COBDR North-to-South with KTM 690 Enduro R's

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by surferbum, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    This ride report for the North-to-South COBDR is more like a diary for me for future enjoyment. I’m using the same format as my other rides. I hope you find it entertaining and informative. There are some great ride reports on the COBDR (even hour-long video logs) and hopefully this one might contain a gem or two which helps your planning.

    COBDR - Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route

    Here's a link to the BDR non-profit organization which scouts and provides riding collateral for the great rides. There's 10 developed so far and more in various states of planning/development.
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  2. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Getting to the Start and Riding at Altitude

    The North-to-South COBDR ride had a preamble for a couple of days in Gunnison, CO visiting some friends.
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    I used a Versahaul carrier to carry my motorcycle up to the North start for the COBDR. Gunnison is at 7700' elevation so we started the acclimation for the ride (where I live is at 2500').

    It was nearing a full moon and their place next to the Gunnison River was a treat.
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    We toured with them on Monday and travelled along the Gunnison River (to it's headwaters). This is fly fishing meca.
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    Ate lunch in Tin Cup City at Frenchy's Cafe on the Pond. Nice meal but bring your fly swatter. Interesting story about Frenchy and history of the area.
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    Drove up to Mirror Lake which was so full that the route around the lake was partially underwater.
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    Drove back on part of the COBDR route over Cumberland Pass and through Pitkin.

    I was fortunate not to experience any altitude sickness during the COBDR ride. We spent 3 nights at altitude prior to starting the ride. Read up on altitude sickness issues prior to starting the COBDR. We drank plenty of water and tried to camp low relative to the riding altitudes. Good luck.

    Here's a good article on altitude sickness.
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  3. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Who Went

    The core group were 3 riders (myself, Bob and Dave) plus the first day we were joined by Tim.
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    Enjoy taking pics so there are many included in this ride report as well as a Google Photos Album with 250 pics.

    Bob and I like to take with our iPhone (XR & XS Max respectively). I forgot my Canon PowerShot ELPH 350HS P&S but didn't miss it. We had a great riding style which allowed everyone to have fun. All four of us were riding KTM 690 Enduro R's (2012, 2 x 2014 and 2019). We chose the dates (Aug 14 – Aug 18) due to guys work schedules. Unknowingly these dates worked great as people were back to school so campgrounds were available and we luckily had NO rain. All along the route we saw evidence of how gnarly the mud roads could become with many severe deep ruts. We saw very little traffic with the occasional inmates going the opposite way. Tin Cup City had its share of side-by-sides on the Friday afternoon when we passed through but always ride carefully around corners.
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    We traveled with DeLorme InReach 2-way texting devices and they continue to work great for me. Camped off the bike for all 4 nights in BLM or National Park campgrounds. Most had water, picnic table, fire pits and toilets but one had a toilet only. We usually ate breakfast and dinner in a camp and grabbed lunch where we gassed up.

    The idea was to start the COBDR trip going North-to-South. Dave and Bob started at the border (spending the night before in Baggs, WY). I slept the night before in Steamboat Springs and slabbed it up to Hahn's Peak Roadhouse. Tim slabbed it up to Hahn's from his place in Edwards, CO.
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    I used Garmin BaseCamp to put my tracks together. I added additional information to my tracks such as campgrounds. Here's our tracks plus some alternate routes either going around Cottonwood and Cinnamon passes or not. These two had issues immediately before our trip with mud slides and construction.

    Attached Files:

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  4. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Itinerary and Gear
    Here's a one-pager of pre-trip planning for our ride that I put together which looks at ride distances, gas, meals and camping spots. Day 2 was intentionally shortened to sleep at a lower altitude for the second night. There wasn't an obvious non-10,000' spot to camp after this one AND which wasn't another 3-4 hours of riding down the road.
    IMG_5076.jpg There were some minor adjustments which I’ll detail later in trip report. And one major one.

