3 Blokes from New Hampshire going to CO/UT...would love your advice!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by AdamChandler, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    The trip's director is @Red Card who I've ridden at least a thousand miles with in the last 3 years and while he's a better rider than me, we get along really well. Then there's @MoXoM who I've known only since April but we've already had 5 riding days together and I think I've witnessed every drop his KTM 790 Adventure has gone through and the bike has the scars to prove it. He and Red Card on his 690 Enduro and me on my HUGE 700 pound (I've weighed it) R1200GS Adventure have taken 2 weeks off work and this is our plan:

    Here are the 3 of our bikes side-by-side on a recent trip to Maine:
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    I'll be sans a top-box on my GS but mostly the same setup. We'll each be on knobby tires and each of us in their own way is fairly competent off road. We each ride primarily off road on our motorcycles but speaking for myself here, I've only ever ridden off-road in New England so I'm on sand 5% of the time and did quite well when I was in sand all day in an off-road event in Ontario last year on the GSA but the terrain of Colorado and Utah is completely foreign to us.

    High-Level Plan:
    Depart Manchester New Hampshire on August 23rd. Neil and I will drive his Tacoma with a trailer behind it straight to Cleveland OH arriving there on Sunday night. Harry will already be in PA with family towing his 690 behind his car on a trailer and we'll then set off Monday the 24th from OH in 2 cars heading west to Salida Colorado.

    Arrive Salida on 25th or 26th (my birthday, BTW).

    We'll be leaving the cars and trailers in CO. Here's our motorcycle route which will be at least 7 days of riding from 8/26 - 9/1 but we have built in some buffer to go an extra day or 2 if needed as we aren't due back at work until September 7th but all of us agreed that getting back home with a rest day is ideal.

    Here's a screenshot of the map that encompasses all of our rides once we're there:
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    Here's a Google Maps Link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/v...O&ll=38.4458146441206,-107.90892500000001&z=9

    I'm sure many of you know these areas and I'll copy Harry's text below indicating what days look like. What I'm searching for here is suggestions on things we should add OR remove from our trip. The entire route in basecamp is 775 miles. Which is why I'll digress and mention my other motorcycle is a Beta 500 RS fully loaded up "TAT READY" meaning 4 gallon fuel tank, huge seat, Reckless 40 luggage, risers and tank bag with LED lights. It's a bike I can ride all day but I don't like camping off it because I don't have a lot of storage especially since we're living off our bikes for 7-9 days and if I take the beta, it'll force me to leave my camera equipment home. So the GS it is. I think many people who have ridden these areas will tell me to take the Beta. I'll take group advice here and your feedback/opinion matters. My bikes are two distinctly different sizes:
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    Alright, Harry's Route and this is version 1 so send us your suggestions!:

    DAY 1 - from Salida to Campsite near Lake City

    129 mi, 5 hours, 41 minutes

    Mostly Easy Dirt though the mountains.

    Camping at Private Site on lake

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    DAY 2 - from Lake City to Lower Beaver Campground outside of Telluride

    78 mi, 5 hours, 20 minutes

    Riding part of Alpine loop which is moderate challenge. Unknown condition or difficulty of County Road 18 and 17 outside of Ouray. Dinner and drinks in Telluride (very cool ski town)
    Camping at State campground along river.

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    DAY 3 - from Lower Beaver Campground to Shafer Campground just inside Canyonlands N.P. in UT

    172 mi, 4 hours, 42 minutes

    ½ pavement on twisty road along river in a canyon. ½ dirt after Gateway just about all the way to Moab. Riding in high desert and alpine areas. Will be staying at campsite early on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands N.P.

    NOTE: Overnight permits must be requested at least five days before trip start date. Day use permits may be obtained up to 24 hours in advance of trip start.

    https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/backcountrypermits.htm

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    DAY 4 - Directions from Shafer Campground to Martins House in Moab

    59 mi, 2 hours, 39 minutes

    Finish the White Rim Trail then head back to Moab. Might be camping at a friends house.

    [​IMG]

    DAY 5 - from Martins House to East Portal Campground in Gunnison N.P.

