Two Flat Landers, Colorado Mountain Passes on an F800GS and 640 Adventure.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EnderTheX, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hi GB, we didn't see Crystal Lake on our maps but we did camp directly under the Clear Lake trail near Silverton. The picture below highlights the town, Clear lake and our campsite. Now that I'm am typing this I'm thinking this may not be what you are referring to because there were a ton of people at this Clear Lake (really pretty). If you have more info please post it or send me something because we plan to return to keep riding more passes!!!

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    #21
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    :doh It IS Clear Lake, not Crystal Lake :gerg.. Here's my son:

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    The setting is gorgeous and the traffic is light when we got up there. Getting up to Imogene Pass, well, let's say they need some traffic lights up there :lol3 Some folks just don't understand that those going UP have the right of way.. too many idiots driving rented Jeeps trying to make it to the top.
    #22
  3. dirtbound4Max

    dirtbound4Max Hangin' 10 on the F8

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    Chris and Oliver,
    Looks like an AWESOME RR in the making! SUBSCRIBED!!!!!! :nod
    Sean
    #23
  4. child

    child poop is fun

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    I slowly wake up to a bright sun filtering through the trees on to my tent, I'm no early riser, but Oliver is... he should have woken me up. Oliver is also not a patient person; he isn't going to sit around waiting for my lazy ass to climb out of bed. As I'm sorting out where I am and if Oliver decided to leave with out me I hear groans coming from across camp and the un mistakable sound of sleeping bag... Oliver isn't awake yet! As I slowly decide if I should get up; I hear a less than enthusiastic voice asking me if I'm up, Uhoh. I make my way out of my tent and Oliver lays out his situation: not feeling well, headache, no energy, aches, and a certain exit port is not happy... Joy! We suspect the altitude is playing tricks and Oliver starts the hydration process (perhaps over hydration process), as all the locals say fluids fluids fluids.

    So at this point he's reclined in the camp chair as seen above and he starts requesting breakfast, water, pedialite, and various other items... This is feeling a little too much like a relationship- I'm concerned.

    Oliver decides to nap and I decide to tackle the jeep trails near by to make sure yesterday's fix was an actual fix.

    …I guess I should expand slightly on the previous day's problem. Basically it acted like it ran out of fuel (I had half a tank at least) as I pulled up hill on real rough sections. The engine would die down to a WEAK idle and any throttle would cause the engine to die. I'd search for an issue, not find anything obvious, restart the bike (it would start fine after a period of time) start going slowly, everything would be OK, then I'd get more aggressive on some up hill bumpy section and it'd die down to an idle again. Crazy... I notice the wires I had routed for the heated grips had shifted a lot and a few were TIGHT. I figured maybe something here was pulling an ignition wire loose orrr something? No idea, so I limped back to camp and re routed a bunch of wires...

    OK back to shaking the bike down. I top off my tank with a splash of gas (thats some literary foreshadowing for you high brow folk; bmw owners, I’m looking in your direction... :D ) and hit the trails. I hit all the steep bumpy inclines that caused problems yesterday with fury and vigor, problems solved! Huzzah! I'm shocked that it was electrical (ha), but its not acting up, this trip is ON!

    Once my brain stops worrying about my damned transport I'm immediately stunned by the beauty of the mountains. I had been many times as a kid, but I guess I had always taken the beauty for granted. Here I am 25 (or am I 26, hell) and I'm damn near breathless... or maybe this is just the altitude, I am high after all...

    The first trail I take is up the valley out of camp towards Bandora Mine. It’s a real easy trail and it’s a great intro to Colorado riding.

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    Marmots!
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    Once I return to camp I’m EXCITED, oh man, its so damned pretty! I saw a mine and marmots and a creek crossing or two and a waterfall and and and… Oliver still wasn’t feeling well and for some reason didn’t share my enthusiasm…

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    I don’t think that was a regular ADV salute…
    #24
  5. child

    child poop is fun

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    After some more catering to Oliver’s needs, a meal, and a quick rainstorm I decided to go on and tackle Clear Lake Trail, which is also very near camp. I hop on and head out, again alone, while Oliver rests more.

    This trial is quite a bit longer than Bandora Mine (although still short), and offers my first taste of switchbacks and cliffs. This trail worked perfectly as a 2nd intro into Colorado riding; not too technical, and very pretty. I guess I should stop calling trails pretty, really. If you’re in the mountains, it’s pretty. From here on out all trails are pretty as a default and I will qualify them as exceptionally pretty, or not pretty. That being said, Clear Lake is exceptionally pretty.

