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-   -   Great Sand Dunes NP Bike Trip -- PHOTOS (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=901073)

Colorado CJ 07-05-2013 05:46 AM

700 Miles, 2 Wheels, and Lots of Sand
 
(edited to add the report)


Ok, I typed it all up, this is more of a photo essay than a ride report. Only one photo of the bike is involved as I don't really care for bike-on-the-sidestand shots. So here goes.


Since I had a long 4th of July weekend, I decided to pack one of my bikes up and head out for an adventure. I chose my DR650 because I knew I'd be doing a lot of dirt riding.

Here she is all packed and ready to go. My photography backpack made for a nice backrest, and it was easy access to my camera for photos along the way (don't make fun of the beaded seat, it makes long miles more endurable :D

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2842/9...323b95b3_o.jpg
5-July-2013-1 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


About 100 miles of riding later, after riding up 285, here's what waits on the other side of Kenosha Pass.

Riding down into South Park Basin (yes, South Park is real :p)

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/9...f912a875_o.jpg
5-July-2013-3 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


A couple of passes later, this is the view you get as you drop down into the little town of Buena Vista, Colorado. The Sawatch Mountain Range to the west is incredible.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7433/9...7a48b82a_o.jpg
5-July-2013-4 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Many miles later, riding down the flat, dry and hot San Luis Valley, I finally arrive at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2869/9...c307aa26_o.jpg
5-July-2013-5 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


I set up my camp, get out of my riding gear, and head out into the dunes. This is a very strange place, it can be absolutely still and silent, and at other times, the wind can be brutal, sandblasting you until any exposed skin is abraded raw. Luckily, the wind didn't show up during my short stay. The weather on the other hand wasn't the greatest (very overcast) and the smoke from fires down in New Mexico and Southern Colorado filled the skies.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/9...87b3a306_o.jpg
5-July-2013-6 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The sunsets here can be otherworldly at times

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5474/9...cf02a97d_o.jpg
5-July-2013-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


That evening, I planned on staying up to try my had at some astrophotography. But, the clouds moved in and didn't clear off, after midnight, I tried a couple of shots, then called it a night.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3784/9...10d7aebb_o.jpg
5-July-2013-7 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The next morning, I got up before sunup and headed out into the dunes once more. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for photo oportunities, besides, during the heat of the day, that sand can get to 150 degrees.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/9...4c94a8e9_o.jpg
5-July-2013-8 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5515/9...d7276336_o.jpg
5-July-2013-9 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7294/9...ed306841_o.jpg
5-July-2013-10 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Later that day, I'd had enough of the sand and wanted to get into some high country, so I packed camp back up on my bike and headed up to Cottonwood Pass. The road is nice asphalt on the east side, and maintained dirt on the west. The west side of the pass descends down into Taylor Park, a heaven on earth for outdoors people. Hunting, fishing, camping, miles and miles of off road trails and a lot of old Colorado history is down there, ringed by 14,000 ft peaks.

The east side of the pass

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2812/9...f6c917a5_o.jpg
5-July-2013-12 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The west side of the pass, looking down into Taylor Park.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7440/9...980083b2_o.jpg
5-July-2013-11 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


I didn't get but one (bad) photos down in the park itself, I was tired from the days ride and hiking the dunes. I set up camp, ate some food and lazed around.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3677/9...9a06a59e_o.jpg
5-July-2013-13 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The next morning, I rode some trails, visited the old mining town of Tin Cup (really kicking myself that I didn't get any photos there), then broke camp and headed home. 700 miles all told, I need to do something about that dirtbike seat, near split me in two in that many miles :puke1

Thanks for the look.

GAS GUY 07-05-2013 01:17 PM

I'm looking forward to the pictures.
This is a destination I would like to visit someday.

Colorado CJ 07-07-2013 03:58 PM

700 miles later, I am back at home.

I'll process a few of the photos and post them up shortly.

