El' Hefe's Redemption Ride....Washington to Four Corners and Back

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by el' hefe, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Alright people's...it is time for my ride report. This report will not be the gnarliest adventure in the world; lots of slab, lots of miles (4k in all), all with a short time fuse (10 days). The ride will have some great dirt riding along with plenty of pass crossings, and also a little drama to go along. In the end it was a great trip (yes this is a past tense report), and I think it should serve as an entertaining ride to follow.

    **Edit….teaser photo
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    I tend to do things a little bit different than your average bear, so hopefully that comes across as the report develops. My wording will not be grammatically perfect, I may screw up a few picture/video embeds, but no need to point out the grammatical short comings Point Dexter, cause I don't care said Pierre. So it's time to get it on....but first let's take a step back in time so that we can exam how this trip developed.

    February 28th, 2012
    Location: Emergency Room 10:00PM

    A guy walks with assistance from two friends, and he looks to be in a world of pain. He has a bandage wrapped around his head, and it is pretty well blood-soaked. He is wearing a soccer uniform, along with his friends. They walk up to the admittance desk, and the registration clerk asks them what the injury is. "He was kicked in the face", they respond. "Awe man, that has got to hurt" I tell my wife as she sits beside me with a bag of frozen corn being held to her face. "I think we just got bumped, he must have some sort of eye injury to go with all that blood". Soccer guy is quickly admitted, and is ushered into the back of the ER. The clerk then calls our name for check-in. We walk up and sit down. First question from the clerk is "What is your injury?"
    Wife responds: "I was hit in the eye"
    Clerk: "Who hit you?"
    Wife: "No one hit me, I missed catching a cell phone, and it hit me in the eye"
    Clerk: " A cell phone did this to you? Who threw the cell phone?"
    I decide to interject here: "I did. Well I didn't intentionally throw it at her, well I guess I did throw it at here, but I wasn't throwing it AT HER. She asked for her phone and I tossed it down a fight of stairs, she missed catching it, and hit her square in the eye.".... Yes cousin Eddy sums an event up like this best in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.......Bingo.

    Okay, back to our ED room conversation.
    Next immediate question from the clerk to my wife "Do you feel safe at home?"....at this point I cross my arms and give my wife a stern look while slowly shaking my head up and down as to instruct her on the response she is to provide...okay I am kidding, I didn't do that and I don't think spousal abuse is a laughing matter, you will just need to get used to my poor sense of humor if you plan to read this report as I can not continuously excuse it (it's bad, real bad.... my witty banter sucks as well).

    The wife responds "Yes, I feel safe at home". Good response, but somehow I still feel as if 5-0 is going to walk in the ED at any moment, and start asking me questions. Turns out that we would hear this question over and over again for the next couple of weeks...okay I give up, I just have to get used to being known as the that guy.

    Then as we finish up the admittance paper work with the clerk in preparation to move back into the ER exam room, she begins review of the incident...
    Clerk: " At 9:30PM of February 28, 2012 you sustained a tramatic eye injury due to your husband throwing you down the stairs...."

    WTF; you just can not make things like this up. I guess I should just be prepared to spend the night in the clink as I am guilty until proven innocent. In all fairness, if I looked at my wife from a third person perspective, I could see how everyone was coming up with this conclusion as it looked like someone planted a baseball in her socket at 60MPH. It was swollen like you wouldn't believe... and yes I do take responsibility for what happened as I am the one who made the decision to "toss" (I have learned to pick my words carefully after this event) the phone to my wife instead of taking the time to walk down a flight of stairs to "hand" it to her. And for all you motherly types out there, I guess I was never told not to throw things at people....some people just have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately it wasn't at my expense, it was at the expense of the one person in this world that I aim to protect. See a contradiction here?

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    Moving on with the backstory here, my wife's eye has issues, some pretty major. A month off from work, weekly eye appointments, and lots of eye drops. Oh, did I mention that my wife is a hardcore bad-ass? No? Well she is. Right from the start of this accident, we worked to look forward to correcting the situation and moving on. No blame, just need to move forward and correct the situation to the best of our abilities. I really don't know too many people out there in this world who would have the ability to take this type position in the current situation that she is in, and for that I am amazed at her inner spirit.

    One of the hardest part's of this whole incident is that we first had to allow 6-8 weeks for the healing of the eye from the trauma, and then we could consult with the eye specialist on how to proceed with correcting the issue. That day finally came in early June. The healing from the eye trauma was confirmed to be complete (and really there were no improvements to her vision), and we now made arrangement to meet with a group of local eye specialists in order to determine what the corrective measures would be, and how many procedures it would take to get complete the work. At first we were hearing that it would be 3 procedures and then 2, which was good as they were reducing in number but why not get it down to 1? In the end, the specialist stuck with it requiring 2 procedures, and that they ultimately wanted to refer us to an eye specialist who was located in Salt Lake City as they believed he was the best person to do this procedure. Well, looks like we are going to Salt Lake City.

    The consultation appointment was booked for a Monday July 9th. The first plan was to fly out and back in a day so that we did not use up any major vacation time to deal with this appointment; But then I realized that we also had a wedding to attend on Friday the 13th in Denver, then the thought occurred.....Scooter Trip :super

    The wife was all in for this trip, but could not continue on to Denver as she is short on vacation time. She will have to bail out after reaching SLC by getting a one way flight back to Seattle. That is a bit a bummer, but that is how it goes on this one. For this trip she will ride with me 2-up on the 950....Yeah that is right the bad-ass, big orange, KTM 950.

    Okay thus far we have determined two things; my wife and my motorcycle are bad-ass....wait, maybe three things....I am a wife beater.

