Tres Amigos Sample the CDR in Colorado

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cwc, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. cwc

    cwc .

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,185
    Location:
    Minnesota
    This is the story of a short trip to check out part of the CDR and bag a few passes in Colorado. There were three of us that finally committed. The plan was to camp out as much as possible. This was the "new" part of the trip.

    Two of us have a fair amount of DS experience in the Copper Canyon area and the Southwestern US, but had not carried camping gear. Actually, I have slept out on a DS trip, but that was a result of poor planning and no tent or sleeping bag was involved.

    Participants included myself on a DR350, glfisherman (hearafter referred to as John K) on a DRZ400 and John Z. on a DR350. In case you wonder what we look like, see below.

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    John K. (L.) and I ponder the sparkless DR in the wilds of Chihuahua while Marty M.(R.) advises. This is a photo from earlier this year, but we haven't aged much.

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    John Z. in St. Elmo before we crippled him.

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    Since we are from Wisconsin and Minnesota, we trucked the bikes to Salida, CO to start our ride.

    Before going further with the story we want to thank Adventure Riders Hayduke and Bonnie Abzug for letting us park the truck at their place, providing trip advice and providing a nice place to stay while we were in Salida. They were a great help.

    Day1

    We decided to take a day trip over Tincup Pass and whatever else we could get to in order to test our setups. We set out at about 9 a.m. and one flat tire later actually got on the road at a little after 10 a.m.

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    Here is where we went.

    Everything went well until we got close to the pass and I noticed that I was out in front and alone. I turned around and and found my riding partners checking out the DR350. There was a broken clutch lever and John Z's leg was not in top shape anymore. I was a little upset that he didn't have the common decency to remain under the bike until I could get a picture.

    We installed my spare clutch lever and then decided that it would be best if John Z. didn't continue, so we turned around and took him back to St. Elmo where he thoughtthat he could proceed to Salida alone. This was maybe a little hasty because when he got back to Salida he got off the bike for something and couldn't get back on. He called Hayduke, who came and rescued him.

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    This is what John's leg looked like.

    There were a couple of more cases of instability in the trip, but they didn't result in damage or injury so won't be mentioned here.

    John K. and I continued over Tincup Pass and then took it easy over Cumberland, Waunita, Black Sage and old Monarch passes on our way back to Salida.

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    Here is a map of the rest of the trip.

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    Day 2

    Since John Z was still not feeling up to snuff, John K and I started down the CDR toward New Mexico. For maps we had only a Colorado road map and the track that BigDogAdventures.com posted here http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108842 Thanks for posting that Mark.

    Right away there was a problem. The road to Marshall pass was marked CLOSED. Even though we saw some bicyclists enter the road we of course couldn't go past a ROAD CLOSED sign. I did, however, photoshop some pictures to show what it might have been like if we HAD gone that way.

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    There might have been a big hole.

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    They might have been installing a culvert(bike photo inserted to show how big it might have been).

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    John K. might have looked like this riding up the side of the hole.

    Continuing on, we eventually approached Del Norte on a fast gravel road. Just when I was thinking we'd be in town in a couple of minutes the path turned onto a more interesting road that turned into a sand wash. The bicycle tracks we had been noticing began to wobble about a bit. We did too, but not so much. Just on the north end of Del Norte we caught up with a couple who were on the bicycles with trailers. I asked "How was it riding in the sand wash?" They replied that we should ask "How was it PUSHING in the sand wash." They wistfully mentioned that it took them three days to do what we had done so far that day, so I refrained from telling them that most adventure riders would probably covered twice the distance we had. They asked a lot of questions and expressed an interest in getting a DS bike and doing the route that way. We of course referred them to Adventure Rider.

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    A different kind of adventure riders.

    After a stop in Del Norte for gas, groceries and checking email at the Library we continued on toward Summitville. About 15 miles up the road from Del Norte we found a place to camp (primitive campsite #1) amid the hordes of elk hunters.

    John prepared some dehydrated food which I shared. I later found out that it was quite old.

    Miles traveled were about 165.

    Day 3

    I awoke feeling not so hot. Something wasn't agreeing with me and I decided to blame John's cooking. Eventually we had breakfast and got packed up.

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    Trying to get motivated to pack up Primitive Campsite #1

    By noon we had covered the ~35 miles to Platoro so stopped for lunch and bought supplies for supper. A wrangler/guide/waiter at Platoro told us it took him 2¾ hours to make it to Hwy 17 with a truck and stock trailer. It took us about half as long with numerous stops.

    We had planned to camp along the Conejos River, but none of the sites struck our fancy so we proceeded along the CDR. Turning off the paved road just north of the New Mexico border we saw some likely campsites, but decided to look for something with a stream. Just past the point where the road got bad (good) we met some hunters who suggested the Rio Brazos. At a "T" where the CDR went right we followed their directions and went left. In about a half an hour we were at the river.

    We set up camp, talked to a couple of fly fishermen, watched a young person run his 4 wheeler down the river (we heard plastic cracking) and settled in to supper. John had more dehydrated food. I fixed my own supper. After supper it was just us and the cows, the bears and the mountain lions.

