Roamin' The Rockies: a woman's solo adventure

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

  1. wayno

    wayno Long timer

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  2. hiflynbrd

    hiflynbrd I know that shortcut

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Eastern UT, land of no traffic lights
    If you haven't firmed up on your route plans, here are some ideas. About 2 hrs north of Moab is Price, UT. Jump over to SR10 and head south to Huntington, about 25 miles. Fish all the way up Huntington Canyon to the top and then take Skyline Drive through the mountains. If you want to wander some desert, there's plenty to see East of Huntington or Castle Dale. PM me for details.

    If you are in Moab, go up the river a few miles and then head across the LaSal Mountains. I think the locals call it the mountain loop.

    If you need help with tires, oil, etc. I'm located in Price.
  3. quicktoys2

    quicktoys2 ADVrider junkie :)

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Patras, Greece
    Great ride report and awesome pictures.
    Can't wait for more

    Soto
  4. Dratharr

    Dratharr Been here awhile

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    Dec 10, 2006
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    Western Nebraska
    Great report keep it coming!
  5. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
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    849
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Always good to see another Texan with two bikes that loves to ride in Colorado.:ricky I'm looking forward to the next report.
  6. FeverDog

    FeverDog Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    41
    Excelent ride reports! I loved your photos, and report.

    PS: I'm going for the 2 bikes as well. Just one doesn't quite do the job right? :evil
  7. Krashdragon

    Krashdragon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    265
    wow...just loving this RR!

    Dont' know what kind of chock you're using, you might check and see if this pingle is wider..
    http://www.pingelonline.com/wheel_chock_permanent.htm
    there's two shown on that page, the 6 1/2 inch is on the bottom....

    Lots of room for my FJR 1300, dont' know if your front wheel is wider or not.

    Kepp the pics coming, really enjoying them.. and the RR!~
    Mary
  8. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Texas
    No, the pingle is not any wider. A friend of mine has suggested I use a scissor jack to spread the chock to make it easier to get the bike out. I'm going to look for one of those tomorrow.


    After leaving Gunnison because I was always cold there, and because I had a birthday there and wanted to put that behind me and not spend another day loathing the immutability of time, I headed east to find Eleven Mile Canyon/State Park/Reservoir - or whatever I could find that had the name Eleven Mile in it!! That's all I could remember of it from my time there a couple of years earlier.

    side note: When I headed toward Colorado after Arkansas, I had no map, no plan other than a necessary stop in Colorado Springs, a visit to Canon City, and that's it. So I was just sort of traveling on the fly, just looking for somewhere to camp, fish, and ride. I relied on locals mostly to give me ideas of where to head. Once I did buy a map, then I just looked for blue lines, squiggly lines, and anything with SP or CG after the name. And that's how I've been getting around.

    Back on track now: So I headed east on 50, no stopping. My map showed Eleven Mile State Park north of Canon City, so, 9 would take me there. But of course, my map also showed what looked like a more direct route to the SP out of Guffey. It just failed to indicate that it was 26 miles of dirt road. Which would have been great were I not in a 4x4 F350 with trailer, and if the road was not a continual washboard, and had I stopped in Canon at the last restroom I saw!!! :waysad


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    But, it did give me some great sights going that way.

    Once I turned off to head toward Guffey, it was the time of day when deer like to run out in front of traffic. One had already crossed, so I slowed just in time and was able to miss this one. Later on in the week while riding my bike through here, at the same exact spot - I almost hit a deer again. But I had remembered this spot, so I slowed coming around that corner from the opposite direction and was ready for 'em.

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    Once I turned down the dirt road to Eleven Mile State Park from the south side, I saw a group of riders coming off another dirt road. I wondered if they were ADVriders. Was it you?

    I enjoyed the road at first; all the nice sights and the plans going through my head to ride this and the side roads on my DR the next day. But soon cell service kicked in, and I was getting text messages that had been stored up, and phone calls coming through, and emails, and ..... the reality of responsibilities slapped me out of my day dreams for a while, as well as that nagging pain in my bladder as I rode over one long dirty washboard!!

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    Finally, I see water. I must be close. I am closer, but now I have to go all the way around Eleven Mile Reservoir to get to the campgrounds, and seeing water was not the best thing for me at this moment. :eek1


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    The wind was really bad too. I bet the gusts were up to 40 mph, and the area was so dry.

