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Old 12-11-2010, 09:19 PM   #1
Luke308 OP
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Location: Denver, CO
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Muddy Pass, CO - August 2010

As the first heavy snowflakes are falling here in Trinidad, Colorado, I think it's time to post my first ride report from the past summer to ease the chill and help the winter pass. Summers are always too short! Especially for those of us who ride on 2 wheels...

Nearly every August of the 25 years I have been blessed with here on God's good earth has taken me and my family to Vail, Colorado for two weeks of rest and relaxation. This was my first summer with a motorcycle, and thankfully a well equipped and reliable 2001 KLR 650.

Summit County, Colorado is one of my favorite regions in the state. The beautiful mountains are covered in lodgepole pine, aspen, and lush, wildflower covered meadows. The conditions in summit county can be extreme, but the combination of moisture, cool evening temperatures, and warm sunshine have a way of making every flower and tree reach their full potential for beauty. The shear number of trails and forest roads grants us accessibility to the area and are a pleasure to ride.

This ride begins on a cool morning in Vail, CO after getting some grub at the Holiday Inn restaurant in west Vail, and grabbing a fresh pack of AA batteries for my ham radio (Yaesu FT-817ND), then leaving town northward on Red Sandstone Road.

It had rained heavily the evening before and I was hoping I would not encounter too much mud, but as it turned out the dirt road was just damp, and soft enough to allow the tires to dig in and power around the corners. Good times!

The air was mighty cool in the shade and created a fog in the low ground

After a few miles up Red Sandstone Road there is a left (west) turn marked "Muddy Pass"

The roads were smooth and extremely pleasant to ride on. Along this road the entire morning I passed a few people camping and a few dirt bikes but was essentially on my own the whole time.

Time for a water/picture break

The road climbs up out of the valley and upon reaching this meadow was treated to a large cow elk trotting away. The ski slopes of Vail to the south can be seen in the background.

Further up the road looking north

I stopped quite often as I was in no hurry and was thoroughly enjoying the smooth winding road and nature around me.

I came across this tree struck by lightning presumably the night before. Judging from the large and distant shrapnel I'm glad I wasn't present to witness the spectacle. The pinecones weren't blackened by flame or ash, but by the superheat created by the lightning bolt. A thirsty woodpecker stopped by to say hello to me.

Reaching the summit of the pass I took a side road up the hill to take in the view and play with the ham radio.

Beaver Creek ski area can be seen to the south

I rode the small ridge trail a ways to the east and found a couple pine trees a suitable distance apart to string a simple speaker wire dipole antenna. I made a couple contacts, one into Oregon with only 2.5 watts on 20m SSB. After about an hour I packed everything up and headed down to the road again. This is looking to the north/northwest

From then on the road starts to drop in elevation and you come out on the beginning of the western slope, where in the distance of a few miles the landscape changes from lush forest, to dry hills and sagebrush. A few more miles down the dirt road in the distance and you find yourself near Wolcott, CO on highway 131.

The dirt road was undergoing maintenance from the location of the last picture, down to Highway 131, and there was a nice layer of small gravel that made things a little more exciting. Other than a few pucker moments, I made it down to the highway, and the short run back to Vail on I-70 without any mishaps!

If you ever find yourself in this area with a couple hours to burn this little route pays off many-fold in the awesome views and cruising down pleasant forest service roads where the KLR is in its element! Stay warm this winter and don't forget that we're as short lived as a wisp of vapor so enjoy life as much as you can!
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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Nice pics and report .
2004 Electra Glide Classic,
Been riding for over 45yrs , motocross , endures , road-racing . Always have at least a road bike and dualsport . True Adventure Rider . Always want to explore , see whats on the other side of the mountain or around the bend .

Adventure Rider !
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:37 AM   #3
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Right that settles it !!!!!!! i have to get an off roader.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:27 AM   #4
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terrific ride report
great pictures
love that you took the HAM radio along, as well
well done

thanks for taking us along
'11 R1200 GS Adventure with a DMC M72DX Sidecar
'14 R1200 GS & '14 R nineT (march, 2014)
Live life like you mean it... but take your family and friends (and DOGS) along for the "ride"
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:17 AM   #5
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Made better by the many clear pix & your good posting ability.
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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Looks great.. can't beat that kind of riding! Thanks for sharing your ride
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:22 AM   #7
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Location: Townsville AUS
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Very pretty place dude, wish I was doing the ride. Thanks for letting me dream with your pic's.
"No battle is worth fighting except the last one."
John Enoch Powell
"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way!"Dr. Seuss
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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Nice report. Best regards, wb0hbj
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:41 PM   #9
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Rode several passes last September with my riding partner lionsrroar. Fell in love with Colorado, I have to go back.
No, I don't know where that road goes, let's find out!
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:48 PM   #10
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Great pictures. I'm doing my first Colorado dual sport ride this summer.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:51 PM   #11
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i sure do miss summer.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 AM   #12
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I really need to spend time on the bike in that area.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:57 PM   #13
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Nice RR!

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Old 01-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #14
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I miss spring/summer
Jon Kohler
Colbert, GA
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:19 PM   #15
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Very nice. One of my Captains takes an annual hunting trip to Gunnison every year. I told him that one of these days I would help with the gas bill if he would haul me and my bike out so I could do some exploring out there. Thanks for the read.
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