Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Thumpstart92, Jun 24, 2014.
Any RR that starts out with the title from one of the best books of all time deserves a subscription
Carry on fellas, very interested to see how this turns out.
I'm ready for the show once you boys rest up ..
We left Little Rock around 6PM and the plan was to drive straight through the night to Raton NM. We had 3 drivers so we could just alternate drivers through the flat plains of OK and TX.
13 hours later we arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to shove off on our grand escape. A fellow ADV rider hooked us up with a place to park our cagers (big thanks to Ateamnm)
Dojaw isnt afraid to help
We started off to Trinidad, CO we wanted to bypass as much interstate as possible so we gassed up in Trinidad and took some backroads Dogjaw had found.
Some beautiful scenery
Met a few KLR riders riding the TAT. This fella said our Ozarks had left their mark on his bike. Broken turn signal mended by duct tape, a bent crash bar and some Arkansas mud.
We headed off once again and found a stretch of dirt that would bypass Walsenburg. This would be our first taste of dirt and did it feel glorious. We didnt see another vehicle on this stretch of road, almost no dust and the first time I had seen mountains that tall.
The road ended and we headed to Cotapaxi.
Next Salida, which looking back on it was one of my favorite towns. Most of the other towns we went to were all to touristy. Salida kinda reminded me of home.
Found a sandwich place and grabbed a bite. One of the things we wanted to do is eat local food and say adios to McNastys.
Dogjaw talking to the waitress It takes a special person to take a ribbing from Dogjaw and she threw crap right back at him.
Clean Dirt looking GQish
Monarch would be our first pass and first snow sighting of the trip. Fun little climb halfway up my camera came off the lanyard and just happened to fall between my legs which forced me to sit down on it instead of stand up on the pegs. I felt every bump, rut, rock etc and made me realize I may need a new shock on my 35k shock.
Once we reached the top it was absolutely amazing (other than my camera being shoved between my buttcheeks. Great pictures everywhere you look panorama after another.
From here we started heading to Gunnison. Bryan wanted to camp at Crested Butte. So we start easing our way there.
Its getting kind of late and we stop at a campsite outside of Alamosa look and around. Forget this campsite We have better ones than this in Arkansas.
We arrive in Crested Butte, which is not one of my favorite towns. It reminded me of the preppy kids we used to play in football who's parents had bought all the refs. We stop at the visitor center to figure out where to camp. Bryan looks at his phone and exclaims "Gothic is only 3 blocks away"
3 blocks? heck lets go.
3 miles seems like a lot longer when you have 3 blocks stuck in your head. We go through Aspen groves, dirt roads, beautiful winding rivers. I always imagined this is what paradise what looked like.
We arrive in Gothic, CO. Gothic is actually a research facility founded in the 30's. We were greeted by a researcher who showed us to the library.
Okay library? Makes you think of books right?
There were books involved but more or less it was a library of insects and pelts of various rodents. The smell of formaldehyde creeped in our nostrils. Were not in Arkansas anymore.
We needed water so the researcher took us to a spickot that was connected to spring water. The best water I ever had. We filled up every container to put water in. Heck if I had another pair of shoes i would have filled those up with water.
We find a campsite 2 miles north of Gothic. This would be the most amazing campsite of the trip.
Just powerfully amazing. My jaw hit the ground so fast it hit a chipmunk in the head and made him crap out the acorn he had in his mouth whole. . Just absolutely extraordinary.
Firewood is easy to come by and Dried aspen burns like a charm.
Fire going,3 bags of dehydrated food makes for a good nights sleep.
The first 24 hours of riding will be hard to top
Gus to Woodrow: What are you talking about? You don't even like money. You like money even less than you like fun, if thats possible.
Riding pigs as befits our Arkansas roots, we elected to forego as much slab as possible, turning west at Trinidad on 12, north through the Spanish Peaks, then just a few miles west on 160 to intersect 520, a dirt road that looks fairly straight and flat on the map but in reality is anything but. This gives us our first taste of wrangling the fully loaded pigs on gravel, and everyone rises to the challenge, a sign if great things to come.
