CDR - COBDR Round Trip of Colorado

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PittsDriver, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I have a small ride group of friends, one dating back to high school days, that plans and rides an Epic Adventure every year. We started out in 2011 with the Pacific Coast Highway and a few years later had worked up to 7,000+ mile road trips from the east coast to Glacier NP and back. That was about the time that I said something like "Hey guys, there's this thing called the TAT and we should do it!" We did - the full ride, and haven't been back on a road trip since (some of the ride reports are in my .sig).

    When we went through the Rockies on the TAT in 2015, I felt like we were skipping by a lot of amazing places to ride with no time to explore and so set it near the top of my bucket list to go back and spend more time there. Well, with the past 4 years of off-road ADV rides in the logbook, this is the year for that. And, at 61 years old, I ain't exactly on the clock yet but I can hear it ticking (think Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny). The plan was set for this ride in mid-July but as a lot of you know, quite a bit of the high ground was still under some deep snow and avalanches and the stream crossings were reported to be downright dangerous then. A week before the trip, we punted the trip into September trying to hit the sweet spot between Summer and the high elevation snow and freeze.

    Skip forward to late August and now we're 1 man down (Coach) due to pressing matters in his business. A couple weeks later, another riding bud (Dawg) bites the dust due to an emergency conflict. @#$%, so I call the last remaining guy (Indi) and ask him for his thoughts - wants to go and his wife is encouraging it, but what do I think? I'm going if I have to do it solo I tell him and in so doing, I think I made his decision for him. He's also now convinced his brother to come along so we'll be three guys now on the trip - two KLRs and me on a KTM 690 Enduro. Indi's bro is going to be riding Dawg's KLR. I think it's a new group rule than when you bail on a trip, someone else get's to take and abuse your bike. Giddy up.

    Our "plan" is to hook on to the CDR track in Del Norte headed north. I'm thinking it'll take us about 3 days or so to make that ride up to Steamboat Springs where we'll turn around and head south again on the COBDR. I put "plan" in quotation marks because we don't have any plan for where we'll stop or where we'll jump on and off the track to see something interesting. I have a friend with a big ranch near Jefferson (8 miles off the track) and we may even hang there for a bit. With all the tracks loaded in the GPS, serendipity is the real plan here but hopefully about a week later, we'll be back down in the San Juans making our way through the high passes there over to Telluride.

    I'll try to update the report as we go along but it may not get much of a substantial posting of photos and antics until we're back home. My flight leaves at 0'dark:30 tomorrow to meet up with the guys and the bikes.
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  2. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Well, it turns out that I still have an old friend that lives in Durango where I'm renting the KTM and arrange with her to base our trip from her place. Indi and Scratch (indi's bro) are driving out to Durango from Atlanta so they left on Monday evening. I hopped on a flight on Thursday and they picked me up from the airport. My friend there graciously allowed and had space for Indi's truck so we unloaded the bikes and they took me over to MountainADV to pick up my rental.

    Sure enough, there's a KTM 690 Enduro sitting there just as promised. Dave, who is the proprietor of MountainADV has a whole shop full of KTM and Husky enduro bikes for day trips into the hills. He's also got a few Africa Twins and bigger enduros like the 690. I had asked for a lowered one which he had available. I'm a pretty experienced adventure rider with a lot of trips on my standard height R1200GS and my WR250R with just a Seat Concepts low seat on it. But when I tried to jump on a standard height 690 me and my 29" inseam needed a step ladder. No worries, the lowered 690 was about the same height as my WRR so I felt pretty good about it when I rode off back to our base at my friend's place.

    Now,I haven't seen the old friend for a long time, which is great. We all went out to a nice dinner and breakfast the next morning and we didn't get the bikes all prepped and loaded until nearly 11am to depart. Two experienced KLRs and my rental KTM:

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  3. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    My style of planning for a trip like this is to do a lot of research about options along a specific track; but no fixed idea of how many miles, where we'll eat or sleep, or how many squirrels we'll be distracted by. So with no clear idea in mind about how far we'd ride leaving that late, we set out from Durango headed over to South Fork/Del Norte to hook on to the CDR track. The ride from Durango out to Del Norte is all 2+ lane highway and about 100 miles of relatively uninteresting road but once we get onto the Continental Divide Trail it'll be worth it.

