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. hvilla

    hvilla Been here awhile

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    :lurk :lurk Thanks for the great RR...subsribed!! :thumb
  2. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Thanks hvilla! More to come...



    We depart from Alta lakes and make our way slowly to Telluride.


    I had heard of Telluride mostly from researching this trip but recently I found that what we experienced isn't far from the norm. We soon found ourselves in the middle of a hippie festival in an overpriced quaint mountain town. Some band called Phish was playing but we only wanted to ride the mountain pass.


    It was pouring rain as we entered the city, we parked illegally at first to try and find some food. We thought better of getting a ticket here and spend another 15 minutes finding a parking spot. After scouting out several overpriced lunch spots we finally settled on a crappy Italian joint we couldn't escape without forking over at least $60... The cooler looking pizza joint next door had a line down the block. If you ask me for my two cents worth Silverton is way cooler for dual sport riders.

    We hung out in the restaurant, soaking wet and smelling like 5 day old campers, until the clouds rolled by giving us a break in the weather.




    View from the street where we first parked... waiting for the weather.


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  3. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice pic.
  4. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Thanks Bob! I like that picture because it shows the rain well and Chris' expression displays the anticipation of the ride ahead.




    In town Chris looks over his bike real quick and notices he has a few loose bolts. He has to go to the hardware store to buy an Allen wrench to tighten the bolt on his kick stand. Why am I not surprised...


    Here he is kicking the Allen wrench to tighten the bolt.

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    He discovers his front axle screws are also loose. :eek1



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  5. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Then we started on the trail. It goes right out of town in the middle of some houses and starts up the side of the mountain. The trail is pretty rocky and loose at the start and it is not easy to stop for pictures.



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    A close-up of the water running down the rock and over the road.


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  6. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    We come up to a cool spot where we can look across the valley and see the switchbacks from Black Bear Pass. I had spent some time looking at this on google earth so I knew exactly where we were. At this point the trail had already been very rough and I was happy to stop for a while.


    Bike pic:

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    There happened to be a neat tunnel right at that spot. You could tell they couldn't go around the rock and decided it would be easier to go through instead. This was the only tunnel like this we saw the entire trip.


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    We watched some jeeps try to navigate the tight switchbacks of Black Bear Pass. I didn't have an idea of where the difficult part was and most of what we saw looked relatively easy. Time to focus on the trail we were on, it was only going to get harder!

    Black Bear Pass in the distance:




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  7. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Haha! LOVE this pic :lol3 Great impression, both of you...


    BigWan and I blew through Telluride - it was packed full of jeeps, pirates and yuppies when we were there. I snapped photos on the move, so we didn't even have to slow down. Instead, we waited out the rain in the Conoco station down the road.
    I'm sure you guys had a MUCH nicer lunch than we did, but now I don't feel so bad about not stopping. $60!!


    The most difficult part of Black Bear doesn't really show in that picture - the steps are further up and to the left (hidden behind that other mountainy thing)...

    Edit - wait, didn't you DO Black Bear pass, too? Oh, sorry. I guess that was part of the suspense... I'm a jackass :cry

    I had some questions about your camera, but I'll save them for later...

    Anyway, amazing pics - looking forward to MORE passes...!
  8. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hey man thanks for the comment! There will definitely be more cool pass pics, lots of Imogene because the weather was amazing at that point.


    We did Black Bear pass lol and when I was posting the picture I looked at it trying to figure out where the hard part was. I figured it was off to the left but I couldn't be certain but now that you mention it I do believe it is not visible from that location. It is a strange feeling when you are looking at a distant trail or mountain in real life, sizing it up and wondering what it will be like to conquer it. For me finally looking at Black Bear Pass eased some of my worries because it looked like the majority of the switch backs would be easy... its one thought that helped me get over the pass when the going got rough (foreshadowing :eek1)
  9. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Chris took a short walk through the tunnel but I don't know if he has any good photos to show for it (I know he took a lot at this point). Time to head out before a group of jeeps we passed at the start catches up to us (the jeeps were always super slow compared to us).


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    A short distance later we come across this small shack on the side of the cliff. It looked like it was about to fall over the edge and I left without knowing what it was for except that the people who used it for shelter must have known a very solitary lifestyle up here.


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  10. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    There were lots of puddles on the road from the very recent and heavy rain but the road was not muddy. Large embedded rocks were everywhere along with smaller loose rocks, sometimes I found it easier to bounce over the larger rocks instead of taking the loose stuff.

