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Old 06-10-2009, 08:57 AM   #31
Wait.... what?
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Frenchtown MT
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Understand your confusion about the horse corral at the rest stop. Horses are still a way of life out there, they do trailer their horses all over the country for sales, rodeos, parades, roundups, and all sorts of other activities, and horses get just as tired of the trailer as we would. Those corrals are to let them stretch their legs a little while their humans pull out their own lunch and relax themselves.

Ridden the corridor between Amarillo TX and Raton NM many many many times. I swear that some of those roads between Dumas, Dalhart, and Clayton are flatter than the curvature of the earth, and that the roads jink around the grain silos just to wake you up. I used to try to leave OKC about 5pm so that I could do that stretch in the dark, then be approaching Raton and the mountains as the sun was coming up.

Great report.
If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?

Life is too short for regrets, I want to come to the end of this life bruised, battered, scratched and bleeding, holding a broken bone or two, and yelling "WOW WHAT A RIDE!! LETS DO IT AGAIN!!!!!"
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:42 AM   #32
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Hope you guys ride up the Northern California and Oregon coasts. Worth the seat time.
I've got one more hill to climb.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:30 PM   #33
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Location: Athens, GA and Blairsville, GA
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Originally Posted by monrcar
Hope you guys ride up the Northern California and Oregon coasts. Worth the seat time.
Without a doubt...might make Portland even.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:40 PM   #34
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Day 5 - 50 miles to Colorado Springs, CO

What a day! It is amazing that in one day you can go from being a little bummed:

To having an incredible afternoon:

but that is life, and that is why I remind myself not to get down when things don't go perfectly, because something good is around the corner.

Yesterday when we got into some of the higher elevations, I noticed that my clutch felt a little different...the friction zone was at a different point in the lever and my shifting got a bit notchy. I wasn't sure what was going on, but we stopped at a gas station and I adjusted the lever a bit and all was well. With that in mind, I got on ADVrider last night and did a few searches, eventually finding that a small air bubble in the clutch line can cause similar problems. I posted up on the forum, possibly needing some help, and a member graciously volunteered to help me out.

When I walked out of the hotel this morning after tying the clutch to the bar all night, I found the clutch to be working great. The ride up to Colorado Springs (where the elevation changed quite a bit) caused no problems in shifting and it all felt well. Now in hindsight, I should have just left it alone because all would have likely been fine. However, I figured I might as well bleed it out due to all of the elevation changes over the coming weeks. After all was said and done, we must have gotten a bit more air in there because the clutch lever was pretty mushy and the takeup point was right at the bar. Fortunately, Pikes Peak BMW was just 3 miles away, so we motored over there to solve the problem. They were super nice and took my bike back immediately. The tech said he flushed out a "ton of bubbles" from the line and said everything else looked great. The dealer even tried to convince my extended warranty to cover the job, but they would only pay for it if something had broken. Oh well, $72 isn't too bad, plus they washed my bike for me This was a pretty good deal, because the thing was absolutely filthy...I can now actually see out of the windshield again. I can also appreciate the simplicity of a cable-actuated clutch, although my hydraulic one has been dead reliable for the previous 40,000 miles.

While we were there, we met some super-friendly people. I know the South thinks it has the friendliness think cornered, but I am very impressed with Colorado. We had 2 Harley riders talk to us for 45 minutes and even get a map out, showing us all of the best roads in the state and telling us what to avoid. Then 2 motorcycle officers pulled up and chatted for a while, giving us directions to a hotel as well as lunch. They threatened to give us a ticket since we were from Georgia, but I warned them that it wasn't legal to profile rednecks All through this trip, we have had countless people approach us and ask about our trip, where we are going, and where we are from. Literally, we can't stop for gas or food without someone approaching us and taking interest in our voyage. It has been really cool, all of the words of encouragement we've received.