    Here is the basic plan; The ride is broken into three phases:
    1. Seattle, WA > Slat Lake City, UT - Eye Consultation - Route will head east through WA, then south through Hell's Canyon and subsequent Idaho National Forest Roads, then onto SLC via superslab.
    2. Salt Lake City > Denver - Wedding - Route will consist of heading South to Bryce Canyon, then east towards Escalante National Monument, Capital Reef National Park (via Burr Trail), Four Corners, and then North to Ouray, Crested Butte, Summit County, and finally East to Denver.
    3. Denver > Seattle Wa - Iron Butt back to Seattle via Cody Wy, Yellowstone, and Lolo Pass ID.

    Final routes were pretty loose as I figured my life is structured enough, no need to have a hard structure to this trip.
    #1
  2. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    At this point, I am sure a lot of you are groaning saying on with the trip, and you probably want to see the departing photo of this lovely couple on the shiny clean loaded up KTM....well you aren't going to get that. I didn't take one, you will just have to dock my ride report some points for improper photo documentation. In fact take a few points while you are at it for good measure just to be safe as I am sure I will fuck up a few other things along the way, that is my specialty!

    After a packed work week, and condensed trip planning/packing session, we ready to bounce out of Seattle on Friday the 6th of July at 8PM. Yes, 8PM. The traffic would be lighter at this point in time and we wanted to get an hour or two head start on leaving the area. This would give us enough time to make it out to the Vantage Washington area for our first night of camping.

    We made it out to the campground, had a good nights rest, and then we off to see Palouse Falls, and head East on Lewiston Idaho.

    Packing up getting reading for day 2. Damn, that KTM is looking clean..that is rare because she is not a garage queen.
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    Slabbing I-90.....
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    Crossing the Columbia heading towards 26.
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    I was riding along at 80MPH, when I notice something out of my peripherals....a crop duster came up along side of me and wanted to drag. Bring it!! Had to wick up the throttle a bit.
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    That was kinda fun....made me think that maybe we have similar personalities, and that I should fly planes?? Just need to watch out for those high tension wires right?:lol3
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    Rearview shot
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    Palouse Falls, WA.
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    #2
  3. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Day two was warm. Really warm. We went from Vantage Wa, over to Lewiston Idaho by taking Route 26 to route 12. From there we continued on to head South on 95 to McCall ID. As I knew we were going to bypass a lot of amazing areas, and that we were using this trip as form of investigative trip for future Idaho excursions, I have learned one thing. Idaho kick's some major ass. I definitely will be coming back here in the future. While there the heat was intense. I would say that the demo had to be in the 100-107 range. I had to keep my visor closed because closed because the hot air was so hot; that is a first time for me. Good thing was that I saw that the forecasts for Idaho and Utah were calling for triple digit temps and I decided to were my mesh gear for this ride. Now the forecasted temps for Colorado and Wyoming were a whole another story, but we will get to that later. The ride down to McCall was filled with great scenery, but unfortunately had to be mostly slab due to time constraints since we have to be in SLC by Sunday night, and it was already Saturday afternoon. We had about 800 miles to cover in a day and a half.

    Riding along Granite Lake near Clarkson Wa,/Lewiston ID
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    Whitebird Hill Summit, ID
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    Once we ended up in McCall, I was a bit surprised by the touristy nature of the place, looked like a great place to bring a family for a weekend getaway. The bonus for us was that there was a state campground on the lake (Ponderosa Sate Campground). We stopped by and learned that the camping area was full, but that they had a beach for swimming that we could access for a nominal fee ($5). After riding for 10 hours in one hundred plus degree weather, this was the perfect way to clean up and cool off or for the day. After the swim we stopped by the general store, grabbed a few tall boys for the evening campsite, and headed down Lick Creek to find a spot to set up camp.

    I made it maybe about a mile down Lick Creek Road, and no sooner did I notice a police car with it's lights on.....yup smokey got me. I pull over and kill the engine. Smokey walks up to me, and asks if I know how fast I was going. I responded by saying that all I was trying to do was keep up with the flow of traffic.:loll. Good thing this guy was pretty cool. He was with the McCall police, and was on the younger side. He tells me that I was doing plus twenty over the speed limit, and that he would like my license and registration. I then fumble to look through my tank bag to find my wallet. That includes pulling out the the tall boys, and handing them to my wife for safe keeping...I am thinking that this doesn't help the situation that I am in; I hand him my license and registration. He then asks where I am heading. I responded Four Corners Area, but I first need to make a stop in Salt Lake City, my wife has a doctor's appointment. :huh
    Smokey: "What are doing in the Idaho Nation Forest then?"
    Me: "Oh well we thought we would see all the sites we could of this beautiful state, and so we are going to head out to Yellow Pine, and on down to Stanley, from there we will hit the highway to Salt Lake City."
    Smokey: "Okay, let me run your license, and then I will let you know how to get to Stanley."

    Smokey comes back a few minutes later, and tells me how to get to Stanley, and then proceeds to let me off with a warning, while repeating three times that I need to slow down. I have heard that statement my whole life, doesn't always work out that way for me....I mean we have to get to Salt Lake City in one day at this point. Anyway I take heed to his advice and we go find a camp spot.

    We ended up at the lake Fork Campground and set up.
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    It was awesome, and right next to a clean stream/river.
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    As we where setting up camp, I notice that at the top of the road that we came in from, I see a shirtless guy who is kind of doing a crab dance of sorts. He is shuffling back side to side, and trying to get a look at who we are. My first thought was great, we happened upon a sketcher campsite. Great, I have to deal with crackheads for the evening. As I keep my eye on the sketcher, I notice that he is now that he is bounding down on us so I focus my attention on him to determine if he is a threat or not...... no threat. Just a great energetic guy who took a week off to ride the Idaho National Forest with his dad and his best friend. They were on KLR's and a Honda XL 650. They end up inviting us to their campsite and we end up trading stories and drinking beers by the fire. Just an all round great night in the woods!
    #3
  4. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,647
    Location:
    Cumming GA
    Hey Jeff, great to see the report start! Your wife SOUNDS like a certified bad ass. Love it. Mine is the same. Hope our paths cross again some day. :freaky
    #4
  5. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Hi Mark,
    I figured if I didn't get on it right away, it would get done at all. :loll

    Good to hear you have a great lady as well!

