Roamin' The Rockies: a woman's solo adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gypsyrr, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. no

    no dreaming adventurer Supporter

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    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #21
  2. Scottysix9

    Scottysix9 Shhh...

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    Denver
    Tomichi Creek Road. I was there Sunday.




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    The road doesn't end at the corral- that's where it gets fun. Many passes and lots of dirt riding north and west of there.

    Enjoying your report. Keep up the great work.
    #22
  3. bongodave

    bongodave Fixing Stupid

    Joined:
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    Fabulous Eerie, Indiana!
    Two little quotes come to mind:

    Your riding philosophy;

    "Gone are the days we stopped to decide

    Where we should go, we just ride"

    "Crazy Fingers," -Grateful Dead

    The rest;

    "I've always relied on the kindness of strangers." -Scarlet O'Hara

    Good luck, and have fun, Scarlet!:thumb
    #23
  4. h17

    h17 Enjoying The Ride

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    cool...

    n

    Great!

    :lurk
    #24
  5. msmetz

    msmetz Been here awhile

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    Fantastic pictures! What kind of camera are you using? :clap
    #25
  6. 1stiski

    1stiski Ride that nasty thing

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    Great first post. TY.
    #26
  7. duhgee

    duhgee Been here awhile

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    Guelph, ON
    You've managed to find the way to enjoy both types of roads with the best type(s) of bike. The only thing I wonder is how much it kills you to be driving the nice twisty roads in your truck when you're towing a bike that'd just scream on them!
    Many wishes for the greatest memories. Keep the pics coming!
    :lurk
    #27
  8. astro

    astro seek light

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    vapor trail
    Great posts. Looking forward to the updates.

    You might find this interesting if you haven't already seen it

    An easy way to pick up a fallen motorcycle

    It's by CArol "SKERT" Youroski who is about 5 foot nothing and I've watched her demo picking up a K1200LT.

    It's harder to pick up a bike that is flat on the ground and not angled up by bags or cylinder heads but it might give you a few ideas.

    Take it easy on your back. Too early in your trip to be hobbled.

    :D
    #28
  9. CamoGreg

    CamoGreg aka Camorpheus

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    Location:
    Lewis & Clark Valley
    Great pics:thumb

    Glad you did the Royal even if it is touristy. Didya ride the bike across the bridge?
    Sways and bucks like hell in a wind. I was too chicken after walking it:deal
    #29
  10. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
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    592
    Location:
    Texas
    I have tried her method before when I had a parking lot drop with the RR. It didn't work for me then either. Finally adrenaline kicked in, and I just grabbed the bars and pulled up the bike. No back pain.

    I tried her method with the DR. Nothing. Adrenaline never kicked in either I guess because I was having so much fun in the canyon. Plus, I was on dirt, and that bike is so 'thin', once you get your back against the seat, you are practically sitting on the ground by then. Calls for much more quad muscle than I presently have. I'll be doing more leg strength building exercises when I return to the gym, that is for sure.


    And yes, duhgee, it does kill me to not be able to ride roads when I'm trailering. But that is the nice part of having time on my side. I can stop when I want, and ride what I want (if I can get the RR out of the chock). In fact, I did do that once I reached Buena Vista (coming report). I slept in a parking lot that night because it was dark when I arrived and no place for me to go. The next morning, I parked at the city park, unloaded the RR (with the help of a couple who showed up for a walk), and rode around that area for a couple of days. That is an advantage to having the truck. If I can't find a campground, I can sleep just about anywhere...... free. And I found that many motels will sell a shower for $3-$5. Campgrounds often have showers, but you have to pay the entrance fee first, which is usually higher than the motels rate for a shower. And sometimes the showers are not free. At Eleven Mile State Park, you have to pay per minute. If I remember correctly, $1.75 bought only 4 minutes, and the entrance fee to the park was $6.00. Of course, I know there are ways to avoid the fees, but I won't admit to having done that. :)

    So there are pros and cons. If my trip was shorter, I would not trailer. But then I would be in a bind as to which bike to take.
    #30
  11. mel brooks

    mel brooks Dirt Chick

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    Upstate SC
    What an excellent ride report!