    175 mi, 5 hours, 18 minutes

    First few hours of riding in high desert on dirt until Gateway. Mostly slab from Gateway to Montrose (93 miles) very mountainous region with very few connecting dirt roads. Will be staying at a State Campground next to the Gunnison River in Black Canyon of Gunnison N.P.

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    DAY 6 - from East Portal Campground to Taylor Park

    101 mi, 2 hours, 15 minutes

    This is a light travel day to get to Taylor Park. There will be time to explore the Black Canyon in the morning before departing. Once on the road 75% will be slab. Likely camp at Rivers End Campground on Taylor Park Reservoir. I hope to explore some single track in the park that day.

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    DAY 7 - from Taylor Park to Salida

    60 mi, 1 hour, 26 minutes

    Moderate dirt roads over Tin Cup pass then pavement to Salida. Once we get to the vehicles, we can then drive south to see the Great Sands N.P. or head east to visit Royal Gorge Bridge.

    [​IMG]

    -----

    Adam is back. One thing I asked him to add is in the Alpine Loop, we add Engineer Pass. I think that's a pretty easy addition.

    I'm seeking advice from the community on adaptations to this route both written and GPX files if you have them...local knowledge is appreciated even if you want to share a track with us via private mail instead of putting it here. We're only going to do this once at least for the foreseeable future so if you think we should try something, send it over but it has to be Big-Bike Friendly. The GPX is attached.

    Also, I work remotely so I would like to have Internet every couple of days to reply to emails and phone calls so any parts of our trip with wifi is helpful. Group consensus is a motel/hotel every 3 days and we'll just share a room and recharge and most importantly shower so if there are nights where that area we're riding through really should be camping because it's epic and awesome, we'll do that over hotel.

    If you're in CO/UT and you have COVID advice for us, let us know. We're doing just gas-stations on our way out there and we're wearing masks at all times when we're around other humans. All 3 of us don't have any symptoms and have been home-bound since March. I've been remotely working and just riding since 1st week of March.

    Here are some key areas we're looking for tips:
    • Packing list item we may not consider. We bring bear spray when going to Maine. Stuff like that we may not think of
    • Can we camp w/o tents? Under the stars so long as there's no rain on the forecast? Will bugs bite us? how cold at night?
    • What days (based on location per day) should we absolutely camp and not hotel such as this spot in this trail is amazing and you have to sleep under the stars?
    • How is cell service along the route?
    • Should we expect to have a lot of flat tires? Are these trails full of old nails / rail-ties? I rarely get a flat in Vermont (never) but should we bring 3 tubes instead of 1?
    • What percentage of sand/mud/baby-heads/ascents/descents should we expect in our nearly 800 miles?
    • Is there an online guide that discusses camping here? I heard there are designated camping spots and they fill up and there are passes for the parks? A link or quick explanation would be super helpful
    • Any stops along the way from OH to CO that are worth seeing even though we're trailering? (biggest ball of yarn?)
    • Are we passing any locally renowned restaurants/cafes/breweries that are worth a stop even with COVID as we are going to limit dining out and human exposure but if this is the beset burrito in Colorado, well then I'm gonna go so hit me up with deets. I love tex-mex
    Thank you all in advance. The 3 of us are really excited and yes, there will be a ride-report when we're done. Here are 2 previous ride reports I did that I'm really proud of


    I'm going to ask @MoXoM and @Red Card to add their own remarks if I missed anything. Will link to their post in this 1st post so people later can find them easily.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Attached Files:

    #1
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  2. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    If you're an A+ rider, take the GS.
    I've been riding SW Colorado and SE Utah since early 90's. Have had a couple 1150GS's and wouldn't think of taking them on Imogene or the road from Moab up to Deadhorse SP. Just me, as I'm sure you'll get more guys saying 'it's easy, I did it with my wife on the back', etc.
    I tend to stay away from Moab between mid May to mid September. Too hot for me.
    Cinnamon can be a little rough, too. I might suggest Engineer if coming from the east. For me, it's easier descending steep switchbacks than ascending on the big bikes.
    Instead of going into the Black Canyon main entry from the south, hit CO92 from the dam back along the north rim. You won't be sorry. Or hit both, but don't miss 92.
    When along 141 near Uravan, look for the River Road, which connects along the San Miguel and it's confluence with the Dolores. A few miles from the highway is a great view of the remains of the flume. Crazy old miners.
    Just my $.02 on the route.

