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CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 09:35 AM

Utah/Colorado trip
I wasn't going to do a report, out of laziness really. But I've enjoyed so many other folks pictures and stories, I thought I would contribute something. Also I have nothing else to do right now. lol.

The plan was to ride from Las Vegas to Grand Junction, CO and meet up with my son, who would ride over from Denver. Then the plan was to ride the passes around Silverton, camping nearby. I was on my Super Tenere and he on his new-to-him WeeStrom. This was my first big trip on the Tenere and Aaron's first real motorcycle trip period.

He just moved back to Denver from Hawaii, where he was stationed in the Marine Corps. He bought his first motorcycle in December, I think, after he returned from his second tour in Afghanistan. It was a '03 Harley Sportster. He sold it before he left the island for exactly what he paid for it. Then he bought the Wee off Craigslist in Denver. It is pretty much all tricked out for ADV riding, and he loves it. I am jealous of his Sergeant seat.

I have to say, for a kid who's been riding for 8 months, he kicked ass on this ride. We rode Ophir, Cinnamon, and Engineer passes, that one in the pouring rain. He had a couple of drops, one was my fault, but mostly he just bulled through everything.

On to the pictures. There are many reports on these areas by people who know them really well and I don't have much to add, except to say "Thanks!" to them for the good info. I'll keep my description of the trip simple.

It's 105 degrees, I'm ready to roll.

I camped the first night at Lake Powell, right at the lake. Waheap marina, or something like that. Full on camp store with showers and water. Good deal. It was beautiful, but it stormed that night and ruined my campfire. That will be important later.

I met a really nice couple, whose names I don't remember (sorry!), camped across from me. They were in an SUV with a box trailer, and inside the trailer were two motorcycles, one is a sport tourer and one an enduro. They apparently travel around camping and jump on the bikes, two up, to go exploring. I have my plan for retirement now.

The lake.

The next morning my bike was attacked by pterodactyls at Glen Canyon Dam. We escaped harm.

I took the scenic route through Monument Valley, highway 163.

I ran into a big thunderstorm just south of Moab. I stopped and put on my rain gear, just in time. As I was riding through the rain I passed, going in the opposite direction, a long line of M/C pirates. They were in full protective bandanas and cut off denim jackets. I'm sure they were too tough to even notice the rain, lol.

Stopped for coffee. Talked to Phil (I think?) and his wife from New Zealand. They are riding the TAT two-up and have a ride report going here. Nice to meet you!

I took the scenic route though the canyon north of Moab, highway 128. Couldn't be more beautiful.

Met up with Aaron. He showed up with this tire:

Hard to tell but it's completely squared off. He was complaining that the bike was handling badly on the way from Denver so I looked at the tire and told him that was his problem. We went over to the Suzuki dealership in Grand Junction first thing the next morning and got him a new tire. The only dual-purpose tire they had was a brand I never heard of, but we had no choice. They put it on in no time and we got on the road. He was much happier with the new tire's handling.

The new tire.

This put us behind schedule a little. I had planned for us to ride highway 141 south from Grand Junction around to Telluride. But we decided that we would go down 50 to Montrose and over on 90 to the start of Last Dollar road. Those pics are next.

NMTrailboss 09-15-2012 09:54 AM


Good start!!

CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 10:13 AM

We rode Last Dollar Road into Telluride.

Aaron's adventure gear is leather jacket and jeans.

The previous owner had put on BMW hard bags, heated grips, Sergeant seat and new pipe.

My only aftermarket upgrades are Givi crashbars, Force Accessories skid plate and K60 tires.

We didn't really stop for a lot of pictures, at least compared to some of the ride reports I've read here. But I had to stop here. This "tunnel" of aspens was beautiful. I wish I had the skills to really capture it.

I believe this is the high point of Last Dollar Road. Just a really nice ride.

What a poser.

We hit a couple of big mud holes. Didn't have any trouble with them though. One was much larger than this, but we didn't stop for pictures.

We stopped in Telluride for a cup of coffee and then it was on to Ophir Pass.

Did I mention Aaron is afraid of heights?

This is where we had some trouble. If you know Ophir, you know there is really only one hard spot. A fairly steep section with loose baby-head size rocks. I forgot to turn my traction control off, so when my tire started to spin I lost power. Basically I just slowed and lost momentum and dropped the bike over on it's side. I picked it up and started off again just as Aaron came up behind me. He stopped because he thought I wanted to tell him something, he hadn't seen me drop the bike.