    We didn't take any photos along the connector to the CDR and hopped on to the track in South Fork just before del Norte. Starting out on well groomed, wide gravel roads we rode through some rural residential areas and eventually found ourselves out in the middle of cattle grazing land. OK, now we're riding off the pavement but I keep thinking, "When are we going to see some mountains?" There was occasionally an interesting bit of terrain:

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    ...that the track did not go through. Given it was our first day on the ride; and Scratch (Indi's bro) hadn't been on a dirt bike in about 20 years; and the KTM was new to me, we felt pretty good about just rambling along and taking in the expansive views. It's telling however that the photo above is the only one I took all day until we were in camp that evening.

    Later in the afternoon we finally emerged at a highway crossroad. We could continue on the track and the camping option would have been dispersed along the track; or, we could hit the highway and reach the place I had in mind to camp had we left Durango at a reasonable time - O'Haver Lake in Marshall Pass. We had previously been through Sargents and over Marshall Pass on the TAT so the opportunity to make up for our late start won and we jumped on 114 to 285 headed toward Poncha Springs. At the cut-off to Marshall Pass we took it up to O'haver and on a late Friday afternoon found the place to be completely packed. We talked to a few nice people about sharing a spot for our two tents but to no avail so plan B - keep riding until a good spot revealed itself. We hadn't ridden more than several hundred yards back down the hill when we spotted a couple of great level spots for camping just off the road into the woods.

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    Since Scratch had been conscripted into this adventure and was borrowing everything, he and Indi had planned to share a tent. In all my previous adventures, I had used a Big Agnes bag, air mattress, and Copper Spur UL2 tent. I liked the small footprint of it so I could pop it down anywhere but I always felt cramped in there with my gear. And more importantly, after several years of camping with this gear I decided I just didn't like feeling like a burrito in a single bag. I toss around in my sleep. So this time I upgraded to a Copper Spur UL3 HV and a double wide sleeping bag and pad. A couple of Sea-to-Summit compression dry bags and dang if it all fit nicely in my Wolfman medium duffle.

    Why that exposition on camping stuff? Because it was making me feel guilty that the two brothers were cramped into a single tent and here I was in what felt to me like the Taj Ma Tent in a full sized bed. Did I do anything about that guilt? Heck no and in fact it was amusing listening to them yak as I fell into my luxurious peaceful slumber.
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  4. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We woke up the next morning and asked ourselves if it was important to ride up over Marshall Pass for old time's sake? Nope, we broke camp and scooted on down into Salida for breakfast. Getting all that luxurious camping gear in my bag meant that I had to leave my cooking stuff at home and I'm a guy that needs coffee in the morning.

    For the next evening, I really wanted to be overnight at a friend's ranch near Jefferson on 285. That was going to make it a relatively short miles day but since Indi and Scratch had been on the go for nearly a week (they trucked their bikes out from Georgia) they were fine with getting somewhere by mid-afternoon and just relaxing. Since we were roaming through a lot more of the same kind of country out here (no mountains yet) I finally took a few photos:

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    It was a whole lot of this:
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    ...and this:
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    There's a lot of land out here for sale by the way. We saw what looked like areas planned for sub-dividing with dirt crossroads with names like "Arapaho" and "Aspen Trail" and such. I guess if you wanted to keep several hundred head of cattle in the middle of nowhere this would be a great spot.

    We rolled onto my friend's ranch late afternoon and set up our camp up in the hills on a lake and then went back up to the burger joint and grocery in Jefferson. That's where we learned that there was a burn ban in Park County. And did I mention we're over 9,500' ASL and it was going to get down into the high 20's that night? No one was home at the ranch and my friends graciously invited us to use the lodge house so we watched the Georgia game, re-sorted our packs, got long hot showers, and called it a day. And did I also mention that they had taken more than a couple mountain lions off their ranch over the past year or so? The bears don't worry me too much but anything that sees me as food that can sneak up to within a few feet of me undetected I sort of see as something to avoid.
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  5. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We got up the next morning to freezing temps so we took our time (again...) packing up and getting started before we went up and roamed around the ranch a bit. It's a very nice place these guys have here:

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    There was no gas in Jefferson so we had to run about 10 miles farther down the road. We could have taken the short way into Breakinridge but we really wanted to finally see a pass so we rode back to Como:

    Old 19th century rail roundhouse:
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    We looked around a bit but didn't spend too much time here and started up Boreas Pass. It's a pretty easy forest road, easily passable in a car, up to the top of the pass:

