WestQuest - Gaspipe's Colorado Run '08

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gaspipe, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I reckon that the stars aligned. :norton

    I finished a job in NYC on Sunday morning, and flew back to TN that evening. I had an invite from Neduro to ride for a few days in western Colorado, and I bit hard - hook, line and sinker. It'd been about six months since I'd gone anywhere on the bike for more than a few days, so I was primed for a bit of a longer dirt ride into some less traveled places.

    Ned's invite was the perfect catalyst to set a ride in motion. :thumb

    I hastily packed up my stuff, tossed a bike in the back of the GMC, and headed west toward Ouray, CO on Monday morning. 1,600 miles to go!

    I called jumpingchollo and told him I was headed to the Rockies. I suggested that when I was done in Ouray, we ought to hook up and ride some of the places out there many folks don't go. He bit, too - and secured some time off to meet me at the end of the week somewhere in the Four Corners area.

    I won't go into much detail on the riding days with Ned, Antware & gang, but I'll give you a few pics of some of the things we rode to whet your appetite before I start the ride report.

    Many thanks Ned, Tony, Shawn, Justin, Mike, Ben & Gary. I was really bummed that I missed the Weber Bros. by a few hours :cry

    Phase one begins, and the yellow clad flatlander scrapes heaven for a few days....

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    When the time came to decide what bike to take, I chose the XR650R. It's my Swiss Army Knife type of a bike. It was the right pick for the next couple of weeks for what I planned to do.

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    After three days of really great riding, loads of laughs and good times, it was time for a beer, load up, and head towards the Cortez area to hook up with 'chollo and start Phase 2.

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    A few days with these guys blew off my ring rust, and I was ready to go and get lost for a while......

    [stay tuned for the rest....]
    #1
  2. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    'Chollo was traveling northeast from AZ, and I headed south from Ouray. It'd been raining off and on all week, and the weather deteriorated severely as I headed south. I was hoping to get back up to Ouray or Silverton Friday night to hit WestFest, but that dissolved with the rain.

    'Chollo and I met up on the road between Cortez and Durango, and ended up holed up in Durango for the night as the rain poured down. Finding a place to park the trucks was a PITA. We ended up dumping them at the airport.

    I used that time at the airport to pick through my stuff once again, and discarded about half of what I was planning to carry. I usually travel very light, and this time, I was traveling the lightest I have in many years. We watched "The Warriors" on my laptop, swigged back a few beers and got our stuff ready for morning.

    As dawn hit, we were ready. Trucks stashed away, and a couple cups of coffee later, we were headed back west towards Mancos and Dolores. We grabbed a little food in Dolores - which was celebrating Escalante Days - as we passed through.

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    'Chollo is riding my old XR600R - a 2000 model.

    A few miles past Dolores, we were on dirt [at last]. We crossed the TransAm Trail here, out near McPhee Reservoir.

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    We weren't riding the TAT, nor the CD Trail. But we'd cross them both several times during this ride.

    We climbed our first pass - the relatively benign and unknown pass/gap near Lone Cone on FS526.

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    [more coming....]
    #2
  3. InfoManiac

    InfoManiac Always Learning

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    Oh hell yeah!

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Hoopy Frood Super Supporter

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    :thumb
    #5
  6. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    'Chollo hadn't been out on the bike for a ride in quite a while, so the plan was to start easy and let him work out the ring rust too. We rode around Miramonte Reservoir, and hit 141 in Disappointment Valley at Basin.

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    Asphalt is something we aim to avoid here, so about a mile of tarmac, and we were back in the dirt on 29W road. This quickly evaporated into an old two track, which was well received -ruts, mud and all.

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    The track grew even less traveled, and became somewhat abandoned. That's always a good thing for me. 'Chollo seemed to be doing pretty good, and we plugged along, eventually dropping into Naturita on a road that had no name.

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    Naturita is still a small town, with about 750 residents. It got it's start in the late 1800's as a cattle town - running the livestock either over the Uncompaghre Plateau to Montrose, or to Placerville to the railroad heads to make a living.

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    We stopped to gas up the XR600R and take a breather.

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    Thinking about the history of this tiny little town, I decided to run over the Uncompahgre to Montrose - just like the cattle. The old cattle run trail is now Hwy 90 - a wide gravel road. But there are a few other narrow trails to take that are still used to run cattle up and down the plateau as the seasons change.

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    It's been 25 years since I've ridden through this exact area - and it hasn't changed much.

    As we crested the Plateau at about 9,500 feet, the thunderheads were in hot pursuit.

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    After riding a bit on the Plateau, we decided to head down into Montrose look for some food, a room, and some fun.

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    We snagged a cheap room, filled our gullets on some passable Italian food, and got a sixpack of Fat Tires to kill the night. Montrose doesn't look much like this anymore...

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    We really weren't sure where we were headed the next day, but the general idea that was spawned while consuming the Fat Tires this evening was to continue north, away from population, and see where we ended up.

    Close to no plan sounded like a good plan, and our first day was in the books.

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    [more coming...]
    #6
  7. zmotomann

    zmotomann No Quarter

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    Good stuff a coming.......

    Your living the dream Gaspipe
    #7
  8. neduro

    neduro Addict

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    :lurk
    #8
  9. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    GasPipe, I am damn sure glad you are back in full form. Can not wait to hear the story and see the pics.

    This and the cd's from Big Dog Adventures might get me thru the healing process and back on the bike soon.:clap
    #9
  10. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    :lurk
    #10
  11. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Thanks guys. It's lunchtime in TN, so I'll toss up another installment before I have to get back to work.