    It's been fun reading your RR. I am pretty amazed at what the angry red bird has accomplished this far! I expect that out of the nine fiddy, but the red bird now has really been impressive!

    It's a small world these days, I would doubt crossing paths at some point in the future.:deal
    #5
  6. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We knew we had a big day ahead of us in order to make it to SLC by evening, so we got a good jump on the morning and broke camp by 7:00AM and we were off.

    Lick Creek Pass
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    The forest service roads were gravel highways, which is good cause I have places to be.:evil
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    And with that we hammered through a bunch of forest service roads, and we came out onto highway 21 about 20 miles East of Stanley. We will slab it down highway 24 to Interstate 84 and then onto Salt Lake City.

    We hit Stanley for gas, and then headed South towards Sun Valley. Great views all the way down.
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    The weather was cooler as well, which made the ride all that much better.
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    We made it to Sun Valley, but had no need to stop and mingle with the tourists; highlights to note was ripping up the twisties over Galena Mountain in the Sawtooth Wilderness Pass area. I am not sure if this pass has a different name, but it was great riding either way. No pics as we were too busy maintaining rhythm through the corners, and there was no way we were going to pull over for photo's and subject ourselves to being caught behind a cage. Once we were South of Sun Valley, it was pretty drastic in regards to the change of landscape, and change in temperatures. By the time we were near Snoshone temps were well into the mid 90's and once again I was glad to be in mesh.
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    The slab was straight and long.....
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    Cool lava rock formations
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    #6
  7. Jamie

    Jamie .

    Joined:
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    Lookin' good.:lurk
    #7
  8. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Seattle, Wa
    Thanks for following Jamie. The ride keeps getting better as the days go by!
    #8
  9. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    We made it from our camp spot to Stanley by 11:30AM. We then headed South from Stanley down to Twin Falls and arrived around 3:30PM. Twin Falls unremarkable for the most part, but it does have a really remarkable Canyon that runs through town. The photo's do not do it justice as I wasn't willing to stop, but we did snap a few shots of the golf course that was tucked down in the valley. It looked liked something you wood see in Tiger Woods Golf, or what ever the latest golf video game is (I am not up to date in the video game world).
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    Overall we were pretty tired from riding for hours in the plus 100 degree heat, but knew we had no choice but to make it to SLC by the evening as we had a hotel room reserved for that night since my wife's eye consultation was first thing in the morning. Now I did have a pretty cool (but also hot, hot, hot) route planned out to SLC. The original plan was to enter Utah on the West side of the Salt Lake, and to ride through the desert down to interstate 80, and then head East into the city on I-80. The alternative route was to simply jump onto I-84 East to I-15 South into SLC.

    I really wanted to go the route of the desert even though new it would be hot, but also knew that this would be pushing our timeline, and could also risk impacting my wive's morning eye appointment (a risk that was not an option in my mind). In order to determine which route we should take, I did a quick mapquest to determine how long it would take to SLC via the slabby-slab superhighway (the boring route). A quick search yielded a result of 3.5 hours. If we slabbed it to SLC, our best case scenario was for us to arrive in SLC at 7:00PM. I was guessing that best case scenario of taking the route through the desert would add at least 3 hours of travel time which would puts us in SLC at 10:0PM at best. Another factor that played into this decision was that even though I plotted a GPS route through the desert I did no research in regards to the route conditions, or if it was even possible (in general my beliefs are that if you are determined enough, anything is possible, but is it possible to be accomplished prior to sundown? That I did not know).

    Every now and then, common logic gets the best of me, and I knew that I was not willing to place any risk on missing our arrival time to SLC and that we had to slab it. On to the slab to Salt Lake we go!

    The drive was scenic, fast, very windy, and really hot!

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    I have to say that I-84 was one windy mo'fo! I seriously thought that my head was going to get ripped off. It also didn't help that the highway flow of traffic was maintiaing a minimum haul-ass speed of 85mph, which only added to the whole wind buffeting issues. It was definitely a multitasking effort of sorts, as I had to fight the wind from the full nelson it was trying put me in, all while riding sideways at a speed of 85-90mph. This is the point where you say hey jackazz! Take off the visor! Not happening, as I am on a mission :loll. Now this sure was battle between myself, mother nature, and the superslab...it was a cage match of sorts. Then another competitor decided to join in. As I was in the passing lane, and preparing to pass a pick up truck with a third wheel camper in tow, it's rear right tire on the camper decides to disintegrate. Since I continuously scan my mirrors as I ride, I also new that there was a F-350 right up my ass, and that I was in a bit of pickle :eek1. I typically always have an exit plan ready to execute when I am riding (especially when 2 up), and I did have one this time which was to go far left just shy of the left side rumble strips in order to get myself as far away as possible from there flying debris. Since I knew that the ford was barreling up my backside, I knew heavy braking was no option. My first instinct was to go WFO with the throttle, but at the same time, I was also concerned that once the camper completely lost it's tire, that it could go into a swerving motion possibly clipping us in the process. Instead of going WFO I decided to stay far left, keep accelerating at a steady pace and to focus on the debris coming off the trailer. This way I could make a quick evasive maneuver should the tread decide to let go in our direction. Funny thing was, a tread never came out (cheap camper tire!), it simply disintegrated into little pieces, and then proceeded to go on the rim. As the tire disappeared and camper dropped onto the rim, the bumper started to drag along the road and again found us in a showering of plastics and metal. :cry That is when I had to say fuck this, and go wide open. Once the camper went onto the rim, the driver apparently noticed that something was wrong, and gently started to pull off into the breakdown lane, and we safely cruised on by doing something like 95mph .:clap As we cruised by I received a few taps on the shoulder from the wife commending me on the execution of my evasive manuevers. For me, it was all adrenaline with little to no heart pounding as it all happened so quick.