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    This area was pretty crowded on a Sunday morning so off we went to go find the crepe place in Breakinridge. The ride down out of the pass toward Breck:
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    If you're not familiar with the little crepe shack on main street in Breckinridge, just look for the very long lines on the sidewalk in front of a tiny yellow building. Phenomenal eats all cleverly folded into a toasted crepe. http://www.crepesalacarts.com

    After Breckinridge, we hustled our way on up to Steamboat Springs for the 3rd night of our adventure. Since it was going to be more of the same we jumped on the highway and made short work of the remaining miles. We checked in to a hotel there, grabbed a fine pizza, and called it a night. The next day we're leaving the CDR track and hooking on to the COBDR headed south where the ride is expected to keep getting better every day.
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  6. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

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    Great start to your story, Pitts. I've spent many days enjoying the riding in that part of Colorado (was just through there last month, again). Looking forward to the next installment!
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  7. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I have to admit that even after reading Cannonshot's account of the CDR through Colorado, that I was a bit disappointed that it didn't route more through alpine country. I guess it should have been a hint that he talked more about the interesting places and history found along the way than the ride itself. It was definitely beautiful in its own way but now after having rambled for three days on well groomed forest roads, we were ready for something different.

    We started out from Steamboat on the COBDR going south toward Gypsum. This leg spends the day along side the Colorado River as it winds through the hills.

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    Getting some elevation changes and some wooded areas in the ride was already giving us a new experience from the past three days.
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    We stopped to check out State Bridge, both for some food and to see the teepee camping. There was a guy there working on building some yurts but the store/food place was closed and reportedly, he hadn't seen the guy who runs the store for several days. There was a big stage there for an entertainment venue but we didn't get much sense of when that happens here. Basically no food or gas in this 120+ mile section from Steamboat to Gypsum. There looks like a spot in Rancho Del Rio for food and gas but it also wasn't open on this day (a Monday).

    We came to our first tiny little water crossing on the trip but since it was Scratch's first I jumped off and recorded it for posterity. He got a little exuberant and ended up getting soaked :)



    This was a day filled with some very nice views, sometimes along the Colorado River and sometimes from looking down off the hills.

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    We made it on down into Gypsum about dinner time and found a pretty good Mexican restaurant in town. While we were sitting there, I started looking for a place to camp and there was a public park camping spot about 2 miles outside of town. OK, it wasn't the most secluded place we'd ever camped being situated between I-70 and the river but it worked.

    We set up out tents at a spot where we could hear the river:

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    And the sun sat on our 4th day of the ride.
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    It got down to about 30 degrees the night we camped here so I told the boys sharing a tent that I planned to stay in my big comfy sack until the sun came up. It just seemed like this ride was destined to get a late start every day and we didn't get packed up until about 9:30a. We went back into Gypsum to a coffee shop next to the Mexican place to get fueled for what was to come.

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  8. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    The terrain started changing today obviously approaching some high ground. This next section of the COBDR goes between Gypsum and Buena Vista and crosses a couple of 12,000' high passes - Hagerman and Weston. The track climbed pretty quickly up from Gypsum:

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    The approach up to Hagerman was pretty gradual and never got into any steep switchbacks. Just a nicely groomed road that had some occasional rocky parts.

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    Lots of foreshadowing of mountains ahead:
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    And pretty soon, without breaking a sweat, we arrived at the Divide sign in Hagerman:

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    Some really nice views from up here!
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    This is pretty representative of the road up and down Hagerman:

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    Continuing down off Hagerman into Leadville:

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    We were definitely going to need some gas before rolling into Buena Vista and we stopped over in Leadville at a gas station/pizza kitchen/gun & knife store. I sent the following photo back to the guys that bailed on the trip. With the caption: "This is what I've come to - eating vegetarian pizza off a trash can with Indi and Scratch."

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    Indi went vegetarian a few years ago and we've been pretty merciless about hauling him into steak and BBQ joints to get him on the right carnivorous path of living. He managed to find a gal to make him a veg pizza here in Leadville.

    Weston Pass turned out to be more nice views but pretty much an easy ride even though being as high as Hagerman:

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    From Weston on down into Buena Vista, we found ourselves into some pretty awesome terrain. I guess it was technically a County Rd but it was really a lot more like a motorcycle terrain park. Lots of whoops, jumps, sandy washes, hill climbs and a pretty exciting 45 minutes or so of a mad romp that left Indi with a blown compression valve in his KLR's rear shock. We were all getting some fun air through there but when you do that on a heavily ladened KLR, things are going to break. And they did. Unfortunately I have no photos or video of this section. We were having so much fun here no one thought to stop and take any pics.