    As for covid - a lot of stuff is closed, bars, etc. I think just play it safe by camping. We'll have our second spike after all the touristos go home for the season. For now, the state is just happy to take your money.

    Hit me up if you have any specific questions on the area.
    #2
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  3. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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  4. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

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    I’d suggest the alpine loop out of Silverton or Ouray, you pass by it near lake city... might add 4-6 hours to your day but has amazing views above the tree line and you’ll bag a few summits. Your 700 lb bike will have no problem.
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  5. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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  6. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

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    That white rim trail is just absolutely epic... not much beats the scenery and remote feeling. The west side has a couple shallow water crossings and sand but nothing to worry about on a GSA.
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  7. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    For apparel preparations. I was planning on doing mesh suit with the thought that it'll be 95F and dry and then if it does rain, I'll be stoked. Should I do GoreTex or is Mesh the better idea? I'm talking Klim Dakar / Induction versus Badlands Pro. I think badlands is going to suck when I'm pushing the GSA up a hill in 95 degree weather/?
    #7
  8. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    ^^^Both? You're not going to want to be in the mountains with mesh unless its above average temps.

    I like your list of who's packing what. I'm still of the mind that packing all your own essentials is critical. Hopefully you all are able to stick together with no mishaps. I'm sure you are, but that's my reason for packing enough for a night out own my own bike.
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  9. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    So you recommend a regular suit..maybe not a heavy Badlands but something that's in between Mesh & heavy GoreTex? thanks for the advice? What do most of your riding buddies wear when out?
    #9
  10. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

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    The mountains in CO can get cold and possibly rain everyday... having the option to stay dry is probably a good idea. Moab is crazy hot. I’ve done both of those area in an Aerostich Darien... yes it was hot and yes there where torrential down pours. I’d take the badlands.
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  11. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    Glad I asked. I was going to go thin and light. I appreciate the feedback.
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  12. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    I live in denver and have ridden most of the dirt on your route.

    Personally I would not take the BMW

    I have seen guys struggle with their BMW's on some of the dirt sections on your routes.

    You will need a tent, to great a chance of rain /snow/and hail...but...there still may be a chance of good enough weather to camp without setting up your tent.

    You need to be prepaired for day timae highs in the 40-80+ degree range and nighttime lows in 30 degree range .. that is a big temp range .

    Suggest you goto rockies section and read coming to Colorado thread

    Do not under estimate the effects of our elevation you will find riding here is much more fatiguing than what you are use to even if the difficultiy were the same.

    You need a permit to ride the white rim trail

    I carry one spare front and rear tube.

    My goto colorado/utah riding kit is the Klim induction jacket and klim mojave pants ...I also carry the marmot precip rain jacket and pant to add as a overlayer as needed for cold and or wet. I also carry a midweight merino wool shirt to add over my merino wool tee for extra warmth as needed ... that set up works well for me for me 90+% of time

    I also carry a midweight hooded down puffy for at camp and as need for extra warmth when sleeping

    Scott
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  13. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    Aerostich Darien for me when traveling. I have some beater coats for day dirt trips.
    A lot of guys use Klim, but I'm not sure what particular items.
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  14. Utrider1

    Utrider1 Been here awhile Supporter

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    I will concur with Dadodirt, the big bike on Imogene and Engineer is "highly skilled" on big bike territory. I have been over them on my 450, but having done that I would not take my Stelvio over those 2 passes. It looks like you are taking Mineral Creek down to 550 into Ouray, that too would be a tough slog on a big bike. You may look at sending the orange crew that way, and you could head down through Animas Forks into Silverton. Then get to Ouray on 550. It really is a spectacular road and there is NO dishonor in arriving alive. I don't recall any extreme exposure on your way down Mineral Creek, so you probably wouldn't die.

    One of the challenges I saw, was you are chugging along pretty good and someone coming the other way forces you off your chosen line...........there are a few places out there where that would not end well if you didn't have full capability and reserve skill available. I'm thinking specifically of near the summit of Imogene coming up from Ouray, there's a good bit of rock and just as I was making the final push through a rough rock patch, a guy dropped off the top and into my line. He didn't/couldn't see me nor did I him. The alternate line I took wasn't pretty, and on the 450 I could manage it, on the big girl............I shudder to think about it.

