The Stand: Breaking out of the outbreak

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AJxr, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Day 2
    Pagosa Springs to Ouray
    155 miles

    a day I will remember for years to come. epic scenery, incredible riding. torrential downpour. flooding, hail, thunder, 13k feet elevation, frozen hands, the best cheeseburger ive ever had, and the oldest hotel ive ever stayed in.

    here we go.

    wake up around 6am. happy to see its not raining anymore.


    after a hot shower i make the worst cup of instant coffee with my jet boil.


    anxious to get to high elevation i opt to slab it from pagosa springs to durango, and then head up 550 to silverton.

    the day before i was so happy i chose knobbies for this trip. this morning i was wishing for some k270s or something that would make carving up 550 a little more fun. given the lack of gaurd rail on 550 I was probably better off though haha.

    so anyway the slabbing. bike sputters right as i get into durango city limits. engine dies. i think well.. she had a good run. then i notice i am basically out of fuel. i must have really burned some gas dicking around in the rio grande forest the night before. click reserve and a few minutes later i am at a cenex filling up on go-go juice. after fueling i decide its time to find a post office so i can ship back the crap i dont need. apple maps tells me theres a post office on main street in the center of town. i ride around looking for it. mind you my bike has an XRs only muffler that, to be honest, is obnoxiously loud. after some dirty looks and not finding the post office I give up and head for silverton.

    man 550 is an incredible road.

    halfway to silverton i stop at a little gas station/deli and grab a real cup of coffee and some chili pepper burrito. i savor every sip of the beautiful bean juice.

    back on the bike and aimed at silverton.

    silverton, co

    i roll into town. gas up immediatly. yes i learned my lesson. now for the post office. i am shipping back this wierd gas tank saddle bag thing, my rain coat, (i have my msr jacket still) my rain pants, (big mistake) my extra pair of gloves that are still soaked from the day before, and some various maps/paperwork i really dont need. now at some point i might make a packing list but i can tell you i dont really have much more than the basics. half of my gear is extra parts for this old hog. i have a complete electrical system including stator, all tools for all jobs, 2 extra tubes, a 1up front sprocket, extra drain plug, spark plug, and a pile of tools. after shipping that package home i am confident that i truly need everything i have left.


    now that thats over with its time for some high mountain passes.

    first up ophir pass. been dreaming of these high passes for years. time to finally see them for myself.



    ophir pass summit

    as i come back down to route 550 after summiting Ophir i can tell the weather is shifting and rain is imminent.

    next up, black bear pass. this was when shit got wild.

    beginning of black bear pass

    when i get to the start of the black bear road i can tell that the storm is coming up quick. having learned my lesson yesterday, and still being dry, i pull out my phone and search for hotels in ouray. reserve a room at the "historic western hotel." sweet. knowing i will be drenched shortly at least i know i will have a warm bed at the end of the day.


    ride up to the summit.

    cold up there!

    day 2 continued next post
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  2. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    telluride bound

    as i start to descend the other side the storm hits. im talking hail, thunder, cold rain and wind. i start bombing down toward telluride as fast as i can. i see a lot of runners/hikers taking shelter wherever possible. a few jeeps just stopped mid trail due to lack of visibility. when i hit the switchbacks i notice some mud/rocks coming down the banks. start wondering how often do landslides occur here? better twist it a little harder!

    get into telluride soaked to the bone. the streets are flooded. basically streams everywhere.

    video quality? i imagine thats what it would be like riding around on acid.

    next up Imogene pass to Ouray.

    tons of jeeps in the way. most are parked. thunder cracking and rain falling. i twist it.

    the rest of the way to the summit was more of the same. as i get further up the pass i see some old mining equipment and a pack of ktms. the riders seeking shelter in one of the old structures. exchange waves. keep twisting.

    the higher i climb the colder it gets. (obviously) but dang its cold! ive got all of my gear on and thermals. goretex jacket keeps my upper body dry but my hands and legs are drenched. coulda used those rain pants eh? haha.

    finally make it to the summit and the weather lets up. the rain has stopped. i hang out at the summit and let my bike idle. use the exhaust to warm my hands.