    I really didn't like my time on I-84. Too much drama :puke1.

    After the tire incident occurred, we endured some more time in windy conditions, and then entered calm conditions and blue skies.

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    In the end, we rolled into the South end of SLC around 7:30, and we checked into to the hotel. Once we got unpacked, we learned that the hotel had an outside pool.....Cannon Ball!!!! We hit the pool, and then went out for some beers and ribs. Can't remember the name of the place, but it was a good way to relax for the evening.
    #9
  10. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    This is the morning of our appointment with the eye specialist, and I am pretty relieved that we made it to SLC on schedule. Now I am hoping that the specialist tells us that he can deal with these specific eye issues that my wife has, and that we didn't come out here from Seattle just to hear that he can't help out. We load up on the bike and arrive at the eye center by 8:00AM.

    One thing that I have learned from this whole experience is that the normal eye demographic for patients is the 65+ crowd. Now this makes sense as your vision starts to deteriorate in the older years, but somehow I feel at home with the old men. I already have preference to wear plaid shorts, black socks (with pasty white legs to go along - I do live in Seattle), and I am bit of creature of habit. I am just an old soul. :lol3

    We settle in the waiting room, and I enjoy watching the old men fight over the sports section of the local newspaper:
    Old Man #1: "Can I have a sports section?"
    Old Man #2: "When I am done with it..."
    Old Man #1 gives Old Man #2 the stink eye as he reads the paper at his leisure.
    Old Man #2 gets called in to the exam room, and Old Man #1 scurries over and snatches the sports section just beating out Old Man #3 who was lurking in the shadows.:lol3 I sat there reading the local news on my iPhone and started to appreciate the difference of our generations, while enjoying the sports section throw down that just occured.

    Then we are called back. Without getting too long winded, the specialist carried himself in a very professional manner (something that lacks in a lot of Dr's these days....I know as I deal with a lot of them in my job), and he quickly put us at ease with his demeanor. After review of our situation, he was quick to determine that yes, he can correct all of the eye issues, and do it one procedure with a promise of a return to near 100% vision. BOOM. That is music to our ears. Now being a bit skeptical, and knowing that this is serious issue that we need to confident that we are making the right decision, we hit him with a large number of questions related to his procedures, processes, and definitions of what near 100% return of vision means. In the end he responded to all of our questions in a thoughtful manner, and we left the eye center with a good feeling good about the situation, and are starting to think that we are moving in the right direction. :clap

    And now a documentary photo in front of the eye center post visit all smiles :D
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    Now it is back to business...We go back to the hotel, I pack up the bike, and my wife gets a taxi and heads off to the airport. She is bummed that her portion of the trip is over, but after the pounding that we took from the wind yesterday, I am thinking that she isn't that broken up over the issue (plus she would prefer to be on her own bike than sitting on the back of mine, and I don't blame her at all!)

    I got back on the road around noon and jump on I-15 to make the trek South towards Bryce Canyon.
    More slab in 95 degree weather
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    I get off and head east on route 20, and see some dirt that looks too tempting to pass up and break up the slab with some dirt riding, along with a break to eat and cool off.
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    Okay, break over..jump on slab back to route 20 east to 89 south to 12 east...and finally end up here:

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    To be continued.......
    #10
  11. Jamie

    Jamie .

    Joined:
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    Great news about the eye.:clap
    #11
  12. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Yes, awesome news about the eye...:clap:rilla:super

    That brings up a good point that now that the first phase of the ride is complete, I am now riding solo, and the ride can slow down just bit as I don't have to be anywhere until Friday afternoon, by then I need to be in Denver for my friends wedding. This leaves me with Tues-Thurs to make it from Southern Utah to Denver. Since I lived in Colorado prior to moving to Seattle, I have quite a few friends that I would like to see as I make my way into Denver. I am also riding with a weight lifted off of me due to the great news that we received earlier in the morning, and even though I wish my SO could continue on with me, I am okay with riding solo as there always seems to be a bit more interaction with strangers when you are one your own. Another component to riding solo is that I am responsible for my actions, and I am the one who will pay the price for any miscalculations, as my wife is not at risk (I think I have done enough to my little lady with my unintentional recklessness at this point in life). Riding solo allows me to let loose a little more without having to have such an elevated concern for endangering others....not that I am looking to go out there to be a squid to the world, but I do like to ride with a little passion....I think you know what I mean.

    On other subjects, I don't think that I have addressed just yet is that the wedding I am going to, is for one of my friends Eldred. He was instrumental in helping me cut my teeth in the motorcycle world. We met in Fort Collins, CO a good ten or twelve years ago. He has been on motorcycles most of his life, and is a flat track racer and a was motorcycle camp instructor for American Supercamp (http://www.americansupercamp.com/) when we met. At the time I had my Yammy FZR 600, and was pretty fresh to the motorcycle world. Eldred was basically the one who showed me the ropes on how to back into a corner, hit the apex and accelerate out. Looking back on this I feel very fortunate to have friends who had extensive knowledge in the motorcycle world, and were willing to bring me in and show me the ropes of good fundamental motorcycle riding, without pushing me over the line....we just walked the line...quite often.

    We also did a lot of shredding of POW in the mountains as well:deal.

    Okay enough blithering.....back to the report......

    So I made my way down to Bryce Canyon. By this point it was about 4PM, and I was on the fence about immersing myself into the tourist world of a National Park, but this place has been on my bucket list for a long, long time, so I figured that it has got's to be done.:deal

    Since it was later in the day the crowds were not too bad, and the road proved to be quite entertaining as there were some great curves on the parks main road. The evening light also provided for some amazing photo's as well!