    Coming down Engineer, there's one switchback that would be downhill and to the right. Last time I was through there it was a mess. I think with some help you could get through it, but I believe you would want your buddies on standby in case things got a little weird there.

    The problem with all of these rides, is the GS is an awesome tool for 98% of it, it's those damn 2% that keep me awake at night!

    The time of year you are looking at, we get "monsoon" storms that pop up in the afternoon, be prepared. You don't want to be on a peak/summit when one comes through.....
    #14
  15. MoXoM

    MoXoM Adventurer

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    Im on this trip with adam. Is late august in this area really that cold at night and randomly rainy.. ???
    im really trying to pack light as possible, but the gear keeps adding up with the extreme temp changes and rain mentioned. I'll be on a KTM 790. Mesh by day, michelin man at night

    I have an Aerostitch Darien and although it is fairly lightweight and full goretex.. there is almost no breathability. very Hot coat in my opinion.
    My go to jacket at this point is an older Feildsheer Adventure series.. ( the discontinued rare wanted one) and my Scorpion Yosemite pants. very breathable flaps.. but shuts down quickly for rain.
    I have a liner for it but its faster to slip on a rain overpant. Also have a small packable puffy coat if needed for nights..
    I have a pr of KLIM Mojave's but its mesh..

    thank you all for the insight and opinions.. please keep them coming..
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  16. Utrider1

    Utrider1 Been here awhile Supporter

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    I don't know that it's that cold at night per se, but there is an above average chance of afternoon thunderstorms. They come and generally go pretty quick, but they are an issue. I'm not super up on my gear stuff, and I understand the minimal packing thing, I would be thinking layers.......something light for the vast majority of it 80 and 90 degrees, a compact liner/shell for the rain. I have NO issue with staying warm, so can't help you there.

    You guys will have a blast! It is simply put some of the most spectacular scenery you can experience in North America. Take lots of pictures, don't overthink it too much and come back and tell us all about it!
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  17. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    One thing that really helps with the Darien, and I suspect any full Gore-Tex garment, is to wear something wettable underneath. I have used both a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt, which kept me cool in 90F and humid for about an hour, and a LDComfort long-sleeved t-shirt, which lasted about 2 hours. The difference was when the cotton t-shirt dried, it started to get warm. When the the LDComfort dried, it still was pretty comfortable. Also, when you first put them on wet, the cotton is freezing. The LDComfort is just cool.
    https://ldcomfort.com/
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  18. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    Weather in Colorado is highly variable.

    Last Aug I did a 5 night trip ... never used my tent.

    But

    Do NOT count on that happening to you !

    It can snow any month here ... 4 of July snow is not uncommon here.

    Yes .. it will likely be in 30's every night here ...you could get lucky and it only gets down to low 50's ...but again ..you can not count on that .

    In Aug ...I wear full mesh with rain/wind over layer ...you should be good with that in the day. Klim Mojave pants and Induction Jacket is what I wear ... Keep in mind I live here, I thought you were looking for advice from local experienced riders

    If you do not believe me and others on night time temps ...use the web ...check historic night time lows for Silverton, or any other MTN town

    Scott
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  19. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

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    One strategy might be too camp in Ouray or Silverton and go on day ride loops with most of the luggage off your bikes for the difficult areas. You could literally stay several days in Ouray (there are a few campgrounds and AirBnB's and ride something different every day all day.
    #19
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  20. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    This is all incredibly useful. Thank you all.

    Red Card / Moxom, here's the thread they were referencing - https://advrider.com/f/threads/coming-to-colorado-to-ride-some-things-to-consider.1059236/

    I'm going to only bring my backpacking tent + insulated blow up mattress + pillow
    Badlands Pro Suit with 2 under layers so I can shed those (1 light thermal + 1 thicker thermal)
    I'm about 51% sold on bring the Enduro instead and just bringing my camera with one lens instead of my entire kit. ​

    The team and I are talking every week on zoom so we're having another session on Monday to discuss.
    #20