I took off and got to a level spot at the switchback and turned to look for Aaron. His bike was on it's side and he couldn't get it going again. He just couldn't get momentum again. So I walked back down to him and a jeep guy coming up behind him helped too. We just helped push him until he got enough speed to keep going.

Aaron got a little sweaty.

But we made it safe and sound. No damage to either bike.

We got into the campground a Molas Lake and set up. I had planned for us to go up to Clear Lake, but the delay with the tire nixed that plan.

Aaron had no camping gear, so I gave him an old tent I had from many years ago. It is an old style with two center poles and no rain fly. I remember it being really hot in the summer and a PITA to sleep in because of the poles. Beggars can't be choosers, right? We'll see.

My tent is a super-light backpacking tent from Mountain Hardware. And it's tiny. My wife and I used it a lot when we lived in Denver. I wouldn't want to share it with anyone else. I don't want to get to know anyone else that well.

The day isn't over yet.

CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 10:36 AM

I had found out that an old friend was going to be riding in the same area at the same time. Bart is a poster on this board, but rarely. I know Bart because my wife and he were part of the Buell riders group. They met years ago and rode together on a few Buell rides. When I got back from my last tour in Afghanistan I bought the Buell we own now from Bart. That was over a year ago. Since then I haven't talked to Bart much and in the meantime we both bought blue Super Teneres! I actually found out he had one through a forum posting on another site. Weird coincidence.

Bart was staying in Silverton, so we rode down to have dinner. Good times. We made a plan to ride the Alpine loop the next day. As Aaron and I started riding back to Molas Lake it started raining. It rained good and hard. This was my second night of camping on this trip and both nights had rain. (We staying in a hotel in Grand Junction the night before.)

Aaron had trouble keeping his tent dry.

The next morning he was not happy.

Don't worry though, I was fine.

But so far a big lesson learned for me was that I need a bigger tent. Two nights stuck in the little tent sucked. I need some room to move around, organized my gear better, etc... I had about 65lbs total on my bike on this trip. That's camping gear, tools, food, and clothes - everything. I can afford to go from a 5lbs tent to a 10lbs tent.

And once again, I didn't get a campfire.

And don't forget, Aaron is (or was anyway) a Corporal of Marines, as he puts it. So he whipped out the 550 cord the next morning and reset the tent without the poles so he'd have more room.

Then he set his tarp up over the whole thing so he wouldn't get wet. I didn't get a picture, but it was a good set up.

I am an Army Master Sergeant, so I did what we do. Drank coffee and made fun of the kid.

CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 11:14 AM

So we rode down to Silverton for breakfast with Bart. Then we got on the trail for the Alpine Loop. That's from Animas Forks, over Cinnamon Pass to Lake City and Engineer Pass back to Animas Forks.

Signs require pictures.

Father and son. He ended up hating that helmet by the end of the trip. Not enough padding for long days.

This is Animas Forks. An old ghost town now.

This is the beginning of Cinnamon Pass. The only problem Aaron had with his bike was that on rocky terrain the kickstand would start to bounce down against the spring holding it up. When it bounced really hard, it would kill the engine thanks to the kickstand cut-off switch. It happened to him on this part. He had to turn the bike around and go to the bottom and get another start. He's a fast learner.

Skidding to a stop.

Myself, Bart and Aaron on Cinnamon. Not pictured are the 50 other people up there that day. It was Labor Day weekend, and busy.

As I said, he's a poser.

We had lunch in Lake City and then on up to Engineer Pass.

We had been dodging rain all day, the sky was pretty threatening.

Look over your shoulder, Aaron!

I'm a fan of this bike.

Yeah, that's rain coming alright.

Another Marine, I'm sure Bart is thinking, "This rain is great!"

Yeah, here it comes.

I have two regrets on this trip. 1. I didn't get stickers for the passes, and 2. I didn't get pictures of the trail running with water coming down from Engineer. It was quite a sight. There was only one problem on the way down. Aaron's bike slipped out from under him on a wet rock on a switchback. Bent his clutch lever a little, but no real damage.

Also a note on the Olympia Moab jacket. Worked out great. I thought I would hate the idea of putting the rain liner underneath the jacket and ending up with a wet jacket. Turned out to be no problem. The outer jacket got wet but dried quickly. I brought an outer rain suit, but that thing flapping in the wind bothered me more than having a wet outer jacket. Living in the desert I ride in rain so rarely that this system works just fine.

CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 11:23 AM

Here are the only two videos we shot. Not sure how to embed them, so you'll have to click.

Crossing water on Last Dollar Road.

Aaron showing off on the road to Cinnamon Pass.