As far as the waitress in Salida is concerned, Thump failed to mention how smoking hot she was, must be afeared that his gf will read this thread... She seemed to have a thing for guys with ponytails, but Bryan couldn't close the deal, so we decided to get out of Salida. While loading up, a group of pirates ride by and the last one in the parade( the pivot man?) sneers, "well, there goes the neighborhood!" I personally think they took it with them, was glad to see it go.
The trip up Monarch Pass was awesome; the first and last time I had been up there was on my 91 Nighthawk 750 last year, quite a difference from my DR650. Returning to this spot was awesome, but doing it with Zach this time was off if the charts, and was only going to get better.
Seemed like it took FOREVER. To reach Gothic, and we had no idea what we were in for; all I knew is that I had found it in a search for free campsites. Nothing could have prepared us for the jaw dropping beauty of the place, nor the openness of the resident students; they invited us into their library, left it unlocked do we could recharge phones, etc. We camped approx a mile down a dirt road in a canyon reminiscent of Yosemite, and had the place all to ourselves:
Raising a cup to those who have gone before, and to those who couldn't be with us on this day; who needs whiskey when fresh snowmelt is available in June?
Btw, 1920's libraries that are full of skinned critters and reek faintly of formaldehyde and located in the middle of nowhere are not to be visited alone at 2230, especially if you have a hyperactive imagination; I swear I heard rustling from inside the cabinets, so I went away from there, didn't necessarily run, but advanced with alacrity back to camp.
Gus: Lori, darlin'
The Ride for Trevor:
Btw, the freeze dried dinners were awesome, although they had negative gastric effects on at least one of our party; I'm very grateful for a breeze blowing through the valley...
Woodrow: listening to you brag ain't improving the taste of these Mexican strawberries!
The Ride for Trevor:
I'm Fletcher, or Fletch, or flex. I acquired the nickname flex on this trip, apparently due to an image Bret, Brian, and Zach developed of me being some kind of a bad ass. I don't know when exactly my actions nurtured this image, but I'm sure they will tell all about it in the course of the ride report. In addition to my daring antics their view of me was most likely encouraged by my bodybuilders physique, devil may care riding attire, and in your face demeanor.
With Bret and Zach's bikes in tow in addition to my own, I parted town a couple of days before the other guys. They had some cockamamie plan about spending a full day at work, getting in the car and towing a bike 13 hours over night from Little Rock to Raton, jumping out of the car before it had even rolled to a complete stop and landing on their bikes for a full day of mixed off road and paved twists riding. Being the bad ass that I am, (this was established in the first paragraph) I was having no part of this lunatics plan thank you very much. I'll drive half way, set up an overnight camp in OK then drive on to Raton the next day where I'll get a couple of good nights sleep before heading into the wild blue yonder with the rest of the guys. (the lunatic had other plans in store for this trip, most of which worked out absurdly wonderful!)
The rig taking a break somewheres in the Oklahoma plains.
Three little pigs aren't a lot of weight but you can sure feel them behind a little 6 cylinder f150.
Unfortunately I neglected to get better photo's of the Red Rock Canyon State park in Hinton, OK. It's a pretty cool place to come across while plodding through the Oklahoma plains. I'd say it comes up from no where, but in truth it drops down from no where. The red stone canyon walls and red clay floor made a nice place for me to put down my head for the night.
Relieved to get to Raton and loose from a truck and trailer, I unloaded my bike, set up camp, and explored Sugarite Canyon State Park.
Nice as it was, visually the campground was a far cry from other places I would stay in the coming week. Despite a recent forest fire it was still pretty and a pleasant place to spend a couple of nights while the other Arkansas boys were still at home pining to be out west.
I even went ahead and made a quick jaunt down the road crossing into CO.
Then took a ride a few miles east of Raton to check out the Capulin Volcano National Monument.