    When I passed by the reservoir on the west side, I noticed some parking and then a corral by one of the parking areas. My memory was triggered. I had a guide out of Woodland Park take me here for fishing a while back. I remembered catching a huge cutbow here! I'd be back.

    So finally, I arrived at the campground. I was getting a little disappointed in the flat arid plains surrounding the lake. I didn't come to Colorado to camp on flat land!!! But by the time I got to the park, I could see foothills and the campsites were tucked among trees and large rock outcroppings. Not quite mountainous, but if I could find the right one, I'd be protected from the wind and maybe the 34 degree temperatures forecasted for this night. I thought I left Gunnison because I was cold. I had not seen cold yet!!!

    I checked in, (after finding the restroom), paid all designated fees, made small talk, and then went to pick a spot out of the wind. Here is where I ended up.


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    my 'front yard' for a few days.

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    So, I had a great spot and enjoyed my time here at Eleven Mile State Park. They have nice facilities. My only complaint is that you have to pay extra for a shower. $1.75 will buy you four minutes. We women (generally) do not shower within four minutes. It can get costly.

    In the evening swallows would invade my campsite killing off bugs that might bother me at dusk. Actually, I think there was a may fly and a midge hatch going on and that is what the swallows were gathering up. But since I was never biten by a mosquito, I suppose some of those were in the mix as well.

    The first night, I had the tent right up next to the truck for added protection from the wind. The other nights, it stayed where it is in the pictures. I didn't even have any neighbors for the first three nights. It was really a great place. Peaceful, quiet, clean and strategically located for some nice rides and fishing.

    After setting up camp, and eating some Mountain House Beef Stroganoff (again), I settled in for a long cold night. I put on thermals, and my fleece, brought out an extra blanket I had thrown in the truck before leaving Texas, put some of those chemical body warmers in my sleeping bag rated for 45 degrees, added some socks, a fleece cap, and fleece gloves, and then found a couple of head wraps I used around my face to keep it warm. Seriously - I was THAT cold. I never did warm up through the night, but boy, when the sun comes up in Colorado, things start cooking right away!!!

    The sky was so clear and the moon was so bright that night. Had it not been so cold and so windy, I would have taken a photo of the moonbeams dancing over the white caps on the lake, but nah!!!

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    I was still cold in the morning when I woke, but seeing the sun gave me hope!!!


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    The day was warming so I started some breakfast so I could get busy and go for a ride on the bikes and explore the area.


    Breakfast: The usual - coffee and maple syrup oatmeal

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    So it was swallows last night gathering up dinner, and this morning it was chipmunks. But the chipmunks were more agressive than I've ever seen them before. Since I planned to stay a few days, I knew I didn't want to start a problem by feeding them anything or they would continue each day asking for more and more each time until I would be surrendering my bank account numbers to them. It was a stand off!!!

    Whatever happened to the chipmunks who just jump from rocks to rocks doing cute chipmunk things while children giggled at their sight, only to be disappointed in the chipmunks retreat when approached? These at my campsite must have mutated. They had me surrounded. One was rummaging through my truck after he got in when I had left the door open momentarily. While I was trying to fix my maple syrup oatmeal, there was one sitting on each of foot. One on my right and one on my left. And a huddle of 3-4 others were staring at me within lunging distance. All that was happening while a strangely curious and friendly robin kept hopping closer and closer from the other direction. This was really odd. I wanted to move, but I was afraid if I did, the two on my feet would signal an attack to the others, and then I would surely be taken down by chipmunks that morning before breakfast and before getting to enjoy the Eleven Mile area. Thinking the robin was the least threatening since there was only one, I slowly shuffled my feet that way along the tailgate. Once I saw the group was not following, I kicked the two little stowaways off my shoes and then hurried back to my oatmeal before the others could get it. I jumped up on the tailgate and tucked my feet up under me. I knew this was a test of resolve. If I could make it through the first meal without giving into their bullying for food, I would be home free the rest of the week and they would move on. So I stayed consistent in my resolve, and it worked. Pesky little rodents!

    Don't let these photos fool you. They are NOT as cute as they look. They have morphed into devious plotting beggars! You can see it in his eyes!


