Sleeping in a hotel was the right choice. Sharing a room with 2 other dudes who snore…well, it was cheap, but maybe not the best way to actually get a good nights rest. All of us were fairly slow on the get up…clean up…load up. Esp. as Mr Stover had to empty most every bag he had in order to clean beer and or whiskey out of them and wash all the items that had been blessed by this good smelling brew.
Of course because it was there, we did enjoy breakfast at the local diner. The omelet was good…the coffee was….weak and brown but at least plentiful, and the waitress had a nice smile.
After poring some of the finest petro chemicals we could find into our road warrior machines, we fueled up and headed north (I think) out of Walden. (Shep or Stover will have to fill in the road names and or numbers....I'm not to good at keeping track of that stuff when I don't need to be)
Turning off shortly onto gravel, we were soon shut down by a gate that closed off a road though wildlife refuge a walk in only area. Sheps GPS showed us a road and we tried to go follow....so while it was not technically wrong…it was not really right in its routing ability. Mental note…do not try to take a 'shortcut'.... XC to the next road you can see through dried out humicy wetlands. Very tough terrain to ride through…and even exciting to just try and turn around in.
Plan B and our fearless route finder Shep then led us back to the asphalt for a few miles and up another gravel road where we started our ascent into the most perfect fall foliage leaf peeper Quaking Aspen viewing day of my life.
Just when you thought it could not get any better, the next curve would show off an even more perfect yellow-gold-orange hillside and the next hill top yield an even more firery vista.
The actual riding was largely uneventful. Totally suitable for a big GS bike or whatever. The gravel sweepers of the Routt National Forest Roads led us to scenery that I’m untalented enough to capture in photos or words.
Trying to ‘auto tour’ on a motorbike is not all it is cracked up to be. Yes, you get the fresh air, great smells and not so great smells, and a snoot full of dust along the way, I had to stop many times, just so I did not run off the edge of the road while riding. The thick gravel along with the potential of other distracted drivers coming round the blind corners demanded more attention then I wanted to give our travels. I just wanted to sit back and gauk at all of Mother Natures splendor.
After riding through Buffalo Park... on road ???? we took a look at a trail we thought we might be able to ride out of there in order to add some more technical riding to the day. No dice. It was a single track hiking only trail...no motor vehicles. We then tried the ashalt to another possible option that landed us at another closed gate.... Darn private land this time.
We did not really intend to camp out in Steamboat that night, but our hope was that we would use that area to meet up with one more friend who was many days overdo in joining us for the balance of the trip. Hope faded. The phone messages and photo text to him turned from encouragement to join us to smack talk and bragging about how great it was to a fair amount of ornery ribbing, an I’ll leave it at that.
Rabbit Ears Pass was the only gnarley tracks we laid that day. Boldly following Shep, we charged up it as far as we dared. After we walked up and down the last really steep section, I think it would have been OK to ride, but exciting to say the least. The left turn at the bottom may have been more then a fully loaded KLR wanted though.
We must have been bored though, as Shep decided that taping a camera to his chin guard for the trip down in order to film the ride down was a good idea. Mixed success.
I did the drive and stop method...with mixed success. If Shep got any worthy footage of me going down the steep parts, I've not seen them, so here is a little bit of the runout section below.