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Old 08-23-2010, 08:28 PM   #61
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Day 6, A&M Reservoir WY to Steamboat Springs CO

We woke up nice and early at 6am to a beautiful morning. I peered out of the tent and saw my Dad starting to load his gear up.

There were what looked to be some small storm clouds to the east but by 7am they were gone and we had nothing to worry about (at least for the rest of the morning). Part of the reservoir next to our campsite. Yes this is a small reservoir, but this part of the Great Plains is considered a desert and lacks a lot of drinkable water. Not a big worry for motorcycles, but the CDT hikers and Great Divide mountain bikers have to make sure they are carrying enough water in between the very few spots where you can filter water.

We the road and jump onto Spooner Road. Wide open and nice here.

Back onto the pavement, but still another 10-20 miles until we can fill our stomachs and gas tanks up at Rawlins. I saw a sign that made me laugh and did not take a photo of it. But lucky for you I remember what it said: "Travel At Your Own Risk". We also saw one rider pass by in the opposite direction. He/she was in mostly darker colors, perhaps a KLR? They looked loaded up for some Divide riding.

There wasn't much open in Rawlins, but we did find a breakfast place near the interstate. Time to head south to Colorado! A handful of tarmac and we hit the dirt again. Now the dirt roads were wide open, slightly loose, and a lot of climbing initially! We leveled out on some high plains again but it was still rolling and still loose. I had fun screaming up these big hills at 60 mph with the bike just a tad loose behind me.

Enter Medicine Bow National Forest.

Behold, the infamous Aspen Alley, located just north of the Colorado border. At first it was kind of surprising seeing a handful of cars coming from the south, taking pictures, making a u-turn, then leaving. But after continuing south, it was understandable as the paved state highway is just a few miles away.

This place is really cool. I can only imagine what it would look like in the fall (big tourist flocks aside).

At this point we decided it would be best to stop at Steamboat Springs for the day and end slightly early. This would give us a little bit of time to relax, do laundry, and do some bike maintenance.

There were some nice paved roads heading to the Colorado boarder.

The coolest mail box ever.

The road continued to wind around a handful of small ranches, from open green areas to small hilly sections with lots of Aspen trees.

A crest in the road.

Aspen's have a really cool feel to them. I like how they grow pretty densely so that when you are looking into an Aspen forest you see A LOT of white trees, it almost feels overwhelming.

We stopped at a small corner store/camp in Columbine CO, where the pavement starts on the drive down to Steamboat. This is the small mountain town of Columbine, not the larger suburb of Denver where the shooting occurred. The couple who were running the place (not the owners) were pretty interesting. They live in a large RV with a garage that is home to their KLR. Every summer they find some camp to work at for the summer. When we got there, a group of young kids were rolling in for the start of a 1-2 week long camp. They also had a lot of humming bird feeders out front while we had a snack.

We rolled into Steamboat Springs at about the right time, at the Nordic Lodge Motel. The radar showed a rather large storm just south of us, so if we tried to push on we would have ridden directly into some pretty hard stuff. Whew! Time to replace the front brake pads! The old ones weren't too bad, but it's better to be safe then sorry!

Later that night I was checking my chain and tires, and saw this!!! How can you get any closer?!?
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:12 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by isaac004

Yeeouch! What happened?

It went in at my left shoulder and out on my lower left leg, it was the fork of a bigger bolt that hit a cow. Shoulder pain for awhile and the leg was just a little discolored...very lucky.
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:24 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by isaac004
The very picture of luck. Hope you didn't use it all up on one nail.

Enjoying your rr. Thanks for the write-up.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:46 AM   #64
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good stuff guys!
looks like a great way to spend time with your Dad.

keep it coming!
'14 KTM 350 EXC-F, '04 GS Adv, '02 DR-Z 400S
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:16 AM   #65
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Great report!

Looks like I missed a lot on my ride. Reckon I'll have to have a "do-over".

If Wifey will let me out again.

Good job ... don't quit now!
(Geezer On a Dual Sport)
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:50 AM   #66
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Boiler? GO IU!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:34 AM   #67
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Must be something in the water around Steamboat. After we left Steamboat heading north I picked up a nail in the rear tire that looked just like that one and spent an hour on the roadside patching a tube.

You fared better than did I.
'00 BMW R1100RT, Gone away: 5 previous BMW's, 3 Honda's, 2 Suzuki's
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:50 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by flyingz06
Boiler? GO IU!

BOILER UP!!! Graduated from there in 07.
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:04 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by larryboy
It went in at my left shoulder and out on my lower left leg, it was the fork of a bigger bolt that hit a cow. Shoulder pain for awhile and the leg was just a little discolored...very lucky.
That is one crazy story. That's always been a small fear of mine, being struck by lightning.

