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Old 07-22-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
jglow OP
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Location: Lowry Crossing, TX
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2 Texans Ride the TAT... heading to San Francisco, CA




A little preface to our trip...



You may have read Nikki and My trip we took last year to Alaska 2up on our V-Strom 650. Well, after we returned from the trip and returned to the usual grind, I needed something new to look forward to -- to help with the post Alaska ride hangover. So what to do for the next trip??? We needed some new parameters… 1. More Desolation 2. Each of us on our own bikes 3.Technical Riding terrain – Yeah that should do it! So I kicked around the idea of the Continental Divide Ride, or possibly the Trans-Labrador, and of course, the Trans-America Trail too. I scouted endless ride reports, with the most recent trip I read about being my new favorite (and next on the list to ride) through most of the winter. Late winter, one of my good friends gets a job out in San Francisco, CA, and I come up with an idea: Pick up the TAT in Trinidad, CO and follow it to some point in Nevada, then continue West to San Francisco, be tourists for about a week in the city then head home. I propose the idea to Nikki (leaving out “unnecessary” info about terrain and whatnot for the time being) – I tell her, “Yeah, it’s like a gravel road across the country . It will be a piece a cake.” She is on board with that, and then I buy the maps and we start planning.


At the time, Nikki and I both had 06’ KLX250S’s, but I was starting to drink some of that fuel injected Kool-Aid, and not too long after, sold my KLX250S and picked up an 08’ WR250R. Nikki was quite smitten with her KLX, so we kept it for her. We now had the bikes that we would use on the trip, and could start the outfitting of them with the typical typical things like oversized tanks, 12v outlets, heated grips, luggage, etc.












Over the winter and early spring I spend all my free time with outfitting the bikes. Nikki and I do some shake down rides over to the Ouachita NF in SE Oklahoma and into Arkansas.







These trips would help us learn what worked, and what didn’t. What fell off, and what broke.







So our scheduled departure was mid June. But even as May was ending, snow was still falling all over the West , but due to work commitments coming up in July, we couldn’t really push back the departure too much - we were just gonna have to re-route if conditions required. On Friday, June 17th, we loaded the bikes into the back of the truck, ready for an early departure the next morning.



Nikki's father would drive up with us and drop us off in Trinidad, CO where we would spend a day going around the area with him, then pick up the TAT and head West!




Day 1 Coming up...




Jordan
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:02 PM   #2
DougZ73
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Looks to be a good one.
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:09 PM   #3
Abenteuerfahrer
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Aye another TAT..........I am all .
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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Looks like it was fun! Ready for the report!
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
jglow OP
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Heading towards the Rockies...

Sunday June 19, 2011

We arrived in Trinidad a day early so that we could spend Sunday driving around the area, checking out the sites with Nikki's father.

A stop at Bishop's Castle,





Mr. Bishop possibly has a few screws loose ...



But it is quite impressive seeing all he has built by himself.



And then headed for a stop at the Royal Gorge Bridge.



Very touristy and expensive - luckily fathers got in free, on account of Father's Day, and due to a misunderstanding (or assumption) on my behalf, we only had to pay for Nikki to get in. (FYI, we have no kids, just a spoiled dog).





Then we headed back to our motel to get the bikes loaded up for the next day.



Monday June 20, 2011 - TAT Start

We woke up to some drizzle and upper 40's - not too much we can do about that, so we headed over to where we pick up the TAT (right outside Trinidad) and unloaded the bikes,



Said our goodbyes, and headed West on the TAT.



We had a little bit of mud for the first 10 miles or so,



but most of the day was spent in misty, cool, cloud cover.










A very common occurrence today:





Took a break in La Veta for gas, and to warm up with some coffee.





Once we left La Veta, the weather improved slightly. It felt like it had warmed up just a bit, and every once in a while we would see peeks of sunlight through the clouds.



Love these old structures...





We stopped in the sun for a lunch snack.



This day was a great introduction to the trail. Easy riding, and improving sites as you continue West.







Eventually we get put out onto some pavement which brings us to our first view of the Rockies, and into Westcliffe for fuel.



After leaving Westcliffe, we had to re-route a couple of miles due to a fire. We were able to just hop on Hwy 69 to bypass the fires, and then hopped back on the trail into Cotopaxi.

Heading North out of Cotopaxi, this section was just great.





Even if we did have to deal with a few delays...





Nikki is having a blast through this area. Really important to have good days on the trail, they help you get through the tough ones.