    I also don't normally ride with ear buds in, but since this was more of leisurely effort, I decided to put some tunes on to enhance the experience, feel free to click on the embed below to get the vibe as you scroll through the next set of photo's (this track works for art of flight, and I think it is just fitting as for the surroundings I was in, and was what I was listening to at the time)

    <IFRAME height=281 src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/30427769" frameBorder=0 width=500 allowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen webkitAllowFullScreen></IFRAME>

    Approaching the park
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    In the park.....
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    clouds were dominating the skies for the first portion of the ride....
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    Clouds starting to move on out....
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    And then BOOM, clouds departed, and the evening sun takes hold of the canyons....
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    Okay, and here is a shot of my ugly mug...maybe I should have kept the helmet on :lol3
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    And to offset that last shot, here is the money shot, (which I also included in the previous post)
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    Wow. I am glad I came here, as it is as grand as expected. While in the park, I also ran into a couple that I believe were riding wee's from Minnesota, and heading to Seattle. We had a nice chat, they were a little concerned at the time as they had a rear tire that was wearing heavily and starting to show chords...Unfortunately I did not see any type of moto shop on my ride from SLC (there wasn't much of anything in between SLC and Bryce), so I couldn't give any advice on where to find a tire in the area. Even though you are in the US, it is still hard to source parts when you are in some of the more remote areas in the west....but that is part of game, and it wouldn't be a ride if you didn't have some type of stress to go along. Anyway, I am not sure if they are on ADV, but I hope they continued on with safe travels.

    Next up is to make it to Escalante National Monument by sundown so that I can find a place to camp for the evening......
    #12
  13. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Once finished with Bryce, it was near 7PM, so I knew I had to get rolling to find a spot to camp for the night. I made why back to highway 12 and went east. Again, due to the time of day, the lighting was great, and temps had come down quite a bit from earlier on in the day when the temps were in the triple digits.

    At this point I was enjoying the ride and just taking it all in.
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    Yes, there was some monkey business occurring with the saturation levels of this photo, and I like it:getiton
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    Not sure if you can make out the scooter in front of me, but as I was riding in a grandma-esk fashion (I was taking in the scenery), a cruiser or harley of some sorts came up next to me, and makes a pass. They were riding two-up and had a bunch of luggage packed on their bike, and I assumed that they too had a good trip of their own occurring. As they pass, I get big enthusiastic waves, and I return the same! :super They go flying off into the horizon at about 85mph, and I keep putting along as I take in the views. About a mile or two down the highway, the road start to get twisty, and I quickly jump into attack mode and start carving up the twisties. Well I quickly caught up to the scooter in front of me, and I laid off the throttle as I had no plans to risk a pass due to the fact that it was dusk, and I already had my critter radar on. I must have surprised the rider in front, because I noticed that he peaked in the mirror, and did a double take, and then went WFO as soon as he hit the straight away. I continued to keep their pace; the road had long stretches of straight road then followed by tight turns. For me, I was simply maintaining a constant pace, but the scooter in front was going WFO on the straight, and then hard brake into the corners. Well that kept up for about 10 miles until they must have come too hot into a corner. I could see them (from a distance) approach the corner, the tail light comes on (braking) and then the tail light starts bouncing up and down (locked up the rear).:eek1 They scrubbed enough speed to make it successfully through the corner, and I then breathed a sigh of relief as I am sure they did too! :knary &#8230;at that moment all I could think to myself was that his girl was most likely laying into him for that stunt.:lol3

    After watching that minor episode, I decided to lay back a bit so as not to put pressure on them. The rider also did the same as I noticed his speeds came down quite a bit as well. Nothing like a little pucker to put you in check.:nod

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    I followed them into Escalante, and broke off at the first gas station for a fill up. Then it was back on the bike, and off to hole in the rock road to do some cowboy camping.
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    Back to dirt:freaky
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    Sunset was looking to shape up to be a good one. Also looked like I might get a soaking&#8230;.. Looking Northwest
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    Looking Southeast
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    Okay found a place to camp, made sure not to be in a low lying area as I read that Southern Utah had numerous flash flood warnings&#8230;.this so seems to be a new theme in the weather pattern from that of the hot and dry weather that I had experienced so far.

    View of sunset from camp
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    By the time camp was set up it was about 9:30PM. I skipped dinner, and simply chewed on some beef jerky, and passed out to the sound of silence (a few moo's from the cows were heard as they were settling in for their nights sleep).

    The next morning I rose at the early hour of 0530 since I wanted to do some desert exploring, and I knew I had to do this early AM as the temp's would quickly start to rise as the day progressed.

    Morning camp pic just prior to breakdown&#8230;..seems color coordinated, right?
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    Alright, it's time to get it awwn!!
    #13
  14. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    I slept like a champ last night, and I am well rested for a another day of big miles, and this day will have lots of smiles. I start by heading south on Hole in the Rock rd, and then decide to take took some off shoot roads to see where they take me. This was a great morning, and I felt lucky to simply be able to just take it all in. I only saw a few other cars the whole time I was out there. I think they all thought I was crazy as I was myself on a motorcycle in temps that were quickly going from warm to hot, while they all were tucked away in the comforts of their A/C in their vehicles; but to be fair, I was thinking the same about them as I love being in the elements, and I wanted no part of being separated from this environment.

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    The sand can be deep at times&#8230;.I need to watch out or I may be eating it&#8230;.. :loll &#8230;then I will be punching it. I am good at pounding sand. It is another one of my specialties :evil

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    Doctored&#8230;

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    I pulled out the go-pro first thing, here is a ride compilation to give you an idea of the terrain and the road conditiions. I didn't come across anything too technical, which was okay as I am riding solo; it was good to keep myself contained from pushing the limits. Hard part is that these conditions are exactly what this bikes likes, so it just begs you to ride hard&#8230;.I refrained to the best of my abilities.

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    It was a fun morning, but the temps are rising quickly and I still have a good amount of terrain to cover as I would like to make it to four corners and then Durango by sunset&#8230;..that means it is time to move on&#8230;.next up is Burr Trail :deal
    #14
  15. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Just testing out the ride report hyperlink in the sig' line...:D

    Foreshadowing of the views to come in the next report.