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    This one is the one that got in my truck. He eventually got out when I turned up the music real loud inside the truck. I drowned him out with loud old time bluegrass banjo music, He was banging on the window begging me to let him out within five minutes.

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    This one kept trying to pretend to be a rock so I wouldn't notice him. I did.

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    And the robin - who I actually think now, was an accomplice that first morning.

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    So, I was eventually able to eat my breakfast and drink some coffee and then clean up around the camp, secure my food, make sure all chipmunks were out of my truck, lock it up - and go off for a day of riding. I'll write about that in a few hours. I've got to get some sleep first.

    In the meantime - the aspens right next to my morning table - providing peaceful 'chimes' with the lightest of breezes.

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  9. CamoGreg

    CamoGreg aka Camorpheus

    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
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    Location:
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    I've met those mutants:patch

    Funny stuff - keep it coming, <s>Gulliver</s> Kristi:lol3

    ps. Great moon shot BTW:thumb
  10. lucky_strike

    lucky_strike whose flux?

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
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    Location:
    the americas
    this picture looks like it just about sums up your night

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  11. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Texas
    yeah, not too flattering, but it does show how cold I was and the eyes tell I'm close to retreat at that point.


    Once I had camp secured, I took off exploring the area.

    I hadn't yet asked why this place was called Eleven Mile State Park/Reservoir. I assumed it was eleven miles from something, but what? It's eleven miles from the reservoir to CO 24 at Lake George. That's it. No legend, no story, no folk lore about it. Just the distance from here to there. Oh well.

    But it's a nice eleven mile ride.

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    Eventually, you end up at this intersection with CO 24. From here I went right toward the town of Lake George

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    Going through Lake George, I saw the sign for Eleven Mile Canyon. That was the place I remembered fishing before, so I headed down the canyon road on the BMW.

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    It's the South Platte River that runs through this gorge. The dirt road follows it. It was the weekend when I was here, so it was pretty crowded. There were a lot of people fishing, and picnicing, hiking, camping - everywhere. Wherever there was a pullout, there was a vehicle. It was the perfect weekend for it too.

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    This is right at the beginning of the road after the entrance fee is paid. It gets so much better.

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    The sign does not lie

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    I ended up staying at this spot for a long while, just talking with some people about the area and enjoying the water and sun. No hurrying from this spot. The sun felt great after being cold all night.

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    Further down the canyon, more great places to sit, read, wade, fish, eat lunch.

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    I did not go all the way to the end, since it just leads back to Eleven Mile Reservoir again, and I wanted to go on to Cripple Creek. But I did go far enough to see another rock tunnel.

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    And then I headed out,

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    On to Cripple Creek. I remembered coming here as a little girl with my parents. The road to Cripple Creek was much more scenic than I found today. We must have come a different route. And there was a lot of traffic. A weekend, though, so I must expect that. The town is huge now. But there were people everywhere, and I didn't want to spend a lot of time in a town, so I didn't even stick around. I took one picture of a church from the distance because the spiraled steeple was glistening in the sun above the city and it looked really nice from where I was parked, but other than that - nothing here for me.

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    Because I spent so much time by the South Platte River in the canyon, I was running out of time for much else. I wanted to make it to Hartsel because the people on the river told me that they serve a very good Buffalo burger at the cafe in town. I had not eaten anything but Mountain House meals for supper for a while, so that was sounding pretty good. I took the cutoff from 11 over to 9 and headed north to Hartsel. The last stretch of 9 after the turnoff for Guffey, is a lonely stretch of road, but beautiful and rolling with expansive grasslands.

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    In Hartsel, I found this place with the buffalo burger. The cafe was closed, but the saloon/bar section was open. So I went in and ordered a meal. I decided to take it back to the campsite, because it was already close to dusk and I remembered the amount of antelope and free ranging animals along the flat lands near the reservoir. I didn't want to have to be dodging them on the way back to camp, so I loaded it up on my bike and headed back.

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    and the local school::eek1

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    fits nicely, and made the bag smell so much better for a couple of days! ugh.

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    And the final stretch back to camp.

    antelope

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    and free ranging donkeys??? There was a cow that walked right out in front of me. No picture though.

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    The burger was okay. Probably better had I eaten there and had remembered to tell them no onions and no pickles!! So after scraping all that off of a cooled burger, I think it lost some of the flavor it was intended to have. I'd try it again - in restaurant. The locals at the bar were interesting. I'll say no more.

