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Old 09-05-2009, 06:53 PM   #1
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
Solo in the Southwest... let's see how this goes.

Well, I'm afraid this may be my last ride for a while... I have to sell my 01 BMW Dakar. The good news is I live in Denver and the buyer is in Phoenix (a lot of amazing country between the two!). The buyer is paying me a fair price and trip expenses, who could ask for more?

I have 1 1/2 days to plan this trip and I leave Monday afternoon and have a plane ticket for PHX - DEN on Friday evening. That leaves 4 1/2 days to see the best of God's Country and that's where I need your help. I'll be solo, and even though I'm not really afraid to get in over my head... I'm not going to push it much because I need to get to PHX or I'm quite simply.... screwed.

Other than craigslist I have no idea who the buyer is, we've swapped a few emails and phone calls and he seems like a great guy!

The bike is running good (minus the bent handlebars) and I need to pack light enough to make baggage claim on the plane ride home. That means no knives/guns and other fun dangerous toys.

I will be off work on Monday at 4:00pm, need to be in Aspen by night to meet up with some buddies to climb the breathtaking/slightly deadly Pyramid Peak (14,025ft) and then from there it's some adventures way to Chandler AZ where I'll collect my "reward" and a one way trip home.

Here's my plan of attack...

Hwy 285 to Fairplay,
Mosquito Pass to Twin Lakes,
Independence Pass (Hwy 82) to Aspen
Climb Pyramid Peak
Hwy 82 to I70
I70 to Utah Hwy 24.
Hike my choice of Wild Little Horse/Bell Canyon or Ding and Dang Canyon
South to Hanksville then Hwy 95 South to Hwy 261.
Hwy 261 to Hwy 163
Monument Valley
Hwy 160 to Hwy 89
Hwy 64 to the Grand Canyon
Hwy 180 to Flagstaff
Hwy 89A to Camp Verde
Camp Verde to Hwy 260
Hwy 260 to Hwy 87
Hwy 87 to Chandler
Meet Buyer, get money, head home.

Simple enough?

Any suggestions would be great. But as stated... not much time to plan.

Just like the "Solo in the Sangres" thread... this will include a ridiculous amount of pictures.


Schmatt screwed with this post 09-07-2009 at 01:52 PM
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:41 PM   #2
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Dood, just being the voice of reason here, do you have a deposit or something since you say you really don't know who the buyer is.

What if you ride all the way to PHX and the buyer changes his mind
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:03 PM   #3
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I wouldn't go all that way without some sort of a$$urance that the deal will go through.

Good luck and safe ride
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:49 AM   #4
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Location: Altus, OK
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Do not take a check, MO, or any other form of payment other than cash. Meet at a bank where they can check the cash to see if it is not funny money. Try to meet during normal banking hours. Any bank would check the money for you. I would be hesitant to meet at his house as you never know what your getting into. You hate to be this non-trusting, but it is a crazy world out there anymore.

What happens if he does not buy the bike or he offers a real low price-not the agreed upon- and says take it or leave it? Refundable plane ticket??

Have a bill of sale ready and have a clean title to the bike and do not give it to him prior to getting the cash checked at the bank and then I would suggest buying a cashiers check payable to you from that bank so you do not get into one of those deals where you have to explain why you have a large amount of money.

Be careful and good luck.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
Yep, I hear ya, I'm asking the same questions myself.

The guy paypal'd me 500 to hold the bike and he was going to try to get out here (Denver) to pick it up in the next couple weeks. I just happen to have some extra vaca time to burn and was wanting to do a Utah trip prior to selling the bike, but funds weren't available.

The buyer and I were talking and he said he would pay me 400 via paypal on top of the agreed price as trip expenses to ride the bike out. I figure for 900 I can get out there and ride back if the deal isn't legit, which will suck because I'll lose the ticket and I need to be at work on Sat.

I figure I'll get a paid for adventure out of the deal, and if worse comes to worse, it'll be a good bad story. I guess that's an added element that makes this that much more adventurous from the get go.