CafeRacer99 09-15-2012 11:59 AM

Our wet ride ended at a restaurant in Silverton. Which is a good way to end any ride.

As a new ADV rider, I'm enjoying the looks you get from the Harley riders when they see your filthy bike, lol.

That night I finally got a campfire. And another lesson learned: bring firestarters. All the wood was damp. Those little firestarters that are bricks of wax and sawdust would have been perfect. Next time.

The next morning we packed up.

Aaron took off for home and he made it safe and sound back to Denver that day. My plan was to ride through Utah, take the ferry across Lake Powell at Hall's Crossing and ride Burr Trail to a campground near Boulder Utah.

I had told Bart I planned to ride to Durango for breakfast and to send me a message if he was going the same way. He did, but my phone was dead so I didn't get it. As it turned out, we were both on 550 south at the same time and saw each other on the road. So we went and had breakfast.

At Mancos he spit off to ride up to the Tetons and I went off towards Monticello. That was a surprising ride. It doesn't look like much on the map, but it's beautiful country.

As I was heading down 191 I was looking over at the mountains I would be riding to off the the west. There was a giant rain cloud hovering over the mountains. This completely drained my enthusiasm. I was really looking forward to riding Burr Trail, but I was not looking forward to another night in that tiny tent in the rain.

I've been in the Army for 24 years. A good chunk of that time has been deployed or in the field. I'm not a big fan of camping to begin with, add some rain and I'm just not happy. It's too much like work. I have to make a decision soon. Either I just accept that I'm not going to have fun on these trips if I'm camping and plan to stay in motels, or get a bigger tent and figure out how to be comfortable camping. I'm wrestling with it. Camping will allow me to afford more trips, motels would mean I'd enjoy them more. Which makes more sense? Maybe I'll start a thread asking this question elsewhere.

Anyway I decided to bail south and rode into Page and got a motel. It was cheap and perfect.

All packed up for the last day.

Lots of pretty country, if you like desert landscapes, which I do. This is east of Zion.

And lots of potential roads to ride.

Rode through Zion NP.

It's amazing.

This is me, impressed.

And that's it. The rest is just boring ass highway miles home.

It was 6 days and a total of 1600 miles. No day longer than 400 miles, I don't think. Lessons learned include the tent and firestarters, and also that I need a better seat and that my shorty windscreen is fine around town, but I'm going to need a taller one if I'm going on the road for these kinds of trips. Oh and the bike did great off-road. Never even thought about shutting the ABS off. I just wish it didn't reset to full traction control when you shut it off. It would be better if it remembered your last setting and stayed with that.

Thanks for reading!


mefadv 09-15-2012 02:37 PM

Great report... Happy you got to spend time with you Son...

eddyturn 09-15-2012 09:28 PM

Good report. Thank you sir!

RedRockRider 09-15-2012 09:49 PM

Nicely done ride report. And very nice trip with your son. :thumb

guitarhack 09-16-2012 05:42 AM


Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 (Post 19601002)

I am an Army Master Sergeant, so I did what we do. Drank coffee and made fun of the kid.


Nothing more fun than supervising struggling friends. :rofl

Oh, and nice RR. Thanks for posting it.

Badjuju 09-16-2012 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 (Post 19601137)
I didn't get pictures of the trail running with water coming down from Engineer.

You mean like this?

Ran into a just a bit of rain/lightning/hail on Engineer myself when I was out there for RMAR. Great time! Nice RR with your son, BTW. Several years ago during another western trip, I also had the good luck to miss the last ferry from Wahweep to Bullfrog on Lake Powell and had the opportunity to camp at the same place you did....very beautiful. :clap

CafeRacer99 09-16-2012 05:17 PM

Thanks everyone, for the kind words.


Originally Posted by Badjuju (Post 19606127)
You mean like this?

Lol. No snow this time. Just a river running down the trail. I'm still kicking myself for not getting a picture. :waysad

swimmer 09-16-2012 05:50 PM

Steve, question about the camping at Lake Powell/Wahweep. How much did it cost? Was it pretty clean? Anything sketchy about it?

CafeRacer99 09-16-2012 06:05 PM


Originally Posted by swimmer (Post 19608745)
Steve, question about the camping at Lake Powell/Wahweep. How much did it cost? Was it pretty clean? Anything sketchy about it?

I don't remember the exact cost, but it was less than $20. And it was a clean, well maintained site. There was a well stocked camp store with showers for $2.

The problem I had was how open the sites were, few trees, and they were pretty closely spaced. But it is what it is, you know? It's walking distance to the beach and boat ramp. I don't think privacy is most people's main concern at that campground.

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