After getting out of the dealer, it was a bit later in the afternoon and some thunderstorms were looking a bit ominous. We decided to just hole up in Colorado Springs for the night and then set out again in the morning. We rolled over to another Sleep Inn just ahead of a big thunderstorm...getting checked in and then eating a late lunch. After a resupply at Wally World, we realized that things had cleared up quite a bit so we decided to check out the aptly named Garden of the Gods.

On the way over, we saw some breaks in the clouds

and into paradise we went

Sheer beauty in every direction

we were all smiles at this point

can't forget a shot with the bike in it!

we rolled on, totally enjoying the riding

it wasn't quite time for dinner, but we decided to check out Manitou Springs and try to find a little coffee shop.

and find one we did. I had one of the best coffees of my life as we sat outside and watched the interesting people walk by. Manitou Springs had a great feel to it, a very cool little town.

Storms began building again, so we hopped on and headed back towards the hotel. Val loved the Garden of the Gods so much that we went back through in the other direction. It truly is beautiful

On the way back to the hotel, we barely outran a massive storm coming down off the mountains. It created some gorgeous light though

Back at the hotel, we rocked the 88 foot waterslide about 100 times

and then sat in the hot tub and watched the sunset (view from the tub)

Back in the room, we tried a new beer (it was absolutely undrinkable...makes Natty Light taste like a Newcastle)

and had some kick-ass pesto pizza. A great end to a really good day...even after I mucked up my clutch.

Tomorrow, into the upper elevations as we do backroads to Estes Park (weather permitting).
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:39 AM   #35
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Wow! great pics! GOTG looks gorgeous!

and that was a HUGE can of (undrinkable) beer!


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NZ Touring pics:Brass Monkey 2009:Kiwi Sun:Tiki-touring: Daytrips in NZ
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:27 AM   #36
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keep it coming....great report....I need to get out there and ride the Garden of the Gods
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:52 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Grad

To having an incredible afternoon:

I'm in, looks absolutely great
Current bike: KTM LC8 990 Adventure (2012)
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:29 PM   #38
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Man, I'm really starting to hate you... ....I can't wait for the next report.

Have fun and enjoy your trip
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:00 PM   #39
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Hey Chris , I just saw your ride report here. Looks like a great time, I have been toying with notation to head west. You are giving me a good reason to do it. And that Clamato Beer is nasty, I saw it in the Kroger here in Augusta about 6 months ago and tried it, . I think that fermented Yak piss probably tastes better.
Somewhere in North Carolina I purchased 2 miles of roadside flowers for the low price of $850.00
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:45 PM   #40
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Great adventure...ride safely!
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:30 PM   #41
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Day 6 - 250 miles to Montrose, CO

Beautiful. That's all I can say about Colorado, it is simply stunning. We had one hell of a day, and it was probably my best single day of riding I have ever had. A lot to add in this update, so I will get started.

First off, as an addendum to yesterday's post...there is a reason why that beer was so friggin' nasty. Take a close look at the ingredients.

Dear God, who drinks that crap. Shellfish and clams...seriously?

Anyway, we got a good laugh this morning as we geared up and packed the bike. I had a eureka! moment last night when falling to sleep, realizing that we are going to fly Val out of Denver in July and therefore it makes a lot more sense to hit up Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park then. So, after talking to several different locals about how beautiful and overlooked the southern part of Colorado is, we decided to head in a more westerly direction and explore some of the less touristy areas of the state. We were rewarded handsomely.

Heading out around 8 this morning, the clouds were still quite low and clinging to the mountains.

We would be running Hwy 24 over to Buena Vista, and this road immediately started climbing in elevation out of Colorado Springs.

The scenery was already excellent

Temps were cool, but manageable. We were having too much fun to notice though

What a long range view! I would guess it is about 30+ miles to the mountains in the distance

You could literally look in any direction and see gorgeous mountains. Colorado is just full of exceptional beauty

Across the valley floor, this road wasn't messing around.

More gorgeous vistas

Approaching Buena Vista, things started looking a bit ominous.

Cresting the mountain top, the skies opened up on us. Fortunately it was only a few miles into town, and we decided to gas up and have an early lunch while the rain blew over. The cafe was super cool

and my cheeseburger was excellent!

