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Old 10-22-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
Yankee Dog OP
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Grand Canyon to Colorado Springs.

Bottom Line: if you have four days in between the Grand Canyon and Colorado Springs, what are the places to see and roads to ride that just should not be missed. I guess scenery is where I need the most help. I can read ride reports and find roads, but it is harder to know where to find the most wonder.

Background: It looks like next year’s big event is going to be a trip out West. Due to a shortage of vacation the plan is to ship the bike to Las Vegas, fly out one way and ride it back home to the Great State of Alabama. I have two weeks which should be plenty of time for a one way trip.

So I come seeking advice on sights to see and roads to ride. A couple of mandatory stops along the way are some friends along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and family in Colorado Springs. Oh and a day in Vegas so I can win back the cash this trip is going to cost. I can get myself to the Grand Canyon and from Colorado Springs home. But when I start looking at Utah and Colorado I quick reach information overload.

I figure four days from the Grand to the Springs, but I don’t necessarily need to ride the whole time. Although just sitting around at the resort is not on the list either. A perusal of the Colorado tourism website shows too much grandeur that needs to be experienced to just ride by. So what are the must see, must do and of course must ride places.

The weapon of choice is yet to be determined. It maybe a new Triumph Sprint GT, which I will be leery to take on the gravel. Or it may be my baby Beemer F650GS, which my butt will be leery to ride across Kansas. Or it may be something completely different. In any case, I will be two up and fully loaded.

Oh and don’t tell me to fly out and rent. The missus has already called me a wimp for not want to ride it both ways. Besides, I kind of like all that vastness that is the Great Plains.

Thanks,

Yankee Dog


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Old 10-22-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
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OK.
So, you're riding with a passenger and it will be pavement.
What have you found so far, from your research, that interests you?
Do you have any solid picks or must-do's yet?
If so, lay them out.
If not, you haven't expended much effort.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:01 AM   #3
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Camping? Motels? Or a mixture of both?

At the very least, you should ride Hwy 12 in Utah, through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. If you take 89 from Grand Canyon north rim to Kanab, then continue on 89 north until you hit 12.

There's almost no bad routes through Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park is worth a look.

FWIW, we've done 2-up on an F650GS from SB to Portland Oregon and back. No complaints here.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:09 AM   #4
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What time of year are you traveling?
It could make a difference in spending time in Utah vs Colorado.
If summer I would say highspeed through northern AZ on 160 to southwest Colorado and spend time in the mountains. If spring or fall, I would suggest time spent in some of the NP's around Moab.
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
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How about trailering out?

I know it wasn't the questions and I'm prepped for the hammering that will likely to result from the awful suggestion of trailering out....but it worked well for me!

My goal was to ride "In the Rockies", not "To the Rockies" from Tennessee.

Anyway, depending on what equipment you already have (or can borrow) it could save you alot of time, money, and eliminate ALOT of flat, boring riding between the Front Range and the Great State of Alabama.

We trailered into Walsenburg. CO and did a 2 week ride that included, Black Canyon of Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, North Rim of Crand Canyon; with alot of great connecting roads. On the way back we left CO at 7am and was home the following day at noontime with 2 drivers driving pretty straight-through...I couldnn't have done that on a bike...though I know alot of folks can and do....

Anyway...just my 2 cents worth...
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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naah, the missus is already calling me a wimp for wanting to fly out and not riding both ways.

But I have nothing against trailering, I haul the bike up your way to ride the forest roads around Tellico all the time. So doing the same out to the Rockies would not be all that differnt. But for this trip the journey is part of it all. And I really dont mind the trip across the plains. As long as you stay off the xway it really has a lot to offer.

Still havnt decided if I want to go big or small with the bike. The choice of tools depends on the choice of destinations.

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Old 11-04-2010, 11:57 PM   #7
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did we get a when yet?
that makes a HUGE difference.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins
did we get a when yet?
that makes a HUGE difference.
Well, thats another question. I have a bit of a dilemma. I want to ride the mountains in CO, but I also want to ride the Mojave in CA. So do I want to freeze in the mountains or roast in the desert.

Otherwise, I really have all of next year open. I would like to bump the ride up against either Memorial or Labor day. Just to extend my available days by one. July 4th would also be nice, but I figure the Mojave will be out of the question that time of the year.

Any advice.

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Old 11-05-2010, 05:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee Dog
So do I want to freeze in the mountains or roast in the desert.

Yankee Dog
Buy good gear and take layers with you. It's not uncommon to have 40+ degree temperature swings in The Rockies... It might be 25-degrees at breakfast and 70-degrees in the late afternoon...

Something like an Olympia AST jacket and Ranger 2 pants, plus a couple of lightweight layers underneath that you can add or remove as needed...

September is my favorite time of year out there, but June is pretty nice, too...

May will be cool in the high country with lots of snow usually still on the ground and even some roads closed until Memorial Day Weekend...
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:24 AM   #10
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Ok...back to the original question... 4 days from North Rim to Colorado Springs....

Pretty much the route we spent 2 weeks on (In reverse direction East to west) to see the sights....so I'll leave it up to you to condense based upon preference.

North Rim to Zion NP.

Zion to Bryce Canyon.

UT Route 12 from Bryce to Capitol Reef (Awesome road , not to be missed)

CR to Natural Bridges Nation Monument. (Again a very nice ride)

At that point we came in from the Moki Dugway from Mexican Hat, checked out the Goosnecks of the San Juan, the Valley of the Gods, as we headed straight west from Cortez, CO and Mesa Verde. MS is really nice if your into that sort of thing.

A better option might be to head to Moab to visit Canyonlands and Arches, but you'd probably be on route 191 which pretty boring; unless you hunted out some smaller roads....but there aren't many as the Needles District of CLs guards the whole area with some pretty intertesting 4x4 roads.

Once in CO, definitely do the Million Dollar Hiway from Ouray to Durango, you can do a loop, but the other side that goes over Lizard Head Pass above Telluride isn't as nice...IMHO...

Oh and Route 141 through Gateway, CO is a very nice Canyon ride with a real nice resort in Gateway, it has a Car Museum and alot of activities.

Tons....of stuff......I had a hard time picking what to do in 2 weeks........that's why I'm planning to go back next year!

We're looking to go out using Labor day as a bonus day like you suggested....If you go around Memorial Day...you're likely to face alot of FS road closures above ~ 8000 feet in CO......
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