Flingshot, Trailace and Jkrup47 take Colorado by Storm!
Inspired by GSL's 50 passes in 50 hours ride, I decided to try and see how many passes I could get done but with a less hectic schedule.
The plan was to take 4 days, camp three nights and have a great time.
I mentioned this ride on another site and Trailace and Jkrup47 said they would come all the way from Houston to do the ride with me. :D
They arrived on Wednesday evening and pitched camp at Casa Del Flingshot. Two very great guys, I was glad to meet them and ride with them. I hope to get the chance real soon to do it again.
The plan was kickstands up Thursday AM. Here is a shot of the willing participants and our trusty steeds.
That's jkrup47 (Josh) on his 08 KLR, Trailace (Rick) on his X Challenge, and me, Flingshot (Scott) on my DRZ 400s lovingly called "The Mudflinger"
We head out down I25 to Santa Fe south on our way to Sedalia and then Woodland Park via Deckers. We then decided to take the first of many route "alterations". I just couldn't drive by Rampart Range Road having lived here for 42 years and never riding Rampart. Here's my chance!
We took Rampart Range Road to Woodland Park but stayed pretty much on the main drag. I will have to go back later for some more fun.
Don't let this next picture fool you, I am actually quite a bad ass.:evil
Slabbed it over Ute Pass and either we missed the sign or there wasn't one. Then on to Wilkerson Pass.
Took a quick run over to see Trout Creek Pass
Then on to See the famed Royal Gorge Bridge. We decided the $24 per person just to get a severe case of Vertigo was too expensive so we took these pics from an overlook.
That's a train track down there.
This is where the trip starts to get interesting.....next up Hayden Pass:eek1
You see, about a year ago I purchased a Colorado Trail book, you know the one, by Charles Wells. It has the trails rated at easy, moderate or difficult. Well I recently went to the Pole Hill trail which was rated moderate so I figured that since Hayden pass was also rated moderate it would be a good one to get in on the first day. As we found out it would be a little more challenging than Pole Hill. No pics of the good stuff as we were riding our butts off to get to the top but we managed to crack off these beauties.
We all made it up unscathed which was pretty impressive considering that Trailace is the only one with experience on these types of roads.
The way down would prove to be a bit more difficult even though I was told that they had just made some changes to the pass removing some of the more difficult stretches on the East side.
Trailace and I made it down. Josh had a minor get off at about the half way point and had to rest a bit before getting back after it.
Most of you have taken pics of a steep hill only to find that when you get home, the pictures dont do the hill justice. Here are some of the pics we took on the way down.
Here you can see Mudflinger (my DRZ) at the top if you look close. This was a pretty fun stretch to say the least.
Here's Josh in his best "Thinker Pose" after his getoff.
Some of the easier stuff...
The view towards Villa Grove on the East side of the pass...
And if that wasn't enough for one day, we decided to bag Poncha Pass before finding a place to camp.
Got a little snack in Poncha Springs and set out to find camp.
Great camp spot. We got really lucky as it was pouring rain and we were going up Marshall Pass and scored big. The only thing wrong with this particular spot was the strange animal noises coming from the trees around the camp. Bear? Mountain Lion? Probably just El Chupa Cabra as Josh suggested.
Well that's day one and a fine day one I might add. On this trip we end up riding over 1200 miles in four days, a lot of that on dirt. More later.
Are you "IN"
Great start Scott!
Don't let Scott kid ya he can ride that DRZ with the best of them.
Here is a bad pic of him coming down Hayden Pass. (I hate this camera)
Keep it coming!:thumb :lurk
Is that Sasquatch riding my motorcycle??:rofl
Great training for the upcomming 50-50 ride, specially on a 400.
:lurk :lurk More pics please!
After an Epic first day of riding and finding camp in the rain, we woke up to see how nice our camp spot really was. It was gorgeous. The air was crisp and cool and the ground was damp as it rained most of the night and we were ready to conquer Marshall Pass.
Nice easy ride up the pass.
No dust on these roads.
Trying to ride with one hand and take a picture over you head backwards is a crapshoot so this is the best I could do.
We found some snow and we made Josh go up and pose for a picture. We would find much more of this later.:evil
My DRZ showing some "back".
