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Old 09-19-2010, 11:54 AM   #1
bretedge OP
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Location: Moab, Utah
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An Early Fall Color Tour of Crested Butte and Aspen

My work schedule finally allowed me to get out for a 4 day ride from Moab over to Crested Butte and Aspen to see how the fall colors are coming along. I only had 3 days off so I called in sick on the 4th day while eating a breakfast burrito in Aspen. Actually, I texted in sick. Total mileage was 855 with maybe 150-200 of that on dirt.

I left Moab later than planned on Monday 9/13 and rode over the La Sal mountains into Gateway, then up to Grand Junction to pick up my new Canon S95 camera at Best Buy. Left there and went south to Montrose where I spent the night in a scuzzy hotel.

Tuesday I headed west on Hwy. 50 to Gunnison, then north on Hwy. 135 a short distance before I finally hit some dirt. Took the Ohio Pass Road to Kebler Pass, then dropped down into Crested Butte. Ate lunch in town then headed up Gothic Rd. and over Schofield Pass to the Paradise Divide, then back down on the Slate River Rd. Lots of good, fast dirt riding with sick views of big peaks, alpine lakes and some decent fall color. Planned to spend the night at Lost Lake CG near Kebler Pass and arrived shortly before sunset to find the CG closed for reconstruction. Shit! Rode an extra 45 miles to Redstone, CO on Hwy. 133 and got a $130 room at the Redstone Inn for $80. I think the front desk clerk could sense my exhaustion and took pity on me.

Wednesday I rode into Carbondale to buy a replacement screw for my helmet since the piece of shit plastic one popped out and my visor was flapping around in the wind. After that, a local pointed me to the Prince Creek Rd. which intersects the West Sopris Creek Rd. that takes you to Snowmass Rd. and then Brush Creek Rd. which drops you from above right into Snowmass Village. Some of this was paved and some was gravel road but the entire length was highly scenic. Passes a bunch of ranches and homes owned by dirtbag celebrities who might spend a couple weeks each year at their $40 million dollar properties. Lucky bastards. Had lunch at the Snowmass then rode down to Aspen and up to the Maroon Bells where I camped at the Silver Queen campground. Forgot to bring extra cash and the entrance booth doesn't accept credit cards. The ranger must have felt sorry for me and took my last $8 for a $15 campsite. Thank God for compassionate peeps!

Got up to photograph sunrise at Maroon Lake on Thursday, packed up camp and then rode into town for a brekkie burrito before riding 355 miles home to Moab. I took a longer, scenic route over Independence Pass (freakin' amazing) to Twin Lakes, then over Cottonwood Pass down to the Taylor Park Reservoir and into Gunnison. West on Hwy. 50 to Hwy. 92, which was easily the most fun paved road I've ever ridden. Soooooo many twisties that I'm certain I spent more time in a lean than sitting upright. Damn near ran out of gas and was stoked to see a fuel station in the thriving town of Crawford. I had only .2 gallons left in my tank when I pulled in there. Whew! Continued north and then west on Hwy. 92 to Delta for dinner at Taco Bell. Then north on Hwy. 50 to Hwy. 141 west to Gateway and back over the La Sal mountains to Moab.

I was hoping to ride a lot more dirt on this trip but ended up spending more time on pavement. Still, got to ride a few gravel roads and had a great time seeing some country I'd either never seen or hadn't seen in a long time.

I have no idea how some of you crazy fools ride 500+ miles in a day as that last day was 355 miles and I was so damn tired when I got home that I didn't even unpack the bike. I just stripped off my gear, laid down and crashed out.

Here's some photos from the ride. Enjoy.

Ohio Pass Road

View from Ohio Pass

Aspens on Kebler Pass Road

Kebler Pass Road and Aspen Trees

Kebler Pass Aspens and F658GS

Kebler Pass Road dropping into Crested Butte

Welcome to Crested Butte

Gothic Road

Schofield Pass

Paradise Divide

Never Seen a "Marmot Crossing" Sign Before

Redstone Inn, built in 1902

Prince Creek Road

View of Sopris Peak (Mt. Sopris?) from Prince Creek Road

West Sopris Creek Road and Sopris Peak

Snowmass Road and Mountains

Campsite at Silver Queen Campground

The View from Picnic Table at Campsite 3/Silver Queen CG

Maroon Bells at Sunrise from Maroon Lake

Cool, Frosted Autumn Plants near Maroon Lake

It Was 34 Degrees But I Forgot to Take a Pic

Independence Pass

Random Pullout near Independence Pass

View of Peaks from Twin Lakes, Colorado

Road and Views South of Independence Pass

Cottonwood Pass

View of Sweet Curving Road Below Cottonwood Pass

View from Cottonwood Pass

Road and Mountains on Cottonwood Pass Road

View from Near Taylor Park Reservoir

Relaxing at Gas Station in Gunnison, Colorado

View Along Hwy. 92

Fall Colors Along Hwy. 92

Holy Shit, I'm Low on Fuel!

3.98 Gallon Fill-Up of a 4.2 Gallon Tank...Dumbass

Sunset Light On Granite Cliffs Along Hwy. 141 near Gateway, Colorado
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:37 PM   #2
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Awesome ride!! Wow... those Co rides are pretty easy on the eyes and the soul! I'm hoping to be back to Co next summer and would like to do this ride. If you have a GPX file, please PM me.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:59 PM   #3
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Excellent! Great to see how the colors are turning since we're headed down to southwest colorado for some fall photography end of next week. Thanks for posting....looks like you had a great time!
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Perfect ! Pics are outstanding
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:16 AM   #5
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Wow. Great looking roads and awesome scenery.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:45 PM   #6
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Your new camera does a great job. Nice ride... done a bunch of that and now will put Prince Creek on the list of shortcuts to hit. Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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Really nice pics.Was 3x in falltime in Colorado,fantastic scenery and colors
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:37 AM   #8
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Nice shots. Thanks for the Kebler pass shots. I rode that on my FZ1 the first week of August and was imagining what it would look like when the Aspens started turning.
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:16 PM   #9
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Excellent job on the pics !
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:19 PM   #10
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Sweet. Thanks for posting up the mood!
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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Wow great photos! thanks
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:46 PM   #12
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Thanks, everyone. It was an awesome ride and there were sections I'm looking forward to riding again. Independence Pass was insanely cool and I imagine in the summer, with wildflowers everywhere, it's even mo betta.
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