Try as I might, I never figured out how to take a photograph that captured the scale of the crater on top of this mountain, or even include the thing in it's entirety. This arial photo I stole from the internet illustrates something of it's scale. (a bad ass will steal once and a while if it suits their purpose)
I was told the volcano formed the mountain in a period of 20-40 years. The other mountains in the area were formed in the same way, from flat plains to mountains easily within a human lifespan. Apparently there is a similar volcano forming this type of mountain somewhere in Mexico at the present time. Riding thought the volcano dotted plain to get to Capulin I felt there was something about the place but couldn't say what. After learning about how it was made, riding back to camp, I had the sensation I was flying through a prehistoric landscape. I was watching for a pterosaurs to swoop down and carry off one of the prong horned sheep along the way.
This picture looks down in the volcanos cone from it's rim and on to the parking lot and plains below.
Another view of the plains from the volcano's rim.
Walking around the circumference of the volcanic rim I got to experience prickly pears in bloom, mule deer who were browsing down in the volcano's cone, and what it feels like to come from sea level to over 8000 feet and get a somewhat intensive workout.
Great start and photos.
I'll wack that bell if I want to!
Good gawd those are awesome pics. Cool clouds and great roads.
Remember the lunatics plan? Back in Little Rock when Bret was laying this all out for me, my BS meter was redlining. I was thinking, sure, y'all are going to roll into Raton looking and feeling like the walking dead. Bret assured me, "oh no, we're going to be raring to go!" Well, Bret and the boys left me tapping the lens of that BS meter wondering where to take it to get recalibrated. In fact, I was the one who was feeling off most of the day.
The Sugarite Canyon campground was ten or fifteen miles from decent phone reception and I wasn't real sure when they were going to arrive. I didn't want to start the trip with them waiting around for me while I was snoozing away at a campground, miles up the road. At 3 a.m. while I was laying in my tent with pre-trip insomnia I came up with a plan to ride down the road, find decent phone reception, and find out whats up. The campground was pretty concentrated with tents and campers so being the considerate bad ass that I am I quietly pushed the bike to the highway before cranking it up. (a 3 a.m. step disregarded by one of our fellow campers later in the trip at Moab) I have never in my life seen more deer standing on, beside and around a road than I did on the road to Raton that morning. Between the deer, chilly morning air, and pre-trip jitters I was fully awake and alert. It seems that early morning phone reception is farther away from camp than mid evening reception. I ended up riding almost to town before I was able to send texts to everyone inquiring about their ETA. Nothing back. They must all be asleep in the car. No calls answered. Only one thing to do, ride back to camp, break it down and get back to our rendezvous. I weaved back through the deer, parked just outside of the campground and quietly packed with the help of the mornings gloaming. With the gear packed and bike loaded I once more traversed the gauntlet of deer and made it to our meeting/truck and trailer parking place.
Once there I received word from Zach that they were about an hour and a half away. I had time to sort my gear and reconsider what I really needed to carry with me and what needed to stay in the truck. I had put a lot of thought into packing but in the end I panicked and threw pretty much everything I owned in the truck. This method of packing created a lot of chaos when it came time to whittle down my final load and pack my bike. In the end I got my gear pretty well figured out and the lunatics arrived on time.
They were hungry and talking about McDonalds, which I kind of hate so I steered them toward Raton's, All Season's Cafe. I just wanted a good meal and had been impressed the previous morning when I ordered an egg over easy and got a properly cooked egg, over easy, that never happens! Unbeknownst to me I had just set the stage for the perfect way to start our trip. I had never really spent much time in public with Bret, Brian, and Zach. While I have known many with highly developed skills in bringing out the personally of waitresses, non compare with the artistry of Bret! There was all sorts of off colored stories, jokes, and pranks emitting from our table. All the tables around us were either offended or snickering depending on their sense of humor, or lack thereof. One or two fellows in adjacent booths even joined in. It was Zach who finally won the prize of the game "I can't believe you just said that" when he told the waitress some crazy story about "not liking to run though the grass because it tickled his testicles" Then Bret said "at his age even if he wasn't short he'd still have the same problem" I thought they had gone a little too far but I think the waitress lady was ready to jump on the back of Zach's bike and go with us.