I just want to say it was a blast riding with these guys. I would go again in a minute. Here is Trailace wondering why I am taking pictures and not riding.
And Josh not caring whether we took pictures or rode. He was having a good time either way.
A quick stop for a postcard shot.
Hey, weren't we here last night?
The one regret I have on the trip is not getting my gas tank before we went. My rationale was that I would most likely want to get off the bike every 100 miles or so anyway (not the case) but I didn't realize that you have to make sure there is a station every time you get off. I know now that you need at least 200 mile range for a trip like this. The guys were very patient with me even though we would have most likely gotten a few more passes with the time we spent at the gas station. My bad.
Oh man, I just got that sticker. As it turns out this is not the only thing that will get rubbed raw.
On our way to Hermit Pass, I came up on this buggy being driven by a young man dressed in clothes from 1900 taking his young lady friend for a ride. I'm not hip on all the religions of the world but these guys might have the right idea. I slowed down and stayed left but I still spooked the horse a bit. The driver did a great job keeping the horse from taking off. I waved, he waved back.
A very rare shot of Trailace behind me. In fact this is the very road that I would learn just how much more of a top end an XChallenge has over a DRZ.:eek1 :lol3
Starting up Hermit Pass
When we were stopped here we met an ambiguously gay duo on a Quad. Having never been to Hermit Pass I thought I would ask how the road is up ahead. They said it was pretty much like this the whole way up.:rofl
We climb and climb and climb.....
Here I am trying once again to get a picture of a steep hill. Man they never turn out. There's Mudflinger at the bottom.
In fact this pic of Josh sort of looks like he's coming down not going up. He's going up.
The road got steeper and more rocky and the runoff was actually coming down the road itself. The wind was howling, visibility was getting worse by the minute and we had to decide whether to press on or play it safe.
From where we stopped, it looked as if this road only went a little further before it got cutoff by snow and we weren't sure if we would be able to turn around so I suggested that we forgo the picture of the sign and live to ride another day.
The whole way down Trailace and I were both wishing we continued but I think we did the right thing.
Heading back down.
We met back up with Josh. He was hanging out enjoying the views and taking some pics.
The obligitory ADV sticker pic.
We found a Restaraunt just in time to stop the growling. Josh noticed that his rack was really loose and tightened it up. Later he would learn that he had a bit bigger problem.
We stopped just in time because the sky unloaded. This picture was taken after it passed over and we were getting ready to leave. I was glad not to be up on the pass when this storm came through.
All I can say is when they start doing dick transplants I have my Buffalo all picked out.:rofl
We stopped to look at this old church. It was a very cool old building out in the middle of nowhere. Even out in the middle of nowhere there is always some dumbass vandal that just cant help himself.
Just as I was thinking how cool it would be to restore a building like that, we noticed it was for sale. 96k and it comes with 15 acres. Cool.
Dude, you put your bike in my shot.:D
As we were about to mount up, Josh noticed that his rack was loose again. After some investigation, he realized that the bolts that go through the rack and the fender and into the subframe were sheared off! We had a lot of tools and hardware but we couldn't fix it so with some locktite and zipties, we were off again.
Next up was Pass Creek Pass. The GPS showed this as the summit and we couldn't find the sign but we saw this so it will have to do.
On to La Veta Pass
And the very cool North La Veta Pass. This used to be a railroad stop way back when. I saw this sign on a door that pretty much summed up this trip for me.
Next door was yet another cool old church but this one was very different from the last one.....
This sign welcomed me in.
Wow this is very unexpected. There was a visitor's log so we signed it. Some people had left little notes and pictures of loved ones that had passed or that were sick.
The pews were still there.
An article on the wall explained who took care of the Chapel and gave some more info.
No official sign but the caretaker made this one and I like it better anyway.
On the way to The Great Sand Dunes, we spotted this memorial and being a pilot I couldnt pass up this opportunity for a pic. Trailace obliged me.
Who put this sand in the middle of the mountains anyway?:huh
Weird but very beautiful.
This one was from our campsite.
Looks secluded but it was actually an improved campground with lot's of voices and Rap music playing in the background. I slept with my earplugs so I wouldnt get arrested in the middle of our trip.:jomomma
Note to self. If you need to pee in the middle of the night this is right outside of the tent to the right.
