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Old 09-26-2009, 07:43 PM   #1
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Pop & Pax - West TAT 2009

Day 0 – Columbia, MO to Salida, CO

WARNING: Day 0 pictures are from a camera-phone. The rest of the trip is hi-res.

We woke up at 0’dark-thirty and drove from Columbia, MO (home) west to Kansas City where we boarded an 8’AM flight to Denver. Here we are mid-flight.



Landed in Denver nice and early and were picked up by my buddy Scotty-A, the man, the myth, the legend. "You boys are crazy...don't die out there," was the last thing he said before he left us...ahhh, sweet encouragement.


He drove us to Salida, but first we had to grab a little grub at the Coyote Cantina. Tasty lunch (I don’t do meal pictures so pbbbt!) and on we drove to Salida.


Unloaded the bikes, hugged Scott goodbye and hit the hay.


Day 0 end.

Day 1 coming soon and we ride...

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Old 09-26-2009, 08:38 PM   #2
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Day 1/9: Salida, CO to Lake City, CO

Well, Day 1 started normally with Dad's Garmin Zumo 660 sucking more than suck itself.

The most together looking we'll see Dad from here on out.




Beautiful scenery, yada yada...



Easy-Peasy Riding up Marshall Pass...some will roll their eyes at taking the "easy way" up, but for us flatlanders, this was the perfect start to the trip.











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Old 09-26-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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Day 1/9: Salida, CO to Lake City, CO continued!

Dad smiles...









Overlooking Lake San Cristobal coming into Lake City




Ah, Day 1 on the trail. Today Pop lost his fender bag which I rode back to find...or rather, not find. Oh well. It was a great day of riding!

Day 1 End.
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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Day 2/9: Lake City, CO to Monticello, UT

Lake City, CO is a sleepy little town with a strong industry in tourism and some surrounding laboring jobs. We stayed in a little joint called the Matterhorn Hotel. It has literally nothing in the way of amenities and cost the most of any place we stayed. On the other hand, it was quiet and safe and we slept great!



We started early enough, or so it seemed. Zipped downtown for a bagel and watched a guy at the first shop wobble around looking hungover so we slipped out and down the street to an internet cafe. It was great and we had a good breakfast of cinnamon roll and breakfast bagel.

It was here we discovered that my Koerta pressure suit had rattled one of the attachment points loose so we zip-tied it back together. The night before I had determined that we had to send a bunch of junk back home including thermal long-johns, gloves, a pot, an extra tarp, etc. It was clear we weren't going to need this stuff, which of course, was wrong. Here's our bag of stuff.



As I mentioned, I would immediately regret sending home my warm gear...


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Pax screwed with this post 09-27-2009 at 02:43 PM Reason: wrong title...
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:51 PM   #5
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Day 2/9: Lake City, CO to Monticello, UT cont'd

Dad looks up the start of Cinnamon Pass...

You can see that we were starting to see a nice drizzle. It was...how shall I describe it...miserable.



Here we are looking down the pass from where we had ridden. The road here was great, nice and wide, gentle slope, mild exposure.



This is a good time to explain that I'm afraid of heights . Over the years, Pop has dragged me to various heights of differing elevations and watched me cringe. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Swiss mountain passes...but I wasn't really ready, even though I had read about the reports here for what was coming...this was the single place in the entire trip that Pop politely asked, "Do you think you can speed it up a bit?"... I have no pictures of the soggy half-vehicle wide track. Some of you are reading this thinking, "what a wuss..." But hey, I have no ego regarding heights...I remember Steven Wright once saying it wasn't heights so much as widths...so true.



This was the first location Dad would fall. I believe tradition dictates that I take a picture of one's riding partner on the ground, but I couldn't bring myself to do it so we must settle for him standing...NOTICE THE BROKEN HANDGUARD LASHED TO THE BACK OF THE BIKE...



