    It was in fact a level 2 ligament tear. We found out once he went back home at the end of the trip. So, don't try this unless you are a tough Romanian:)

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    #9
  10. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Despite deciding not to see a doctor and tough it up and continue riding, we did one responsible thing: took a day of rest. Wanted to see how bad the injury was, rest the leg and if it got better we would start again... but he was not allowed to crash again:)

    We drove the car over Engineer Pass via Animas Forks down to Lake City and took the highway back (we wanted to go over Cinnamon Pass, but the wife won on this one). This gave us the opportunity to get an idea on if the passes would be doable one legged... and they seemed to be.

    The roads got us more excited about the next days and I was hoping, really hoping that the leg would get better:)

    We just relaxed and enjoyed the day. Amazing views. Great food in Lake City where we felt out of place just being regular tourists when everybody was on his favorite KTM, DR, KLR, KLX...you name it. Oh yes. There were a few BMW's:)

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    Click on the picture to see the original:
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    Very familiar set up:) Sorry, I forgot your name. The Dakar rider was from AZ, originally from Norway?, doing the TAT. Hope you had a great ride!
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    #10
  11. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Here is the plan for Day 2:
    Take it easy in the beginning. We decided to go over Owl Creek pass and get back to KOA Ouray for lunch. Take Million Dollar Highway and go over Red Mountain Pass, than go up to Clear Lake and get back to the campsite via Million Dollar Highway.

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    First set back. We check the air pressure and the front tire on the DR showed 0psi. Impossible:) Second try. Same thing. OK, it's a flat (tough to believe because the tire seemed ok. I am sure Cosmin rode a while with a flat). And the cause, the shop (Chewis on Chicago Avenue - stay away) that changed the tires, left a WD40 red straw as a souvenir inside. Lesson learned: even if you are in a hurry, change your own tires.

    It takes two tubes and two Romanians to fix a flat:
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    Owl Creek Pass is a really well maintained gravel road. Easy, but fast and with amazing views:
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    Once we hopped back on Highway 50 we gave it some gas (as high as 70 mph... according to the GPS. Yeah, it's a 250 and it is slow) and took a short lunch brake at the KOA Ouray.

    Continued on Million Dollar Road and took the Red Mountain Pass. While not challenging, it is a MUST do if you are in the area. AMAZING views, a lot of old mines to visit... and if you get lost (yes it possible even with a GPS) you can find some steep and fun dead end roads. We managed to find them:)

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    Just wanted to take a pic of the cool XR in the back:
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    Taking advantage of 1.4 lens and screwing around:
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    And more open wide views:
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    Made it to Clear Lake. Another must see if you are in the area. Doable on bigger bikes as well and good switch backs to practice on:
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    I wish I had a wide angle lens. I was not able to capture the majestic nature of this place.
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    Water is clear:
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    Getting late, time to head back:
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    Mission accomplished today. Went where we have initially planned. Let's start planning the next day.
    #11
  12. McRuss

    McRuss Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    I too am a native of Durango....but I'm having trouble placing two areas: you seem to talk about Red Mountain Pass as being different from the Million $$ Highway. Is that what you are calling the dirt that goes from down near Corkscrew to the top of the pass near where Black Bear takes off? And secondly, Clear Lake. I thought I'd been over all the roads around Ouray, Silverton and Lake City but I don't recall where Clear Lake is in relation to Red Mountain. Edit: OK, had to Google it but now I know. I guess you access it by going up South Mineral Creek. I was up there with my dad in 1955 or so, camping and fishing, but I don't think we went as far as the lake. And never did ride up there, should have I guess.

    PS, Cinnamon is the lesser of two evils when it and Engineer are compared. Then there is Stony Pass from Silverton to the Rio Grande Reservoir and back to Lake City via Heart Lakes. Nice loop, try it next time.

    PPS, what did you use for a camera? Great photos!
    #12
  13. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Chicago
    What I was calling Red Mountain Pass pass is more precisely Browns Gulch Trail. You are right, it is next to where Black Bear takes off. See below some maps from the Colorado Trails book with a detailed view of the area.

    Thanks for the recommendation. Heard about Stony Pass, but did not get a chance to ride it. We also planned to do Bolam Pass, but never got to it. Another reason to go back:) Again, this whole area is amazing. So much to ride, see... And agreed on Cinnamon.

    Thanks again! The pictures are taken with different cameras. My friend had a Nikon DSLR with a telephoto (a lot of the pictures are his). I used a small point a shoot (Sony RX100) and a mirror less camera (Fuji X-E1) with a couple of lenses (kit one at 18-55 and a prime 35/f1.4). I had only room for the point and shoot on the KLX (even the small Fuji, when compared to a DSLR, did not fit in my tank bag). But that's why we had the DR for:)

    Cameras on motorcycles... I am sure we can start a whole debate (I guess I am starting my own since nobody asked). It's a tough one. For most of the pictures the little Sony was great. But a telephoto is a must for this type of trip. I would probably get a Sony Nex with a 18-200...