    13,114' above sea level. imogene summit. xr running perfectly.

    i feel warm enough that i start heading down the other side toward ouray. now that it isnt raining i take a minute to stop and take a picture. the scenery on all of these passes is incredible. every corner i came around was just more of the same. it never got old.


    finally arrive in Ouray.

    locate the hotel. now when i reserved this hotel on it said it had a full restaurant, bar, pizza. well i didnt factor covid in. none of that stuff was open. oh well no big deal. when i check in i notice this place is old. i mean really old. cool old west vibe. the name "historic western hotel" is actually accurate. most places just claim something like that.



    at this point i was run down, hadnt eaten much, face sore from being battered with hail, feet and hands numb. i haul all of my luggage up into my room. time to find some grub.

    walk into town. notice a burger joint called maggies. appears to be a dive bar but for burgers? oh they sell beer too. im wearing moto pants, a wet thermal top, flip flops, and my eyes are super red. wearing a brown bandana for a mask... haha. i get some strange looks. i order the green chili cheeseburger with fries. they gave me a sack of veggies on the side as optional toppings. this thing was so good. being so hungry i ate every crumb and the whole bag of veggies just as they were with my hand :rofl:photog

    i still dream about that burger.

    head back to the hotel. i go through all my gear and try to get stuff to dry out.


    i remember at this point getting super anxious on whether or not i was going to make it to canada on time. like i stated earlier i had a set time for this trip but i did factor in 2 blank days for whatever might come up. what if it keeps raining? what if the bike breaks? what if covid lockdown amplifies? what if i GET covid? not sure what it was but i was bugging. i remember that i am doing this for fun and whatever happens happens. ill do my best to make it. i will make it. only way i wont is if something out of my control stops me. after this little blip in confidence there were no more on the trip. i think it was the ghosts in the old hotel fucking with me.


    7pm rolls around and i am shot. pass out super early. day 2 concludes. another wet one. another day of awesome experiences.

  3. fzrcraig

    fzrcraig Offensive to Most

    May 27, 2014
    Awesome! About Canada, Co-vid border closure until Sept. 21st. I believe.
    AJxr likes this.
  4. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Day 3
    Ouray to Frisco
    283 miles

    Like I mentioned at the end of the last post I had passed out early the night before. Between that and my body being on east coast time means I wake up at 2am. Ready to fucking go. Not ideal. Ouray is a sleepy town. Most things dont open up until 8-9am. Theres no way I am sitting in this old hotel room for 6 hours. My phone tells me there is a 24 hour gas station on the outskirts of town. I pack up my gear. All of it had dried out except for my gloves and my boots. The two things I wish were dried the most. I cant do anything about the boots but I did have a pair of rubber gloves stashed in my tank bag. I put those on and then my moto gloves over them. I load up the bike and head for the gas station. Its around 5am now. I am hoping to grab a cup of coffee and a snack and dick around till the sun comes up. I dont mind riding in the dark but I am heading over Engineer Pass toward Lake City and I dont want to miss any scenery.

    I get to the gas station. Well they werent lying. its 24 hour fuel service. Nothing else haha. I fuel up and say screw it. Engineer in the dark it is.



    More incredible scenery. No rain. Sun starts to come up. no signs of life anywhere.




    As I climb higher and higher on the pass the scenery becomes unreal. I am above the clouds. I am completely alone. Last nights rain washed away any tracks from previous travelers. I am the first one over the pass today.



    Continue up the pass. I cant believe what I am seeing.


    I hit the summit. Cold AF again.


    I hang out for a few minutes. Take in the scenery. Start dreaming of coffee and food. Saddle up and its downhill to Lake City for breakfast.

    Ride around Lake city. Everything is closed... are you kidding me? Ride past the "Packer Saloon and Cannibal Grill" wish that place was open. The story of Alferd Packer. Look it up. Guy was a real dick. This is why I travel solo.