    Wonderful pics and you have a gift telling your story....very nice. :clap
    #31
  12. wayno

    wayno Long timer

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    "I'll stage in the Dubois area with ride outs from there. The rig just gets me to the area with both bikes. From the area, I ride either bike depending on where I plan to go. I've fly fished that area before, but if you have suggestions on other areas, I'd be glad to hear them. Montana will be a short visit I think. I've been invited to come to a pow wow and photograph it. I don't know that I want to spend much time trying to find a place to fish in Montana since so much of their water seems to be privatized now, but if you have suggestions on that or places to ride, I'm open to that as well. I have no specific plans. I do have some work that I have to do along the way, though, so I have to schedule those days."


    We staged in Dubois a year ago(4whls) but looked to be great on 2.
    #32
  13. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Nice. It's hard to not have a good time in the Rockies.

    :clap
    #33
  14. dstock

    dstock Adventurer n00b

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    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Great trip report, thanks for sharing. I'm headed up to Colorado later this summer and the info and pics are greatly appreciated. Hope your continued journey is a safe one!
    #34
  15. Saeed

    Saeed Life-long learner

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    UAE Dubai
    Beautiful photos and great trip:clap
    #35
  16. whitewater18

    whitewater18 funhog

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
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    478
    Location:
    All over the place & San Tan Valley, AZ
    Come on up to northern Colorado, we'll go ridin' with you. Might even find a few really nice roads to show you.
    Great report!!! :clap
    #36
  17. infoatnmmoto

    infoatnmmoto with the band

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    Nice write up and pics! Nice bikes as well. I had an 00 R11R and I think it goes down as one of my all time favorites.:clap
    #37
  18. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
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    Texas
    WARNINIG: this post gets a bit esoteric. If that's not your thing, skip the prose. See the pictures.

    So - continuing on this journey I'm on....................



    The Black Canyon

    Once I arrived at the motel in Montrose, before getting too settled in my room, I went ahead and loosened the straps on the bikes so the forks would “rexas” from the stress of the straps. Once the bikes were loosened and the trailer was secured, I went to my room. I was fast asleep by the time my head hit the pillow; anxious for tomorrow to begin.


    I woke early, because I wanted an early start to avoid mid day sun in the canyon. But also because I needed to keep my eye open for an able soul to help me get the RR out of the chock. Still a problem. Even when I let gravity work with me, I’m just not strong enough to yank that beast free from the grip of the chock! So while I was loading the bike and loading my bags into the truck, I kept an eye open for anyone who looked like they would be of some help. Finally, a Sysco truck drove up to deliver to the restaurant on the property. As soon as he was done with his delivery, I asked if he could help me, and he gladly agreed. All I need is for someone to stand in front of the RR and push against the forks while I yank back while seated on the bike. That breaks the grip and drops the back part of “the cage” and I can take it from there. I’ve not had anyone say ‘no’ yet, so it’s working out okay.

    I finished loading some cameras, water, and snacks in the tail pack, and headed out. I was on my way!!!


    Heading to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

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    Once inside the park from the Eastern Portal, you have two choices: Right - a 16% grade 5 mile descent to the Gunnison River, or Left - a ride around the rim of the Black Canyon with 12 overlooks. Quoting Norman McLean’s book A River Run’s Through it, “I am haunted by waters”, so I headed down to the Gunnison first! It was fantastic. Steep, scenic, tight twists, and vacant with plenty of pull outs for more views. But the pull outs were gravel or just grassy areas and steep with severe drop offs. Got a little too close at one point. And this is not the place to drop a BMW! Here’s some views of the ride down and a look at the Gunnison from above.

    First, a beautiful field with Lupine blooming with the canyon in the distance. They look like Texas Bluebonnets to me.


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    And now the descent


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    Reaching the bottom of the canyon and seeing the mighty Gunnison was a treat. I saw a 1200 GS parked near the river. I hoped that the person I saw fly fishing, also owned the GS. A great combo: fishing and riding! (that report coming soon). I sat and had a healthy snack: Nutter Butter cookies and a coke. Then I headed back up the narrow steep road, on my way to the other side to ride the rim of the canyon and take a look over the edge.

