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Old 06-09-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
tele-steve OP
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4 days, 1100 miles- Colorado June Tour

More pictures here than anything else. My neighbor and I left Boulder last Thursday for a 4 day ride that would take us into parts of Colorado that we wanted to revisit and other places we had never been to. We did just over 1100 miles in 4 days. There was probably less than 300 miles of pavement with the majority of it getting out of and back into the Front Range.

Here is the map of the route.


The route took us over Trail Ridge Road in RMNP, then back roads to the northwest corner of Colorado.



North of Meeker, we headed to Juniper Hot Springs with plans to camp there for night. Upon arrival, it did not really meet the expectations.

If the luke warm water, dilapidated building, and storming skies were not enough of a deterrent... the scene was completed when a large sweaty gentleman in full camo with a neck tattoo of Elk and the kill date pulls up in his rusted out '89 Jeep Cherokee and tells us "...the waters a lot warmer if you go inside the building."
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:27 PM   #2
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into Utah... just a little bit.

Thankfully, a bit earlier while taking a break on the side of the road, a guy in a pick up truck stopped to talk. He had an '89 Honda Transalp and we chatted about bikes and places to ride, etc. He worked for the local coal mine and rented a house out on the mine property. He was leaving for the weekend, but offered to us to stay in his work shed for the night if the weather got crappy.
So, we respectfully declined the offer to check out the tubs in the shed and made a hasty retreat to Mike's shed.


It is experiences like these that make traveling by motorcycle so memorable.



We made a smart choice on many levels. The shed was well away from anywhere and it stormed all night long. It was not the most restful night's sleep, but it sure beat being in a tent.



In the morning, the storms had past and sun was out. We blasted along over the Yampa River on back roads to the Gates of Lodore, passing some old charcoal kilns along the way.









We found a old bridge that got is over the Green River and we pushed on through, aiming for lunch and gas in Vernal, Ut.









Still a whole lot of empty out there....
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:31 PM   #3
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:30 AM   #4
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We picked up a quick lunch in Vernal and did a couple miles of pavement south to get us back on the east side of the Green River. We made our way through some oil fields and over the White River till we came to the turn off for Dragon Road and Baxter Pass.



Now we were really getting into some remote areas.




The further south we got the terrain changed from the dry desert and sage brush to mountains and juniper.




The road up to Baxter Pass had these signs along the way. Anybody know the story behind these? I did some searching but came up empty. I'm guessing it is for a bike touring route, but you better be damn sure to bring a lot of water with you.


At some point, we slipped back into Colorado as we made our way up the pass. The route follows an old railroad grade the twists and turns up the mountains. At the top, we were greeted with amazing views to the south and west.




At this point, we had been riding since 7:00am and had logged over 250 miles. We were both looking forward to a hot meal and cold beer down in Fruita, but we had some dirt in front of us before that would happen.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:00 AM   #5
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I'm in!
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:35 PM   #6
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We rolled off of Baxter Pass and down towards Fruita searching for some food and fuel.
Downtown Fruita.
From June Colorado Tour Album


We had done about 250+ miles since that morning and was feeling it. We picked up a huge pie at the Hot Tomato Cafe and learned that they would be closing their doors on June 20th because they could not renew their lease. Bummer.... the place had real good pizza and great vibe to it.

With a stomach full of pizza and tall boy in the pocket for camp, we rolled up the Colorado National Monument to camp for the night. The weather was blowing out for the night and we were treated to a great sunset overlooking the valley and Book Cliffs beyond.

From June Colorado Tour Album


The next morning we woke up and rolled through the Monument enjoying the views and road before anyone else got up.

From June Colorado Tour Album


We gassed up on the outskirts of GJ before hitting the twistys of 141 up to Gateway. From there we plotted a route down the Divide Road of the Uncompahgre Platue with plans for a late lunch in Ridgeway... 100+ miles away.

From June Colorado Tour Album
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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More, more

Give us more COLORADO!
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:43 AM   #8
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #9
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Even though it was early June, the unseasonably wet weather was holding strong. Being Sunday morning a train of 5th wheels and campers passed us headed back down to the Western Slope after a weekend of camping. I was wondering why everyone was leaving so early in the morning...
When we finally had climbed to the upper elevations it had become obvious.... it was snowing. Damn, I knew we might hit some weather, but snow in June? I took a look at the map and then knew why; the Divide Road hangs out around 8-9000+ feet.
In between the squalls of rain and snow, we were treated with views to the west of the La Sals and the desert beyond.





I'm sure if you knew your way around these parts you could connect the whole length of the plateau via smaller roads and single track. This being the first time up there we stuck to the main route and blasted along having it the whole place to ourselves.



At a road junction the sign confirms that we are still have some distance to cover.

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Old 06-14-2009, 08:55 AM   #10
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The south end of the Divide Road cuts through a pretty healthy forest of large pine and Aspen trees. As we dropped off the plateau to lower elevations the the San Juan range and Mt. Sneffels came into view.
We rolled to a stop, killed the engines and just stared in awe.


We rolled through some ranch land north of Highway 62. If someone said we were in Patagonia, I would have believed them. The the wet weather had turned everything a brilliant green, the clouds were lifting off the mountains which showed signs of a recent dusting of snow.

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Old 06-14-2009, 09:04 AM   #11
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Wow. Not the best pictures for me to look at as I sit here in my Colorado Springs office on a beautiful Sunday morning writing an engineering report. Excellent stuff. I need to sneak out today and ride, even if for only a couple hours.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:19 AM   #12
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:13 AM   #13
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After flying along the plateau in the wind, rain, and snow we b-lined it to the Orvis Hot Springs located one mile south of Ridgeway. We soaked for an hour to get the core temperature back up. The place is amazing and really recommend it to anyone that is down in that area. It is a clothing optional sort of place, so you have to be ok with nudity.
After the soak, we had a quick burger in town, gassed up, and continued heading east. This time we went up Owl Creek Pass to Silver Jack Reservoir.
The views were great and forest was healthy and green with tall stands of Aspen and Pine. It was good to see after spending so much time in the beetle kill forests of Summit County.



We made our way down past the reservoir to hwy 50, turned right and blasted along the pavement for a couple of miles before turning onto a dirt road headed south.





The road we were on eventually dropped us down to a road that parallels the Lake Fork of the Gunnison.





This was another area of Colorado that I was looking forward to seeing and was not disappointed. This zone sits south of Blue Mesa Reservoir and east of Lake City. The road we were on connects the "town" of Powerhorn and Cathedral.


At Cathedral, the sun was sitting lower in the sky and we stopped to take in the late afternoon light before turning east again and up over Los Pinos Pass.





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Old 06-15-2009, 09:34 AM   #14
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Beautiful electric greens back there. The aspens are stunning!
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:06 AM   #15
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Ya, all the moisture we've been getting is really making everything explode. Once the temperatures begin to climb a bit more things will really pop out here.
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