    We grabbed a couple of rooms at a Best Western and a recommendation for the House Rock Kitchen for dinner. Great place to eat that I can highly recommend and while we're sitting there eating we're watching these guys out the window of the restaurant on Main St.

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    They had apparently wandered into town to eat at the flower arrangements buffet provided courtesy of the town of Buena Vista.

    Tomorrow, Cottonwood and Cumberland Passes and passing through Tincup and Pitkin.
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  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Cottonwood Pass is a perfectly paved road now rising up out of Buena Vista over the pass.

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    So the top parking area was crowded with folks admiring the views:

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    There was this group of about six 80 year old guys that were on a road trip together. They'd all graduated from Dartmouth together back in the dark ages and were out having a great time visiting a friend in BV. They alerted us to a moose sighting and we got them to snap a photo of us:

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    Strafing apexes down the backside we came across the meese:

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    Never seen moose in Colorado before and the only other time was on the Cassiar highway headed to Alaska last year. A short while later we diverted from the perfect pavement onto a two track through the woods and a short while later, we rolled into the interesting little place called Tincup.

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    The store didn't look like it had been open in a while and so we explored around a bit on our way out to the Tincup cemetery.

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    This looked like it was a pretty nice place at one time but was all boarded up now:
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    The church/meeting hall looked to be well maintained:

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    We rode on up the hill out of "town" to the cemetery. Tincup has every sign of being a place where maybe a few dozen people have come to get away from it all and where a few score more got away from it all 150 years ago up on Boot Hill:

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    I've always wondered why, back in the day, they put the cemetery up on a hill? It was a very pretty spot up here an all things considered, not a bad place to spend eternity:

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    The road up to Cumberland pass got a little steeper and the views continued to open up as we climbed higher and higher:

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    So this road got a bit rocky and there were a couple of frisky hill climbs to get up to the top. We rolled up to the Cumberland Pass sign and started admiring our adventure rider skills to each other when a Rav 4 with an 80something year old couple pulls up beside us and asks us if we'd like for them to take our photo.

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    Isn't that nearly always the case that just when you think you're something special, a humbling wake up call is about to happen to you. They were a very pleasant couple where the fine gentleman bet his wife the Toyota would make it up here. They both looked as happy as they could be living life on the edge. We visited with them for a bit and then descended on down into Pitkin where we had a decision to make.

    But before I get there, the boys rode off and left me behind while I was fiddling with my load. So after a few minutes I followed them off down the hill and came across this old mining ruin. I didn't see the boys anywhere around but decided to explore it a bit anyway.

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    There was water bubbling up out of the ground here and it looked like this place was abandoned a very long time ago.

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    Just before we rolled into Pitkin we came upon this eerie colored pond. It was crystal clear except for the fact that it looked like 20,000 gallons of Mountain Dew and was stocked with some pretty large rainbow trout.

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    Weird coloration but it didn't seem to bother the trout any.
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  10. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    So back to the decision that had to be made. When I left Durango the front MT-21 on my 690 was about half gone but since we were traveling less than 1500 miles on this whole adventure, I didn't think anything about it. By the time I got to Steamboat, having ridden a fair bit of highway connecting back and forth, it started showing signs of being pretty far gone. Pitkin was the closest we were going to come to a pretty good motorcycle shop in Gunnison. While we were cooling our heels in the shade of the Pikin General Store, I finally decided that I was thinking about it too much and decided to divert to Gunnison. I knew we were coming up on the San Juans which is not a place I wanted to be repairing a flat inside a worn out tire; and truth be told, I was a little worried about traction in the tight downhill switchbacks that drop steeply out of the passes there. So we left Pitkin and the COBDR and did the 40 mile or so ride over to Gunnison Motorsports run by a great couple, Fritz (the Tulsa Tornado) and Vicki who had the shop decorated with all her desert racing trophies. They let me push my bike straight into the shop to get the tire replaced and set about looking at Indi's bike to see if anything could be done about his rattling rear shock. The whole thing took about a hour and a half spending as much time yakking with Fritz and Vicki as getting bikes squared away. Nothing could really be done for the KLR shock other than crank the preload all the way up on it (which honestly should have been done before the ride started).

    They're already converting dirt bikes to snow bikes in the shop and it was interesting to learn about what that involves and costs:

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    I have to say this looks like a hoot. I'd love to give that a try and they tell me that the biggest problem you run in to on a snow bike is falling off into some really deep snow there.

