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Old 08-25-2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Pr0xy OP
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Taylor Park, CO - Single track and slab - Opposites attract

Last year, some of us Region I folks (from KTMtalk) headed north to Colorado to experience some of the best single track in the country. That was the first time for many of us, and it struck a chord when we saw the spectacular single track we’d been dreaming of riding. That report is here: http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=305728

After that trip, we decided to do it again this year, making it an annual ride.

Last year, we stayed at a house in Crested Butte, which was nice, but I wanted to try to camp at Taylor Park this year and we ended up landing a cabin at Holt’s Guest Ranch… about 2 miles east of the Taylor Park Trading Post.


As the trip approached, however, things started popping up for some that planned on going. Our large group was split up into 2 groups due to scheduling conflicts, so a few of us stuck to the original dates while others went the week before. No big deal… it just meant less opportunity for talking smack around the fire.

But then, more stuff started popping up. With some very unfortunate family emergencies, our crew of 5 quickly dwindled into only 3. In my limited experience, this is about as few as I’d feel comfortable riding with up there, so fortunately we had at least that many.

It would be myself, Byron (iphorde), and Cody (CodyY). We’d roll out on Tuesday night after I left work, drive all night, and arrive at Taylor Park some time mid-morning the next day.

9/18 - Let's Bounce

Cody and I meet up at Byron’s place in Frisco to load the bikes and hit the road. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about this part of the trip, except our obvious anticipation of what was to tome. For the most part, the trip was uneventful, save for a close call with a thunderstorm near Childress, TX. We saw lightning up ahead and checked the radar on our cell phones. The storm was going to pass right over us if we kept going.

We made the decision to stop at Wal Mart in Vernon, TX to get a few big plastic tubs to put our stuff in. By the time we did all that, the storm had already passed the road ahead of us. All we got was a lot of wind and a few sprinkles. No complaints.

After driving all night, we stopped at Lu’s Café in Blanca just west of Fort Garland. AWESOME waffles.

Blanca Peak:

Lu’s Café:



From there, we headed north. Byron tried to outsmart the GPS and head towards Great Sand Dunes national park, but after getting up there, we realized there was nothing but a gnarly jeep road going north from there. Fortunately, we didn’t have to backtrack as there is a road going west from there, where we continued heading north to Poncha Springs and Buena Vista.

Once in Buena Vista, we passed the Yamaha shop by about 5 miles, then went back to it to order tires and brake pads. We’d ride in one evening during the week and get new tires put on Byron’s bikes.

Out of Buena Vista, we headed west over Cottonwood Pass into Taylor Park. I think we arrived at the cabin around 1:30pm.


As tired as we were, we decided to rejet the bikes for altitude, then take a short nap and go out for dinner.
While we were working on the bikes, a guy named Brian walks over (goes by Xplor on Advrider.com) and we started talking bikes and trails to ride in the area. He pointed out a few places we should check out and gave us an idea of the difficulty and type of terrain of the various trails. Very helpful, he was. Yoda, I am not.

After getting the bikes jetted, it was nap time. We woke up feeling probably worse than we did before the nap, but oh well. Off to dinner at the Nugget Cafe.

After dinner, we came back to the cabin to plan the route for Wednesday. Byron hit the sack and Cody and I planned out a 40 or so mile loop down Doctor Park and back. How’d that work out for us? Find out tomorrow…
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:22 PM   #2
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8/19 – Doctor Park… not to be confused with Dr. Pepper, Dr. Quinn, or Dr. No.

Wednesday, we woke up and prepared ourselves for a long ride down Doctor Park and the trailhead itself was a good 10 miles or so from our location. We could blitz up Taylor park road, but that wouldn’t be any fun.

Instead, we found some more primitive roads and trails on the map that would lead us to Doctor Park. This is what I mean by primitive road:



That was Texas Creek road, which then led us to Taylor park road, for the final mile or 2 of road before the trail.

After much anticipation, the ride had officially begun.