Still in one piece, although my seat tried to split me in two. The DR650 seat isn't as comfortable as my V-Strom seat, which isn't the most comfortable seat around.

Colorado CJ 07-07-2013 05:13 PM

Here is a preview, I'm working on the rest now.

This photo was taken as the sun was setting behind the San Juan mountain range. I was on the second highest dune for this shot. I didn't mess with the colors during post processing, the sand picked up the colors of the sunset.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5474/9...cf02a97d_o.jpg
5-July-2013-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr

MakoRider 07-07-2013 07:28 PM

Beautiful
 
Looking for a place to meet my friends form the Left coast. I checked out your pics on Flickr as directed Nice. Give a ride report and more pics of the ride. Is it all dunes? What other areas are there to ride in this area of Colorado? What time of year is best? Thanks,
Mako :ricky

Colorado CJ 07-07-2013 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MakoRider (Post 21813022)
Looking for a place to meet my friends form the Left coast. I checked out your pics on Flickr as directed Nice. Give a ride report and more pics of the ride. Is it all dunes? What other areas are there to ride in this area of Colorado? What time of year is best? Thanks,
Mako :ricky

Almost any time, except for the dead of winter is great riding in Colorado. The best time, if you want to ride a lot of passes is definitely the summer. I REALLY like the area around Silverton/Durango for the excellent off road or dirt road mountain pass riding.

mdsnitc 07-08-2013 05:56 AM

This is a favorite place of mine. Thanks for the report and great pics.

Matt

Merfman 07-08-2013 07:17 AM

Nice report, thanks for sharing! Love the photos as well, nice work!

sasho 07-08-2013 10:52 AM

Unbelievable scenery, unbelievable photo work!!! Can't wait for more :clap

Gale B.T. 07-08-2013 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sasho (Post 21817029)
Unbelievable scenery, unbelievable photo work!!! Can't wait for more :clap

AGREE AGREE and you did a fantastic job of capturing the texture of the sand and the wind effects, awesome!! We are so close we include this area for visits that relatives must see.

Now that seat , you will find that the more you ride and enjoy this awesome country the less you are concerned about your glutes. Ride enough to get them in shape. This is coming from long time coach /teacher/ trainer. RIDE RIDE RIDE and for the remainder of us, take lots of pics.
thanks ahead of time

COboy 07-10-2013 07:31 PM

Gale BT, I am planning to ride from Antonito via 17 and FR250 up to 160 before stopping in Pagosa. Do you know if the fire has affected the dirt route from FR250 all the way up to 160?

Thanks!

OTRATT 07-10-2013 09:55 PM

Outstanding pictures!!

I have seen Great Sand Dunes NP on my trips through Colorado and have never stopped. Looks like I need to stop buy on my next trip!

Yellow Pig 07-10-2013 10:05 PM

Great pictures, what camera are you using?


You should have headed up and over Medano pass.

CPAT 07-11-2013 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COboy (Post 21837412)
Gale BT, I am planning to ride from Antonito via 17 and FR250 up to 160 before stopping in Pagosa. Do you know if the fire has affected the dirt route from FR250 all the way up to 160?

Thanks!

Yes, that route is open all the way to 160! Honestly, you will see little of fire until you are north of Creede. The mountains close to resevoir are burned down to grass near hiway. There is a tent city across the hiway from that area that housed the fire fighters!

Gale B.T. 07-11-2013 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COboy (Post 21837412)
Gale BT, I am planning to ride from Antonito via 17 and FR250 up to 160 before stopping in Pagosa. Do you know if the fire has affected the dirt route from FR250 all the way up to 160?

Thanks!

Cpat is correct from our last info FR250 should be clear sailing from the junction at CO17 all the way here to 160.

Pass is open at Wolf Creek and also 149 all the way through to 50 on the other side of Lake City. We have not ridden Alpine Loop but were told by local jeeper it is also ok right now.

Hope this info remains 100% correct:lol3


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