Lil Tour of Colorado

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by ktmklx, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    We drove down to Animas Forks and found a sign that directed us to Silverton, the GPS was telling us to go the opposite direction. I remember mapping this route out and selecting a less direct route to Silverton. We follow the GPS, we were climbing again. The GPS then directed us down a lightly traveled steep downhill trail. The trail was loose baby heads from ATVs tearing it up, the bike's tires were skidding, this doesn't feel right. We end up in a parking area for the Sound Democrat Mill site, an abandoned silver mine. Normally I would be all excited about exploring a mine site, but all I was worried about was getting the bikes back up that loose trail. Nothing to worry about, going down was actually a lot worse than climbing out.

    Once we get to where the trail tees to the road we continue up the road. We met a group of ATV and off road bikes, there must have been 30 of them. Kids of all ages and their adult chaperones, they were having a good time. Once we reach the summit we stop and take some pictures and start the climb down. The road down was steep and the pucker factor was high, these midsize bikes with 50 lbs of gear are not the right tool for this job. We finally intersect a heavier traveled road and realize during the last hour or so we had just made a big loop. Silverton was still just down the road. The loop was CR 9, Picane Gultch.

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    We had to yield for this group.

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    CR 9

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    The Sound Democrat Mill

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    The mill site

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    Alex leaving the mill site.

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    View from the top.
    #41
  2. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    I was pretty happy to get off that mountain and get on CR 2, the road to Silverton. In Silverton we bought gas, met ROYQ and his riding partner (post 18) and sat down for a few minutes to eat some jerky and drink a soda. We were short on time we were still hoping to get to Dove Creek before dark.

    Next up was Ophir Pass, there wasn't any traffic going up Ophir so we were able scamper right up in no time. Coming down was a little trickier on the steepest rockiest part of the decent I met a GS800 coming up hill. With tires skidding on the baby heads I had all I could handle to keep the bike at a sane speed and get on my half of the 2 track. The guy on the beemer thought I wasn't going get it done and he stopped in the middle of his climb. I did get the ninja on her half and was able to stop and tell the beemer guy sorry I was on his side for a while. He had his hands full it looked like, the beemer was loaded pretty good and stalled at his first attempt to get climbing again.

    Alex had his hands full as well trying to keep the KLR on track, he looked a little stressed out when were finally able to stop at a lesser grade and talk.

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    going up Ophir

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    on top of Ophir
    #42
  3. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    It was a very scenic ride from Ophir to Dove Creek, we were trying to make time so no pictures. We finally arrived at Dove Creek and we found Mike standing outside this place waving us down.

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    #43
  4. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Today was a special day, no more CDR , no more TAT, today we were on a route that I planned out after hours and hours of Base Camp and Google Earth research. I even got some advise from the regional inmates. Today the plan was to ride in the Delores River canyon from Dove Creek to Hwy 141, the tricky part, we would have to ford the Delores River to make it all the way to the highway. Inmates TNC & DCZ offered some good advice on the route and warned that the road along the river turns into to a technical trail. Our plan was to go in and make a decision about the ford once we saw what the terrain looked like. I told the guys if it is to difficult we will just turn around and reroute, I told myself we are going to cross that river!

    We had a good breakfast at a little restaurant just down the road from the motel. We had a great time telling each other what we saw and did while we were separated the day before. It felt good to have the crew back together.

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    Packed and ready to roll.

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    Some color before we get to the canyon.

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    Entering the canyon.


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    The views from the canyon were awesome.


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    Somehow Mike perched his KLR on this rock. The perfect time to give him some shit about his cheap plastic skid plate.

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    The road along the river was a blast to ride on, perfect for the 650s.
    #44
  5. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    The canyon road ends and turns into a technical trail. We stopped and looked at the trail and knew right away it was not going to be easy to get to the river crossing. I took my tank bag off and decided to scout ahead to see if there were just a few difficult spots or if it was all tough. Only about 1/4 mile up the trail I came to a off camber hill/curve that I did not feel comfortable tackling with the loaded bike. I turned the bike around (which took about 5 minutes because of limited space, incline and rocks) and returned to where the guys were waiting. I told them it would not be easy. We debated about an hour, discussing all the scenarios. At one point we had ourselves talked into it, we figured we could take the luggage off the bikes and drive through the difficult sections. After thinking about how much work that would be and that we may have to turn around at the river anyways, we decided to turn around. Disappointed, we headed back to Dove Creek.

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    The end of the road.
    #45
  6. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Back in Dove Creek we topped off the tanks and pulled out the Gazetteer. We plotted a route through the San Juan National Forest and the Uncompahgre National Forest on routes 504, FR512, 503 and 402.

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    Forest Road 512 in the San Juan National Forest, this stuff was fun!

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    Dinner in Nucla.

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    Looks like rain again.

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    Camped with the cows at Columbine Campground on Divide Road route 402.

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    Cool picture by Mike.
    #46
  7. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    At the campfire the night before we decided to deviate from our planned route that would take us west to east through Somerset and Crested Butte eventually back to Salida. Mike wanted to head north and checkout Dinosaur National Monument. This seemed like a pretty good idea since we needed to eventually get back to Wyoming and we were worried some of my original route may have been to tricky for the bigger bikes.

    After studying the Gazetteer we agreed on riding to Grand Junction for breakfast and then travel through Frutia and Mack and take Baxter Pass Road north.