Shortly after getting on the trail, we noticed a split, but it wasn’t clearly marked (at least not for us). There was a trail going along the creek that I thought was on the map. Turns out it wasn’t, but it was fun anyway.

Here’s Byron on a nice off-camber:



Me posing at the top where the trails meets 742. At this point, we were lost, we just didn’t know it yet:



The trail was supposed to follow the road a mile or so up, then split off again. Well, we drove about 5 miles and decided to consult the map again. After scratching our heads, we rode back slowly and tried to spot any signs of a trail off to the side of the road. We ended up riding all the way back to our previous location before we figured out what happened.

Remember that split earlier? We should’ve taken it. 5 minutes later, after figuring out we weren’t where we thought we were, we headed back to the split to take the CORRECT route.

The next section of trail was a lot of nice flowing switchbacks and hill climbs, met at the top with some fast and fun forest sections.





A couple of hot mountain women on bikes were between myself and Cody as he went up about a minute ahead of myself and Byron. Well, they caught up to Cody just as he was resting near the top of the climb. No, we aren’t that slow, they were just INSANELY fast! I’m not sure how you Colorado peeps do that stuff, but I wouldn’t want to date one of your women, there’s no way I could keep them satisfied!

Anywho, somewhere along the way, we went up a hill that must’ve been about 57 fairly technical switchbacks. We actually saw a group of orange bikes at the bottom of the hill, but they went the other way and followed a road.

There was LOTS of clutching on my 2st and Byron’s 530 began overheating. I know I know, “ride faster!”

In fact, I had to stop once because my goggles fell off and I was immediately greeted with a mouthful of radiator steam. “HOLY CRAP” I thought... if my wittle 250 is doing this, I bet Byron’s new 530 is hating life back there.

So, I pull over, take some gear off and catch some air and wait for Byron. I didn’t hear him for a few minutes and began to worry. Just as I was about to head back though, I heard the 530 in the distance. Awesome, he’s doing alright. He stopped a few yards back from where my bike was and it was obvious by the steam that his bike was a little on the toasty side. At least, I was pretty sure he didn’t bring a fog machine on the trail. I told him to go on ahead since the trail was flatter and straighter “up there” and to get some air moving over those radiators. Apparently, his radiator fan was not kicking on.

I took my time getting my stuff back together and met Cody and Byron at the next intersection. Here, we all took a little breather.



More spectacular single track lay ahead…



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Old 08-26-2009, 03:06 PM   #3
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Great so far.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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8/19 - Doctor Park (cont.)

Ok, so where were we?

Ahhh yes, Westley didn't reach his destination. His ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never left captives alive. When Buttercup got the news that Westley was murdered...

Wait, wrong story, my bad.

Ok, so there we were on Doctor Park trail and things were getting GOOD.



We rode through a nice woods section or 10 and came out on a VERY nice downhill single track section.

Here's Byron coming down.



Photo op. Byron (left) and myself (right):



CodyY:



The view ahead, pure bliss:



Ater coming down a ways, we hit a nice left turn off camber downhill



..another fairly technical downhill...



Byron getting ready to take a breather:



We sat here for a minute to have some grub and discuss how far we'd gone versus our stamina, fuel, and water situation. All was good... except Byron was out of water. Not good.

I had a spare powerade to... spare, so I passed it to him and we made the decision to take one of a few outs coming up. We'd already put in about 25 miles of trail, so putting another 5-10 and heading back would be doable. We decided to cut out at road 550, which would take us to Spring Creek road, and follow that to Taylor Park Road and back to camp. It would be a long haul back, but fairly simple once we were off the trail.

It was tough to not take this trail on forever though...



Byron and myself coming down 550:



So there we were, blasting along, looking at the scenery and we get to Spring Creek. "Cool, another crossing" I think to myself. Then, I started across. As I was going across the river, my bike sounded less like a 2st bike and more like a jet ski, until finally, it stalled. SH$*%!!


I kicked it a few times, but quickly realized my energy would be better spent just pushing it the 5-6ft to the other side... so that's what I did.