    After checking in to a hotel here, and running out for some dinner, we're on our way back to the hotel when my BMW Garmin Nav VI decides to depart the cradle as I accelerate away from a stop light. I couldn't catch it and saw it go bouncing down the street behind me at about 30 mph. @#$%#! I pulled over on the side of the street thinking ^%$, our trip is about to be very different in how we navigate. As I get off the bike, I see a Gunnison police car with his lights on in the middle of the road and an officer picking up my GPS. I walk over and he hands it back to me telling me to leave the wheelies out on the trail. Uh, I might have pulled a little lofty as I left the light not realizing he was back there behind me. Whew, he was cool about it and I couldn't believe it when I looked at the GPS.

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    It looks like it hit on the corner but you can hardly tell it went for a tumble.

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    and more importantly, it works fine. And wouldn't you know that this was the first big adventure ride I'd been on when I did not bring a back up GPS. Yet another example of the angel that had been riding with me all week so far.

    So all week long, we'd been telling Scratch that what we were riding over was nothing. Just wait until we get into the San Juans. When we rode it in 2015, Cinnamon Pass felt pretty difficult to us and was certainly the most challenging riding we'd done yet on the entire TAT. We kept telling him stories of thousand foot drop offs by rocky steep switchbacks and how it was an ass-kicking trip up and down the pass. I guess we kinda kept harping on it and with the San Juans on the plan for the next day, Scratch starting watching youtube videos to see if we were about to kill him. We might have told him that if he falls off the side of the mountains there that our only option was to mark the spot and send a rescue team back when we got to Ouray. Anywho, he looked pretty interested in now finding out exactly what Indi and I were getting him in to the next day.

    The next post here will be about what is really the heart of the COBDR ride - Cinnamon, California, Hurricane passes, Animas Forks, and Corkscrew Gulch back down to the highway.
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  11. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Staying in hotels has always been a big time suck for us. We stay up too late and get up and lallygag around at breakfast and usually don't make as good a progress as when we camp. But with the thought that we had the San Juans in front of us today, we rolled out earlier and rather than ride back up to Pitkin and reconnect to the COBDR there, we hit the road down through Powderhorn and arrived in Lake City mid-morning ready for a tall steamy cup of coffee. While we were sitting there a group of guys rolled in to the coffee place on Harleys and we got to talking with a few of them. On trips like this, I try to make a conscious effort to leave myself open to meeting people and learning something about them. There was this one older guy (maybe in his 70's) that I got to talking to and he told me that he was retired Air Force and had flown F-111s. Now, I'm a guy that can't remember why I just walked out into the garage but I spontaneously asked him "Are you familiar with the ALQ-135 TERAC system that was on F-111s?" He'd flown it quite often and was very familiar so he was surprised when I informed him that I was on the original design/integration team back in the 1980's for that system at Robbins AFB in Georgia. Talk about a small world and even more so the freakish nature of the human mind to remember esoteric crap like that but can't remember to latch my GPS in the cradle properly.

    Anywho, after chatting with these guys (all MSF instructors from Austin Texas) we decided that we'd put off long enough leading Scratch off to his doom. The road leading up to the pass seemed a lot easier than I remembered it but there were some places where you really didn't want to leave the track. Here's a short video of the Smith boys getting by an SUV coming the other way:



    Really well groomed road heading uphill:

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    We picked a great time in late September to see the Aspens peaking out in color as well

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    We kept rolling along heading up into Cinnamon Pass thinking "Huh, this just doesn't seem like much. We must not really be there yet." We stopped here for a water break thinking that just up ahead it was about to get real. Scratch, you ready for this?

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    Just up ahead we came to the first sharp switchback but, uh, OK, maybe it's farther up where these get really rocky and tough.

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    Back in 2015, I distinctly remember thinking "Oh crap, not another switchback!" This time we rambled through a couple of pretty easy uphill turns and I looked up to see this view in front of me:

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    Wait, what!? Now I distinctly remembered that this was where it got easy and right around the corner was the top. Uh, what happened here?


    Looking back down the way we'd just come:
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    Final bit up to the top of the pass:
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    And way before it seemed right to me, we were pulling up to the Cinnamon Pass sign at the top of the pass.

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    Honestly I was a bit shocked that we got up here without breaking a sweat like it was a casual ride through a forest road. Scratch came over and said "You guys had me worried. Man that was nothing!"