Warmed by coffee and food, we decided to set off for Gunnison since the skies had cleared. I checked a good old-fashioned paper map, just to make sure we were routed correctly.

Yeah, that's pretty right there.

Approaching the 12,000+ foot Monarch Pass, things were looking a bit intimidating. There aren't exactly many buildings in these areas, so if you don't like the way the weather is looking, you can either turn around or forge onward. We decided to do the latter...

...and were met with driving snow and temps in the mid 30s.

It was fuggin cold, there is no other way to put it. I was wiping slushy snow off of my visor while keeping an eye on the road surface to make sure there was no accumulation happening. My summer gloves got a bit wet (bless the hand guards for deflecting much of the precip), but my heated grips kept my hands manageable. As a testament to Olympia, our bodies remained dry and warm throughout the ordeal. This is pretty impressive considering we are wearing mesh jackets and pants with the liners in.

Evidently they had received over a foot of snow up here a week or so ago. Georgia, this is not.

After descending from the pass, we decided it was time to warm our hands and take a break. This tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere did the trick.

50 degrees felt like a heat wave after Monarch Pass.

I asked the woman at the station if she ever took the scenery for granted. She said that she does sometimes...I can't imagine how:

After resting a bit, we kicked it into high gear to outrace another coming storm. I saw a couple of guys on GSs going into this and immediately felt sorry for them.

Things started clearing up a bit around Gunnison. Here is the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which contrasted nicely with the surrounding mountains

The riding around here was excellent.

The views weren't bad either

We stopped next to a mountain stream for a little bit to relax and enjoy the afternoon. The skies were in a constant struggle between clear blue and ominous grey. Right now they were blue...

but within 20 minutes they were turning grey

None too excited about riding in more rain, we motored on towards Montrose.

Just outside of Montrose I saw the turn off for Black Canyon National Park. Having a National Parks pass (thanks Mom and Dad!) I thought it would be cool to check it out. This turned out to be a wise decision.

Beauty and the Beast.

You could literally stand at the edge of the canyon and look down over a thousand feet. It was surreal.

We explored the park for a while, including riding a VERY steep (16% grade) road down to the canyon floor. The whole experience was (as the park ranger put it) spectacular.

It was 5:30 and time for a beer, so we saddled up and rolled into Montrose...eventually finding a cool little mom and pop hotel that had a real nice feel to it (and was considerably cheaper than the corporate establishments).

We unpacked and hopped in the outdoor jacuzzi, nestled underneath several Aspen trees. You could feel a very cool and fresh mountain breeze while sitting in the tub, and the contrast between hot and cold was sublime. After a quick shower we made the quick ride into downtown for dinner at Belly's, a very trendy restaurant that was packed (and for good reason, the food was excellent). I like Montrose, it has a good feel to it but without the snobbishness of some resort towns.

Tomorrow we head towards Durango, but our plans are wide open!
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:44 AM   #42
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Canadians drink time you are north of the border, ask for a Ceasar. Oh, and do not read the ingredients in Clamato....they're nasty, but tasty.

And awesome photography...subscribed!!!!!

For every one mile of trail, there are two miles of rhubarb.....
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leeky bootz screwed with this post 06-15-2009 at 09:52 AM
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:52 AM   #43
All aboard!
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Beautiful Colorado pics (subscribed)! This trip looks like a blast! Ride safe!
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:36 PM   #44
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Clamato is basically clam broth and tomato juice with some sugar.
Some people love the stuff.
To me it tastes as nasty as it sounds.

Clamato flavored beer is ... just ... too ... much.
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:30 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by leeky bootz
Canadians drink time you are north of the border, ask for a Ceasar. Oh, and do not read the ingredients in Clamato....their nasty, but tasty.

And awesome photography...subscribed!!!!!

I will stand up and defend all clam loving Canadians! Clamato rulz! Bloody Mary's are old and busted. Ceasars are the new hotness.

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