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Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 04:26 PM

When Pigs Fly Solo Tour
 
I guess I'm not the kind of guy that took alot of chances in life. All I really wanted to do was to get an education, have a decent career and settle down with my family. Not the kind of stuff that sells books. I'm happy, very happy with my life.
Motorcycles have always been there, since I was a kid. Dad was a motorhead and a good rider. We grew up in eastern woods, hare scrambles, enduros, weekend rides. Family bikes, Yamaha, Penton, Husky, hell Bultaco. I turned to street in college. All of my trips on two wheels were weekends, a couple of weeks tops. I was turning 50 and had fairly recently gotten back in to dirt a few years ago, I decided I wanted a bigger trip. Carve out a month. I wanted to ride dirt as much as possible, tour on dirt. Travel big miles, in a more intimate way with the road. Dodge puddles, cross water, fight the bars through sand or ease through rocks. Hell yeah, that's the way to see the country. Camp too. Seek out lonely roads. Take my time and talk to anyone that wants to talk as long as they want to talk.
I initally wanted to ride the TAT to the CDT heading west to north. Finally, I decided that I didn't want to follow a route, have a script written by someone else. I'd figure it out as I came to it. Don't worry about riding the best. Ride the road that was under your tires and go.
Old riding buddies planned to go too but found one reason or another to avoid the discussion. I saw that I would go solo. Best thing I ever did! My wife and female friends thought that it was probably the most ill advised idea anyone could have. Just follow my nose. Camp if it was pretty. Sleep in or sit drinking coffee if I wanted. Talk to nobody or anybody. So, I finally left on 6/20 for a month heading west. Here is my tour from Virginia through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, the corner of Oregon and Washinton, Montana, South Dakota and back home. 7700 miles, much of it dirt.

GB 07-21-2009 04:36 PM

This is the second thread with the same title in the last day... but you're both going solo?

:lurk

Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 04:43 PM

Left Richmond Virginia heading west.
 
It was dawn on day two in Kansas. Darkness spread out before me but it was delightfully cool and crisp. I just about burnt up on the long ride from Land Between the Lakes. I got there late Saturday, maybe 700 miles from Richmond. I started looking for a place to boondock and finally found a steep, rutted dirt road going up into cutover. It was very hot, the bugs were bad and I was tired. Hot the next day too into St. Louis then Kansas, where it was a 100. But this morning was cool and dark. Stayed in a Motel 6 last night, ordered pizza, washed clothes and sipped whisky.

Lots of people seem to hate travel across Kansas, but this morning she unfolded in the dark, looking much more western to my Virginia eyes. This morning, Kansas is beautiful for a flat chested country girl. I'm trying to beat the 100 degree forcast for cool climes in Colorado. I really did enjoy the morning.
I got off the interstate on the first dirt I saw when I could barely see the mountians.

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Colorado is cooler, made Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak. Snow piled up and people everywhere. I felt closed in at the gift shop. Beautiful views, looking south I could see the first pass around the mountian in the gold fields. That's where I'm headed.
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From here it's all gravy.

Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 05:35 PM

The first pass south of Pikes Peak had been on my mind for three years. I was camped at the KOA above that pass that summer. My brothers , a buddy and I were riding dirt bikes around Taylor Park, American Flag, Pearl Pass from the Aspen side, Alpine Loop, Black Bear, Engineer and some others. I saw the dirt then coming up the mountian and wondered where it started. Today I would find out. I gassed up, bought cold beer and a sandwich for tonight and headed up Gold Camp road. When it turned into a oneway street heading down I was stumped. I rode around and asked folks but they didn't know or one guy claimed to be deaf. Then I saw a guy on a street sweeper, this man would know!
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Map in hand.

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Yeah he knew. Grew up in the Springs all his life, lived up on the ridge and damn if I had given him some notice he would of had me to dinner that night. I should come anyway, it would work out. It was early and I was naturally chomping at the bit. He pulled out a map and showed me that I had to ride up to the most exclusive part of the Springs, behind a high end hotel and a zoo. That would be the old Stage road. It would lead to Gold Camp which was an old rail road bed. He encouraged me to head north and around and seemed puzzled that I would want to ride the dirt. Nice guy, very nice, but he don't know, dirt is good.

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The road was powder, heavily traveled. Then I figured out that the fancy hotel had a dude ranch in there. After that I was relatively alone.

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It was beautiful and I felt like I had fallen through a time warp into the old west.

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At the top. Left to Victor.
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Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 05:57 PM

Victor is dusty and looks interesting. I want to have a beer in some old western saloon, but I have some beer for tonight and I just can't stop.
I find the first dirt south and hang a left down a canyon heading for Canyon City. Wow.
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The road is fast and I'm utterly alone. Rip it up and enjoy the top. Later on the views are so overwhelming and the road narrows and drops off steeply. Steep is going to be a theme.
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I hit Canyon City and hang a right on 50 I think.
Pavement along the Arkansas river. The sun is lowering in the sky and in the deep canyons it's cool. I make camp with out trees and have to go to ground. I much prefer to sleep in my hammock but I'm happy.

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I make camp quickly in the fading light. Then wash up in the Arkansas, it's cold. I dunk, soap up, dunk and dry. Feels good to be clean and cool in the wind. The river is full, bank to bank and threatened to sweep me away. A cold beer tastes so good and the meager store sandwich is better than it looks. I'm somewhere east of Salida Colorado.

I awake late that night on the Arkansas River, the wind is up and my 10 x 10 tarp is flapping hard. I get out of the hammock as netting, and put a bag and a rock on one side and remove the net. The bugs are gone. The stars are overwhelming and the river is a highway, no wider than the interstate with a old rail line across the way, hard against the narrow canyon. Everything, wind, water, flowing left to right facing the river. Milky Way running behind my left shoulder over my right. I snuggle down again in shorts and tee and zip up the 40 degree North Face. Out of the wind, find a am station and listen to chat. Wake later on Richmond time, feel good, coffee.

Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 06:16 PM

I ride through Salida and gas up. Eat fastfood. An old lady pats me on my shoulder, "you have your armor on." She sits with her ladies and I mumble yes ma'am with my mouth full. West on 50 to Old Monarch Pass. It gets cool going up the mountian and I hit dirt and the old pass.

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Damn, you western guys have this all the time. Down the mountian to the meadows.
Hang a right at the bottom to Pitcan, Tin Cup and Taylor Park. Wonderful ride.
With my speed up and my bike fully loaded my front Scorp isn't sticking on transcounty air. I air down, guess wrong and have to air back up with my 10 buck air pump. I stand on the pegs and things feel good. I feel frisky and pick up the pace. Race around, stop picture, race some more, stop picture. Repeat.


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My first view of aspens.

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Downtown Pitcan.

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Just out of Pitcan heading north I meet a buddy I didn't know.
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I can't remember his name but he's on a 950 with an ADV sticker. I should have written down some of this stuff but I didn't do more than sign my name for several weeks. Forgive me. Good info. I'll use the Kebler pass to exit Colorado later on. He assures me that it's beautiful. He lives on that side of the pass, just over this side to ride on his day off.

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The road is fast and my blood is up. I race into Tin Cup and slow down. A mule deer doe is standing on my right as I enter town. I ride through and roar on to Taylor Park.

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Damn I love this bike. It's new, I just bought it in March. I left with 3k on the clock. I have to remember the truck isn't sitting 30 miles away. I'm on this ride for a month, I can't use up the equiptment in a week. Prudence doesn't last long.

Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 07:13 PM

Taylor Park. What else is there to say?

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I head down to the store to gas up and meet two gentlemen.

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The man on the left rides a Concours and stikes up a conversation. We talk and they are interested in my trip. They are retired Texas Rangers. The fellow on the left tells me that the other guy was his first partner years ago. He moved up out of Texas and loves it here in Gunnison. His buddy was visiting. The store seems full of very pretty girls having some kind of female drama. They seem to work at the resturant and store. The first guy dryly observes that he'd like a "swing like that in my back yard" as the girl who seems most upset walks past.
They said that they don't usually tell that they were rangers. "I let the cat out of the bag he laughs" when his old partner returns from the store. I say that I like cops if they aren't stopping me and they nod. We talk bikes and trips and ranger life. They see too much, lots of death and it sticks with them. Retired life is nice now. I say my goodbys and head north along the lake. It's gray and turning black as I turn left at the end of the lake. I'm heading to Crested Butte for the night, there is a bed there for me if I can find it.

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Friends of my brother, Tim and Ann put me up for the night. Good people, easy to like. I met Tim a few years ago when he visited our camp in Taylor park. Crested Butte is a great town and we go out to dinner. Ride bikes to dinner and around town. Some of their friends drop in and find out I'm interested in history and indian history. They bring books to look at and I talk with them about going to Mesa Verde. Tim has great stories about other more remote ruins. I read Frank Waters Book of the Hopi years ago. It's the Hopi Genesis. I'll head south tomorrow with that as my southern most point, Mesa Verde.

Greenflyfarmer 07-21-2009 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
This is the second thread with the same title in the last day... but you're both going solo?

:lurk

Evil twin.
Ain't that interesting? It took me a day to figure out what you were talking about.
The other thread is Pigs Might Fly.

Greenflyfarmer 07-22-2009 07:00 PM

South to the KTM dealer at Gunnison. 3 weeks ago the young guy at the parts counter said he would order me tires. Invoice found but no tires. Ordered tires again and headed south, the Scorps still have life so it's ok.

I take the first left on dirt south of Gunnison.

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Standing there reading this sign, a battered car clattered up out of the woods. The guy parked and struck up a conversation. He owns a mining claim near this pass. He told me that John Fremont led a failed expedition to find this pass. They got snowed in and survivers ate the dead.
Then Gunnison surveyed the pass for the Intercontental Railroad but was killed by indians. They had enough trouble here that the rails went north in the Great Basin he figured.
The big deal he said is that 50% of all the people that went west in the wagon trains came through this pass. We talked about his mining claim. He plans to build a cabin there and isn't mining anything, but by establishing a claim there he was able to take possession of the land. Sounded like land for free to me. There was a big camp for the wagon trains further south and a good spring. I think I'll head there and spend the night.

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The bugs swarmed and I decided to finish my beer and take a nap and let them calm down. I awoke to the sounds of motorcycles.

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This is the dutch couple. World travelers.

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They started in Canada a month ago and were working their way down to South America. After the west coast of South America they would ride up the east coast to Brazil and then fly back to Holland. Nice people. They have toured through Europe and Russa to China. Toured extensively in Africa. He is an engineer and takes care of the bikes. He enjoyed my bourbon and we had a good time. They had been on the Shadow of the Rockies Trail. Since we were all heading to Silverton we decided to
partner up the next day.

SRMN8R 07-22-2009 07:07 PM

Been waiting for this!
 
SUBSCRIBED!

:lurk

65bmwr50 07-22-2009 07:32 PM

Same Here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SRMN8R
SUBSCRIBED!

:lurk

+1

RockerC 07-24-2009 02:42 AM

Sweet ride, and great shots. Love you camp rig too.:thumb

prometheus rising 07-24-2009 03:35 AM

:freaky

Michhub 07-24-2009 04:33 PM

Finally stumbled across this one :thumb
We want more :lurk

Osnabrock 07-24-2009 07:18 PM

Nice
 
:freaky


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