A Solo Flatlander Rides to Colorado With An F800GS to Find Some Snow!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EnderTheX, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    GPX Files here:

    Full GPX File

    Note this includes my routes and actual tracks. The routes were a bit aggressive on distance so I took a few shortcuts but it's easy to follow.




    The summers here in Texas are brutal... and this is one of the hottest I can remember. Ever since my buddy Chris and I went to Colorado to try some of the famous trails in the San Juan area I have been dreaming of going back. I wanted to experience the high altitude passes in a different light… :ricky

    Planning the trip was a mixture of skill and luck… I procured several off road books (one of which we used last year to great success) and found a network of passes I wanted to try. I called almost every ranger station out there to discover which passes were open or closed. Most of them were still closed with snow and I anticipated awesome snow tunnels on the ones just opened. :clap

    A different twist on my ride… I carried two GoPro HD Hero cameras with various mounts to capture my ride in spectacular 720p 60fps HD video! Please enjoy a highlights reel from the many hours of video I am beginning to sift through!

    (I would suggest watching in high def with audio…)
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/alrkqUz009I" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="510" width="853"></iframe>

    I have so much video but I still have to figure out how to get it into slow motion and picture in picture&#8230; I will also be releasing full length video :eek1 of some of the passes like Engineers, Cinnamon, Ophir etc. The two cameras often are running together so you get two perspectives of the same event!

    Here are some highlights pictures before we get into it! (You may recognize these from the video) :freaky


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    #1
  2. Tn. Walrus

    Tn. Walrus Knuckle Dragger

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    I'm in! :dllama
    #2
  3. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Here is the map for the entire 8 days... I will have gps tracks to download when I get them uploaded :D

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    Just the Colorado section of the loop :evil

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    #3
  4. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Day 1:
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I had spent the night before packing the bike… always takes longer than expected especially when doing a long solo trip and packing extra gear for field fixes and unplanned survival situations. The Giant Loop Great Basin bag works perfectly with my large Wolfman dry duffel on the old vario racks the previous owner left on the bike for me.
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    I tried to make as much distance as possible in the morning to beat the inevitable head of the afternoon. This was a futile endeavor because I just continued to press on as far and fast as I could late into the evening.
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    An unexpected rest stop provides some valuable shade…
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    I traveled parallel to the major highways on smaller back roads, rarely seeing other vehicles. The ground and air were so dry you can easily see why fire bans were in effect all over the state.
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    This dry riverbed turns into a sandy haven for ATVs… unlikely to see rushing water until the late summer storms.
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    #4
  5. Chowdown

    Chowdown Texas Aussie

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    lookin forward to this one.
    #5
  6. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Further down the road things were getting interesting. I was far away from major cities and the terrain and structures reflected rural Texas at its finest. I had to stop and take a picture of these wild homemade windmills, there must have been a hundred of them… broken and disconnected from the grid.
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    For some reason I enjoy scenes of long desolate highways.
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    The heat was starting to get to me and it wasn’t even the hottest part of the day yet. I found it was cooler to ride with the visor down and jacket on. Anytime I had to put the visor up to scratch my face or adjust my glasses the wind felt like a blowtorch on my skin. My boots were so hot it felt like my feet were on fire. Several times I stopped at the gas station and poured water over my boots to cool them down.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At one point I saw the temp gauge hit 110!
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    #6
  7. T.O.Adv

    T.O.Adv n00b

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    Can't wait for more... :lurk
    #7
  8. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker www.good-adv.com

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    Location:
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    Thank you! :ricky:ricky
    #8
  9. kid_andres

    kid_andres Adventurer

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    Location:
    Medellin, Colombia
    :clap:clap:clap :eek1:eek1:eek1 more more
    #9
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    I'm in! If your report is half as good as your video, this is gonna be a real treat! :lurk
    #10
  11. mrprez

    mrprez KJ4WMZ

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    Great video Oliver, can't wait to see the rest. Where did you stay while you were in CO?
    #11
  12. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Thanks everyone for the comments :D I'm glad I can give back to our great community! Hang on because day 1 is kinda boring... lots of heat and maybe a quick video. I am still working on some cool day 2 videos but should have at least one ready tomorrow!

    To answer your question... I stayed all over the place, only once did I camp in the same spot twice. I did motels as well due to weather, being exhausted, heat, etc...



    Day 1 continued...

    Finally I find some dirt... all the way in New Mexico! This spot is just west of Sumner lake. I saw the pavement/dirt sign and wanted to get a picture next to it. I was surprised by the ultra soft sand and paddled my way back to the pavement so I could put the kickstand down :rofl

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    So there is some real rough country out here... I stopped by a mad-made oasis... took my helmet off and enjoyed a bit of solitude before roaring off into the sunset.

    (I didn't realize it at the moment but the fence running down the middle of the well is a sign to be heeded)

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    Soon after this picture I am cruising along at about 45mph on the graded road minding my own business when... in a flash... a freaking antelope jumps up in a cloud of dust, legs flailing, look of pure terror in it's eyes, running as fast as it can directly at me!!! I had no time to react and if I was going any slower it would have clipped the back of the bike. I was disappointed I didn't get it on video so later I made it a point to turn on the helmet cam for a bit just for practice.