    I get out on the main drag and come across a coffee joint. WOO coffee and burrito with house made green chili salsa, so good.

    From Lake city its time to head east now. I carve up 149 over Slumgullion Pass. Pick up a dirt road and head back into the Rio Grande National Forest.


    day 3 continued in next post
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  5. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Eventually pick up double track and the riding gets good. I am on the "Saguache to Lake City Toll Road" built in 1875. I think this is part of the TAT. Great double track riding.



    Somewhere around this time I get off my planned route. Must have taken a wrong turn in the National Forest. Start to have concerns about fuel. The area I am riding through reminds of me of interior alaska.

    i believe this was Cochetopa Pass

    No cell service so my phone is useless. I use my old 76cx to search for the nearest town. I come up with saguache. I think oh yeah my route goes through there anyway. Ill just make my way toward that town on whatever roads I come across. Well I had remembered wrong. It was Sargents that I was supposed to be heading towards. Oh well. didnt much matter because the riding and scenery were great. Roll into Saguache. get fuel. Now realize that I am off route and I am going to have to slab it to Salida to get back on course. Bummer. Hey at least its not raining.

    Roll into Salida. Fuel again. Stop at NAPA and pick up oil and a new can of chain lube. Tomorrow I will have to do a service on the old girl. From Salida I will be following the CDR north. When I get back on dirt I notice thunderstorms in the distance. Some higher power must have been watching over me because the route literally outlined the storm. Right on the edge of rain for about 2 hours.


    I roll into Hartsel. Fuel up and grab some lunch.


    Head out toward Boreas Pass. More great scenery.


    getting late in the day I start thinking about a place to camp. I am close to breckenridge now.

    I come around a corner and see this bullshit.


    Just as I hit pavement on the outskirts of Breck the rain comes down. Like really comes down. FML.

    while i seek shelter in this store front I pull out the old phone again. find a hotel in Frisco a few miles up the road. feel guilty for staying at hotels but its just not worth camping in the rain. especially since my gear is not up to par. will probably get some water proof panniers next time around. I ride to frisco. the rain stops.

    check into my hotel and unload the bike. hang my gear all over the place again. Go for a walk around town looking for food. Nothing seems to catch my eye. back to the hotel to eat from my food stores.

    adv staples

    stinky but effective

    Another successful day on earth. Thankful to be doing this.
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  6. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Sep 4, 2011
    sunny san diego
    Man oh man you got a great attitude!! The video of you going down Black Bear was great, you got some huevos!!
  7. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Day 4
    Frisco to Rawlins
    280 miles

    wake up to perfect riding weather. my gear is pretty much all dry. today is going to be a good day.

    the night before i met another adv guy who was staying at the same hotel. he had a sweet ktm adventure bike.

    ran into him again this morning and we exchanged stories from past trips as we loaded our bikes. guy had done some serious adventures! pretty inspiring stuff. had me contemplating some big life changes for the future while i was on the bike that day. i love meeting people like that.

    fuel up in Silverthorne and get back on the CDR headed north.


    pick up some dirt and ride through the Arapaho National Forest. great weather, finally DRY!, decent riding, nothing really stood out. again after the last few days anything would seem mellow I guess.

    roll into kremmling and right by a powersports dealer. what a perfect time to change my oil. like i mentioned earlier I am carrying a full oil change in my luggage so all I needed was an oil pan and a spot to recycle it. i tell the guy at the service counter what i need to do and when i say i already have my own oil i can tell hes on the fence. i can understand that a little. if i had bought the oil there im sure he would have just let me use a drain pan. as he sits there thinking i decide to break the awkwardness and offer to just "rent" an oil pan. $20 later i have an oil pan to use for 5 minutes :lol3

    another lesson learned.


    its starting to get hot at this point. i toy with the idea of installing the 1up front sprocket because I assume things would be a little flatter and wide open from here to canada. 48mph gets old on the slab. i opt to wait a little longer before swapping the sprocket.

    oil change complete i head into town to fuel up. notice a little bbq shack that shares the parking lot of the gas station. breakfast burrito again! this one was the best one of the trip. along with some ice cold home brewed tea.


