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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HighFive, Aug 25, 2012.
Oh yeah....the shake down ride.....I almost forgot. This will be good.
Rocks? :huh hmmmmm.....really?
I do have some photos of the Welcome Wagon committee upon your arrival.
A right proper Okie greeting it was, as I recall:
I think he liked it.
We headed back up the super rocky West-side Hayden pass road which was a workout I was thinking inside, and maybe whining outside "this is no warm up day, this is serious work!" and had to stop and rest fairly often after hard sections. No doubt the effects of a sea-level guy huffing and puffing at 10,000ft.
Finally we were over the top and heading down the East side again.
We found a good rest break spot
But the day was far from over.
We still had a hillclimb on Arkansas Mountain, that went a little wrong for me... (HF will have to fill the details in here)
HF goes for it on the 390. Piece of cake on the Berg, and definitely MSTIL (Much Steeper Than It Looks).
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HF on top of Arkansas Mountain
The rocky upper part of the climb just behind me.
Yes it was MSTIL as HF illustrates by climbing down it a bit
HF styles it back down. Always amazing how the camera flattens slopes when in reality this hill was on the margin of sliding more than braking. Fun stuff.
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Then a stop at the Cotopaxi Store for a treat.
HighFive going for it, stand back!
Do not get in the way of this guy when food is involved...
and HF grabs my camera again
Then finally back to camp, and a surprise evening visit from none other than Salida resident Ramz.
A good day!
I can attest to the steepness of Arkansas Mtn. I was there a couple of years ago with HF and Gary. We all walked up then. Then HF rode his WRR up. The last section just before the top would be especially tough.
Oooo…Arkansas Mountain…..oh yeah! I love that hill. Its like a good old friend to me. A real hidden gem of a hill. Its looooong and STEEP.
That's my brand new Bell helmet, by the way. Most comfortable helmet I've put on my head in years. My local Cycle Gear was closing out the 2012 models the week before this trip. I nabbed it for $150 off normal retail. I've not been comfortable in any motocross style helmet I've worn….until this baby! But, I digress.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to Arkansas. What a magnificent day to ride in the mountains!
My view is superb:
Cyborg's view…..eh…not so very much: :huh
I had it all on video. When I got home, it was mysteriously gone. Hhhhhhmmmmm….
Oh well, the evidence is clearly indicated in this photo, even for the eyes of a snake.
Exhibit A: The straight line up thru the rocks on the left side of photo. That would be an "HF footprint"
Exhibit B: The crooked S-curve of a drunken hobo meandering thru the rocks on the…um…both sides of the path. That would be a "Cyborg footprint"
It ended in a complete airborne loop-out at least 4 ft above the ground to the landing in Exhibit C (previously shown).
Now, I'm not even going to try to speculate as to the explanation. I just realized that when Cyborg says he's going on a "Shake Down" ride, he really means it. Myself, well, I didn't even take a point.
How could this possibly happen on such a simply looking trail….what's as wide as blacktop spreader?
One simply answer: MSTIL
Here's the photo I took looking back up at Cyborg (from the earlier photo he showed looking down at me).
I leave Cyborg to fill in the rest of the details and resulting aftermath……before we even started the Rainbow Trail.
I can tell you he didn't seem to fond of the notion of riding back down off this hill.
Look hard and you can see Cyborg….the little dot in the middle of the road way down there.
Don't start sliding on this beast, it could get ugly!
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p.s. Oh yeah…..we got to meet this wild & crazy guy!
Very cool of him to hunt us down in the woods and surprise us like that.
p.s.2 We had another surprise visitor coming this night too. Though, he would not be as friendly as the last….
So, yeah...What happened on the hillclimb is I took a different line than HF, mostly because I couldn't see that far up and that's just where I ended up. It's a left-hander into a steeper rock section and I wheelied a bit going over the transition. I was doing fine grinding up the rocks on the seat but saw HF was filming, so I stupidly stood up to "style it" the last 100ft, but it was so steep that the move tossed me into a major wheelie and I looped out on the side of the trail and ended up upside down in the brush. HF missed that shot, with the ADV salute and gas leaking out of the bike... So glad I had a lot of armor on because those dead trees were sharp!