    Riding up, just breaking above the tree line.
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    Somewhere back there is camp, I believe the road you see is leading up to Bandora Mine.
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    Clear Lake! (Gadget Boy, I found your son’s rock, He’s strangely missing…)
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    (note the very subtle trail going from up and to the right along the rocks ahead there, I can tell from below that it dead ends, but I’m at 11,900 feet by the lake, I want 12k)
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    #25
  6. child

    child poop is fun

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    This trail goes no further… at least not for the sane.
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    Clear Lake below, and I’m at 12,200 feet! Success!
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    Just before I turn around, my greatest fear is realized… I’ve wandered directly into one of the most dangerous situations you can find in Colorado… The dreaded Marmot Den…
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    The Marmot’s (also known as widow makers) are the most fierce and territorial creature above the tree line. We were constantly fighting these creatures off the entire trip.
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    Headed back down, <3 switchbacks
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    Time to go back to camp, I hope Oliver is feeling better…
    #26
  7. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hi Sean, thanks for the comment! We are just getting started into the good stuff!



    DAY 2 (MONDAY)


    Well after an ultra crappy day of fighting altitude sickness I awake on Monday feeling good enough to get on the bike and ride.

    We start off checking the book for routes that are close and provide a loop we can do before it gets dark. We decide on an agressive schedule to do Bandora Mine, Clear Lake, Ophir Pass and Bolam Pass. The book we have is for jeeps and the trails have descriptions, instructions and ratings related to 4 wheeled vehicles. I don't exactly understand how the difficulty rating correlates to motorcycles and we soon find out that something rated "difficulty 2" for a 4x4 can be harder on a motorcycle than something rated "difficulty 4" for a 4x4. We figure part of the reason for the rating discrepancy is that large bumpy rocks on a forest road is "easy" for a 4x4 but not for a bike and tight switchbacks on mountain shelf roads is "hard" for a 4x4 but a breeze for the bikes.



    So we start off on the Bandora Mine Trail. Chris had ridden Bandora and Clear Lake yesterday so you can see some of his pics above. This trail literally goes directly out of the campground and quickly winds through a short forest section and then blasts across the mountainside as a rocky strait road, no switchbacks. My bike is taking a pounding on the rocks but I know there is much more difficult terrain in store for us this week and I put my faith in BMW engineering and hang on while bouncing over the rocks.


    Here is part of the mine we encounter towards the end of the trail.

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    This clearing at the end of the trail is called "South Park". It is scenic and peaceful with many opportunities for primitive camping.


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    #27
  8. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    There is always time to play in the creek crossings! I was thrilled to get to do actual water crossings, very very rare in Texas. It rained so often we always had water to cross. :clap


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    #28
  9. GrayGoSt

    GrayGoSt Ridin' the F8

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    :lurk
    #29
  10. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    So we head back down from the Bandora Mine and start up the Clear Lake Trail. Clear Lake will be my first taste of real mountain switchbacks. The soil is soft from the rain and provides great traction. Some of the switchbacks are steep and narrow but lots of fun on the bikes.

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    #30
  11. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    When we get about 3/4 of the way up the trail there is a very tight switchback and some mining activity. I am impressed with the deep red and orange soil oozing from the mining hole.


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    Some large steel container (or machine?) sits next to the hole, close to the edge of the cliff. The labor required to bring this equipment up to these elevations must have been intense!

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    #31
  12. child

    child poop is fun

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    I think its about here where Oliver starts to feel the wrath of his hydration routine...

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    Me being the mature individual I am... This is the first of many many many pee brakes. Tee hee.
    #32
  13. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Sigh. I never get tired of Colorado passes...

    You got such great marmot photos! I'm jealous - all I ever get are blurry pics and marmot butt shots...

    subscribed!
    #33
  14. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hey at least it was a scenic location!



    When we got up to this mine area we felt like celebrating! We were way above the tree line and in some real mountains.
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    #34
  15. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    We climb the rest of the way to Clear Lake and find a wonderful sight. The lake is at 12000 ft and you can see a bit of snow still lingering in the distance. Fisherman come here for small brown trout but I figure they are happy with the scenery even if they don't catch anything.

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    #35
  16. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    I have to get some bike shots! I love seeing my bike in pictures, it places you there without your own mug in the shot.

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    #36
  17. PDL

    PDL Adventurer

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    Man that 800 looks clean even when its dirty. Great photos and report! I'm ready to go back.
    #37
  18. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Haha, it does look really clean on the first day. Don't worry, the rain makes sure we get nice an dirty but towards the end the really heavy rain starts to clean the bikes! :huh :eek1


    Here is a sneak peek


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    #38
  19. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    After spending some time gazing at the scenery we head down and enjoy some nice switchbacks. I discover my technique for decending the switchbacks needs some work. Good thing we will get plenty of practice before tackling black bear pass later this week.


    Mountain flower
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    #39
  20. child

    child poop is fun

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    ...and another pee break! Keep hydrating Oliver!!!!!

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    #40