A few months ago I was out in the Moab area with some friends dirt biking, and on our rest day we went to hike around Devil's Garden in Arches National Park. We did get caught in one strong afternoon thunderstorm while attempting to scramble some features. My one friend recalls the distinct "pre-strike" feeling of his hair standing upright and feeling a static charge. He hunkered down into a ball and it passed over. Lucky lucky.
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #70
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Day 7, Steamboat Springs CO to Fairplay CO

Another beautiful morning, with perfect cool crisp air. We had some of the continental breakfast at the motel and I talked with another guess there for a bit. He was from Boulder and rides a F800GS. Both him and his wife were staying there, as well as his Dad and Mom. His Dad trailered out his Goldwing (cheating!) from the midwest so they could ride some roads together.

Today I was excited because it would be the day of the first stream crossing! Nothing beats a good stream crossing, nothing.

Somewhere around here in the morning I think we missed our first stream crossing but it could have been just for the mountain bikers only (according to the mountain bike guidebook). Regardless, the book says that parts of the year it can be too high to fjord. I think our tracks from Big Dog just happened to take the go around.

Onward we push. This section was pretty nice. Lots of green grass everywhere.

Some smooooth dirt roads.

More pine beetle damage.

A few hours into the day we usually stop for a mid morning break, just to shake out the legs and such.

After a very short road section, we jump back onto the dirt. And then I see it, on the GPS it says DeepCrossing. Woo hoo!

Here is what it looks like from the other side (if you were going north...took this picture after the crossing!). The kids (Franky and Alex) and their grandmother were a great audience. They live just 1/2 mile down the road. Nice location.

I scoped out the river as much as possible before trying it out, as I didn't want to get stuck. It didn't look that deep....but I figured I had to study it closely so I wouldn't be proven wrong the hard way. Crossing it heading south, I predicted the best line to be hugging the right side, as I would be riding on deposits of sand/gravel before it dumps off into a rocky section. Here I go!

Success! The line turned out to be the right line to take. Just keep on the gas in 2nd, because half way through it likes to bog down. After talking with a few guys later on in the trip, it's pretty easy to get stuck (and even stall out) if you go right through the center! So remember that, the center is why they call it DeepCrossing.

My Dad didn't want to risk a damp bike and gear, so he opted to take the dirt road back a few miles and meet up with me. I only had to go a few more miles to get back to the road, so the way around is a pretty short bypass. When my Dad was riding back, he talked to the mountain biker that we saw going the opposite direction as we initially headed toward the crossing (which made it look like he was riding northward). He was actually riding southward and didn't want to even carry or walk his mountain bike across. Weird, as it would be much easier to do that then ride around on the mountain bike.

Rest assured, my Dad did get to do a stream crossing today....

It was very apparent it rained recently, as the next section of dirt was kind of slimy and loose. Mix rain with a bunch of horse riders and you have an interesting dirt road surface. It made my Dad a little uneasy, but I found it to be quite fun. Just loose enough that you could let the bike wag around, but not so loose that you loose control.

Colorado was definitely one of my favorite states. I don't have a bunch of captions for the next few photos but they just look awesome, so here they are.

What are you looking at?

Ah yes, nice view.

As we got closer to Radium CO the wide dirt roads became busier with recreation traffic. There were a lot of rafters out here.

Lunch was had in Kremmling CO, at a corner burger joint.

Target practice.

The afternoon storm clouds are beginning to build up again. Will we luck out today?

See that big white hill? The photo doesn't do it justice, but riding up to it looked very intriguing, especially when I could see all the various roads running along the hill, and even more so after realizing how big the dump trucks were that were driving on it.

Here is what is behind it...a big lake of toxic stew.

Turns out this is the Henderson Mine, which is what I believe to be the largest underground molybdenum mine. I searched and searched but could not find out exactly what the toxic lake is...but my guess is that it's a big tailings lake.

This is pretty cool, it's part of the 15 mile long conveyor belt that transports the goods for processing. A lot of it is underground and it even passed through the Continental Divide.

Next we head towards Breckenridge and the I-70 corridor. Welcome back to civilization and congestion. Breckenridge was especially stuffy, with that faux fancy ski/touristy feeling. We finally broke through and headed up to Boreas Pass. Here we came across a mini Aspen Alley. I love aspens.

Out of all the passes thus far, this was the busiest, but it did make sense with its close proximity to Breckenridge. Almost to the pass...

Check another crossing off the list!

As we rode down, the terrain began to shift away from stereotypical Colorado visions of Rocky Mountains.

It shifted more towards open and hilly plains instead. It also became MUCH more windy. We opted to track off the route slightly to Fairplay CO for a motel night. The Western Inn became our resting spot for the night. Nothing too fancy, just an average spot in a pretty small town. We ended up ordering a pizza from a corner gas station/pizza place, and while waiting we talked to a few guys who were pretty fascinated with the Divide Ride and our bikes. Sounds like they wanted to prep their bikes up for a similar ride. Who could blame them?
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:55 PM   #71
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Awesome! That ride is deff. on the "to-ride" list. Enjoying the report

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Old 08-25-2010, 06:14 PM   #72
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Enjoying the report,Nice.
Good to see you and your Dad having such a good time.