    My gear is pretty much unchanged from earlier this year’s CABDR. Versahauler to get me up to the start:
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    My sleeping gear is a 1-person 3-season tent (Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1), inflatable mattress (Exped SynMat 7 Air Pad with Pump & Schnozzel Pumpbag), sleeping bag (Kelty Coromell 25 Degree Long), Coghlan's Tent Peg Mallet and pillow (Trekolog ALUFT Comfort Ultralight). I pack everything in a 35L Sea to Summit dry bag.
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    Riding gear is sunglasses, Klim Adventure Rally 2 Jacket (1.5L water bladder)/pants, gloves, Alpinestars Tech 1 Boots and Shoei Hornet X2 Helmet with Sena SMH-10 Bluetooth Headset.
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    Camping gear is G4Free camping chair, Jet Boil, 2 1-liter stainless steel water bottles, 7” folding camping saw, collapsible glass/bowl/spork, lighter/matches, survival blanket, TP and wipes, nylon rope, insect repellent wipes, Tylenol/Aleve, sunscreen, lip balm, external power bank battery, various flashlight & lantern, misc. charging cables, spare reading glasses, misc. toiletries, misc. Band-Aids/tape, protein bars, beef jerky, gum, various Mountain House meals, flask of favorite libation (currently)
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    coffee and hard candy, Feetcity Mens Water camping shoes (pack flat), spare socks, shirt/shorts, sweat pants/long sleeve shirt, water-proof jacket and hat. If a town was nearby the camp then a cold beer hit the spot.

    I tried the Mountain House Chilli Mac with Beef this trip plus old reliable MH Lasagna and MH Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon. Only use the Pro-pac pouches now because they pack small.

    Bike gear includes Garmin Oregon 600, 1 gallon Rotopax gas container, misc. tools, spare 21” tube, compressor, Al wire, 6 22” Spare Cuff Disposable Restraints, tire repair kit and gauge, spare oil, Blue Magic QuikSteel, JB Weld, spare ROK straps, SAE/alligator jumper cable, 15' nylon tow strap, Enduro Star Trail stand and Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers MK2. Here’s a link to my bike setup.

    I carried the Rotopax but never put any gas in it. The COBDR has very frequent gas stops so a 130ish miles range of our bikes was sufficient.

    Day logs will follow as comments while I get the time.
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  5. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Here's some Lonely Highway pics taken during the ride.
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  6. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

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    For non-locals perhaps you can explain these acronyms you use: COBDR. CABDR etc?
    Thanks!
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  7. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    COBDR - Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route
    CABDR - California Backcountry Discovery Route

    Here's a link to the non-profit organization which scouts and provides riding collateral for the great rides. There's 10 developed so far and more in various states of planning/development.

    IMG_5080.JPG
    #7
  8. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day One - Wednesday (August 14)
    4:15 hours & 143 miles
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    Day 1 started out with a short ride for me from Steamboat Springs to a gas-stop/grocery store on the COBDR at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse. Dave and Bob stayed at a for-sale motel in Baggs, WY. They said that there was at least good food in the tiny town. Tim road with us for the day-only and traveled up from Edwards. Topped off the air in my tires at Hahn's. Hahn's elevation of 8091' vs Scottsdale (2600') was enough to lower the tire pressure by nearly 5 lbs. Tim showed up alittle early and did some wrenching on his just-purchased 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R with adjusting the position of the shift lever … Later in the day's ride, he lost a couple of loose bolts holding up his rear license plate holder much to his displeasure with the dealer setup. We waited for Dave and Bob to show up as planned at 9AM but they never came. They thought that Hahn's was on the route instead of 2 miles off the route. Delorme InReach messaging followed and eventually we meet up 50 miles down the road in Steamboat Springs for lunch. Tim took the opportunity to fetch some replacement screws from Ace Hardware and repair his bike.
    He also got his first introduction to the infamous KTM nuclear reactor. His rear-mounted bag had one of its straps melted on the exhaust. Oh that new car (bike) smell wasn't so sweet.