    burrito demolished and back on the bike headed for Steamboat. a few miles later and im back on dirt. Another national forest. i believe I came down rabbit ears pass into steamboat. hit dirt again shortly after.


    i had mentioned that todays riding had been mellow so far. when i saw this sign it got my hopes up. what a tease. the trail was just as you see it in the pic for maybe 1 mile. then it ended :muutt

    into the center of steamboat for some fuel. what a busy little town. luckily a few miles later i hit dirt again. things seem to be changing a little. ranches are farther apart. i go longer in between seeing signs of life.

    I eventually get on some bitchn double track. notice a dotted line coming up on my gps. whoa... the first state line!


    after 921 miles of EPIC riding in colorado I have finally made it to Wyoming. the stretch of dirt from here to rawlins was one of the best of the trip. nothing technical just enjoyable. bike serviced and running great, perfect weather, dry feet, and a full stomach. this was an easy day.



    sheep everywhere


    spend the night in rawlins. day 4 complete. over and out.
  8. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Feb 18, 2014
    Ventura, CA
    Great story telling and photos from beautiful country! Thanks for sharing. I'm partial to the old Honda's as great adventure bikes myself.
    flybynite, Ginger Beard and AJxr like this.
  9. Tigerkf

    Tigerkf Been here awhile

    Jun 20, 2020
    And then what.................
    AJxr likes this.
  10. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    thank you for the feedback and thank you for having a link to your ride report in your sig!! spent my morning coffee reading the first couple pages. seeing that solidifies my plan to do another trip on this xr.

    day 5 report coming soon!
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Jan 19, 2016
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Just caught up, effin fantastic @AJxr :thumb :thumb

    Damn, the weather gods were throwing some serious $hit at you early on, that vid from coming down black bear pass was nuts, as was the flooding in Telluride :eek7:eek7. Can’t believe you went up engineer pass in the dark. Imagine it had to be oddly serene, while also being a bit

    921 miles over 4 days, you’re not letting the moss grow on the XR.

    Look forward to day 5, great job keeping this going. Knobby side down man :ricky
  12. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    really appreciate the kind words! yes. no spoilers but the old xr racked up some miles in a short period of time!
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  13. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    heres one you guys will enjoy. remember i had mentioned about some jeeps stopped mid trail back on black bear pass during the hail storm? it turns out it was famous youtube guy "bleepinjeep"

    he made a full length video of the gnar including a HUGE landslide that i seriously missed by minutes. i didnt realize how gnarly it really was on black bear because i was too busy trying to get to imogene pass and climb right back up the mountain. ill embed his video below. you can see me roll by shortly after the 17:00 mark. i suggest watching the whole thing because it shows the full experience.

    "In this video we tackle the famous Black Bear Pass near Telluride Colorado. But shortly after coming down past the sheer cliff and waterfall, things take a turn for the worse when a freak hail storm hits the mountain. What comes next is flash floods, mudslides, and landslides that eventually trap us from escaping. There were many hikers on the trail as well and 911 was called and search and rescue was sent out to along with road crews to help recover missing and or hypothermic hikers and rock climbers who were in the area. A bulldozer was needed to reopen the road before we could get out. At least 1 rock climber who was said to have started the Via Ferrata climb just before the storm and was reported missing, his whereabouts are still unclear:"

    hey it must have been nice having climate control!

    ya know i like extreme things.. but it sounds like i got kind of lucky. :lol3
  14. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Jul 17, 2015
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    I also just caught up and am enjoying this read quite a lot. Rather like little duallys myself. Please continue. Petepilot
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  15. tdvt

    tdvt Been here awhile

    Jul 19, 2012
    NEK Vermont
    Nice clean pass on the Jeep vid!

    No dubbing around in that weather.

    Great RR, making me regret selling my TTR250. And that plate on the back looks pretty green for NY....

