Today was definitely a "WOW!!!" day.
I got up and broke camp, decided to miss the last day of the festival.
I had been asking around about Imogene pass just above Telluride. Nobody seemed to know much about it. Might as well give it a shot.
Took a pic of bridal veil falls before I headed off. I think that house on the top is like the 2nd oldest working generator in the world or something like that.
Can you see who's playing on stage????
yeah, me neither
When the road started getting rocky, I realized that I was gonna have to do something about my leaking gas cap, I was getting gas everywhere. I stopped and sat on the side of the road for a little while carving a gasket out of a piece of inner tube I had (turns out that works great, until you have to take the gas cap off!). As I was working I was passed by several two stroke dirt bikes, bouncing their way up.
Off the side of the pass there is all this crazy cool stuff that miners abandoned whenever they abandoned the gold mines up here. The remnants of this building are like 10,000 feet high!
Not a bad view from the office in summer, but I woulda hated to be a miner here in the winter.
As I got to around 12,000 feet or so (the pass is at 12,800) the track became this real loose football sized rock, and STEEP. I miscalculated how much momentum I needed for one section and ground to a halt, sliding backwards 15 feet when I stopped.
As I try and catch my breath and look for the easiest path up, I see a 1200 GS ADV in my mirrors. I cant believe my eyes, I am struggling with this track and here he comes with a 1200 alum panniers and everything!
He dumps it about 50 yards behind me. We chat for a bit, trying to decide what to do next. We walk the next section, looks like it gets better. I ride up the next little section, and wait for him, he makes it pretty easily for such a big bike, I have to say, I have a lot more respect for the 1200 now that I've seen it ridden like that.
The next section does get worse though. I go first and dump it. I get it back up and it starts to rain
. This isnt gonna be good. I still want to go up, we are so close, he seems to have given up. I try again and dump it again.
As I pick the bike back up, here comes the dirt bikes that passed me earlier on their way back. Where my bike is, forces them on the very edge, with a 2500 ft drop off to the side (though it was the least rocky path). I thought the last guy was gonna hit me, but he pulled it out.
Me and Mr BMW turned arond and headed back downhill. He said it was the 2nd time he failed to finish it, tried from the other side last time.
We pass a bunch of jeeps on our way down, and the BMW guy is really fast. I saw him once when he stopped for the jeeps then never again after that.
Much respect to Joel on the Yellow 1200 GS... Much respect
Well I am not one to be defeated so easily, so I wind my way around and end up in a roundabout sorta way at Engineers Pass/Cinnamon Pass. I am not sure which is easiest, but when I had to choose I chose Engineers (at least it sounds more hardcore than Cinnamon).
Colorado certainly is a colorful place.
This road to animas forks was covered in a thin layer of mud. I got a stripe all down the back of my jacket and helmet.
Near where Cinnamon Pass and Engineer's pass split, there is a cool little ghost town called Animas Forks.
the structures are in surprisingly good shape
for being up so high, I guess they didnt get a lot of avalanches at this spot.
Like I said, when the decision time came, I chose Engineers pass.
Wow, what an incredible view the whole way. And there was much less loose rock here than Imogene.
pictures dont do this landscape justice, off the side of the road there is "alpine tundra" growing (or dying I guess this time of year).
view from the top
To prove the bike made it
To prove I made it too
notice the big smile on my face. It was an awesome ride, pretty challenging, but I didnt even crash on this one.
The rain started as I headed down.
On the other side of the pass I came to some town. It was raining pretty good at this point. I pull into the only motel, and there are about a hundred harleys... Okay, but for real at least 30 harleys. Only 12 rooms or so, the harleys are still checkin in, but I am pretty sure its full.
Its raining pretty hard, and I decide to head on down the road. One guy comes up and tells me "it doesnt get any better down the road" "whaddaya mean?" "we just came from that way and its raining there too" "a little rain never hurt anybody" and I'm off.
Ended up after 70 miles or so of rain (and lightning that was a little uncomfortably close considering how exposed I was on top of the hills I ended up in Gunnison.