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    #47
  8. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    We stopped for a break and some pictures and noticed there was a strong odor of brake pad in the air. Using our noses like dogs we ended up at the rear of Alex's KLR. The brake caliper stunk and the pedal sunk to the bottom of its travel without affecting the caliper. My trailside diagnosis was that the Kid must have been riding the brakes and boiled the fluid. Luckily we could see paved Hwy 141 from where were standing, so we would take it easy, hop on the pavement and get some brake fluid after breakfast.

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    Early morning photos

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    Leaving the Uncompahgre National Forest

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    Assessing the brake situation

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    Brake related?

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    Hwy 141 Unaweep Canyon
    #48
  9. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    We had breakfast at a great cafe in Grand Junction and damn I don't remember the name or have any photos of it. Anyway, after breakfast we dug into the KLR and found the pads were completely worn away. So this is were the younger generation stepped up to the plate. Alex pulls out his smart phone and has a Kawasaki dealer located in a few seconds. We call the dealer and they have pads in stock and the parts man gives me directions to their store.

    Well long story shorted, I got us lost, Alex had to save the day again using the GPS on his smart phone.

    (Gees, maybe I should get one of those things)

    Once at the dealership it took just a few minutes to get the new pads installed and the KLR was as good as a 14 year old 49,000 mile bike could be.
    #49
  10. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Just outside of Mack is this sign.

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    Ignore the dark storm clouds in the background, we did.

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    Baxter Pass Road winds through the natural gas fields of western Colorado.

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    The weather was changing, time to change into some warmer gear.

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    These ruins are what is left of Atchee Colorado. At the time we had no idea what this building once was.

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    Once home, some research revealed that Atchee was a maintenance station for a narrow gauge railroad. This photo from the Denver Library website shows the same building during its hey day.
    #50
  11. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    As we were leaving the station it started to rain lightly. The road instantly turned slick, in just a few minutes we realized it was going to be a long haul up Baxter Pass. The top layer of dirt was peeling away from the road and plugging up the rear wheels of the KLRs.

    I've seen this play out on ride reports here, plugged up wheels and burnt up clutches, we decided just to stop and hope it was a passing shower.

    It started to rain harder and as the rain soaked in the top layer no longer peeled away, we tried moving forward in the rain. About a mile further up the road the switch backs for the pass started and the grade increased significantly. We were done, it was to slippery to climb the grade. Luckily we landed at a clearing where it was obvious that others had camped before. One problem, there was not a single 6' x 6' tent area that was void of wet cow shit. Alex and I decided it would be easier share a site rather than try to find two spots for tents. We finally found a spot under a scrub tree line, the branches were low enough to keep the cows out.

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    Mike taking one for the team, after this we had to change our plans.

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    Amazing how fast the road turned on us


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    Setting Up Camp Early

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    Sticky bikes
    #51
  12. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Just after we finished setting up the tents, we heard the sound of a diesel engine coming from up in the switchbacks. A few minutes later we see a big white Dodge Cummings 4 x 4 slipping & sliding the down the road. The truck stopped at our make shift camp. It was a young mother with a baby and her son (guessing about 10 years old), she wanted to know how far it was to the highway. Indeed she did, she looked pretty frazzled. She explained how she was looking for a short cut to Utah and her GPS directed her onto this road. They too got caught in the storm and instead of turning around kept climbing the pass. We could see her finger nails were packed with mud as she told us how they had to get out of the truck several times and peel the mud off the tires by hand because the truck was sliding uncontrollably. I think she was happier than hell to see us, the 10 year looked terrified. We explained to her she had made it through the worst and the road turned to gravel about 10 miles further and the highway was another 10 beyond that. Off they went.

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    Front of the Ninja had plenty of mud on it.

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    KLR packed full of mud, you can just make out a mud blob about the size of a basketball behind the KLR. Alex peeled all that off his bike.
    #52
  13. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    The next morning I was fired up for riding, I knew the road would be tacky from the rain and traction would be good. I must have been a little anxious to tear up the road.

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    I dumped the Ninja doing a u-turn through the ruts.

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    Climbing the pass.

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    Here we are near Baxter Pass looking down at the road we came up.

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    Looking ahead to Baxter Pass.

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    At the pass there was this water tank for the old railroad.
    #53
  14. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    After Baxter Pass it was onto the town of Rangely for fuel and food.

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    This was the only gate we had to open on the whole trip.

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    Taking a break near the Utah/Colorado border.

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    A natural gas generator.

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    The Colorado/Utah border.

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    It was a fast fun ride through the West Douglas Wild Horse Herd Area.

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    Alex on the KLR

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    A lone wild horse.
    #54
  15. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    We were at a bar & grill in Rangely when I called home, to my surprise, my wife answered the phone. I asked her what she was doing at home and she asked me where else would she be on Saturday. Holy shit we lost a day somewhere. All 3 of us thought it was Friday, now we realize we have to get back to Wyoming by night fall. Time to hit the blacktop for 300 miles.


    What a ride, it was great to relive it here, hope you enjoyed.

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    West of Encampment Wyoming on Hwy 70.
    #55
  16. smash81

    smash81 Been here awhile

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    Denver, CO
    Great report! Wish I had the skills to transform my Ninja the way you did. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and share your stories!
    #56
  17. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Jax Off again.

    Joined:
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    From Alabama to Newfoundland it's all Appalachian
    WONDERFUL!!!
    Thanks.
    #57
  18. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    Great report. You've shown me some new routes to take next time I'm out there. Thanks for sharing.:clap
    #58
  19. Volksg

    Volksg Adventurer

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    great adventure, and great bike...
    #59
  20. GAZCO

    GAZCO n00b

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    Nice report! I'm actually from Dove Creek so it was cool to see someone traveling through the area.
    #60