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    #15
  16. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    After playing around in Escalante NM, it was time to head over to Burr Trail, I jumped on 12 and headed east, scenery was great and so were the corners. There are some great turns going into Boulder...so good I had to run a few sections multiple times just because it was so damn fun, and I don't know when I will get another opportunity to ride here again.

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    Made it to Boulder, UT now it is on to Bull Frog Ferry via Burr Trail. When I planned out this route, I didn't know much of anything about this route, of if the ferry ran every day of the week, or the year for that matter. Oh well, we will find out when I get to there.

    Some sights along the way....
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    Came out to this great overlook. I bet this spot has had a few ADV shots taken here; and here are a few more.
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    The views were amazing, and really illustrated how vast this area is.
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    I passed through the Capital Reef NP
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    The switchbacks here were a blast...as I was riding down, I passed a guy who was running up the climb in 100 degree weather, with nothing more than a small bottle of water. I had no idea where he came from, and I was amazed and perplexed and the same time. I do quite a few endurance activities, and I don't think I could last more than a mile in that sun and heat... but then again I am conditioned for the cool NW climate where 80 degree's is a heat wave. :lol3 I am kidding,....... and serious at the same time.

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    Moving on....
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    Washboard....
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    Big ol' cloud just hanging out....
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    The sand dunes were trying to take back the road!
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    I made it to the Lake Powell Entrance Station, in talking with the ranger you don't have to pay an entrance few if you go straight to the ferry (just pay ferry fee of $15.00). She informed me that the next ferry leaves in twenty minutes, so I let her know that I was going straight to the ferry!

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    Within 20 minutes on was on the ferry and we were preparing to depart. Today's ride has been awesome some far :clap....and I am not near down as I plan to go through the Moki Dugway, then to Four Corners, and then make my way up to Durango!
    #16
  17. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Wow, day 5 was a long day&#8230;.

    So I rolled up the ferry rolled on we set sail for the other side. Ferry ride was a nice break out of the saddle, but all I wanted to do was abandon ship for the cool waters! Without riding at speed, you could really feel the high temps beating down on you. I hung out in the shade during the quick ride, and then was first off to unload when we hit the dock.

    I took off from the ferry, and headed East on Route 276..

    Lake Powell
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    Another lonely stretch of highway&#8230;looks like storm clouds in the distance&#8230;

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    Looks like I may be getting wet soon, in my mind that may be a good things as I have some salty balls.
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    I like this photo&#8230;.tells a good story.
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    Temps start to drop and that feels great. The winds start to increase, creating a bit of wind turbulence. I will deal with the wind in exchange for the cooler temps as I was starting to feel the effects of heat exhaustion.
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    Then I notice something ahead, what is that? Looks like a dust devil&#8230;can you see it??
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    As I approach I start to become a bit concerned because I am already getting pushed all over the road at 50mph&#8230;this dust devil is traveling straight at me, and I clearly see that it is pulling sand and debris from the other side of the road. Do I stop? Do I pin it?
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    I snapped my last shot, quickly dropped the camera, and I pin it.:lol3
    As I approached I served as far left to avoid it as much as possible, and when I hit it, it hit with a power of what I compare as being the wind force that was 3 times stronger than that of a semi doing 95 mph in the opposite direction (I know you know what that feels like!). It was a definite adrenaline rush!!

    Traveling on, the weather settled in to be overcast with spotty showers. It felt great after the last 4 days of temps in the mid 90's to +100 degree weather.
    I made it the junction of 95, I then hung a richie and went East on 95 for a short period. Then another richie onto 261 South towards the Moki Dugway. As I noted in a few posts earlier did little route prepping for this trip, and I therefore had no idea what the Moki Dugway was, or that I was headed in it's direction&#8230;.I just saw this sign on approach, and knew that my was route to the Four Corners area!
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    I am sure this route has been in a couple hundred ADV rider reports by now, but just like the Burr Trail, I had no idea, and it was all firsts for me, so I was loving it.:clap

    So you basically get to a point where the asphalt stops, and the gravel starts (along with the fun!). Unfortunately for me there was quite a bit of road prep occurring, and there was a roader grader approaching me from the opposite direction. At this point, I was riding slow as I was in a construction zone, and I had no intention of disrespecting the road crews who were working in some pretty extreme conditions. The problem was that even though the road grader operator saw me approaching from the oppiste direction, he really wasn't into giving me any space to pass. Now if they wanted to take up the entire road for grading puposes then they shoudl have had flaggers out to control traffic. They had no flaggers, so it was more of a fluid situation in negotiating the construction work. As I continued to approach the grader, there was still no indication by the road operator that he intended to change his line, or to temporarily stop to let me pass. This was definitely a sticky situation as I had to pass him on a tight corner that had no guard rails, and there was no more than two feet of space between his gravel berm that he was creating, and the edge of the drop off. I am serious here&#8230;. Well it looksliek I am in a bit of a David and Goliath situation here, problem with me it that I can be a stubborn dude, and I don;t take kindly to people who try to intimidate others jsut because they think they can. I wasn't going to let him intimidate me in this manner, so I held my line&#8230;.or should I say I walked the line, and promptly roosted my way by the operator&#8230;.yeah I think he was surprised at the move, but fuck him. He wants to play in his big toy, I will play! Here is the first pic that I could take after I finessed my way passed the grader, sorry for the blurriness, but the gravel was extremely loose, and I was dealing with dump trucks and road personnel (I know no pic's of the construction, but that is life).
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    And you know with that last reference above, I just can't hold back on Johnny&#8230;let her rip and crank it up! So pump up Johnny, and enjoy the rest of the pics as I make my way towards the Four Corners area.