    The night was colder than the night before. But I added some warmth by covering the area of mesh in the 3 season tent that was still exposed. Having a big dinner probably helped me sleep a little better. When I woke, though, there was frost? all around my campsite :eek1 :cry
  12. TownPump

    TownPump Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    819
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    Huntsburg, OH
    Stunning, both you and the pictures.

    It almost looks like you have some sort of lomography going on with some of these latest pics. What did you do to achieve that "look"???
  13. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Texas

    Just a minute. Let me find a dictionary for "lomography", and I'll be right back.
  14. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
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    592
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    Texas

    Okay - I'm back. Here's what I got:

    Well, I was shooting while riding a motorcycle which could explain the off-kilter exposure and blurring. I'm not sure what a happy accident is, but I think I'd enjoy one. Lighthearted approach - yes, I think I did that.

    I did crop the photos to 16:9 just because I like those dimensions and it often got rid of the motorcycle windshield in the bottom of the photo. Perhaps that is what you see?


    I often do shoot without looking through the view finder, especially if I have to raise the camera above my head to get the angle I want or to see over something. And as I'm riding, you can imagine that most shots are spontaneous. Perhaps the 16x9 crop gives it the ubiquitous sense.

    No multiple lenses on a camera or rainbow flashes or extreme optical distortions. If there is light leakage, it's because I didn't set the metering right, probably, and not intentional. The shots in the last set were taken by 4 different cameras; an iPhone, a Nikon Cool Pix, a Canon XT, and a Canon 40D - so they weren't all low fidelity and inexpensive (relatively speaking).

    On one day I spent a few hours in Guffey photographing old rusting cars. Some of those I over exposed on purpose and over saturated just for an effect I was trying to achieve for a collection I'm doing. Like this, but I didn't do any purposeful overexposing in these last sets, so.......

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    So I'm not sure what you are referencing, but if it's a good thing - then thank you very much, and tell me what you are noticing, so I can try to improve. If it is something I need to correct, I'm always eager to learn better technique.
  15. STRacer

    STRacer Born again biker

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Tennessee
    "Perhaps the 16x9 crop gives it the ubiquitous sense."

    Uh oh...ubiquitous....thats just great...now I have to go find a dictionary:lol3

    The photos do have a unique look to them....can't quite put my finger on why, but they're great so don't change a thing. Maybe it's because they're so much better than the pictures I take:0-0

    I'll be riding thru Colorado and on into Utah to the Navada border on July 26th on a DRZ400s with about 12 other guys...not much time to take pictures so I'm am looking forward to more of yours:D
  16. dawggawn

    dawggawn Nihilist . . . maybe

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
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    1,282
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    Over the bars
    I once left a very expensive banjo in the back seat of my car and then forgot to lock it. When I came back I found some no good someone had put three more in there. :ddog

    Hey, you're having fun, way to go.
  17. Black Ice

    Black Ice Sovereign Individual

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    Apr 10, 2006
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    700
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    Central AZ
    It's always new territory when seen through another's eyes. :thumb
  18. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
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    2,039
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mtns.
    A way I keep warm when camping is boil some water and put that in a bottle at my feet in the sleeping bag, you can use multiple bottles along the lenght inside the bag but it could be a bother/get in the way. And when the bottle gets cold take them out of the sleeping bag cause it takes energy to keep water warm, meaning that it will take warmth away from you. I find that the bottles stay hot/warm for a least a few hours depending on how big of a bottle and it might help if you stuff it in a sock.

    Also those freezed dried foods arn't the most nutrious and caloried packed so that leaves you more subseptible to the cold....I know cooking takes more time but you'll feel better when eating real food. Also about the freezed dried food, I find that I normally need to eat a bag that says for two to feel any substanance.
  19. wolfhoundaddy

    wolfhoundaddy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    prescott, arizona
    hope your not insulted. I'll follow your progress, if you get to grand canyon I know a few local spots.
  20. gypsyrr

    gypsyrr in flux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Texas
    I'll be at the Grand Canyon by mid July at the latest. I have a couple of stops to make on the way, and want to make time for Moab and Green River, WY. So for how long, I don't know yet. Tell me the local spots? Hopefully on the less crowded north rim, right? Thanks.