    Much to my alarm (whenever I realized what I was doing) I gravitated towards riding the small outside line on the cliff. On almost all the trails there was a small 1/2 foot to 1 foot line directly on the edge of the cliff that was clear and smooth compared to the rocky interior. Maybe this line develops because the jeeps can't see the edge from the driver seat and don't dare go near it? My tires came several times within a hairs width of certain doom and I began to try riding the larger rocks inside.



    Here is a section of the trail that is supported by retaining walls... I am sure other areas are just as likely to crumble at a moments notice.



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    This is one of the old buildings over 12,000 ft close to the top of the mountain. I didn't know it at the time but you can see the top of the pass from here. If you look at the lowest point in the ridge line of the mountain you will see a reddish orange glow of the soil. This is directly below the pass and appears spectacularly in one of my favorite pictures (to be seen later).



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  11. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    I tried blowing your pic up (screen capture) to get a better look and I still can't tell (too grainy). I guess you need a Colorado expert to tell you for sure.

    Are the bridal veil falls visible in that photo? I couldn't tell. If you are facing the switchbacks, those steps are kind of up and behind the falls, right? :scratch

    I was trying to compare that section you photographed with the photos I took (to look across and see if the vantage point makes sense) but I realized that I don't know exactly where you were taking your photos (We didn't know about Imogene Pass :cry).
    SO, I've got that goin' for me.

    Oh, I sound just completely insane and obsessive, don't I? :huh
    yeah. Sorry 'bout that. Must. Know. The. Answer. Now...

    Okay, can I have a 20 million dpi copy of that photo so I can enlarge it and examine the details with my magnifying loupe? Just kidding!

    I'll just sit quietly now and enjoy your beautiful photographs. :lol3
    Your pretty ride report deserves a nice bump anyway...
    P.S. I'm enjoying the words, too. Not just the pictures.
  12. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hi Kelly, thanks! I hope these pics answer our questions, I am really impressed ya'll did this stuff two up! I look forward to reading your experience out there! :freaky


    Here is a link to the full sized picture (right click and save link as):http://enderthex.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Colorado2010/IMG3306-1-high-rez/1000366598_JfUi4-O.jpg


    I marked up the picture so you can see the points we are talking about. The falls are on the right and I think the pass and the steps are just out of view. I looked through the rest of my pics I didn't upload (tons of em!) but didn't find a better view...


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    I got onto Google Earth with my tracks and tried to find the same pictures and label the area. Sorry for the poor quality but I hope it shows the area.


    This one I tried to get from the same spot I took the picture... "the tunnel" is the spot we are standing at



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    Here are our tracks over the two different days of riding Imogene (on the left) and Black Bear. You can see how Imogene runs with regards to the valley.


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    This pic is from further away showing how Imogene runs from Telluride, it literally shoots right out of the city!


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  13. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Continuing on Imogene Pass, things start getting even more loose and I hang on for dear life bouncing over the rocks. I make it to a resting point at the Tomboy Mine and take a look back... You can see the trail in the mid right of the picture. The weather was clearing up, we couldn't ask for a better day! :freaky



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    Chris is taking a long time catching up to me and I am getting worried... There are a couple tourists up here to talk to though. We soon start to talk about his Harley and my riding experience and how nuts we are to be up here. This is a picture of their rented Jeep. Seems anyone can get their 4x4 fix up here with a cheap Jeep and some trail maps. Good guys though, we will see them later (if not sooner) in the trip.



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  14. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    My concern about Chris is not unfounded... he shows up after a while with a broken shift lever! I know the road we just traversed was very rocky and "cliffy" :huh so I am glad it wasn't worse. Turns out he was super lucky and go shot by a rock into the solid part of the cliff and not the other, more spacious, part.


    Chris! I know you have helmet cam video of this stuff!



    For the record... my BMW has steel levers which bend and can be bent back into place instead of snapping like these aluminum parts. Also, I carried all 4 spare levers with me at all times. Chris had to learn to shift with the back of his boot on the spiky stub.

    Off the record, I still like Chris' bike and I prob would be riding one if I had more leg length, but don't tell him that! I just had to mention the lever thing because Chris still jibes at me for the legendary "BMW reliability" the less fortunate F800s have been experiencing in the forums.



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  15. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Hi Oliver,
    THANK YOU! Oh, thank you so much for going through all that trouble (satellites and everything :raabia).

