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Old 08-12-2008, 07:35 PM   #1
wyowillys46 OP
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Three Wheels to WestFest

My first official ADV rally! I'd signed up early for WF '08 (cause I didn't have anything else going on) and had been waiting since the first announcement. I left Friday morning (late like usual). I won't bore anyone with the first part of the ride as it's just mundane Wyoming. My plans though were to meet with DirtyDR in Toponas, CO and ride with him for a while. We'd chatted before on Soviet Steeds forum.

My route took me down to Walden, through Coalmont and to CO 131 (which BTW is a nice moto road).

Just past the intersection I see someone waving. It's Dana with his '06 Patrol. (Why I got him walking away I don't know)



Once into Wolcott we stopped for lunch. Ran into a couple of Harley riders that were from the area just cruising around for the weekend. They were pretty interested in the bikes.



Our route took us down Glenwood Canyon which is probably the prettiest bit of Interstate in the country. The rest is just crap IMHO. At the south side of Glenwood Springs Dana had to leave.



So south through Marble and over McClure Pass to Hotchkiss.

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Old 08-12-2008, 07:53 PM   #2
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Once at Hotchkiss I turned onto CO 92. This road would be absolutely wonderful on two wheels. On three it was pretty slow. Like dumptruck slow. Especially if you're trying to get somewhere. By now it's starting to get a little late and I finally happen on some deer at Hermit's Rest. There was another young buck and a doe along with this one.



Part of the Black Canyon.



Just a short ways down from the Blue Mesa Dam was the turnoff that I'd heard about for the Lake City Cutoff. I had debated going down this as by now it's roughly 7:00 and I didn't want to introduce an unknown into what would already be a late arrival. But the thought of shaving off some riding won over. Thank goodness. Because it takes off a good bit of road.



Almost to Lake City my attention is lacking and I darn near have a heart attack when I spot two large bucks on the side of the road. Luckily they didn't spook. Just kept on feeding right at the edge of the road. I finally pull into the Texan to find a huge group of folks outside. And what should happen in front of a large group of ADVers?

I break a throttle cable.

So much for my festive mood. I leave the bike and dump my stuff at the cabin (Cabin 20 Rules!) The next morning a walk to the snowmobile dealer in town yields an overpriced throttle cable to some kind of sled. With some help from KCDakar and a couple other folks I get the rig running. Yay!



Now I'd been thinking of what rides I should do. The Alpine Loop looked pretty nifty and it's something I'd been wanting to do. So up 2nd St. I go.

First stop is the Ute-Ulay Mine and it's dam. I know. 205. But it's pretty cool. Would have been quite the show to watch it burst. The question's been posed on another thread about the story behind the dam. My guess is just that the dam succumbed to age and failed. Happens to every structure.



Further on up the road.

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Old 08-12-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:14 PM   #4
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Can't remember the name of this waterfall.



What's the best way to show your love and affection for your only daughter? Name a charcoal kiln after her. The Rose Charcoal Kiln.



Closer up the pass are the remains of a steam powered hoist. I really love the history of mining areas. Lots of machinery and engineering feats. In the background is the Thoreau Cabin.



Another picture of the cabin. Wonder which millionaire owns it?



Just above the cabin are the remains of a mill. I think these are mullers, which are used to break up ore into a pulp (instead of stamping) before concentrating. BTW, if you're interested in how mining and milling worked, there's a great book written by Silverton resident, Will Meyerriecks, called Drills and Mills. Can't remember which shop he works in. But if you buy a copy from him in town, he'll sign it for you.



I encountered lots of ADVer's during the day. Mostly passing me.



And finally I make the summit. Simply breathtaking. These are the kind of views I was expecting from Colorado.



Mt. Sneffels (pretty sure that's it) hiding behind a cloud.



The peak just next to the pass. "I wonder if you could get a bike up that goat path?"

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:38 PM   #5
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Engineer's Pass - a great place to be. Your post brought back happy memories, thank you.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by wyowillys46
10 years from now, you will be very glad you got that picture.

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Old 08-13-2008, 12:19 AM   #7
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I was wondering who you were....

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Old 08-13-2008, 04:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey
10 years from now, you will be very glad you got that picture.

They'd better not pave it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quite the remote location!


I'm not very artistic with a camera. Or anything else for that matter. I tend to have a problem with composition. But occasionally I get a pic that I really like. I found a little road on the west side of Engineer Pass that led to this rock outcropping which faces east. Climbing out onto it had me a little nervous. Either side is a good long drop to the bottom.



I figured an even better picture opportunity awaited me up this little section of road. Unfortunately, at this altitude the Ural was wheezing bad and couldn't make the short climb. A problem I would experience later on.



I ran into Silverton real quick for a couple things and ran into Ken (?) and James (HawaiiRider) at the gas station. Dinner was the plan so we headed back to Lake City.

The western approach to Cinnamon took a little work to get up. The Ural really lacks low end gearing. Bad. To attack something this steep you really have to rev the piss out of it and race up. Losing your momentum is not a valid option.



It's getting late and I don't think any of us wanted to hang around for a lot of pics. But I had to get a quick shot at the top.



Finally we get to dinner in time for a burger and de-noobing. After some heavy rain, we get treated to a double rainbow.

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Old 08-13-2008, 07:58 PM   #10
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Thumb Nice Report

Looks like a great trip and you should give yourself more credit for your pictures. They're very nice.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:58 PM   #11
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Martin (AZjodel) enjoying a hand rolled smoke on the deck of Cabin 20. I'm still disappointed in the lack of jodeling!