    After a night of heavy rain and thunderstorms, we awoke to a rising sun. We packed up what little we were hauling with us. We decided to skip breakfast and had just a cup of coffee. We left town as the sun peeked over the mountains - it was before 0700 on Sunday morning, and Montrose was eerily quiet.

    We retraced our tracks from yesterday afternoon, climbing back up onto the Uncompahgre Plateau. We rode up to Columbine Pass, and decided to take the easy route - the Divide Road - towards Unaweep Divide.

    Off in the distance, looking southwest, I could see Lone Cone and the saddle that we rode through the day before.

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    The LaSal mountains and Utah were due west. I really ike this part of Colorado. It's still empty and looks the same it did 25 years ago.

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    This early in the morning, nothing was stirring on the Uncompaghre. Indigenous folks had been living up here for about 10,000 years, and the west side of the Plateau was named Tabeguache - a Ute word that means "where the snow melts first".

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    There used to be some really good single track up here that I rode in the early 80's relatively often, but I wasn't sure where it was anymore, or if was even legal to ride on it anymore.

    At the first intersection, at this sign, I went left along the Divide Road.

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    The road is smooth, fast and quite pretty. About 5 miles up the road, after an unusually long straight, I didn't see a light in my mirror. I stopped and waited for a minute, and no 'Chollo. I cut the motor, and listened. Nothing. After ten minutes, I turned around and went back to the sign.

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    Hmmm. No one here. There's only two ways he could have went - back to Columbine Pass, or to Delta.

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    I waited about 30 more minutes, and decided to head to Delta. It was the only place I could imagine he'd have gone.

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    I rode fast - figuring I needed to to catch the XR600R. I saw a fresh knobby track at the top of the descent to Delta, and wicked it up a little more. As I rolled into town, 30 miles later, Delta was coming to life. I rode up and down main street (US50) and didn't see 'Chollo. I rode to the south edge of town, and there was a couple bikes - looked like ADV'ers....!

    One of those riders was Ms. Chiff :thumb I stopped and chatted with them for a bit. Stupidly, I took no pics, but she did. Maybe she'll post one [that's a hint]. Neither of them had seen an XR that morning, so I decided to go back up the Delta Road back onto the Umcompahgre, and head north to Unaweep. It's the only place he could have gone, and now I decided to ride a little slower on the way back up and look for skids and/or a wreck.

    But I didn't see anything. Back at the intersection, I rode back to Columbine Pass. I stopped and talked to a logger that said he'd been there for about two hours now, and I was the only motorcycle he'd seen. I decided to head north on the Divide Road, and look for any signs of a bike. This was getting friggin' wierd.

    A few miles up, a group of three ATV riders told me they saw a red motorcycle go by two hours earlier. How could that possibly be? I took off, and really let the XR650R run here - if he was that far ahead, I had my work cut out for me - and I'd ridden about 80 miles out of my way now. And I hadn't gotten gas since we left Ouray. The big Acerbis tank was getting low - it had well over 200 miles on it now.

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    I dropped off the Plateau onto 141, and headed towards Whitewater to look for gas. I figured the XR600 needed fuel too. Even though 'Chollo has refueled in Naturita the day before - the tank on that is about two gallons smaller than the 650R's tank. No gas at Whitewater anymore, so I went a few miles into the fringes of Grand Junction, and filled up.

    I took off back to 141, taking the dirt road out past the landfill. I climbed back up onto the Uncompahgre, and headed to Glade Park. We'd talked about heading there yesterday.

    I chatted with the somewhat grouchy lady at the general store, and she said she hadn't seen a bike yet today. Maybe I was IN FRONT of 'Chollo? I was really perplexed at how this had happened, but it had now been about six hours since I last saw him.

    Somewhere in the last 25 years, the roads that I knew that connected the Colorado National Monument road had been blocked off. WTF? I later found out they charge a FEE now to see the public land that we all own. This was to become an ongoing theme that really pisses me off.

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    So I rode over their damned obstacles, and down into Fruita. Four friggin' dollars to drive the National Monument? "Entering Public Lands - FEE AREA" :baldy

    To hell with them. It's not the money, it's the principle of the whole thing.

    I rode back to Grand Junction to see if maybe 'Chollo was out at the factory we used to work at....or maybe at the Fisher Liquor Barn, where we used to have lunch from time to time....

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    But I didn't see him. In an effort to travel lighter than ever before, I even opted to leave the cell phone in the truck. I guess it would have come in handy right about now. :lol3

    Nothing to do but stick with the plan, and see if we cross paths. I wasn't going to worry about it any more.

    [more in a bit]
    #11
  12. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Supporter

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    (it was good to see you in Salida on your way out... :thumb )

    :lurk
    #12
  13. AntWare

    AntWare Lost In Translation

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    "...this thread sucketh does not..." :D
    #13
  14. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    #14
  15. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Mmmmm....Write a ride report, I will.....

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    #15
  16. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in Supporter

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    thank you Bruce. :lurk
    #16
  17. NAVIGATOR

    NAVIGATOR Wanderer

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    Ahhhh¡¡¡....... just knowing who´s posting assures a great RR, I can´t wait to see more of it.

    That Honda looks mean:deal
    #17
  18. Dranrab Luap

    Dranrab Luap E-Tarded

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    Good Stuff Gaspipe:clap
    #18
  19. BackRoadNomad

    BackRoadNomad I'm retired...go around me! Supporter

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    ...a quote from Mae West.

    A hearty welcome back to the board Gaspipe, keep it coming!:bow
    #19
  20. AntWare

    AntWare Lost In Translation

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    "...this..."

    "...this tastes..."

    "...this tastes like..."

    " ...POWERGEL... "
    :oscar

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    #20