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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DYNOBOB, Dec 26, 2017.
Gonna be good. Looks like great weather.
That looks like fun! Which road is that paved section?
Paved section looks like US 550 looking south out of Ouray, Engineer trailhead in the corner...? First pic is the alpine meadows on Brooklyn Trail?
Yes on both, you know your San Juans
Nice shots! When were these taken?
Thanks, July '17
Working now on first day's installment...
Sorry for the delay folks - Photobucket has raised my blood pressure for the last time - I'm reloading the pics to my Smugmug account.
I never get tired of the San Juan Mountains.
Six years ago I bought my first dual-sport and this is the fourth time I've been to Silverton.
The San Juan's would never have been on my radar except for Adv Rider, so I hope these ride reports pay it forward and get someone's mojo going. As always - heavy on pics - light on words
Normally this is a guy's trip in September when the weather is optimum. However, this time Wynette is getting the San Juan experience and school teachers don't get vacation in September. So July it is, and yes, it rained every afternoon. Irregardless, it was a great trip and she loved it.
So July 14th rolled around and the bikes went in the trailer for the 30hr non-stop run to Red Mountain Campground in Silverton.
It's great when you see the Eisenhower Tunnel - means you're getting close...
I never realized the east-bound tunnel had a different name and was constructed later.
Thankfully, an uneventful trip. Departed mid-day Friday from Cincinnati and arrived Saturday evening.
FWIW, my tracks and waypoints are here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ugu7zd7lh6wszd1/MISC CO WAYPTS + TRACKS.gpx?dl=0
Sunday - Day 1 - The Alpine Loop
We went over the Million Dollar Hwy on the Goldwing in '08, but this will be Wynette's first time in off-road heaven. I figure it's tough to beat the Alpine Loop as a first experience. It will also be a good shake down for how the bike handles two-up.
We start up to Animas Forks and make the steep hairpin for Cinnamon Pass. Of course I can't wait to stop and take some pics...
We got away a little late this morning so we stopped and ate our packed lunch on the way to Lake City
Ran into some rain just before Lake City, was drizzling when I shot this one.
Rain stopped by the time we got to Lake San Cristobal.
Skies brightened on the climb to Engineer Pass. This was pretty much the trend every day ... not complaining though
These fellows were having mechanical difficulty just below the pass. Of course, you could probably get back to Lake City coasting in a pinch.
At Engineer, you're 85% done with the loop and heading back down to Animas Forks.
Just below the pass we ran into something I'd never seen up there before - must have been several hundred sheep grazing.
Also, in all my trips through Animas Forks I'd never stopped to look around.
She loves flowing water
From Animas it's a short skip back to camp.
I never get tired of the San Juans. I've taken my wife up Imogene and Engineer. We were still in our 50s at the time. It's gotten a little tough now. I'm sure your wife enjoyed it as much as mine. Got to do it while you're young.
Ahhh...yes. The San Juans. I've been going up there since 1999. Only about an 8 hour run from the front porch here in Lubbock to downtown Durango.
Some say that the San Juans are the most majestic and alluring mountains on Earth. Not the tallest, not the most remote, not the steepest or most rugged, but they are, to many of us, the most enchanting of all mountain ranges. I've seen and experienced mountains in numerous different states, countries, and continents, and I am continually drawn back to the San Juans. No place like it on Earth. SHHHhhh, don't tell anybody.
Great pics. I am inspired. Base-glamped in Ouray, June 2017. Every pass except Cinnamon and Last Dollar was still snowed in mid-June. That was okay as that forced me to explore the low elevations out west of Ouray and Telluride. I'm gearing up the Husky and KTM SE for 2018...
Looking forward to your write-ups!
Monday July 17 - Day 2 - Brooklyn Mine Rd, Black Bear Pass
Today ended up being a short day because it rained from just after lunch until midnight. Nevertheless, we were blessed with gorgeous weather in the morning. We start north on 550 and turn right onto Brooklyn Mine Rd. It climbs above 550 and parallels it on its east side. On my Garmin maps it's labeled Rt14.
The climb to Black Bear Pass on the opposite mountain.
In the lower right corner you can see 550 (Million Dollar Hwy).
After climbing to the high alpine meadow, the road drops back into the treeline. We paused here to soak it in and have a snack.
Brooklyn Mine Rd intersects 550 at Red Mountain Pass. The Kohler Mine ruins are right at this intersection, you could visit these on any street bike.
Yep, that's some nasty looking stuff flowing out of there.
On the next hill over is the air compressor plant.
I love tools and machines so I did a little reading on this guy. The Ingersol Rand Imperial Type 10 was a 1100cfm/100psi compressor requiring ~200hp. It was used to supply air to the pneumatic drills and this one appears electric driven (some were steam powered), so there must have been overhead wires at one time. I wish I would have looked for a serial number, they can date back to ~1900 and were used all around the globe.
Yours truly to give it some scale. I find this stuff fascinating; the initiative, thought, and expense required to get this up here was not small. Who was the person responsible for this...?
Instead of crossing 550 here to get to Black Bear Pass, we're going to continue to parallel 550 northward on Rt 31. It's much the same and comes back to 550 shortly. From there you run a short bit of 550 to get back to the Black Bear turnoff.
Riding a little of the Million Dollar Hwy is no bad thing.
Now the fun begins. The climb to Black Bear was in places more difficult then I remembered and took 99% of my meager skills. Absolutely worth the effort though!
Sorry @LittleWan, the "adventurous route" was closed due to snow.
I could see on weather radar that storms were coming, so we decided to have lunch on the pass before heading for town.
^ This ^ guy was pre-running the "Telluride One Hundred" mountian bike race, a nice little piece of insanity. Consisting of two loops totaling 100 miles, the first loop goes up "The Steps" from Telluride to Black Bear Pass - down 550 - over Ophir Pass and back to Telluride. At that point you're 1/2 done (you can google the rest...). Best part was, this guy's buddy signed him up without asking
Anyhow ... we've got to burn for home ... storms are coming.
At the end of this plateau the trail drops steeply to 550. I probably descended a little quicker than I should have and boiled the rear brake fluid. Luckily I was almost off the steep part when the rear brake lever went limp. It rained pretty hard after we reached 550 so we took it easy, by the time we got to town the brake had come back. Thankfully, it was the only mechanical issue we had on the trip.
Corkscrew Pass is the copper colored mountain straight ahead.
Good stuff. Want to do it next summer. What dates did you do it?
Really first class photos. Thanks for posting.
Tuesday July 18 - Day three - Corkscrew Pass, Hurricane Pass, California Pass
Another easy day today as rain drove us back to town by mid-afternoon. Gorgeous morning though.
We take Hwy 110 north to hop up to Corkscrew Pass, the easiest of all the passes to reach. If you're on a pavement trip with a big adv bike (or any SUV) and want a low-risk pass experience this is the one. The ride up and back to Silverton on is not difficult and it rewards with views westward to Black Bear/Imogene and eastward to Hurricane.
Black Bear is over near the mushroom cloud
Looking down into Corkscrew Gulch
For the last month I'd been talking to @SilverBullet about meeting up in Silverton and last night he joined us at the campground. We've been internet buddies for 5yrs (both have TE630s) so it's cool to meet and will be nice to have a wingman. He's a strong rider and had no problem doing the passes on his Tenere.
East toward Hurricane - that's where we're heading next.