BTW, this is one of many cool (and stoopid) things I caught on the helmet cam. I'll put all that footage together later. For now, you're just gonna have to read and look at pics

Fortunately, it only took 2 kicks to get it started on dry land. That made me feel better, knowing it wasn't water logged.

With that over with, we hit the road back to camp...





About 1 mile from camp, I had to switch my bike to reserve, so it's probably a good thing we didn't keep going on Doctor Park trail. Turns out I have about a 60 mile range on a full tank (plus another 20 or so on reserve). Not bad, but it might be time for an aftermarket tank.

We got back to the cabin pretty well spent at about 3pm, but then an excellent point was brought up. We still needed to get those dunlop 606's that Byron ordered put on the 530 and 690. The only problem is that the tires were at Mountain Tech Motorsports... in Buena Vista... 36 miles away ...over Cottonwood Pass. Hmmmm, should we take the truck or RIDE?

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Old 08-26-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
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Sweet great pics, looks like you had great weather.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:14 AM   #6
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8/19 - Is it over yet? Time for some slab.

So there we were, back at the cabin, and tired, and Byron needed to get the new tires mounted on the 530 and 690.

Should we take the truck or ride? My mind was made up, I wanted to ride, but I didn't want my enthusiasm to ride to influence anyone else's decision if they were too tired. However, it didn't take long to reach an agreement that riding the 36 miles into Buena Vista would be worthwhile.

As far as we knew (haha, there we go thinking we know stuff again), the shop closed at 6pm and it was a little after 3pm. If we were gonna go, we needed to go NOW so they'd have time before closing to change the tires.

We suit back up. Byron lends me the 530 for the road (my 250 lives in the woods, not so great blasting on the street), he hops on his 690, and Cody is on his 525.

We blasted up Cottonwood Pass road like it was the Pikes Peak race. Well, maybe not that fast, but it was fun nonetheless. At least we knew we'd made better time on the bikes.

Our stomachs were craving dinner, but first thing's first, we need to get to the shop. Being that we were in a bit of a rush, we didn't stop much to take pics... this time.

Rolling in to Buena Vista, or as the locals call it, "BV":



Byron:


Me:


Cody:


We head straight to the shop from there, which is a few miles south of town. It's about 5:20 pm when we roll in and there's not a soul in sight. We ride up to the front door and... CRAP! They closed at 5:00pm.



Well, we still have one more thing to do while we're here... EAT.

While we were refueling earlier at the Trading Post in TP, an older couple told us about Quincy's, where they only have one thing on the menu. Today, it was Filet Mignon. I wasn't really in the mood to spend lots of money on a steak dinner, but we'll get to that later.

For now, I'll say that the steak was FANTASTIC. You get a choice of 6, 9, 12, or 15 oz steak with your choice of potato and roll.

The waitress then offered dessert. Well, we'd already spent the money for steaks, why not.

Cody and Byron got the homemade chocolate mousse pie and I opted for the cheesecake. Cody and Byron swear the mousse was about the best they'd ever had, and the cheesecake didn't disappoint either.





Then, we got the bill... cringe. Byron turns it over and...

Only $55 for 3 steak meals, 3 desserts and a few beers! WOW. This place gets my vote. If you're ever in Buena Vista and want a good cheap steak, GO HERE.

Our bikes parked across the street:



After dinner, Byron decided to show us a bit of the Fourmile area, which he insisted had some of his favorite trails.

I've never been to Moab, but this place reminded me of it. Not quite as rocky, but MANY very cool rock outcroppings. If you're ever been to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, it's like that, except you can ride here. Very cool scenery and lots of desert-type riding in sand washes.

I don't have any pics of this excursion, but don't worry, we had to come back this direction anyway tomorrow to catch the shop when they are open.

As it was, we burned way too much daylight, Cody was beat, and we needed to head back. We set a course for home and watched the sun hide behind the mountains a little sooner than we were ready to see it go.