    The experience I had when I saw the canyon for the first time is unlike anything I have experienced in nature before. Perhaps it was a culmination of a few events, but it was definitely unique. I am a avid seeker and spectator of the glories of nature, but this one encounter on the eve of my birthday with the Black Canyon impacted me so instantaneously and powerfully, that I was overcome. I’ve seen a lot of things in nature in varied landscapes of countries over the past few years, and I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to be right in the center of ‘the wild.’ But never has there been a time when grandeur in nature ‘took my breath away.’ However, when I parked my bike.............

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    .............and walked to the edge of the Black Canyon......... not even the Grand Canyon, just one of the smaller canyons in North America......... when I walked to the edge to see the canyon, it actually DID take my breath away. There was an audible gasp for air, as I tried to catch the breath that escaped me when I saw the sheer expansiveness and incomprehensible magnitude of such a stunning chasm. I will never forget that experience. Later I realized why it caught me off guard. When I tried to photograph it, the untenable dimensions of it could not succumb nor limit itself to mortal mind or equipment. A canyon such as this and the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately photographed. How can the finite capture and cage within pixels something so infinite within space and dimension? The depth and breadth and intricacies and crevices cannot be perceived in the two dimensions of photography. Words cannot describe and photos cannot adequately convey the splendor and majesty of a canyon like that. Perspective is lost. Comprehension is stilted. And I was undone.

    The Black Canyon is one of the steepest, darkest, and most rugged of canyons in the US. At places, the canyon is only 1500 feet across, yet it’s depth reaches over 2000 feet. The narrow gorge walls are illuminated by sunlight for only a short time. The jagged, ageless and menacing rocks which form the narrow gorge walls mock our mortality. Who was I, celebrating an inconsequential birthday, in the presence of the ancient who celebrates eons as well as milliseconds with every passing molecule of water from the Gunnison that collapses against it’s igneous ebony walls?

    In breathless gaze, I stood before a great teacher. The canyon left me feeling helplessly inadequate and shamefully unprepared to even view such wonder. I was hopelessly and frightfully small in comparison to it’s majesty. I had been beaten, and I KNEW IT. I am a speck of dust compared to the vastness of a canyon. I am as fleeting as a vapor. I hold no glory within my frailty. All the confidence I had been building over the past couple of years crumbled on the edge of the canyon, cascading below into that abysmal ravine with an echoing and reminding crash. Standing there, so small, so vulnerable, so “unmajestic,” my perspective which had become somewhat askew, was set right again concerning myself........ This caliginous canyon was reminding me that I am not as strong, not as confident, not as prepared, not as smart, not as lucky, not as good, not as right, not as sufficient, not as clever, not as able, not as interesting, not as fearless, not as astute, not as wise, not as independent, and not as whole as I think I am. I am but an insignificant speck and a fragile vapor in the universe. A universe that does not even revolve around me.

    Yet instead of leaving me feeling depressed and immobilized in insignificance, I felt enlightened and empowered by this understanding and renewed wisdom. The stronger I become, the more I realize how weak I really am. And yet, the more I realize my weakness, more strength I gain. The more I learn, the more I realize I have not learned enough. And yet, the more I know that I don’t know, the more wisdom I acquire. The more courage I gain, the more I recognize true fear. And yet the more I face fear and danger, the more courageous I become. This - I learned when I peered over the edge of a deep dark black canyon and had my breath taken away by it’s greatness.

    The photos I took of the canyon are inadequate. I should have done better. I couldn’t. They remind me of the lessons I learned there on the eve of my birthday. Humbly, I share a few.

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    Leaving the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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    After riding the rim on the eastern portal, I rode my BMW RR back to the motel in Montrose where the truck and trailer were parked. Rather than staying another night, I sensed I needed to move on. I loaded up the bike, tighten the straps on both of them, took a shower, and then readied the trailer to leave Montrose and head to Gunnison. However, as I was doing my double check on the trailer, a migraine headache set in, and my departure was delayed until the aura left and my vision restored. I finally pulled out of Montrose around 2:30 p.m.
    #38
  19. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman PROUD 2B Riff Raff!

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    Go Kristi GO! :clap
    #39
  20. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
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    Anchorage, Alaska
    Awesome photography. Wonderful ride report. Thank you for sharing.

    Looks and sounds like you're having a great time.

    And I enjoyed the "esoteric prose."

    Happy Happy Birthday.

    Mark H.
    #40