I tend to be an optimistic person. I believe in putting faith in God, but I also believe in wisdom too. Although it sounds shady, I haven't gotten that gut feeling yet and if I do I'll turn around and tell him to come pick up the bike in Denver, and give him the trip money back when he does.

To be honest, I'm more nervous leaving tomorrow to climb Pyramid Peak than I am of the buyer not coming through.

I've been screwed in the past, but I refuse to see all the negative in the world and not take chances. I've been around people who always think the worst and it drives me NUTS. I'm willing to take the gamble and so far this feels like a pretty good hand.

Trip update. If I leave to late tomorrow I'll just ride I-70 up to Aspen. I'm not willing to take the risk of getting stuck on Mosquito Pass in the dark. I just put knobbies on the bike and it kinda sucks above 70mph, so I want to stay off the interstate as much as possible. We'll see.

Anyone have any hidden gems in UT that I should squeeze in? I've seen the Moab area by Jeep pretty extensively, hence the reason for not going down Hwy 191.

Thanks for the good advice guys!

P.S. Packing is going slow, should be finished tonight. I'll snap a couple pics.

Schmatt screwed with this post 09-06-2009 at 12:11 PM
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
All packed up and ready to head out. I get off work in 2 hours and it looks like Mosquito Pass will be achievable. If the weather isn't going to work, I'll head N to I-70.

I took some pics last night, but I forgot the card reader, so this crappy cell phone pic will have to work.

Map - Google says 1057 miles.

I doubt I'll have time to update this until I get back.

Cheers, Matt

Schmatt screwed with this post 09-07-2009 at 12:39 PM
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:10 PM   #7
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
Ok, I have some time now…. let’s begin.

As stated I started packing the night before. This was pretty much what I deemed as the essentials. I needed to make a 4 day trip, climb a 14er, camp, eat, and still somehow fit everything except the bike into a bag for the plane trip home from PHX.

Loading up the bike the night before gave me a couple more hours of much needed sleep before heading to work for a short 4 hour shift, and then the open road await. I knew this was a hope & pray trip, so planning for the unexpected was pretty much overkill, I figured if something were to come up, I’d deal with it then. But worrying about the unexpected was a moot point.

Starting ODO

At work I went over some maps, looked up some points of interest, and… well… worked.

Shortly after 3pm my relief came in and I didn’t waste much time to get the hell out of there. A quick picture and I was off.

Now the plan called for me to meet up with my cousin at work and then head over to Aspen together, but I was sick of waiting around, so the new plan was to meet in Fairplay and then head over MosquitoPass together. I wasn’t 6 miles into the trip and plans were already being compromised… terrific start eh.

Now, I-70 would have been the quickest route to Aspen… but I didn’t buy a Goldwing for a reason and was excited to attempt one more CO pass while I still had the title of this bike. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was glad to have Ryan (my cousin) tagging along for the first day.

It wasn’t more than 10 miles from work where the weather turned crappy and from then on it was intermittent light rain all the way to Aspen.

Just glad to be out of the cube, little thought was given to putting on rain gear and the t-shirt under the mesh jacket was “misted” by the time I rolled into Fairplay.

KenoshaPass overlook

Filling up my first of many tanks in Fairplay waiting for Ryan.

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Old 09-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #8
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
The one and only requirement I had for this trip was to make it over MosquitoPass in the daylight. I had a hell of a time handling this bike on ArgentinePass in perfect conditions and I wasn’t about to attempt MosquitoPass in the rain at night. But I wasn’t about to change plans again. So at 5:45pm Ryan and I headed out into the rain from Fairplay to the MosquitoPass turnoff, and the sun was already setting behind the pass.

The bottom section was a joy, and we were making great time till the first switchback.

Passing a mine

Once we turned the corner it was apparent things were only going to get harder. I didn’t want to beat up the bike for the new owner, but my stubborn ass had too much pride to turn around. So we off-loaded the gear into the Grand Cherokee and I bounced around on the pegs to the London Mine.

Point of off-loading the gear

London Mine

Familiar names

We quickly walked around the London Mine and even though I was having a BLAST, but it didn’t make me second guess my decision to sell the heavy Dakar. I loved this type of riding and my need for a dirt bike with street capabilities and not a street bike with dirt capabilities was clear.