    The astute reader will notice that there is just one tent. We decided to share John's tent to save on weight. I somehow thought it was a 3-person tent. It wasn't. Actually there was plenty of room for your sleeping bag and mattress as long as you didn't want to bring in anything else, like a pair of socks for example.

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    Primitive Campsite #2


    Miles for the day were 84.

    Day 4

    We decided to head north because we didn't have tracks of the CDR in New Mexico and we wanted to join up with John Z if he had recuperated.

    Just across the river and up the hillside a bit was the track of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR. As we headed for Antonito in the morning we stopped at Osier where there is a restaurant that serves ONLY the railroad passengers.

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    Water tank at Osier. The exclusive restaurant is in the background.

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    A little later we detoured to Sublette, another station on the railroad.

    Eventually we made it to Antonito where we got gas and groceries for lunch and called John Z to see if he wanted to join us. He was still a bit sore, so we headed north on a county road to Centro where we took some forest roads that ended up following the Alamosa River toward Summitville and then took us down to South Fork. The roads were fast and we made good time, even with stops. We took CO 149 to Lake City where we arrived in time to research the next days ride, have a nice supper and get set up at primitive campsite #3.

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    Primitive Campsite #3

    Miles for the day were 187. A big number for us, but once we were on pavement we only stopped for scenic overlooks, historical markers and bathrooms, so we made good time.

    Day 5

    We rose early and went out for breakfast then watched as some big trees were felled next to our campsite. After a bit of shopping we were on the road by 11 a.m., heading for Engineer Pass.

    We were on the "Alpine Loop" and it was a bit different than we were used to. I've ridden dual sport mostly in New Mexico, Arizona, Northen Minnesota and Old Mexico. In most of those places it was unusual to see more than one or two other vehicles in an hour, sometimes much less. On this loop we saw other vehicles every 5 minutes or so.

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    As we came down off Engineer Pass we briefly considered going to Ouray or Silverton, but ultimately decided on lunch in Animas Forks. After lunch and a tour of the town we headed back over Cinnamon Pass with dark clouds at our backs.

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    As we did the obligatory pass photo it was starting to look like we would lose the race with the dark clouds, so we hustled down toward Lake City stopping only for animal sightings and scenic overlooks. We arrived in town only five hours after we left. We were pretty sure this wasn't a record.

    John did a little more shopping while I got groceries for supper and then we headed out to find Primitive Campsite #4. This would be our first night to actually pay to put up a tent, but with the Golden Age Passport the tariff was only $4 and we got a nice site with a table, a deluxe pit toilet and a dumpster so we didn't have to pack our garbage out.

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    We put the tent near the stream.

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    I put my morning Gatorade in the refrigerator.

    After supper we wandered over to visit our fellow campers.

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    Urs and Margret are from Switzerland and were on a fairly extensive tour of the American west.

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    They didn't pack quite as lightly as we did.

    Miles for the day were 71.

    Day 6

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    It was a bit chilly when we got up.

    We got packed up and headed for Salida. The road from Lake City is pretty fast so we got to Doyleville around noon . To avoid more pavement we took the road over Black Sage and Old Monarch passes then shot down into Salida.

    We got to town in time to buy some gifts (Duke has great T-shirts), put the bikes on the truck and eat mexican with Hayduke and Bonnie Abzug.

    Day 7

    We headed home thinking "We need to do this again."
    #1
  2. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

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    Fun report, fun ride... thanks for the pics and light-hearted story! :thumb
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Good job three amigos!! Nice riding!! Great pics :thumb
    #3
  4. rallybug

    rallybug Local Yokel

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    Great report :thumb
    #4
  5. Streeter

    Streeter Has Coping Skills

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    Sounds like fun, maybe I'll be able to come along next time!
    #5
  6. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD///

    Joined:
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    Nice report!

    It was great hanging out with you guys! Wish I could have ridden with you a bit, too.
    #6
  7. Sock Puppet

    Sock Puppet Dirty again

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
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    Northern New Mexico
    Awesome, guys, thanks!:clap
    #7
  8. judjonzz

    judjonzz Beastly

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    Not Fargo, not Butte, not Cheyenne
    Nice trip, Charlie.
    #8
  9. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

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    That looked like a fun trip guys. Did John K get any fishing in along the way?
    #9
  10. olekaw

    olekaw Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
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    Along highway 61
    Nice report Charlie, good to see the DR still going.
    #10
  11. cwc

    cwc .

    Joined:
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    Minnesota
    Well, he had his fly rod and Hayduke is an expert flyfishing guide, but we were just to busy to fish what with camping and the high miles days.
    #11
  12. cjracer

    cjracer AWD please!!

    Joined:
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    Great report.:thumb
    #12
  13. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Good report. :thumb
    #13
  14. spraypilot

    spraypilot Been here awhile

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    Great pics and ride report!:freaky
    #14
  15. windburn

    windburn Long timer

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    A touch of humor, some excitment, good photos and nice written report. It's great to have friend with a shared sense of adventure and willingness to get out doors and have fun. I will retire in 20 days and you guys are an insperation to me.
    #15