If I had just stayed on the seat I would have made it up no problem. Ah well... :huh
The net result is I sprained my left wrist so the ride down was done gingerly, so HF's video is me being pretty clumsy.
Once back at camp my wrist was hurtin', but we ate some grub, HF was that your trailside Beef Bourguignon?? ... and hit the sack.
I awoke at some very early AM call of "Clif! Clif!" from HF's hammock 50ft away
I say "Unhh Whaaa!??" groggily
HF says "There's a bear!" or something like that.
That woke me up! Then he says "he's coming your way" :eek1
Hmm, I starting thinking fast in my little tent, what could I make noise with? I remembered my car keys in a pocket in the tent... grabbed them and pushed the "panic" button on the back of it. My Subaru then exploded with flashing lights and blaring horns and I could hear Mr. Bear right next to my tent go tearing off into the tree's. That took him by surprise!
We both got up and wandered around camp a bit with headlamps to let the adrenaline wear off. HF said all he could see was the bears legs from under his hammock rainfly and the bear was apparently pushing on his trailer door 10ft away (probably smelling the sausage and bacon locked up in there), after he had tossed the outside water jugs around a bit first.
Soon we wound down then off to snooze land again.
Sorry, no pix of all that, it was dark.
In the morning, Chef HF was at it again with some good breakfast grub.
This is the big day, we start the Rainbow Trail!
However, I was a hurtin unit. My left wrist had swollen and things weren't looking too good. HighFive wasn't about to let the trip be over before it started, so he dug around in his competition first aid kit and grabbed a roll of Coban Self-Adherent Wrap and taped up my left wrist like a pro, again I figure from lots of experience. Felt OK, so I went with it.
The Husabergs were saddled up!
HF's camping luggage setup was a GL Mojavi, a duffel and bivi strapped to the back and a Wolfman tankbag up front. I was running a full Wolfman setup, rear saddlebag harness with 3 Medium Rolies and a Large Rolie strapped across the top for quick access stuff.
1) That was Beef Stroganoff a-la-Monty, camp-made from scratch. More filling....Tastes great.
2) I said, "we have a visitor....a big one....and he's coming your way"
It was about 2:00 am and I was sleeping good, enjoying instant replays of Cyborg's aerial performance on my big screen.
I snapped awake at hearing a most distinct sound. There is a round master lock on my rear trailer door about 5 ft. high. It makes a unique ping...ping...ping (metal on metal) when it rocks against the door. I've heard it numerous times while sleeping in my trailer. Moving around inside makes that lock tap on the door (drives me nuts). So, my eyes shot open immediately when I heard the lock bouncing. :eek1
Again and again it would tap the door...ever so faintly, but so distinct. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, somebody or something was messing with my trailer.
The Hennessey Hammock is a cool setup with many neat features. Most comfy thing I ever slept in, by the way. Another fine influence from my good buddy, Monty. Anyway, I can turn on my side and the hammock swings back a bit to lower my view under the edge of the rainfly. I can do this effortlessly in total silence. As soon as I did, I saw four big hairy legs in the moonlight behind my trailer (approximately 10 ft. away. Then only two foot....ping-ping-ping. Back to four feet.
A big boar was at the rear door standing up on hind legs to get a better sniff. The movement against the trailer door was swinging that lock....ping-ping-ping. And/or he was wiggling it with his nose or paws. He poked around a bit and then appeared to be coming my way. That's when I called "CB....Hey CB....we have a visitor." Calmly but firmly to wake him up, but also let the bear know I was there. And well, you know the rest of the story.
We've both experienced similar encounters before. We're not the panicky type. This one was a neat encounter, as it turned out. I got to watch him for a while....maybe 5 minutes, before I made some noise. He was quiet as a mouse, except for that trailer lock bouncing. That's the way it usually is. You'll rarely hear any noise from a bear, even if he is eating you. But, you sure can smell one, when its only 5 ft away.
Neither one of us had any trouble going right back to sleep. The mission was only a few hours away. Come morning....we finally start climbing the Rainbow. What a glorious day it will be!