    I'm sure you were thinking, "Who the hell is this annoying person and how do I get him/her out of my freaking ride report?!" :lol3

    Okay, I had the placement of the steps right (in my head, at least), I just don't know the names of anything. So the Bridal Falls are the ones near that house. Gotcha. I thought the waterfall that everyone poses in front of was called Bridal Falls, which doesn't even make sense (and that's why it was the Summer of STUPID). :D

    After looking at your tracks, and seeing (and understanding) how you went UP Imogene and down Black Bear - wow, BigWan and i are sooo envious of you and Chris! What an awesome ride.
    And THAT'S why it pays to plan ahead...we are finding out we missed all kinds of good stuff. :baldy


    I'm really sorry to hear that it didn't go...um. Smoothly. :eek1 I don't want to ruin things for the rest of your readers, but we'll all be tuning in to find out what happened!

    :lurk

    p.s. I'm so slow, it will be a while before our RR gets to Black Bear - I can PM you when I get to that point if you don't want to slog through the rest :)
  16. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Haha, very true but I often wonder what I am missing if I don't charge ahead like you two did and find some roads much less traveled (or never traveled at all). Kudos! :clap





    Probably a lot more of this...

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    Coincidentally this is the next picture in my series. Shortly after we left the Jeep tourists we plowed our way through the rocks towards the pass. There are several areas here where more adventurous 4x4 drivers have carved playgrounds in the rocks and I have trouble determining which paths to take. At the point where I drop the bike I am turning around to take the correct path and drop the bike in an embarrassing spot.

    I stand there laughing at ourselves and Chris comes over to help me pick up the bike. We are over 12,000 feet now and both relatively tired, from this point onward toward the actual pass is where I recommend to have a buddy while riding to help when needed. The Jeep tourists were joking with me while we waited for Chris that their rental guy said "On Imogene Pass when the going gets tough it only gets tougher".





    :freaky
  17. izom

    izom Been here awhile

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    ...breathtaking !!:eek1 :clap

    -colorado is on my list!!!

    -greets to you texas guys !!!!!!!:freaky

    peter
  18. tremor38

    tremor38 Long timer

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    Haha! 'Courage the Cowardly dog!' I wish BMW would do something about their disfunctional headlight styling.

    Great report though!
  19. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hey Peter, thanks! I think everyone can find awesome stuff in Colorado to ride, you just can't miss!




    :lol3 I don't know about Courage, I was thinking more Milo from "The Oblongs"


    Courage: [​IMG]



    Milo: [​IMG]




    I kinda like how the F8 was designed with functionality in mind instead of fashion. Of course it's generally accepted that Germans have a strange sense of industrial design when it comes to practicality!
  20. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Well, here is where the going got tough and we felt the full force of Imogene Pass. Above 12,500 ft we were tired and out of breath and the terrain became very loose. In the next picture you see Chris pulling his bike up and the previous Jeep Tourists heading up to help us. Chris had only dropped his bike because I just had a nice fall on a critical section of the trail.

    At this part I was clawing my way up on the right side (you can see my tire tracks) to avoid the large rocks on the inside. Much to my surprise the trail took a sharp left with more rocks and I couldn't find a line. I stupidly stopped to try and find a line and immediately started sliding backwards. My front brake was locked and I couldn't get on my rear brake to help stop the bike (I must have been panicking because I didn't let off the clutch until it was too late). My wheels were inches away from the edge of the small cliff and I was seriously worried about going over, I dumped it on the left side on purpose to stop sliding further back.

    Now I was on the hill, looking back at Chris and the Jeep guys, breathing heavily and wondering how we were going to continue. They helped me get the bike up and gave me some tips on how to approach the steep corner. I resigned to power walking the bike up around the corner (I think that was the only time I had to power walk the bike during the trip) and waited for Chris.



    I have to give props to Chris for putting up with my lack of serious riding skills and my hesitation in these situations. He never expressed frustration or threatened to continue without me (unlike some other people I have ridden with). Without his help and persuasion I may not have continued to complete trails such as Imogene or Black Bear... and I am very glad we did press on!

    I do most of my riding solo so I am always thinking about having an "out". A close call on my NM/TX trip taught me a valuable lesson... don't go through obstacles you can't come back over. My route had taken me into a military zone I wasn't allowed to cross and I was trying to re-route myself in the middle of nowhere. I saw a major road less than 2 miles from my location and took a small dirt road in that direction. It rapidly deteriorated and soon I was bouncing down ledges thinking "It is really close I can make it!". The road ended where the valley caved in and I spent almost two hours back tracking the 1/2 mile in the dark... dropped the bike three times, loading and unloading it etc. But with a riding buddy we can go anywhere since the two of us can pull the big bikes over obstacles and help each other out to reduce fatigue.



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    This is what met us at the top of the hill... it is hard to see how big the rocks are. Chris went ahead to scout it out and I soon followed his line, letting my suspension do its thing. I had hit many large rocks so far and the tires and tubes have held up great!



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