    This next picture is why I hate cows... I've had them charge me, force me to turn around on a mountain road because they couldn't get off the road, and now this cow would absolutely not move. I didn't know if it was sick or hurt... it was away from it's heard and a bit frothy at the mouth. I had no choice... I wasn't about to turn around and lose hours.

    I dismounted and started walking towards the cow... it looked agitated and started walking towards me... woah, OK, now I backtrack and get my bike between me and the cow. It starts to slowly walk around, keeping an eye on me until it is about 5 feet directly behind my bike. I debated whether to risk getting on the bike and slowly inched forward... I had all my gear on so I jumped on and was off in a flash! Damn cows... :scratch


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    #12
  13. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Here is a quick vid I whipped up from my first day videos. All this was shot well after 500 miles of riding in the hot sun and the relief of some cool shadows was invigorating. The dirt was smooth, the terrain more varied than before and I knew the end of a long day way near.

    <iframe width="853" height="510" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kcgGxq3lxyA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    :freaky
    #13
  14. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

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    I'd be interested in seeing/hearing about your right side attachment for the giant loop. Is that the Jesse pannier brace?
    #14
  15. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    That's the leftover BMW Vario rack the bike originally came with. I find they are handy for mounting the Giantloop and my usual soft day bag... also cameras!!! :D



    Day 2:


    Day 2 started perfectly, great weather and the start of some twisty roads. I was excited because I had been watching the elevation climb on my GPS but hadn't seen any mountains until now. I was still taking back roads instead of major highways so I traveled through several interesting small towns... this one kinda looks like a ghost town!

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    I needed gas for the next leg because I wasn't sure the road would be open all the way. I had to take a picture of the name of the store, not every day you meet another Oliver :rofl

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    The fun begins, winding through the forest a secluded road became my red carpet to the mountains. The cool part about this road is the only way out is over a dirt pass of unknown difficulty!

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    #15
  16. child

    child poop is fun

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
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    247
    Location:
    Ft Worth, TX
    Here's where my contribution to this ride report comes in:

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    Thats me at work, not in colorado :baldy :cry


    Oliver/Ender started bugging me about another Colorado trip mid spring, I wanted to go of course, but projects at work have kept me working 7 days a week. So I kept telling him end of August, early September, just wait for me, end of August early September... but noooooo. He couldn't wait for me :cry

    I am very jealous; it was especially hard watching his spot map as he tackled some of the passes we hit last year. This work crap is for the birds.
    #16
  17. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Not to worry! I still have over two weeks vacation I can take this year so we will have to do an extended trip... maybe this time with the smaller bikes!




    Day 2 continued...

    I knew I wasn't going to be in Colorado for another day but I needed to get more practice with the cameras. Once I got on some interesting dirt I set up a few shots with the secondary cam in addition to the helmet cam.

    The forward mounting position worked very well, one of my favorite perspectives because it gives a good idea of how rough the trail can be. I believe in future iterations I moved it even farther forward on the crash bars.

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    Rear facing was also easy with the vario bars still attached. Just have to be careful the centerstand or kickstand don't get in the way when you pop them back up!

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    Another one I tried that day was the rider view cam. The RAM mount I used was easy to mount in this position but with all the other stuff on the handlebars there were no other options...

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    #17
  18. sgifford

    sgifford Been here awhile

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    Wylie Texas
    Oliver,

    This is very cool. I am also from the dfw area (Wylie) and I am planning a solo ride through NM to Colorado next month on my wee-strom. I will be following your report closely.

    I'm not looking forward to the ride from Dallas to NM. I will probably hit the road at 4:00 am to avoid the heat!

    Sent from my SGH-T959V using Tapatalk
    #18
  19. zzlejeune

    zzlejeune Wanna-be Adventurer

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    Subscribed!!

    Our crew will be back up in the San Juans again in about a week, we'll be staying in Silverton this time. I noticed your GPS tracks didn't have you going down the Black Bear "steps" :D We have 2 new guys in our group, so they want to do Black Bear, and after last year's experience, I may meet them in Telluride via Ophir Pass... :lol3

    Awesome camera mounts, can't wait to see the rest!
    #19
  20. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    That should be a fun trip with the wee, hard to escape the heat though since it was almost 110 in mid-afternoon! :eek1



    Awesome, Black Bear is quite a challenge especially if you are on a big bike! At the time I was in Colorado (end of June) this year they hadn't opened Black Bear, Imogene, Red Mountain, or several other passes yet...

    If you want a more complete San Juan report check out the second link in my signature or follow this link: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=612677
    That is Chris and my ride report from last year, we did the majority of the passes in the Silverton area. The Black Bear report starts around post 259 and Chris and I give a rating of all the passes in posts 332 (Chris) and 336-337 (me).
    #20