No way is this stuff going in my tent without airing it out first. And no way am I going to use it as a pillow.:puke1
This was the end of day Two and it was a great day of riding. The plan was to do Medano Pass and I was looking forward to it but it was getting late, the rangers said the water crossings were very deep and that it would most likely take more time than we had daylight and that there was no guarantee that we would get a camp spot over there when we made it. Knowing that the other campgrounds would soon be full we decided to scrap Medano and make some changes to the route in order to maximize the time we had left.
When you are riding with a group there is a give and take that takes place (or should take place if you want to get along) and even with three people it is a challenge to accomodate everyone's different riding style, ride goals, pace etc.
I admit I was frustrated and had a hissy fit. Sorry guys. :(: I wanted to do Medano bad but I realized that it wasn't going to happen this trip. We replotted a course that would get us headed away from the bad weather and back toward home. Later I would realize that the best part of the trip was ahead of us and that the changes we made in some ways were even more adventurous and interesting for the group as a whole.
BTW I went back and made the pics bigger on the first post.
I am hoping...
Rick and Josh will chime in soon with some more pics. I took about 300. I think Josh said he took 600:eek1 . Not sure about Ricker, he likes to ride first and take pictures very occasionally.
OK I will add some info.
This ride idea started when Flingshot and I both saw a 50 passes in 50 hours thread on the ADV site. He asked if I was going to try to do it but the dates did not work for me. Then we talked about how beautiful the area is and that we should just take our time and do it ourselves. Besides, this would be a good pre-ride for the TAT planned later in the year. The third character on the ride would be Jkrup47 who hangs out with me on the Tuesday NW Houston bike night.
Since the only passes we have in Houston are overpasses we decided it would be best if Josh and I went to meet Scott at his home in Denver CO. We departed Houston Tuesday night after work and made it a little passed Amarillo TX. We camped at Rosita CG (N35 27.865 W101 50.644) near Lake Meredith just off 287. (Free) Sorry, to save time we would be trucking the bikes up to CO.
With the great start on Tuesday we could just take our time today. Not a lot to say just a few morning pics of the campground.
Josh’s slept late.
CO here we come.
We made it to Scott’s around 5:00 and set up camp at Campfling campground just north of Denver CO.
The food was great!
Bikes wanted out so they could play.
Just waiting for the fun, however, since we were using our camping gear we would not be packing up until morning.
We also had a nice fire.
Off to bed.
Day 3 from Denver
Here we go with Day 3 from Denver. (Trailace and Jkrup47 had a longer trip)
After my Medano meltdown. I slept like a baby with my earplugs in. When I woke up Josh informed me that I got some poetic justice on the noisy neighbors with my loud snoring.:D He said he heard them say "It sounds like a dying grizzly bear" :wings
But seriously, I already knew it was going to be a good day because I woke up to this....
We hit the road, a long ass straight road out of The Great Sand Box and we rode and rode and rode in what seemed like the world's longest straight line.
Finally some curves, and then soon we were at Monarch Pass. 11,317 ASL. Ooh, I got high with a little help from my friends.:dj
Something old to go with something new...Old Monarch Pass
Another couple of "Postcard Shots"
Now on to Black Sage Pass. We are all starting to get a bit hungry and dehydrated at this point and we all had a headache for some reason or is that...wait, could it be altitude sickness?
These roads were easy riding and very easy on the eyes. What an awesome day!
We made it! Black Sage Pass. Hey!!! I'm trying to take your darn picture!
That's Better. Say Cheeeese.
What comes up must come down one way or another. So here we go.
On our way up Wuanita Pass I remembered being there before with my Dad on a hunting trip when I was about 12 or so. Looks a lot different without the snow. I could spend days in this area alone. I must go back with my girls and camp.
Flingshot was here!
We went through the town of Pitkin Colorado and I immediately wanted to move in. What a great little town. I guess I was so interested in the sites I forgot to take some pics.
If you stopped every time you see something like this, you would never get any riding done but sometimes I just couldn't resist and had to hit the skids.
Put that camera away Flingshot, let's go!
I wanted to see the Alpine Tunnel so I stopped them and talked them into a "route deviation":evil
Saw this old water tank that was restored by a Jeep club. Nice job guys!