CottonWood Pass in the dark with mediocre lighting? This was going to be fun.



Cody:



The top of Cottonwood Pass at dusk. Can't see a friggin' thing:



Just as we reached the other side and are almost back, we enjoy the view of the stars and the overwhelming view of the Milky Way. That is, until Cody decides that a flash photo is a good idea:





After the momentary blindness wore off, we made it the remaining few miles back to the cabin... completely exhausted, and a little disappointed we rode 85 miles of road and didn't get any tires swapped, but that's ok... there's always tomorrow.
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Pr0xy screwed with this post 08-27-2009 at 11:37 AM
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:09 AM   #7
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gps

I swear that road is there.. We just didn't go far enough. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pr0xy
Byron tried to outsmart the GPS and head towards Great Sand Dunes national park, but after getting up there, we realized there was nothing but a gnarly jeep road going north from there. Fortunately, we didn’t have to backtrack as there is a road going west from there, where we continued heading north to Poncha Springs and Buena Vista.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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Great Pics! One of these days I'll get to do that.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:08 AM   #9
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great photos and report. what mount are you using for that garmin 60 cxs GPS unit?
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastfroggy
great photos and report. what mount are you using for that garmin 60 cxs GPS unit?
It's mine. RAM with a zip tie loop as extra insurance.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:18 AM   #11
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8/20 - Let's try this again

This morning, we were awakened by a loud knock at the door.

Apparently, the bikes were parked in front of some dude's truck in the cabin next to ours and he couldn't get out.

Meh, I'm tired, I'll let Cody get it. Thanks Cody! :laugh:

A few minutes later, there is movement in the cabin.

Byron:


Me charging batteries:


Cody doing whatever it is that he does:


The plan today was to ride BACK to BV to get those tires put on Byron's bikes, then check out more of the Fourmile area.

But first, let's eat.

We went to the Nugget for breakfast in Taylor Park. Omelet, waffle, fruit, and yogurt buffet for $8? Yes please.

You gather up all the ingredients you want for your omelet and give 'em to this European guy who can't speak much English, but makes a killer omelet. The waffles were like none I'd ever seen before, but I gotta say, I'm a fan:



We have a few rounds of waffles, gas up, then hit the road. I'm kind of new to this 100 miles of road riding thing, but it's growing on me. The curves keep it interesting.

It was a little after noon when we arrived at Mountain Tech Yamaha/Beta... again. This time they were open.

We stashed our gear in the shop and BS'd with those guys for a while as they were working on the bikes. Shawn (or is it Sean?) offered us some drinks to get rid of the cotton mouth you get while riding on the road, and we chatted with a few customers who came and went while we were there.

After the tires were on, and Byron told me not to "break in the new 606's too much", we headed into BV for a late lunch/early dinner. Today, it would be The Lariat. Home of... food.

http://www.lariatbar.com/

Before we got there though, Cody noticed a bit of a problem with his bike. The plug at the bottom of the radiator wasn't holding. He needed some hoes, I mean hose, and fast. We parked our bikes at the Lariat and he ran over to an auto parts store about 3 minutes before closing to pick up some rubbers, I mean hose.



We stuffed our gullets once more, this time with some tasty burgers.

Cody made a quick repair of his radiator, and was able to borrow a pitcher of water from the restaurant to refill it:



Then, it was on to Fourmile...



Quite a contrast from the alpine forests just a few miles away.



Me and Byron. He kinda has that confused dog look eh?



Cody:



Cody's radiator plug. It worked... for a while.



The view looking west. Buena Vista is just over those hills in the foreground.



I normally wouldn't post such self-incriminating stuff, but When you gotta go...



I rode Byron's 690 Enduro R through most of Fourmile. That is an AWESOME bike. It's definitely at home on the street and in the dirt. I never once wished it had more or less power. When I needed it, it was there and ready to rock & roll. When I wanted less, it responded as if to say "Ok, I'll back off a bit".