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    #13
  14. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Chicago
    Another great day ahead of us: KOA Ouray to Corkscrew, Hurricane, California, Engineer, Lake City, Cinnamon, Animas, Silverton, Million $ Highway to KOA Ouray

    Long day in fact. About 120 miles of fun:)
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    We didn't find Corkscrew too difficult, however Cosmin's DR died very close to the top. I passed him, slowed down and ...the KLX died as well. I was able to get it running and took off and stopped only close to the top. Looked back, no sign of him. I found a good spot, left the bike running and started walking down. One of the tour jeeps that we passed earlier got close and I asked them if the other rider is ok... "he was down, but he was ok". Whatever that means. is it bad? I start walking down again, I see him riding...he doesn't stop this time and keeps going:) Don't blame him... looks like the close to 13,000 feet doesn't work well with poorly tuned carburetors. The DR stopped and he couldn't keep the weight on his injured leg, so decided to let the bike go. Not sure how he managed to pick it up, but he did... all good:)

    During the same time, there was a Colorado 500 event going on. A lot of dirt bikes and one passed me at full speed and got a few rocks into my face. No grudges, maybe just a boost to ride harder and hope that one day I would be able to do the same thing ...with the slight difference that I would be more considerate about slower riders:). Well at the top we took a picture of their group (with one of their bikes laying on the dirt).

    Don't have any pictures, but there was one participant that really demanded all the respect. He was close to 80 years old, on an dirt bike...

    Continued over Hurricane, California... we only stopped to goof around close to Animas where we took an old rusted car for a ride.

    Oh Point brake, pictures at Engineer and quick downhill to Lake City where we had a great lunch and talked bikes with other fellow riders.

    Before getting into Lake City, I really liked the canyon area...just rugged mountains right by the river. It could have been somewhere in Afghanistan.

    Another stop on top of Cinnamon, one in Animas and hauled back to Ouray.

    It felt rushed at some point... I would do Engineer right off the highway and go down Corkscrew to save some time. Well we chose the easier route for the day.

    And I we mention that the weather was great again:)

    And let's talk gadgets for a minute. I have a GoPro Hero 2 with a remote. The remote kept failing me so the old fashioned way of having a good friend willing to press the button to turn it on/off worked miracles. It became like a ritual. Honk, get close,lower you head, OK, go:) Operating a GoPro Hero is probably one of the few things that can guarantee you can start a fight with your wife (assuming you try to work as a team). I wish they had an one simple on and off switch and maybe an HD/non HD one. That would be all:) Less is more. Please GoPro, listen.

    And to add to the GoPro Hero fun of the day. We stopped in a parking lot where two Australians doing a tour on rented Harleys (damn expensive deal) asked for some help with their top of the line GoPro Hero 3. And when two Australians and two Romanians try to fix it, a French guy comes to the rescue. He must have designed the menu, because he pretty much interrupted our out of focus conversation, took the little device and started explaining what went wrong. Had a laugh... maybe more. The Australians were super nice and all I can tell is that the French might have been German.

    Made it back and here are some pictures:

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    #14
  15. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago
    Day 4 is a Thursday and we have to be in Chicago by Sunday. Plan is to start heading east and make it to Salida. My wife would drive the empty trailer, find lodging and meet us there.

    Route: we'll jump on Engineer right off Million $ Highway (we hear is tough), get to Lake City, continue on part of COBDR (TAT goes the same way but the opposite direction), do Marshall Pass and end up in Salida. About 170 miles.

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    Not a lot of pictures today. But included some in the video (minute 2:37). Going up Engineer was the toughest riding we did this trip. It feels like the rocky and steep doesn't end... I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. But amazing riding by the edge of a cliff with no room for mistakes. And definitely I had to learn again the importance of having momentum:) You can see it in the video. We stopped to let a group of trucks get some distance so we can pass them, but we stopped right before some steep step that was around the corner... bad timing:)

    And we didn't stop for pictures at Engineer since we were there the day before. Kept going.

    Going up Engineer, right before Oh! Point:
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    I guess we stopped in Capitol City for a few pictures:
    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9707403114_fa1ca6250b_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06804"></a>

    After Lake City, the landscape changes drastically. Farm land and open wide views. While not a technical ride, I enjoyed the fast pace. And we got an ice cream when we got on highway 50.

    One thing. COBDR marks a detour for Home Gulch. I could not figure out where the main trail was. I think we took the detour...

    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3683/9707402376_1723a7d210_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06812"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7431/9707402200_c4358587c1_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06817"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/9707402044_e60e3489dd_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06820"></a>

    <a ><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5505/9704157617_0d59deb16a_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06821"></a>

    And we reunited in Salida for a great dinner and some local brews:

    <a ><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7412/9707394650_87af7fe276_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSCF1409"></a>

    <a ><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5482/9704166101_66262df925_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06826"></a>

    And be specific when you let your significant other get lodging:) Ours was great, but a bit way more over budget. It even had a pool table.