    Looking forward to the next installment
    AJxr likes this.
  16. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Sep 4, 2011
    sunny san diego
    They should have picked up some of the hikers, they could have crammed in there somewhere, not cool! Storm looked cra cra!!
    Hogges and AJxr like this.
  17. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Day 5
    Rawlins to Pinedale
    220 miles(ish)

    today is a day that i have thought about for awhile. passing through the great divide basin. the desert. 200+ miles of NOTHING. if my bike was going to break this was the spot it was going to happen.

    wake up early and ready to get it. first things first. coffee. Deb B's family espresso ftw. get an awesome coffee and a jalapeno cheddar bagel with green olive cream cheese. delicious.


    time to calculate fuel. bike gets around 60mpg. i have a "4 gal" ims tank. when i hit reserve back in durango it only took 2.4 gallons to fill it. has me second guessing its capacity. so i fill my 2 msr bottles and also 2 gatorade bottles. heck this should be enough... right?


    roll out of rawlins. think to myself wow this is an actual desert. being from the northeast usa i just assume deserts are a south western thing and not a whole western thing. another lesson learned.

    slab for 30 miles or so. pass some kind of gas plant. i can smell some kind of petroluem fumes. see my first pronghorn. see some signs that are used to close the road when gas fumes are too high? wtf.

    start seeing oil rigs. finally pick up dirt again.

    ka-chunk - ka-chunk - ka-chunk

    into the desert.


    see wild horses for the first time in my life... something ive only heard about.


    trail gets faint in some areas. at this point i had used enough gas that i could pour both gatorade bottles into my tank. id been paranoid about losing them thus far.


    come across a random oil field. no signs of life. continue on.

    see dust ahead. whoa! an overland convoy. they are moving at a decent pace but i catch them fairly quick. they let me by.

    they wave, i wave. *spoiler* this wouldnt be the only time i run into these guys, sweet rigs!

    trail starting to become faint again. really faint. gps says this is it so i go! disturb a few random cattle in the process.

    few miles later i pop out back on the main dirt path.

    ride for awhile.

    finally... signs of civilization.. not much but some!



    population: about 57

    continue on.

    more signs of life.


    day 5 continued in next post
  18. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    south pass city mercantile


    holy hannah.... back on blacktop? ive made it. less than a mile later i run out of gas. dump both msr cans in. within a few miles i hit a gas station. almost across the street from the gas station i get back on dirt. click off another 16 miles of sand, rocks, washouts. the grand finale of the days riding.

    out of petrol

    roll into pinedale. i think its safe to say this was my favorite town in wyoming. definitely a sportsmans town. theres a lot going on. covid lockdown isnt so harsh here. i decide to stay in town. try to find a hotel. the first one i find there are no signs of life. lights are on. doors are open. wait around for 20 minutes. roanoke. say fuck it and right a block north. pull into the log cabin motel. looks pricey.

    very nice woman at the front desk looks me over. definitely knows her way around a CDR traveler. offers me the back room of the office for a good deal. how can i say no? sanctuary.

    unload my gear. time to change that dang front sprocket.



    change the sprocket. go over the bike. top off the oil. oil the chain. air psi. everything looks good.

    woman at the front desk also reccomended the brewery up the road. wind river brewing co. man she was right. call in for some bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and a corned beef rueben with fries. got a crowler of their ipa. flip flop my way up there. again i am the only person wearing a mask.


    bring the bounty back to my 1920s log cabin back room home for the night.



    devour everything. the poppers were so good.

    all ya need in life. a good bike. big country. delicious food.

    i pass the F out. it wasnt even dark yet. life is good.

    day 5... SUCCESS.
  19. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Feb 6, 2011
    Blue Mountain, NY
    i see you are from VT. funny thing. NY state tells me my bike can never be registered. at all. even as ohv. VT says if it isnt stolen, you make it street legal, it passes a state inspection, and you pay us some money than you can register. i love vermont. they can have my money.

    im sure you know all about that though :D
  20. Pressingonward

    Pressingonward Looking forward to what is ahead

    May 29, 2015
    SW Washington State
    Enjoying the ride report!
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