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    The dump trucks were hammering hard..see the dust trail left by one truck? Yeah you would think they were doing a baja race. I am guessing the construction work was carrying liquidated damages if they didn't meet their contractual completion date.
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    Slabbing East on 262 towards Bluff, UT.
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    From Bluff I head towards Four Corners via 262, as you can see it is looking dark East of my current location (Colorado border). Not sure exactly where that storm is, but I keeping an eye on it.
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    This photo sums up the weather perfectly, I am heading due Southeast, Colorado to the left, Four Corners to the right. I am now thinking that I head to Four Corners, check out the monument and then I make a call on how to proceed (head towards Durango, or camp around the four corners area.
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    I took one more photo at the intersection of 191 and 160. At this point, there were a lot of lightning strikes occurring, and it was apparent that this storm could hand out a can of whoop ass to some silly fool on a motorcycle. The views of the lighting strikes was nothing short of magnificent. In the midst of this storm, there was a little patch of land that managed to retain a ray of sunshine.
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    About ten more miles down the road and I am at the Four Corners Monument. Check out this flags, the storm is heading Southwest&#8230;.I may not avoid this beast.
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    Touristy? Hell yeah. I expected nothing less, at the same time I can embrace the silliness of doing something like standing over a point that really has no important meaning other than being able to be in four states at once. When I walked up the monument, It was crowded with families doing twister like motions putting one hand, and one foot in each of the states. Once one person finishes, another would jump in before you could blink. Okay this is a bit of a zoo. I saw what I needed, and I snapped a photo of the monument. It is time for me to move on.
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    As I walked back to my bikes and I started to review my maps in rode rot see if there were any good camping spots to spend the night in effort to avoid the storm. As I started to get my first map, a couple of kids walk up to me, a boy and a girl, and I am thinking that they are probably around 9-10 years old each. My first thought is that they wanted to check out my motorcycle. They walk and saw, hey mister. Do you want us to take a photo of you on the monument? Now I really didn't care about doing that, but at the same time I was so impressed by the maturity and goodwill of these kids that there was no way I was going to reject them. So out we go to the monument, and they snap the photo of me. This is another one of my favorite photo's of this trip. Not because it looks cool, but because of the meaning behind it. Good people do good things for complete strangers. This is the world that I intend to live in, and seeing actions such as what these two youngsters did, I have confidence in our future (some that now me may say that I am a bit of a pessimist, and that I can be cyclical, but I call it being a realistic). I feel like buzz light year in this photo. I have my jetpack on and I am ready for take off in 3-2-1...
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    After they took the photo, I talked with the family for a bit, and I told them of my travels. I also thanked the kids, and the father (as I am sure he prodded them to ask to take my picture) for their generosity. Yeah warm fuzzies were flying all up in this guy. But I really appreciated the moment.

    Now back to the ride. It was about 5:30PM at this point, and I have already put some major miles underneath me. I really wanted to get to Durango, and in talking with some locals, they insisted that the storm was in the mountains, and that there were some hotels up North near Cortez, CO should I get caught in the storms. Okay, let's go for it! I jump on the bike and head North towards Cortez. After about twenty miles, it started to rain. It wasn't a downpour by any means, but wasn't that fun due to the fact that I had a couple of semi's in front of me, and a couple of semi's behind me. Feeling like I am walking the line again&#8230;&#8230;.. I finally made it to Cortez around 7:30PM, and thought about doing a final push over to Durango. My concern was that it would be getting dark due to the storms, and that I would be riding potential heavy lighting storms as I travel west. Final decision is for me to get a hotel room in Cortez.This turned out to be a good move as it gave me time to charge up my GPS, and my cell phone since I can only charge one device at a time, and both items were very low on charge. I am only an hour outside of Durango, so I am happy with my riding accomplishments for today. I will sleep good tonight.
    #17
  18. LouDog

    LouDog n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    AWESOME. keep on ridin'
    #18
  19. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    I woke up at 7:00AM, ran down to to the continental breakfast and grabbed a cup of coffee, and a few pastries. I went back to my room and quickly gathered up my items and started to pack the bike. When I went to pack my digital camera, I realized that I did not think to plug in the charger the night prior, which means that I will be working with a partial charge. Oh well, I can switch to taking photo's on my iPhone if the camera battery dies.

    Prior to going to bed the night before I took a quick survey my route that I should take up to Crested Butte. I knew that I was going to head over to Durango, and then head north to Silverton and then onto Ouray via the Million Dollar Highway (550). From there I then planned to head South back down to Silverton in order to take the Cinnamon Pass portion of the Alpine Loop over to Lake City, and then head North on Slab up to CB. I also knew that I could take Engineer Pass out of Ouray, but I liked the idea of being able to do the portion of 550 that is between Silverton and Ouray in each direction.:deal

    Okay, now that I have my route penciled out, it was time to shout a few last minute texts to some friends in CB to see who will be around when I get there. I had one particular who I have basically known my whole life who I wanted to see, but I didn't even let him know that I was coming to town. So I shot out a few texts, and then jumped on the bike and headed into the mountains!:clap

    I am also pushed for today because in my time that I spent previously living in Colorado, I never made it down to the San Juans...I know Epic fail!:huh Farthest south I ever made it was to CB, and that was always in the winter. But now it was time to redeem myself and experience some of the best areas that Colorado has to offer. It feels good to be back. Real good!

    Let's get on the road! Heading East on 160
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    I make the quick trip up to Durango by 8:30AM. Nice relaxed morning in town. Not sure if this building has any significance, but is has great color and symmetry.
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    Now it is time to head north on 550 towards Silverton. I snapped a few photo's while riding, and my camera battery goes dead. Not a big deal for me at the time as I was happy to simply focus on riding some twisty slab, bummer for you is I have no picks of it. But I can confirm, it was good.:evil There were pockets of construction with some temporary road stoppages, but I was keen on keeping myself well positioned so that I didn't get caught behind any look-lou's and vehicle caravan's due to the construction work.