    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3767/9707401730_4d64b753cc_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06828"></a>

    Tomorrow is the last day before we had back to Chicago. It went by super fast.
    #15
  16. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,689
    Location:
    Durango,CO(not quite Purgatory)
    Ouch on the ligament tear.
    Glad you had a good time other than that.
    You got a lot of the good routes in your 5 days.
    #16
  17. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago
    Ouch indeed. But he is a trooper. Can't believe he rode like that. And we were able to ride most of the routes we wanted to. Still on the list: Imogene, Black Bear, Tomichi...and I am sure there is more:)

    Just read your DADODIRTS Four Corners of Paradise. Thanks for sharing your piece of paradise. I am sure your son will have great memories. Wish my dad was so cool:)
    #17
  18. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago
    Final day :(

    We decided to do a loop: from Salida to Cottonwood, Tin Cup, Cumberland, Monarch Pass. If we felt up to it, do Tomichi and Hancock as well.

    What we didn't plan for was the Alpine Tunnel. This was a great detour. Definitely do it if you are in the area and have the time. I don't have it mapped on my track, but you can't miss it.

    <a ><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5502/10008783464_b02a4d2e2c_z.jpg" width="800" height="691" alt="Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 5.53.15 PM"></a>

    As you probably know, Cottonwood is paved all the way to the top and the other side is a very well maintained gravel road that is as good as pavement.

    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3744/9707401430_d4bd3241bb_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06836"></a>

    The view from Cottonwood Pass towards the unpaved side (or part of the view to be more precise):
    <a ><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2808/9707401576_9bc8d52f3a_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06834"></a>

    We stopped at Tin Cup and tried to fight the glare and take a shot of the beautiful trout they had in that little pond:

    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2852/9707400926_6efaa310e2_c.jpg" width="534" height="800" alt="DSC06847"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3768/9707376210_dd593fed47_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2355"></a>

    Always planning the routes (I like to know where I am going sometimes):
    <a><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7295/9704140019_9b71dc24d0_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2373"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/9707376084_1b2705cc8b_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2366"></a>

    Up to Cumberland. Pretty crowded with ATV's that were going pretty fast. We passed them:)
    <a ><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2806/9707400742_7237278011_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06851"></a>

    Watching us all the time. The Marmots:) These were pretty big. I stopped and was able to get a few shots.
    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3803/9704164355_24d342bd5f_c.jpg" width="534" height="800" alt="DSC06864"></a>

    Alpine Tunnel is again a must do if in the area. I'll let the pictures do thetalking (an you know they don't do it justice). Breathtaking views next to a piece of history (first CO tunnel through the Continental Divide...yes, over 100 years ago there was a train going):

    <a><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5541/9707400092_9a88a5d643_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06877"></a>

    Can you spot Cosmin?
    <a><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5445/9704163499_bcb2fb88e0_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06884"></a>

    The palisades. Quite a marvel:
    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/9707399340_10f0055b0c_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06885"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7454/9704127677_52d4e20e8b_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2385"></a>

    The view down in the valley:
    <a><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7460/9707375538_a3b0946740_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2391"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2825/9707375326_7779236569_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2392"></a>

    The usual bike pic with "the trap" opened. The trap is our nickname for th Pelican case. It is hard to open and our fingers can attest to a lot of injuries caused by it. Hence we never closed it:)
    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2861/9704139141_af1b5c2e43_c.jpg" width="532" height="800" alt="DSC_2395"></a>

    <a><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7365/9707374848_e039534676_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2410"></a>

    It was a long day and we decided to skip Tomichi and just hop on Highway 50 over Monarch pass. We saw some rain clouds as well... Nha, we didn't get scared by the clouds, but didn't want to risk anything. I read that Tomichi was tougher (similar to Engineer) and wanted the one injured leg to be the only one.

    Close to getting on Highway 50 we pass this ranch (sounded like there is a franchise going on with the name as we saw the sign everywhere...forgot the name right now). Regardless, great views with the mellow river.
    <a ><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5498/9704162805_a5891fd465_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSC06904"></a>

    And this is it folks, loaded and ready to go back to Chicago.

    <a><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2884/9707393126_95039fb8f4_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="DSCF1414"></a>

    Well, almost over. We drove from Salida all the way to Chicago in one shot. Got in Chicago at 2:30 am. We woke up at 7am and drove to Indianapolis to see this:

    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3825/9704138501_0f3aa328f5_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2425"></a>

    Yeap, Moto GP:
    <a><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3721/9707363208_9625ccd611_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2474"></a>

    We are not fans of Rossi, just happened to like blue:)
    <a><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5454/9707374234_0aa5d40433_c.jpg" width="800" height="532" alt="DSC_2527"></a>

    The END.
    #18
  19. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,264
    Location:
    Hesperus, CO
    Sweet!
    #19
  20. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    408
    Location:
    Maryland
    Yes, I know it went by in a hurry.
    Spectacular photographs. :clap:clap:clap
    Thanks for the report.
    #20