We looked at the sun (well, not literally), and realized it would only be an hour or so before it would once again be hiding behind the mountains. The decision was made to try to beat dusk this time. If we were lucky, we'd catch the sunset before rolling back into camp on the other side of the mountains.



After fueling up for the ride back, Cody's radiator experienced another... anomaly. Those little plugs didn't quite do the trick but he was able to fix it with a section of hose plugged with a bolt and held on with a hose clamp. True Mc. Guyver style, and it worked.

It was a race against time... oh, and deer:



130 miles? I think someone got happy with a few decals.

From there, we blitz'd and didn't stop again until reaching the top of the pass. The whole way up, I'd glance to my left and right, seeing if the sun was still shining on the peaks. If it was, we just might catch the sunset.

It twist the throttle a little more. Those new Dunlops are gripping the turns like rails and the bike becomes one with the road.

Soon, we were at the top where we were greeted with a spectacular sunset. I do believe I got chills.



Me:



These guys were at the top, waiting for the stars with a very nice scope. I believe they were from Kansas... where it is less hilly.



Photo op:



The sun bids us farewell:





The road ahead:



The ride back wasn't quite as dark this time, although still plenty dark in the woody areas.

Dusk is a weird time because you can't quite make out the contract of your light with the road, so the vision is almost worse than at night.

Having been on this road in the truck and on the bike, one thing I'll always remember about riding these roads on a bike is the sheer sensory overload. The smell of the aspen, the pines, and the firs, and the temperature changes are just things you don't appreciate when you're confined to a 4-wheeled cage.

Well, all this road riding was very cool as was the Fourmile area, but I'm looking forward to some more single track on our last day in Colorado.

Ealier in the week, I exchanged e-mails and contact info with Dave (no2tracks on KTMtalk) and Jamie (man-machine on KTMtalk) regarding meeting up somewhere for a ride one day, but hadn't had a chance to touch base with either since arriving. Dave left me a message that night saying that him and Dozer (Tom) were at Spring Creek. "Kickstands up at 9:30" Dave said. I knew there was no reception where Dave was camped, but returned a voice mail anyway.

That's ok, we knew what to do. We'd load the trailer in the morning and head to Spring Creek, hopefully getting there in time to hook up with Tom and Dave for a spectacular last day.

...and spectacular it was, in more ways than we'd intended.

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Pr0xy screwed with this post 08-27-2009 at 11:37 AM
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:30 AM   #12
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Great trip report! I guess I like it so much because it's an outing I could actually do as well, rather than just dream about.

I spent a week camping in CO the first week of this month. For three days we stayed at a campground that you guys passed several times on your trip- a USFS campground called Collegiate Peaks, just on the other side of Cottonwood Pass from TP. Beautiful campground and area to explore, but I'm not much of a fan of BV or the hyper-busy Arkansas River Valley.

BTW all of the dates listed in this thread are showing September (9), instead of August (8), which I presume is what you meant.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious

BTW all of the dates listed in this thread are showing September (9), instead of August (8), which I presume is what you meant.
Thanks, I just caught that before I read your post. Now I just have to correct them all on 2 other forums
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:02 PM   #14
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lost

We did not know our location nor did we know what time it was. I believe it was Jason at one point had to hold his hand out and count how fingers above the horizon the sun was... :)

Cody's watch would tell us our altitude though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious
Great trip report! I guess I like it so much because it's an outing I could actually do as well, rather than just dream about.

I spent a week camping in CO the first week of this month. For three days we stayed at a campground that you guys passed several times on your trip- a USFS campground called Collegiate Peaks, just on the other side of Cottonwood Pass from TP. Beautiful campground and area to explore, but I'm not much of a fan of BV or the hyper-busy Arkansas River Valley.

BTW all of the dates listed in this thread are showing September (9), instead of August (8), which I presume is what you meant.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphorde
We did not know our location nor did we know what time it was. I believe it was Jason at one point had to hold his hand out and count how fingers above the horizon the sun was... :)

Cody's watch would tell us our altitude though.
15 minutes per finger
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