After breakfast and learning TMI about Zach and Bret most of the day was a blur for me. I discovered that Colorado turned me into a vampire who had to wear sunglasses at all times to keep my retinas from cooking (it's really bright out there) The procedure of getting your key in the ignition, and donning your jacket, earplugs, helmet and gloves in order was even more complicated on a muli-day trip. Most importantly, I was riding with three nut cases who despite having been awake for most of the previous twenty four hours, seemed to have boundless energy!
first nights camp sight near Crested Butte, Gothic Campground
• yes, Brian did ride to breakfast wearing a pair of flip flops, the first-aid kit never needed to be deployed.
•if I only had a nickel for every time I saw Bret washing the windshield of a complete stranger... I'm pretty sure he'd put all those third world kids who do it for money out of business if we were traveling outside the US. I did notice he sometimes used it as a delaying strategy so he could pump them for information about where to camp, roads to take, places to eat, etc.
•the GQ image of me… two words… BAD ASS
•Zach, I think you probably don't need work done on your shock, the real problem lies in having a camera inserted between your butt cheeks
•the smoking hot status of the waitress that Zach failed to address, but Bret did not… She was all about Brian and that dreamy pony tail of his. His headlight must have dimmed from being left on too long or he would have seen what was up with that!
•The folks at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory were super friendly, so much so that I was getting a little worried they were drawing us near so they could trap us, fill us with formaldehyde and mount us on a board as specimen in their library. Look in the drawer labeled Homo Hominis Arkansianas.
She was smokin hot. Hottttt hot.
You guys ain't right!
Lesson from day one: never question what the road throws at you. I was a bit bummed earlier in the day as I had some places I wanted to see and routes I wanted to take, but if I had, I would have never experienced the weirdness and wonder of Gothic, one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen.
And day two made day one look like Mr Roger's neighborhood by comparison; a teaser...
Morning broke across the mountains; this is the view which welcomed me, along with a brisk north wind:
Brian was preoccupied with some personal correspondence and the other two campers hadn't shown any signs of life, so it was a great time for a little quiet time and reflection on the beauty of this valley; that, and got to try out some new toys; I felt like a model from a LL Bean catalogue, only shorter and balder, kind of like an ADV George Castanza.
By this time the others had become somewhat ambulatory, and as we were discussing the plans for the day, a young guy wandered into out camp, somewhat unexpectedly as we were approximately a mile from Gothic with nothing but mountains behind us. He said that he was one of three research students whose car was stuck in a creek back up in the mountains, and needed a ride down to Gothic to call a tow truck. He was obviously as green as a gourd, from New Orleans but had never heard the term "coon ass", had never been on a motorcycle. I didn't realize how nervous he was until he querulously asked if anyone had a helmet he could borrow; on the ride to Gothic, I made up a whopper about how my wife wouldn't ride with me anymore because of my frequent crashes, due in part to my recent addiction to cough syrup. I must have spooked the poor kid pretty badly, as he fairly leaped from the bike when we got to "town". When I rode back to camp, I decided to check out the next valley, when I discovered the stuck car, high centered in the creek a short distance from our tents with the other two research students wandering aimlessly. Knowing that we had the brute Samson-like strength of Fletch the Intiminator at our disposal, I volunteered our services, and with just a little effort, had them out of the creek and on their way back to town.
We packed up and headed towards Crested Butte to gas up and head west across Kebbler Pass; the fine folks of Gothic treated us like kings, their valley is a palace, and I wish them all the favor in this world... What a place.
I don't think that was a northerly wind. If I recall correctly the previous night we ate the freeze dried cajun dinner which had a powerful effect on Brian.
Nice camp set up. Where did you get the tall narrow cook pot?
The Walmarts, 15.00; has two cups that stack inside it, great find by Sukirider...
Another must have for this trip was my Fathers Day gift, a Big Agnes sleeping bag; didn't get cold once. Also, after seeing how much Zach and Brian liked their Helinox camp chairs, i had to break down and buy one in Ouray.
Gus: money well spent, Jake; both times!