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    I had to take a photo of Dawg's green KLR sitting up at the top so he could reminisce about being their several years ago.

    Heck, even the road going down looked a lot easier than we remembered it.

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    I just plopped myself down and took in a view that I never thought I'd see again from June 2015. Part of me acknowledged that the views here are every bit, maybe even more spectacular than I remembered from before. But another part of me couldn't help but think that I'd just ruined my memory of our epic ride over this pass from the TAT.

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    I'm thinking that maybe the snowpack and avalanche debris was so bad this past summer, that when they cleared it that they actually cleared a lot of the scree and big rocks that made those switchbacks so tough last time over. Or maybe it's that we are lot more experienced now than we were then. Or to quote Forrest Gump, "I think it's a little bit of both."
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  12. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    The road down out of the pass toward Animas Forks:
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    And again, before we knew it we were rolling up on the mining ruins at Animas Forks.

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    The last time through here, we didn't stop and diverted on down the quick way into Silverton. This time we stopped and spent some time exploring the place.

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    It's hard to image signing up to live for several years up here above 11,000' with your family while working these mines. Tough folks.

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    #12
    Muscongus likes this.
  13. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    830
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    We had heard that California Pass was both more scenic and more difficult than Cinnamon, and the time was getting on in the day so we saddled up and continued up the hill back deeper into the San Juans.

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    More difficult? Maybe a bit. More scenic - it was beautiful up there at the top of California Pass.

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    We continued on from there and pretty quickly came to Hurricane Pass.

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    Coming up into that was like finding ourselves on Mars. All red and tan rocks and hardly anything growing up here above the tree line.

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    Words just don't do this justice. So while we're standing there admiring the views we start noticing all these darker clouds gathering. And about that time we started getting pelted with ice. Nothing serious but it was enough to remind us that we probably didn't want to be up here if those darkening clouds could unleash anything more on us. With that thought, we started off down out of the mountains on Corkscrew Gulch Rd. And that's when it got a bit more real.

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    I didn't get any photos of all the tight, steep switchbacks coming back down the hill because, frankly, the ride down got my full attention. Nothing too challenging but we were clearly in a place here where a mistake could put one of us in the hurt locker. The road was pretty decent but there were a few times on heavily loaded bikes that it was hard to control speed and you just have to kinda commit to the sharp turn back while sliding sideways down the hill.

    I'm sure there are guys that have romped all over this place up here with no concern but for me and my buds, it was the most fun challenge we'd had on the entire ride and we'd saved it for last.
    #13
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  14. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    830
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    We popped back down in to the real world near a campground and ATV off-loading lot in Ironton.

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    It was getting a bit late in the day so we had a decision to make. Do we continue onward to Ophir and try to make it over to Telluride by dark? That didn't look that promising for a couple of reasons. We had run in to a few well heeled adv guys that had talked of getting beat up in Ophir and having to back out and go around. Meh, I think we were definitely willing to still give it a try but for the other couple of reasons: it was late in the day and the clouds were getting darker. Ouray was close so we ran on up into town and found a place for an early dinner to talk it over.

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    We are always plenty ready to be seen doing something stupid but we try to not do it on purpose. It's Thursday late afternoon. I have to turn in my bike back to MountainADV by noon on Friday. I think we bailed on the idea of Ophir when we rode up to Ouray. So now what. We could stay here for the evening; we could ride on down to Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway for a place to camp or stay. I think we'd all been thinking it but I said it - "Why not just high tail it for Durango to stay tonight?" That would give us a day to clean up the bikes and our gear; fix some broken stuff on Dawg's bike before Scratch returned it in Georgia; and visit a bit more with my friend there. Oh, and did I mention that it was likely going to rain most of the rest of the day anyway?

    And with that we paid our check, saddled up, and pointed the bikes south on 550 and giddy up. On the way back down there we probably had a bit too much fun on the twisty road but there were some nice views, especially when we got gas in Silverton.

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    And if I can be corny for a moment, we'd already banked our pot of golden memories for this trip and felt good about running for the terminus of the adventure.

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    Back in Durango and calling it a wrap.

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    #14
  15. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    830
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    When I have a bit more time I'll write up an epilogue to the adventure - lessons learned, what I'd do different, and what worked well. This trip was really about the sights and ride more than the epic miles or difficulty. More on that later....
    #15
  16. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    392
    Location:
    Beautiful NC
    Excellent RR and great photos!
    #16