    Even saw an early morning balloon flight.
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    And some Rocky Mountain Elk
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    The early ride up to Hahn's was in the 45° F and warmed up as the day progressed. This was typical for the rest of the trip. Zip up every vent in the jacket/pants and pull on you neck gaiter while after 1 hour of riding open every vent and stow your gaiter. Use your grip warmers if you have them.
    We were fortunate to camp many nights next to a river or stream. The previous winter's snow and spring/summer rains had every river, pond and lake full and flowing. Many miles were spent riding next to a beautiful river (and often inhabited by the human species known as "Fly fisherman").
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    Made camp next to a noisy stream that night and built a campfire to enjoy the ambiance. The campground was the least quality of our trip with just a toilet but Bob packed his water sterilization gear so that water was no issue. Originally we were planning on staying at Radium River campground but it had no shade so we went down the road to Murage campground.
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  9. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day One - Wednesday (Continued)

    During the day we saw solo and group mountain bikers on the forest service roads enjoying themselves as much as us. We would typically see a few per day. A successful (no bike naps or bike gremlins) day 1 and enjoyed the evening.
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    No Dave didn't pack the folding chair. It was left next to the stream by some soul.
    We say goodbye to Tim who joined us for a day and will spend the night in his own warm bed.
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    I wandered next door to visit our campground neighbor. No tent for him but rather the bed of his pickup with shell. He does early and late riding trips on the roads and in the hills on his mountain bike. We greeted each other and "Pinky" chose the forearm handshake introduction. Sadly no pics of Pinky. We wandered into a discussion of the alternative energy hemp fuel revolution particularly Anthony Clarke film, The Hemp Revolution, and Emperor of Hemp. Pinky was recovering from a previous night's mountain bike, hill-decent crash and might have been medicating with a variation of the Cannabis plant (AKA Mary Jane).
    Dave fetched some beer from a near-by store (Rancho Del Rio) then we then settled into slumber.
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  10. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Two- Thursday (August 15)
    3:49 hours & 108 miles (the mileage and time were estimated from Garmin Basecamp). The Rever app provides me with the following ride details. Sometimes I forget to immediately turn off the app once we reach the evening stop plus gas/food stops keep the clock going. This day we spent too much time in the Subway though.
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    We fueled up at Rancho Del Rio but due to the poor quality pump and 85 octane fuel, we only added one gallon each. Did not have any issues though so we could have just been paranoid. We saw continued evidence that the roads could raise their nasty head at the slightest bit of rain with much rut-avoidance riding (and the occasional rut riding.
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    Gassed up at Gypsum and ate a leisurely lunch at Subway.
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  11. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Two - Thursday (continued)

    Bob's bike started having intermittent problems the day before with the bike's behavior acting like being fuel starved. It would die and after a short wait then run. It seemed to occur in afternoon heat. Bad fuel pump? This slowed us down in the subsequent afternoons too. This same failure occurred on the AZBDR a couple of months ago but seems hard to diagnose. He has Rally Raid auxiliary fuel tanks to confuse the root cause of the problem.

    We camped that night in the Ruedi Reservoir region at Little Maud campground. This is typical of the campgrounds with a campground host who manages the fees and likely sells firewood. The hosts, Bob and Pam, sold us some firewood and delivered to us 3 folding, camp chairs for our use around the firepit. Nice. Additionally the bathrooms had flush toilets with inside sinks plus they were the cleanest campground facility we'd ever seen.




    IMG_4756.jpg The day’s ride took us on all types of roads with the occasional pavement. Wild flowers were blooming all along the ride.
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    Frequently saw the fly fishermen on the river.
    IMG_4743.jpg And the roads were at many times quick and fun to ride.
    IMG_5006.JPG So far nothing too extreme for our 690's.
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  12. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    Beautiful outdoors and familiar faces.