Wait, do I see something in my wheel?
It turns out, I forgot to fasten my cooler strap (or it came undone) and it was flopping around waiting for the right moment to turn itself into an emergency brake and send me over the bars.
Later down the road we spied this old section of train tracks. Cool stuff. Makes you wonder who rode through here and where they were going.
As always with this trip the road started to climb and get more challenging after every turn. Me likey.
Josh by this time was getting pretty comfortable on these roads but he was still fighting the altitude like the rest of us.
The right hand 3/4 of this picture is awsome.:rofl
We made it to The Alpine Tunnel! This is what is left of an old engine house.
Here is the telegraph office.
Some of the wire insulators are still there. Obviously it has been somewhat restored.
I'll bet that room was nice and cozy.
More tracks that went to who knows where with who knows who on the train hauling who knows what. Sweet.
Here is a turntable that they used to turn the engines around. Thats what I love about the human race. We can figure out how to do just about anything if we try.
I'll give you a quarter if you can find the Badger. I forgot to zoom in.
Here is (or was) the tunnel. You see it kind of caved in and it's not really a tunnel anymore is it. Oh well the road up was a blast.
Trailace is a pretty good shot. That snowball almost got me.
On the way back down.
Going up I saw this huge wall. Drystacked stone, no morter and it's still there. Going down we stopped at this sign with facts about the wall. (Disclaimer: not one illegal Mexican was needed in the making of this wall)
Those were the days.
I decided a shot or two over the edge was appropriate.
Darn, I wish I would have brought my hiking boots and a fly rod.
These old structures peppered the area. This one was right on the road so we had to get off and check it out.
There's a front page photo if I ever saw one but I am biased I guess.
Cumberland pass was busy. Lots of quads and dirtbikes. The best thing is there was compete families out there riding. Little boys and girls on 50s and 70s. Awesome!
I'm not sure but I think that dog is waving at me.:huh
Stomaches growling, heads throbbing, bladders bursting, we pull into Tincup.
Some pics on the fly.
Another cool church.
Darn it. That's not a working gas pump.:baldy
Hey, nice bumper Earl.
Oh well, let's eat. Frenchy's is OPEN!
These bikes did everything we asked of them on this ride and they waited so patiently while we ate.
I should be a photographer. Whatever floats your boat...er sinks it.
Hey small fry.
Ok, two things I dont get about ride reports. One is the ADV salute and the other is taking pictures of our food. I did it and then wondered why is it that we feel compelled to show off what we ate. Oh well this will be the last food pic. You'll just have to use your imagination.
Thank God for indoor plumbing.
We thought we would immediately feel better after we ate but the headache was still there. Poor Josh seemed to have it the worst. Even living at close to 6000 ft I was feeling the altitude after 3 days. Rick and Josh came from basically sea level to over 10k and stayed there for most of the trip.
But the show must go on.
Cottonwood Pass was next and a great ride up. It was also pretty busy. In fact there was this one particular asshat driving a Ford truck that thought he needed to take his half out of the middle and push us out to the edge just to be a jerk. I don't know what you have against motorcycles sir but I would like the chance to meet you again some day.:bash
That was the last pass for the day. Let's camp! But not before we ride to Twin Lakes.
This campground was full but we got a nice shot of this river from the bridge going in.
Ah, Home Sweet Home, at least for tonight.
Lucked out again. We Forest Gumped ourselves right into this camp spot. Perfect!
Thankfully, Josh is intent on having a fire so we went off in search of firewood. We came back with armfulls of small twigs and fallen branches. Meanwhile Trailace scores this big monster tree trunk. Now that's a fire!
The ants that lived in that log were pissed. Later they would mount an attack on Trailace's foot.:lol3
Pic of the whole camp.
What can I say. An unbelievable day of riding and camping. I learned so much, my riding got better each day and the freindships grew. It just doesn't get any better. (Or maybe it does)
Chime in and let us know what you think of our ride so far. Stay tuned for day 4.
Nice Trip and Write Up Guys.... more please...
FYI If you take your camera off of the auto setting or at least take the ISO setting off of Auto you won't have the accidental noisy shots. In most cases never let the ISO move beyond 400 with a point and shoot.
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