Down the road a short distance and we turn South to head down the lower portion of the Rainbow Trail from Hayden. HF had never been more than a few miles on this trail in the past and I had never ridden it, so we didn't know what we are getting into, with luggage strapped on the back of dirtbikes.
Let the fun begin!
The trail starts up the mountainside to climb up a few thousand feet to some meadows
Doesn't get much nicer than this!
We then come across a feature we were to run into many, many times on this trail, the "cubbyhole". This was a milder one:
They were where the trail crossed a steep gulley on the mountainside and often off camber down the hill and some were downright sketchy. If you messed up on some of these, you and your bike could slide hundreds of feet down the chute.
You had to plan mini-wall-of-death bank-riding turns around some of them, fun stuff! They usually were at the botton of a long downhill trail then climbed right steeply up the mountainside again. Pictures were usually on easier sections since we had to keep momentum going on the longer and often brutal rocky climbs we encountered over and over. It was hard work on a lot of it and slow going.
Here was HF on the exit of a more scenic cubby hole
Remember these pictures. Its how we looked in the beginning. So fresh and optimistic. Well, except for the Wounded Warrior's left wrist.
Happy to be here and try our hand at a "Dirt Bike Camping". On the Rainbow, no less!
Starting from Hayden Creek, we had about 60 miles to ride the trail South. And, we weren't quite sure how long this might take. Why not pack some gear?
So it began, on a climb that seemed would not end. Up up and across that "green patch" I pointed out earlier…
Cyborg waves goodbye to Hayden Pass…wondering when we might ever see it again.
Yeah…I know….Cyborg took another point. They are accumulating fast for him.
The trail was getting a bit overgrown along this creek. Wish I had my clippers…to give a little back.
And to think, we're just getting started.
Thanks for taking us along, I'm in! I live on the east side of the Wet Mountain Valley, east of Westcliffe, CO. The Sangre De Christo range runs on the west side of the valley and I can see most of the range from my house from near up to Hayden south to Medano Pass. I have been on the section that runs north from Medano Pass road to the first road that goes back down into the valley on my DR650 with stock gearing. Sure did wish I was on my geared down KLR250. I'm 72 and my stamina is pretty much gone so I had a pretty hard time getting the big DR through there. A friend was riding my KLR250, the lucky guy. LOL!
I was on my KLR250 in the winter time going north from South Colony road a few years ago and quickly wore out, there is some tough riding on the Rainbow for sure. Happy you guys have the stuff to get the ride done.
Your pics and writeup are great, I've always wanted to see pics of the Rainbow like you guys are taking.
L D Walker, Westcliffe, CO
Yup, I knew it, you boys are crazy. Bear magnets too. No doubt he smelled HF's stroganoff a-la-Monty and came a running. Hell I would have too if I had been within a few hundred miles. Probably would have needed knobs (and more skill) for that trail though. :huh
I'm 71 and was with LD that day...the friend on LD's 250 was 91 yrs old. We like to never got out of there. LOL Yep the RBT left an impression on me.
I'm in for the rest of the ride....thanks
Thanks for the comments guys.
ThinAir & Ratman…..sounds like you had your hands full. I hope I'm still out there riding when I'm your age. I reckon I've only got about 20 good Fall Seasons remaining (+/-). The leaves will be turning soon. Its how I measure it now. Something BigDog taught me not so very long ago. I took it to heart.
That southern most section has been cleaned up pretty good for a little way. Its has a nice stretch that's even big bike friendly. It a pretty ride. I'll point this out when we get down there.
Now, I've spoken with lots of people who've ridden the northern half of the Rainbow, but never a one regarding the southern part. Two hours & ten miles later, I'm forming a good opinion why. Long tough narrow steep rocky climbs….up and down, again and again. There was one particular downhill that forced me to stop and admire closely. I was concerned it might force a "point". So, the Berg & I proceeded with extra caution on this mean section of washed-out, off camber shelf. Those pesky overgrown bushes kept poking and grabbing at my handle bar and wheels, anxious to push me off the trail. But, I kept my boots clean!
No time to take any photos of that. Seems we never captured the hardest sections. Upon us without warning, we were simply "too busy". If the Pucker Factor could be plotted, it would look like a geiger counter during an earthquake. There are portions of trail out there which might make grown men cry. But the glorious rewards outweighed all the extra effort. The high mountain meadows and stunning panoramic vistas were absolutely breath taking. More than a "10", its a borderline 11 experience!