Sunday rolls around, and folks are starting to split. My return trip had been undecided until this point. On a whim I decided I wanted to check out the area around Pitkin including the Alpine Tunnel. Being a railfan, I had been wanting to see this engineering achievement for a long time. From there I would take Hancock Pass over to St. Elmo then down to Buena Vista, and on north to home.

After gassing up in Gunnison, the route splits off at Parlin. The first town on the way is Ohio City.



Looks like someone is ready to do some ratbike adventure riding!



A quick stop at the Silver Plume gas station in Pitkin revealed that Hancock was open and I should be able to make it over. I also learned of another pass called Williams, which was iffy. A few miles past Pitkin, FR839 splits off and follows the old railroad grade of the Denver, South Park & Pacific up the mountain. A much photographed water tower stands halfway up the grade. It's been restored by one of the state's 4x4 clubs.



Further up is Sherrod's Loop, which was a small town. Not much besides some rail is left.



Next is this small sign which got me excited. "The next three mile section of railroad is probably the most fantastic bit of railroad construction in North America." This is the kind of stuff I came to see!

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Old 08-13-2008, 08:10 PM   #12
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The Palisades. I've seen pictures of this location in books before. This is the first time in person. While the grade is only 4% it's still very breathtaking. I had to stop and imagine what it was like to see two or three locomotives pulling cars above treeline and over such precipitous terrain.



One of the few photos from this trip I really liked. Note to self: buy a Gorilla Pod. Thanks for the tip Geek!



It had started to rain pretty heavily when I got to the end of the road. The closed gate kind of put me in a sour mood. But I came this far, and it's not a far walk to the small station house, and ruins of Alpine Tunnel.



I could have sworn that I got a pic of the stationhouse. Guess not. A short ways further took me to the roundtable. Where this little guy had made a home. I think he's a vole. Anyone know?



Just past is the portal of the tunnel itself. Landslides have blocked this end, and the eastern end is collapsed.



Tune in tomorrow for the great disappointment.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #13
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Since Williams Pass was closer to the tunnel I figured I'd try that first to get over to St. Elmo. The word "road" is certainly used loosely with this. This pass is high and rough enough that it's only open from Aug 1 to Aug 31 each year. It's hard to discern the "road" in the pic, but the sign is just on the right side of it.



I had a hell of a time getting started up over the first section of rocks. And since I'd forgotten to re-install my skidplate before leaving on the trip, I was constantly sweating over holing the oilpan. So I only got this far up the road before deciding the risk wasn't worth it. I'll come back another time with some mods to the bike and try again.



So I drove down to the turnoff for Hancock Pass. It's right by the switchback at Sherrod's Loop. That's a whole lot of large rocks and things aren't looking to good.



But I hit it fast enough that I was able to make the climb. The trail has the consistency of a rocky streambed with just a little bit of water. Hitting it fast like that on a Ural you have to hold on so the bike doesn't buck you off. This is one of the "better sections" of the trail.



And finally the letdown. This is where Tomichi Pass (goes back to Pitkin) splits from Hancock. The picture is pretty deceiving (aren't they always) in that you can't see how steep it really is. My first attack failed. So I let the bike cool down, then leaned up the idle jets and changed the plugs. The bike had been struggling for power at this altitude and I knew even with the improved airflow from my custom airbox that it was running pretty rich. While it cooled a short, but steep walk to the top proved that this was the most difficult and steepest section. If I could make it it would be smooth sailing to the top.



That was not to be. My second attempt got just past the first tree on the right before loosing all power. I was pretty miffed. Now I'd have to ride down the road over Cumberland Pass to Taylor Park Res. and then over to Buena Vista via Cottonwood. Probably adding at least an hour. So down the mountain I go. Not like I've got another choice.

I blasted down the road and up to the top of Cumberland Pass. There happens to be an older couple (who own a K-Bike) talking to a Husqvarna rider bedecked in gear. He asks if I'm and ADVer, and says he's none other than Geek! I say "Ed!"



Geek telling the couple how everyone knows everyone on ADV. And how they should look us up!



Geeks plans were to try and get to Aspen via Taylor Pass. So off he sped (with a pulled back and dislocated shoulder ). I finally made my way to Cottonwood Pass. Halfway up the same Husqvarna pulls up (damn he's quick). Apparently 12 miles or so up Taylor the road had washed out. We were headed in the same general direction and ended up in Buena Vista.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:03 PM   #14
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The final day I join Geek for a ride over Weston Pass which is a pretty nice ride.



He splits off to do Boreas Pass, and I head over to Guanella on my way to Georgetown for lunch.

I wonder down old town and get to this building. I can hear the familiar hum of large generators inside. Turns out this is hydroelectric powerplant has been running for the last hundred years. Inside are two Pelton wheels each driving a 750 kW generator. A reservoir halfway up Guanella provides a 700 ft head to the wheels. Ellen, a retired Mech. Engineer is the tour guide for the building. It's a real neat little museum for anyone into that sort of thing.



I've got to get back to work Tuesday, so no more sights to see this trip. But I had to take a quick photo at the top of Berthoud Pass.

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Old 08-15-2008, 04:44 PM   #15
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Great pictures. There is some great scenery in CO & some of the best is on the off-road sections. I missed those because I was on a streetbike. Saw your bike at the cabin & passed you on the way out of town toward Blue Mesa on Sunday.

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