I'm heading there next weekend with my G/F and another couple.
We're going North to south.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:50 PM   #73
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Day 8, Fairplay CO to Storm King Campground CO

We started off the morning right with some muffins from the gas station and watching part of Gran Torino. How does Clint Eastwood do such a good job at sounding like a raspy old man?

The morning started out with some wide open roads that take us though many rolling plains, in an area void of the expected Rocky Mountains.

The bike is getting dirtier by the day.

Cruising along in tow.

This has to be the most bizarre playground location ever. Seriously, there is nothing around here. Just placed in the middle of nowhere.

Hmm, I would have liked some ice cream too.

Good thing it's summer.

We came across our next stream crossing, but I don't know if I'd actually call it that. It was quite shallow and tame to be honest. Regardless, riding through water is riding through water. And yes, my Dad did do this one.

Things began to look a little more rocky mountain like as we approached Salida CO.

On our descent down to Salida, we came across 3 oncoming Divide riders. We didn't stop to talk to them at the time...they were on 2 DR650's and a KLR. One turned out to be fellow inmate basketcase who recognized our bikes after reading this thread. The other guy on the KLR actually stopped to take to us in Grants NM near the end of the ride.

We stopped in Salida for lunch, and boy was it getting hot since we dropped down from elevation. We also parked in front of an art store with this odd sculpture.

After lunch we hauled out of Salida, anxious to get back into the mountains for a bit of temperature relief. What a huge difference! Riding became comfortable again!

As we neared the top of Morris Pass, we ran across Kevin on his 1200GS. He was heading south as well, having started originally with his brother (who had to turn back due to time constraints). Kevin had a lot of stories (you could guess this by the cracked windshield and broken mirrors), his best being the hole he punched in his engine in Idaho after riding over a humped cattle guard, which pushed his bash plate mount right into the crankcase. After the dealer said it needed a new crank case cover and facing the prospect of ending the ride, he happened across a local welder who thought he might be able to fix it. They struck a deal, where he would pay the welder a small amount if he couldn't fix it, and a larger amount if he could fix it. Low and behold, the welder was able to weld up the hole in the crank case! Remember, these are cast aluminum. With oil on one side. Skilled.

The crossing of a few trails as we near the top of Morris Pass.

Marshall Pass!

I also felt compelled to climb the sign.

We continued through more nice and cool aspen forests.

This was a pretty cool looking creek we paralleled as we came down the south side of Marshall Pass.

Once we hit the pavement, we stopped for an afternoon drink break. Ahhh, kick back and relax.

As we headed back into the mountains onto the dirt, it became apparent we were about to encounter another lovely afternoon storm.

We were really skirting the edge of this one. Lots of cross winds too, requiring the bike to be at an angle.

Luckily we never got more then a few minutes of sputtering rain here and there. Success again!

One of the historical road markers.

This rock formation was very cool.

We arrived at Storm King Campground at the end of the day. A name like that sure inspires confidence, right? There are about 10 sites, but we were the only ones in the campground. And just to be honest, we paid the small campground fee too.

As I started to unload, I noticed one of my MSR bottles misting gas out. I was not pleased with this, as I wasn't sure if the gas would eat through or compromise my dry bag and even more important my Rok Straps. Turns out that the carabiner I ran through the loop in the MSR cap allowed the cap to twist ever so slightly loose as the bottle shifted under the straps. Luckily no damage to the bag or straps. One of my friends did have his Rok Strap ruined by leaking gas, which is why I was so freaked out.

My Dad was wandering around and noticed these claw marks on the trees. Not just one or two, but on virtually every tree in and around the campsite. My guess is it's from mountain lions marking their territory. I'm sure we will sleep soundly tonight, after all, the mountain lions will protect us from the bears.

We tried to light a fire that night so in the spirit of trying to keep it real, I attempted to build it out of surrounding kindling and wood and use only a match to light it. Did I mentioned the camp site was damp from an afternoon rain? Even with the huge pile of wood someone left, I could not get it to light. Next step, soaking some cardboard and twigs in WD-40. No luck. You can probably guess what the next step was. Even a little, then a lot of gas did not do the trick. We just didn't have enough dry kindling and twigs to get a fire going. Oh well, at least we had some fun.

Right around the time we went to sleep, a short shower rolled in. Trying to keep a positive attitude, we both agreed it was an isolated shower and would pass over in 30 minutes. We ended up being right!
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:50 PM   #74
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great story nice adventure

Thanks for sharing! Have fun! good safe riding!
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:54 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by isaac004
My Dad was wandering around and noticed these claw marks on the trees. Not just one or two, but on virtually every tree in and around the campsite. My guess is it's from mountain lions marking their territory. I'm sure we will sleep soundly tonight, after all, the mountain lions will protect us from the bears.

Those "claw marks" are actually elk teeth marks. Aspen bark is a food of last resort for wintering elk.

Great Trip!
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. - Winston Churchill
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