Courage, stamina, and skill....these are the requirements. Slow speed balance & control would be a plus. A lightweight dirt bike with a big rear sprocket might come in handy too. But leave the camping gear behind. Who's idea was this anyway?
This photo was taken at the Big Cottonwood trailhead (Rd 40). This would be the first of many trailheads (road crossings) to come. The Trail doesn't always go straight across the road, so you have to do some searching to find the continuation. This one had us stumped for a while. I think maybe someone stole the Rainbow Trail sign from the post at the bridge. Find 'em and hang 'em. Nuff said.
Proceed across this bridge and make a left turn. Then, go thru the gate. This is indeed the continuation of the Trail, though it seems you are entering private property.
Then, suck-up & buck-up for another long nasty hillclimb. This one will take a while. And, you'll need a good rest stop on top. We did…..and had a late lunch.
Hard to believe we had only made it this far. But the view was nice, and we were in no hurry. We had camping gear!
Honestly, there's nowhere else I'd rather be.
I'm planning to ride to the top of Hayden Pass from the Coaldale side tomorrow morn (Monday) on my KLR250 (330cc now). If I get all skinned up it will be your fault HF for saying what a nice ride that is. LOL!
Skinned up places still heal okay sooooo...... here I go!
I'll be 73 in a couple of months so I better get busy riding some more passes before I get too old...
I bet you survive. Well if you don't step off the trail, that is.
Go ride Medano Pass next, if you never have. Its one of my all time favorites. A nice jeep road, more or less. Go all the way to the sand at the Dunes on the west side. Tag the sand and come back. You won't be disappointed.
In the morn (Monday) I'm going to go ride to the top of Hayden Pass on my KLR250 (330cc now) from the Coaldale side. If I get all skinned up it will be your fault HF for saying what a nice ride that is. LOL!
I'll be 73 in a couple of months so I better get busy riding some more high mountain passes before I get too darned old. I still heal up pretty good so if I get all skinned up it''ll be worth it. Actually I fall very little off road but I mostly avoid the rough stuff now days.
Speaking of the steep ups and downs with loose rocks on the Rainbow, that is what gave Ratman, Old Man Bud (a very accomplished 91 year old) and me so much trouble. I could just think front brake (using just one finger) on the DR650 and the front wheel would lock going downhill. That brake is great on the highway but much too touchy on loose stuff. Without using the front brake it was steep enough the back brake was not much help at all. It too wanted to lock easily I had best luck killing the motor on the steepest descents and using the clutch as brake with the trans in 1st gear. Old Man Bud later commented 'That was the most difficult riding I ever did!'
Eagerly awaiting the rest of your report.
With daylight burning, we picked up the pace, and hammered our way through more nasty hillclimbs. Our 390 Bergs were eating this stuff up! Perfect for the mission, they were born for this duty, and we covered a lot of ground. We crossed Oak Creek, which is the northern boundary of the allowable two-track portion of the Trail. And had a good laugh. The Trail was so rough and mean, neither of us could imagine a 4-wheeler clawing its way through here. The question is not whether they could, but why? The Trail was rattling our brains out, as it was, on 2 wheels.
Lots of signs are posted along the way
..with too much information.
Its a bit confusing trying to figure out which way to go, sometimes. I keep referring to my map to sort it out.
And I'm elated we've made it to dirt
..real rockless dirt!
But its just a teaser. More steep, loose, rocky climbs ahead.
Then, disaster strikes
..the moment the guard is let down:
Captain Klingon will have to tell you this story. This one was a Mother of a climb!
We found a tiny stretch of flat ground at the top to rest on, before we slide back down the chute on the other side.
While resting here, we notice this tree, which I've leaned my bike against. Look closely at the top.
Early in its life, it was struck by lightening. Somehow the tree survived, and grew a split trunk around the original burned portion. That little stem in the middle was still charcoal black from the burn. In all my years in the forest, I've never seen anything like this before. It is located right after passing through a long uphill stretch of Private Land. I think it was between Ducket Creek and Gibson Creek.