This was the hardest section of the pass in my opinion. It was also the point where the right mirror wanted to separate from the bike. Life’s a bitch ain’t it.

Approaching 13k the trail smoothes out and the air gets thin. The Jeep was bouncing along a lot slower than my first gear would allow, so I had ample time to take pictures.

Yep, love Colorado.

Finally the top of the pass was in view and I was stoked to be halfway done. The sun was starting to set and we didn’t stay long, but long enough for the well deserved picture.

The Leadville side of the pass was a blur, I was to busy trying to man handle the bike down the loose rocks and dirt. At this point I was soaked in sweat and the Jeepers I passed going up had caught up to me going down.

About the time we made it off the actual pass and on the maintained dirt road we were greeted with an amazing sunset.

Heading into Leadville with the last bit of light.

Glad to be over the crux of the ride, I still had one pass left. At night. In the rain.

Schmatt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 11:13 PM
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:14 PM   #9
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
Having no time to pause in Leadville we quickly turned south towards Twin Lakes and the Hwy 82 turnoff. I decided it would be best if I followed Ryan in the Jeep incase any Deer/Elk decided up ruin our day.

After the sun went down it started getting chilly. After a few busts of rain and climbing the twisties of Independence Pass it was too much for my t-shirt covered body. I flashed Ryan to stop so I could get my rain gear and a sweater. I was shaking so badly at this point I didn’t feel safe to ride and I didn’t fully warm up till we hit the lights of Aspen.

The only picture of the pass

No doubt, Independence Pass would have been a wet dream during the day. The nice road coupled with the tight turns and amazing scenery is a biker’s joyride. All I could think about was a warm meal and sleep. At this point it was 9:30pm and we still had no place to camp.

The long cold ride was broken with some McDonald’s goodness. I can’t recall exactly what I ordered, I guess at the time I was more intrigued that this particular McDonalds had a leather sofa and a fireplace.

McDonalds kicked us out shortly after 10pm and we were soon on our way to find a perfect campsite near the Maroon Bells. Luck wasn’t with us that day, and we soon discovered all the rooms in Bethlehem were booked that evening. We paid the fees at the ranger station and proceeded to lay the sleeping bags out on a pullout off Maroon Creek Rd. It was after 11:00pm and we had the 4:40am alarm set, so at this point it wasn’t worth being comfortable. Sleep, as much as we could get, was the only thing that mattered before we faced the mighty Pyramid Peak.

Schmatt screwed with this post 09-20-2009 at 05:40 PM
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:26 PM   #10
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Just about center of Arizona
Oddometer: 41
Nice Report!

I missed you at my garage at the drop off point..... It looks like you had a great trip!

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Old 09-20-2009, 03:46 PM   #11
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
Originally Posted by classyfun
I missed you at my garage at the drop off point..... It looks like you had a great trip!

BR, it was a great trip indeed. Stay tuned...
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:20 PM   #12
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
The alarm went off at 4:40am, but no one left their bags until 5:00am. From there we (Ryan, Ryan and I) packed up and drove up to the trailhead. Around 5:30 I was on my way to achieve my 51st 14er. Pyramid is most notable for its loose rock that can easily become fatal. I’ve only done 3 other 14ers this year and was excited to get closer to the final achievement of bagging them all.

Leaving the “campsite”

Sunrise at 11,000ft

The north slope was vertically challenging, 1000/2 miles/1 hour later.

After the slope you enter a huge amphitheater surrounded by 1000ft walls. Quite the amazing site at 6:30am.

In the middle of the amphitheater, the trail continues to the left of center up the side to the saddle in the ridge.

Heading up to the saddle on the NE ridge.

Beautiful view! Have I mentioned that I LOVE COLORADO. ;)

The steep slope was brutal and loose. Climbing another 1000ft in less than 0.3 miles.

Taking a break to admire the surrounding peaks.

Capitol Peak

Maroon Bells start to appear.

Even though the climb to the ridge is challenging, the reward is having a new view every couple minutes.

The Bells 10 minutes after the last picture. Nearing the top of the ridge (Ryan at the bottom).