    I worked through the section of road up to Silverton, and it was nothing short of amazing. It was about 10:30Am when I reached Silverton, and quickly performed a route assessment. Based on the storm that the experienced yesterday, and by reviewing the recent weather reports it was easy to see Colorado has past it's dry spell that caused all of the wildfires the weeks prior. This started to make me think that I would be wise to not continue up to Ouray, and instead make my way to Cinnamon Pass, and then head on to Lake City. My reasoning behind a possible route change was due to the time of day. I know how harry the passes can get if you get caught in a lighting storm above tree line. Simply put, it is not where you want to be on a motorcycle, mountain bike, or on foot for that matter. A general high country rule of travel is to be done with the above tree line exposure between 1-3PM as this the time when the storms can rapidly develop.

    I knew that if I was to continue on to Ouray, that I wouldn't be able to make my way back down to Silverton and Cinnamon Pass until close to noon which gives me little time to accomplish my high country travel prior to storm development. At the same time, I was bit surprised to see that the cloud development was minimal at this point. This was leading me to think that I may have a bigger window today than what the window was on other days. In reality I know I have to go to Ouray just to get it off of my bucket list of "things to do the next time I am in Colorado". Plus I am still craving more of the Million Dollar Highway.:clap Screw it. Let's go carve up the twisties!

    Again, no pics as my camera is dead, and I am not about to try to mess with using my iPhone for photo's as I just need to focus on laying down well executed corners. .......So I ripped (in a controlled manner :evil ) over to the pass and made my decent in Ouray. Sweet, sweet, sweet turns, and views. As I made my approach into Ouray, flaggers were managing traffic as the road was one lane due to road repairs that were occurring. As I rolled to a stop in front of the flagger, I looked to the right, and I saw a fairly steep 4x4 climb that had as sign stating Engineer Mountain......well this may call for a quick audible to my planned route selection.:evil

    So the flagger waves us on and I make my way into town.....okay check that off the list!

    I know I have a few photo's of town, but I can't seem to find them at the moment...I will upload later...

    Now let's go back to Engineer Mountain! Prior to leaving town, I pulled over and approached a few dual sport looking folk and try to get some intel on the degree of difficulty and trail condition of Engineer Mountain. Bottom line is that I didn't get squat for intel. The first person I approached was on a 1200GS, and was riding two-up with his SO. Now his beamer was looking pretty clean, so it was clear to me that they were sticking to slab, but I thought he may have done this route in the past. When asking his thoughts on taking engineer pass, he said that he has heard that it has been done on bigger bikes before..... okay not sure what that really means. He then recommended that I go to a 4x4 rental business to find out trail conditions..., that isn't happening as I just don't trust the 4x4 crowd when it comes to them informing me what is possible on a loaded 950...it is just an apples to oranges dynamic here. Nothing against the 4x4 crowd as I have done my share of wheeling in the rockies, but I wouldn't place too much value on the information that I would get as the term "technical" holds such a different meaning here. Okay, enough of this fruitless effort, I can sit on fence all day....or I can just go do it! Time is a wasting, and I have places to be. :deal Today that place is CB!

    The first half mile climb up the Engineer Pass was a bit steep, and had some technical aspects of it, but nothing to write home about (disclaimer - I did lose traction at one point and I ended up dropping the bike; I prevented this in the future with a little more cowbell! No wait, I mean throttle.)

    After the slightly technical sections, I stopped here for a few photo's....it was a good start!
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    The views only get better as you go higher....
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    To be continued......
    #19
  20. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    Riding up Engineers was a blast. There were quite a few 4x4's roaming about, but nothing that would stop the fun. I hit the the last turn to the top, and ran into a couple of ADV'ers (Flux & Lucky) who were having a great ride of there own. Check out their report if you get a chance: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=809561&highlight=flux+lucky
    After a quick and friendly discussion, it was time to move on. Nice to meet you guys!

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    Killer views....
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    Tired of KTM picks yet???? Too bad....:lol3

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    I then rode down the backside of the pass, headed to Lake City, and then up to Crested Butte to see my long time friend.
    On the way into CB....
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    My bud owns Mcgill's in Crested Butte; stop in if you are hungry for some good breakfast!
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    Far'gin Delivery truck pulled up right before I went to take a photo!
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    Took a quick walk though town to relax from the days ride...Recycling at it's finest!
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    I spent the rest of the day hanging with friends, a few beers were pounded well into the evening. The next morning it was time to gather myself together, and head North up to Summit County to hook up with some other longtime friends. I decided to head North over Cottonwood Pass, then head North up 24 to Weston pass, and then onto Fairplay and Breck. Deep down I really wanted to go over Schofield Pass, but that would put me further West of Summit, and would require a slab ride on I-70 :puke1. Overall I-70 is very scenic, but I have done that ride so many times (during my time in CO) that it holds no interest to me. Anyway, Cottonwood Pass is tame overall, but I made the best of it!

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    Views were good, but it was apparent that I would be running from storms today as the clouds built up quickly today, and rain squalls were visible in all directions.
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    I started my way up Cottonwood Pass proper, and then I saw some roads that looked interesting....time to explore
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    Back on the pass.....
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    Top of the pass
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    Dropped down the back side of the pass (it turns to asphalt at the top of the pass), and then hit 24 and headed North on to Weston Pass. There was a nasty storm just North of Weston Pass, so I knew I had to be heavy on the throttle to make it over the pass without taking a shower.....

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    I hit the top of the pass and work my way down to Buena Vista,
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    Gravel highway...
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    and then onto Fairplay
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    Good to know the Brown Burro is still around....:lol3 Some things never change.
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    and on to Hoosier Pass...(looking a little dark)
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    from Hoosier, I hustled through Breck to avoid the throngs of tourists, but I did make sure that I stopped at 7-11 for some gas for old times sake (I used to live in French Creek also know as V.D. village back in the day, but then someone had to church up the name to spur on the new housing sales :lol3 ).

    From Breck, I made my way over to Silverthorne to hooks up with friends to catch up on the last few years....a few beers were also pounded this night....felt good to be back with great friends that are basically family....
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    #20