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Old 09-27-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Day 2/9: Lake City, CO to Monticello, UT cont'd

After dusting Pop off, he danced back up to his bike and on we rode...I don't know if this is a "jig" or a "skidaddle"...



And up the Cinnamon Pass we rode...and paused for a drink.





This is the high mountain tundra. Those white spots on the mountain in the above picture are snow...



It was pretty neat, having come from the midwest a couple days earlier to seeing permafrost. This is the stuff of textbooks...sure you can read about it, but to see it, smell it, feel it...so different!



Hey, how'd this get in here...whoops!



I found this rock on the side of the road curious.



It was in the low 30's overnight and it was only in the 50's when we got here...but the landscape still managed to be beautiful.


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Old 09-27-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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Day 2/9: Lake City, CO to Monticello, UT cont'd

More tundra...



The last time we see Pop smile? Near the top of Cinnamon Pass...



At the top of Cinnamon Pass...NOTE the low clouds...this is important for later.



We rode down the pass and through some low-lands. I don't know what exactly this was other than some kind of old abandoned mine.



Now a bit more tension in the face...



Everybody loves Llamas!



This is one of my favorite photos from the trip. As we rounded the last corner to ascend Ophir Pass, we saw this...



...and this was looking down...



Dad zips his way up Ophir...



It starts looking like the moon up here...



We crested Ophir and started heading down. It was all babies' head-sized rocks, rain and mud. We slipped our way down to the first switch back after cresting the pass and Pop bit it hard breaking off his right brake lever (remember that ride hand guard?). This was when Pop officially stopped having fun...I think.

Here we were looking down the far side of the pass where we were headed...



See that car up there...yeah, check this out...



That is the same car on the other side. Normally I think this would have been a really neat pass, but the water, mud and elevation were mixing into a mucky mess. Pop was tired and the cloud you see in the left-hand side of the picture above enveloped us.

Before we started the descent, Pop rested a bit.



And the cloud rolled in around us...



I don't have many pictures after this for a bit. On the far side of the pass, Pop almost went over the left-hand side of the trail...we both gasped and then I let loose with a small diatribe not fit for repeating here. Suffice it to say, Pop's left-side-of-the-trail-privileges were revoked.

We rode on further and Pop gave himself a few more breathers. He had a weird style for doing it though...

At least he fell the right direction.




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Old 09-27-2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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Day 2/9: Lake City, CO to Monticello, UT cont'd

Rain has a funny way of making even short times, seem like an eternity. I remember a quote by Einstein who said, in his explanation of the relativity of time, "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

Well, rain, fatigue, several falls and cold make for a pretty miserable hour. It felt like a day and it was then I decided I wasn't having much fun and I figured Dad was miserable...turns out he was having more fun than me!

We rode on a little further and the rain started to break and we reached the edge of the front.



Curiously, this coincided with us reaching...



More soon!
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:02 AM   #9
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In!

Can't wait to see all the stuff I missed.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #10
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Great Photos! Isn't it funny that the most miserable weather often provides the most spectacular photographs?

Love the Father-Son thing. Hope I can do that one day with my boy.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:09 AM   #11
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It was really fantastic Skierd...wish we could have run into each other. It was fun running into Paul and hearing about you...Super Dave.

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Originally Posted by skierd
In!

Can't wait to see all the stuff I missed.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for the encouragement!

I think crummy weather flattens out the light making it easier to capture neat photos. It really was a spectacular day visually!

Dad and I got along great on the trip. I'll write more about this dynamic as I go through the report.

-Pax

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyboyVT
Great Photos! Isn't it funny that the most miserable weather often provides the most spectacular photographs?

Love the Father-Son thing. Hope I can do that one day with my boy.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:02 AM   #13
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:16 AM   #14
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Yeah, the father son thing is really cool.

I want one of those WR250R's someday.

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Old 09-28-2009, 07:44 PM   #15
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Hey pal!

Your dad is the man!

And so are you.
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