Now going on 8am we pause to enjoy what we had accomplished and to get refueled.

The views didn’t suck.

What lay ahead… the last 1000ft of loose rock hell. The summit within our reach!
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
From here things got a little more technical. The challenge is staying on the route that doesn’t lead to a cliff and the exposure starts to get more intense. The good news is that the clouds quickly burned off when the sun came up. The weather was wonderful and posed no threats.

Winding our way up the ridge

Narrow ledge, a fall here would defiantly mess up your hair.

Another angle from my cousin’s camera

From here you go from the ridge to the “green wall”, the light green rock in the middle of the photo. It’s a band of rock that doesn’t lead to a cliff so you can gain the summit. The only problem is the rock is pretty terrible.
Lots of loose rock and no good holds. No way around it either.

Making our way to the green wall

The Ryan’s heading up the green wall.

Break time

From the top of the green wall, the route goes around to the north and the class 4 climbing begins. Even though were only 300ft from the summit, we still had some “ugly” parts to climb.

Gut check time.

Looking back at the ridge, the trail to the saddle in the top of the photo

The locals didn’t mind us much

Pyramid Peak…. Done!

Just before 10am we topped out on Pyramid Peak and with the weather on our side we enjoyed the best of Colorado for over an hour. When people ask why I climb… this is why (high risk/high reward maybe).

Maroon Bells money shot

I signed the summit log and in the comment box left the standard “God Bless Our Troops”. Thanks for the freedom for allowing me to do what I love.

Around 11:00 we knew the inevitable was coming… the climb down. We all knew it was going to suck, no exceptions.

We started out slow and careful, but then it was apparent, we somehow were off the standard route. Some moves later we found the trail.

King of the hill

Loose dirt/rock at a 30 degree slope only means one thing… rock skiing.

The switchbacks down the north slope were never-ending and we all started to get broken at this point. Little sleep, ramming your boots into rocks, rolling ankles, sore knees, burning legs, blisters, low on food and water, sun burnt, and just feeling like we got our asses kicked, we made our way down to Maroon Lake.

Lake in view

The shot everyone has seen

The mountain put up a good fight, but in the end we came out victorious.

By now it was close to 3pm and we needed to get some food in our bellies. I’m not a big fan of Aspen so we decided we would go to Glenwood Springs to the brewery for a celebration beer. As their adventure was wrapping up, mine was just beginning. Rolling out of the parking lot sore, tired and hungry I started to question the 1000 miles that lay ahead.

Schmatt screwed with this post 09-20-2009 at 05:46 PM
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:51 PM   #14
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Oddometer: 215

Thanks for sharing. What an awesome day!
'11 BMW R1200GSA
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:02 AM   #15
Schmatt OP
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: CO
Oddometer: 82
An hour to Glenwood Springs and we were sitting down ordering burgers. It was nice to get a beer in and enjoy some warm food. I still had a long ride planned and to be on schedule I wanted to be in Green River, UT before I called it a night.

Ryan getting bored waiting for the food

All loaded up and ready for the Solo part of the trip

From Glenwood Springs I entered the on ramp to I-70 for the next 250 miles, and I dreaded every mile of it. It seemed like there was never a moment where someone wasn’t on my tail trying to pass me. I finally found a semi that I be-friended because he was only going 65 mph. I followed him the next 100 miles to Fruita for a gas stop.

Once I hit UT, things settled down a bit and I-70 didn’t seem so hectic. The long roads with open views are what I came to expect from UT.

Sunset at the border

The ride to Green River took longer than expected and it felt like I was riding in slow motion. About 9pm I rolled into Green River with my feet and hands buzzing. I was planning on camping the night to save some coin, but after seeing a 39.99 room at the Motel 6 my mind was made up. I figured now more than ever I need a good nights sleep and warm shower.

I did see a group of KLR’s from Kansas parked next to me, but I was to beat to go strike up a conversation. I planned on leaving pretty early for the next day’s adventure and wanted to get all the sleep I could.

In for the night

I slept like a dead man and woke up the next morning well past my intended departure time.
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