    Can I tag along?
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  13. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    One issue which can become problematic during group rides is departure time in the morning. I remember riding with guys who amazing to me could wake up and have their bikes packed in 15 minutes (and wake up at 5:30AM). Granted that they slept in their riding gear, didn't eat breakfast or have coffee and stuffed their gear into their bags - it was still amazing. We would agree the night before what starting time was needed in order to get to our evening stop around 4-6PM. This changed during our ride with sometimes leaving 7:30ish and sometimes later. We all love riding our motorcycles and having a second cup of coffee too. The sum total of 1-2 hours of packing/unpacking the camping gear/food, preparing and eating food is too long.
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  14. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Three - Friday (August 16)
    8:24 hours & 178 miles
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    Today's ride would go north of 12000' and cover every type of terrain: two-track, super-highway forest service road, rutted forest service roads, pavement, water crossings of all types (150' long, quick moving 20' ones, etc.), rocky uphill climbs, rocky downhill descents … Saw more traffic with side-by-sides and dirt bikes around Buena Vista.
    We had 10+ water crossing with the most occurring today. There's a couple north of Tin Cup City that were long and sketchy. Many would not be passable by us a few weeks earlier due to the amount and speed of the water.
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  15. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Three - Friday (cont)
    We crossed many passes this day including Hagerman, Weston and Cottonwood. Still snow around with a couple of feet right off the road.
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    On our way up Hagerman Pass we came across a mountain biker near the top. Briefly talked to him and he was doing some "recreational" riding by himself. He is a bike guide (lives in Seattle) and just guided a 10 day continental divide mountain biking tour. He said that he needed some "alone" time. Now this is a stud. IMG_4992.JPG
    Beautiful lakes to admire especially prior to Leadville. Fueled up there and grabbed a sandwich to eat down the road. Dave went into Leadville and we didn't see him until the next morning.
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    Ate lunch underneath a tree on the side of the dirt road. A few sprinkles of rain started coming down and the clouds looked ominous. Picked up the pace and had a few more water crossings prior to gassing up in Buena Vista. Headed for the unknown delay on Cottonwood Pass.
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  16. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Three - Friday (cont … cont)
    It turned out the there was only a 15 minute delay at Cottonwood Pass plus we passed the time talking to a young, fellow rider on his GS800. He was out for a spin and really doesn't take it off pavement. He has a need for speed and is looking at getting a GS 1250 so he can break the sound barrier. He does a lot of video blogging and has a BMW motorcycle and BMW M-series blog somewhere on the interweb.
    We quickly turned off of pavement after Cottonwood pass and headed to Tin Cup City. This is where you get the 150'+ water crossings. No one came close to going down but I did put my foot down while scouting my next move. Too bad it was in 10"+ deep water and my "water-proof" boot now was wet inside.
    Tin Cup City was busy for a Friday mid-afternoon so we scootered through quickly and over Cumberland Pass.
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    Garmin InReach message from Dave said that he turned back to Buena Vista due to weather and warnings from people about the treacherous road he had chosen to take. We'll connect on the BDR tomorrow.
    We camped in another great campground a mile outside Pitkin. Bob made a beer run and we found out the Pitkin is a "dry" city. The camp host, Jan, checked us in and confirmed the lack of libations in Pitkin and promptly brought us two ice-cold Corona beers. Life is good. We had a roaring fire that evening and I nearly burned my shoes off my feet.
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    This was another fantastic campsite with a river flowing next to it plus a groomed tent area.
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  17. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Four - Saturday (August 17)
    5:15 hours & 163 miles
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    Met up with Dave in Parlin (don't bother looking for it on a map) but needed to detour 30+ miles each way to get gas. We screwed up and failed to fill-up in Pitkin. Oh well.
    I had developed two alternative ride choices for today. One would go over Cinnamon Pass and the second would go north out of Lake City. The Cinnamon Pass route was still recovering from recent mudslides and likely had some issues. This specter of a long, long, tough day plus the glowing reviews of the north-out-of-Lake City route made us choose the latter route.
    The ride from Pitkin to Lake City is really fun with 2-track forest ride, hill climbs through the Gunnison National Forest. All in all we rode through Gunnison, White River, Uncompahgre and the Rio Grande National Forests to name a few.
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    And some majestic views and roads
    IMG_0257.JPG You descent into Lake City along a section of downhill, winding pavement for gas and lunch. The local BMW club was racing the opposite direction while we were descending. Ate at a great barbeque place, Sportsman's Texaco Station (great Texan style) and learned the quick history of the owners who migrated from Texas to here. Be alerted, don't ask to have your barbeque sandwich cut in half. Plus their burgers are fantastic according to other patrons. Heading up CO149 north toward US50 is called the Silver Thread Scenic Byway. The pavement is fast and once you exit the pavement you can still stretch your legs on the well-maintained Blue Mesa gravel road.
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    Just thought this accidental pic looked cool.
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    #17
  18. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Four - Saturday (cont)
    We made fast time on our way to Silver Jack Campground. We scouted a couple of campgrounds around the area and settled on this one. The camp host helped us find a great spot in the trees. Water next to us and a bathroom two sites down. Perfect!
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    And of course a great campfire (Pro Tip: always buy two bundles of wood)
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    There was no beer available tonight so the whiskey flask was emptied. I sleep with earplugs in at night while camping in a campground mainly due to other's snoring, early morning bathroom breaks preceded by tent zipper noises. This campground though had some fencing issues with cows mooing all night plus wandering around the sites. One lady stopped us and ask if there were bears in the area as something moved through her site after midnight and bumped her car plus other things. Bob heard the cows all night but blissfully I did not.
    #18
  19. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Day Five - Sunday (August 18)
    5:55 hours & 130 miles
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    This was our last day and we were on a schedule to meet Bob's wife in Cortez at 3PM so we rose early and packed the bikes. We thought Bob's bike issues were a thing in the past. He fiddled with the gas petcocks on his RR fuel tanks and the previous day everything seemed fixed. Well the bike started up but sounded alittle off but off we went. I lead, Dave was in the middle and Bob swept. Dave unfortunately didn't have the day's GPS tracks so he had to be in the middle. As an aside, we were too casual about making certain every rider's GPS had all the tracks. Hopefully we'll learn from this.
    The camp host told us about the road we were going to take through Owl Pass which went right by Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock. This area was used for the movie True Grit and the scene at the end of the movie where John Wayne has a horse riding duel with the bad guys. https://www.boxcanyonouray.com/true...ilmed-in-southwest-colorado-in-and-near-ouray
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    Well we're making good time and I come to a Y-intersection and wait for Dave and Bob. Dave shows up almost immediately and we wait for a couple of minutes. I ask Dave when he last saw Bob and he said it's been awhile. Wait a little longer and we decide to backtrack. I check my InReach for any messages and there's one from Bob "Bike dead" 10-15 miles back. We find Bob and the bike just doesn't fire even though there's juice in the battery. Fortunately Bob has a "Buddy Tow" 12', 1700 lb strip packed in his gear. Always be prepared. None of us has ever done this on a motorcycle before. Dave volunteers me to be the tow-er and of course Bob is the tow-ee. Dave will try his best to warn oncoming traffic on the moderately traveled gravel road the we're coming up the road. After a couple of abortive attempts, we're off. We've got nearly 20 miles to go. I put the loop of the Buddy Tow around my right foot peg and Bob loops the other end around his left foot peg. Bob and I got into a rhythm and it felt like water skiing. We would both coast down the hilly road's hill and on the subsequent uphill section drag him up it. As cars would come at us from the opposite direction, I would move closer to the right side of the road. You get the picture. Max towing speed was 10ish MPH and we might reach 15 MPH downhill.
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    As we were within 2 miles of Ridgeway, the BDR route makes a left so we did too. Bob's foot got tired after the one hour ordeal and slipped off the Buddy Tow. We had no signal for this situation and the Buddy Tow promptly wound around my rear axle and into my rear disk brake. OMG. I thought both bikes were now "dead in the water". Dave was no where to be found and we learned later that he made a wrong turn off the BDR track and couldn't find us so he left. It took a couple of minutes and tries to get all the pieces out of my brake caliper and from the axle. We pieced the Buddy Tow back together but now it was 4' shorter than before and I towed Bob into Ridgeway. In the Google Photos album you can watch the video of the towing in action if you want a laugh. We were originally going to ride to Cortez and meet with Bob's wife. She was bringing a pickup truck up to there and we were going to drive home from there (around 6 hours). Bob updated Marilyn about the breakdown and the new plan was for her to come to Ridgeway (added 2ish hours). I guess I could have Buddy Towed Bob over Ophir Pass if we would have thought about it. Ridgeway had a very comfortable and good resturant (Full Tilt Saloon) where we camped out, ate and waited for Marilyn. She arrived and we loaded the bikes in the back. Made a new motorcycle friend at the resturant who helped us (Ricky). He was riding a Honda Goldwing which he'd put 60,000 miles on it between riding from his homes in Montrose and Florida. His business was Harley and road bikes and he could have put the bike in the back himself. Neither Bob or I wanted to arm wrestle this man.
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    Thank you Ricky.
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    9 hours later we were home. Thank you Marilyn.
    #19
  20. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Almost forgot this. During Dave's ride back his 690 decided to smoke a little tent. IMG_4970.JPG
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