Taking a break... "I could fall asleep right now."



We ended up arriving in Salida, CO right about dark. We snagged a motel room on the East end of town and had some Mexican food for dinner. Highly enjoyable day for us.


Miles today: 242


Jordan
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:57 PM   #6
toolhorder
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Looking forward to some more TAT.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:30 PM   #7
jagred
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Fantastic RR so far. I look forward to following your journey!!!
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:17 PM   #8
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
Arte
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can you post a map of the route?
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
jglow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
Aye another TAT..........I am all .
I am still looking forward to seeing you ride your rig on the Western TAT.



Quote:
Originally Posted by toolhorder View Post


Looking forward to some more TAT.
I was following along with your report, how are you healing up?
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:48 AM   #11
larryboy
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That castle is cool as heck!! I think the green bike is my favorite.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:32 AM   #12
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Talking

Great writing, sub'in for updates!
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:34 PM   #13
jglow OP
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Into the Rockies...

TAT Day 2



In the morning, we headed out of Salida after a quick stop for some breakfast.





Today we start climbing over the Rockies. Being so early in the season, we know we are gonna have to re-route some sections, but we will deal with that when we come to it.



Our first pass today is Marshall. Wide, graded, easy road.


















We top out...









and head down the backside.








And continue on past Sargents towards Lake City.






Through bits of the Gunnison National Forest.







We stop for a lunch break.






The weather is about perfect, we are in no rush today. This is the kind of traveling I love -- You have no real destination, the riding and the terrain are what you are here to experience. Take a while and soak it in.... It's gonna have to get you through to the next vacation!





Getting close to Lake City now.








We head into Lake City to fill up on gas, and see what the local word is on the passes in the area. Engineer and Cinnamon have been open for a few days now, but the condition of the other passes we will head towards later are unknown. We head back out towards Cinnamon.



The road goes from pavement…






To gravel…






To a much tighter, rockier road, with some potential negative consequences on the left edge.






Epic riding through here for us.






We stop to snoop around these old shacks.



I am taking pics of the inside...



when I hear a noise above…


(she said it's much more difficult than you would imagine to climb a ladder with a helmet on )



Back on the bikes, as we continue to climb up the pass.












Nikki thought it would be fun to drive up a kick the snow bank.



She didn’t realize that it would be packed as hard as a brick – We are from Texas you know…

Her bike fell over as she was backing it up.



I was already up the next switch back, so I turned around, parked the bike and took a picture. By this time the bike had been on its side for a bit, and had gotten really flooded. Pair that with the fact that it was still jetted for Texas (rather than 10k – 12k alt.) – it just wouldn’t fire. Kicking the snow didn’t seem like a really good idea to me at the moment. I pointed the bike back down the mountain, and used the descent for momentum to pop start the bike. Still wouldn’t fire, and I was running out of beneficial slope, so I tried one more time, but this time I held the throttle all the way open (somebody told me to do this once on a flooded carbureted vehicle), and the bike begrudgingly came to life. I got the bike turned around and started heading back up to where Nikki was. I was surprised at how much power her bike had lost in the altitude. Anything beyond half throttle, and the bike would bog down. We still had another 1,000ft to climb. Nikki got back on her bike and we continued up the remaining stretch.






Right after this picture, Nikki continues up, and eventually out of my line of sight. I put the camera away and eventually follow up behind. I come around a snow bank to see Nikki’s bike laying over and her hunched over. I hop of my bike. I had no idea what was going on. Luckily she was laughing really hard, and not injured. Apparently what had happened was that as she was climbing a very steep section of the road, she started losing momentum, so she twisted the throttle to go faster, the engine bogged, and all progress was stopped. She grabbed the front a rear breaks, but due to the incline, the bike just slid backwards – luckily she fell off, otherwise I think she could of rolled backwards off the cliff edge. After that was brought to her attention, it sorta freaked her out a bit , but we pushed on and eventually topped out.



Above the tree line. And Nikki regales her failed attempts to stop her bike from rolling backwards.




We feel very small here.






What must this place be like in the winter??



We continued to descend…






And soon we were dropping into an old mining town, Animas Forks.




We took some time to poke around.







And left our mark for any TAT'ers that followed.



And eventually headed out towards California Pass, but we were turned around very quickly due to snow (reported at the time to be 7’ deep still further on ahead).




So instead we routed down into Silverton, as it was getting on into the evening anyhow.



We eyed a few campsites on the way into town, but had to come all the way into town to fuel up and get some food. After getting gas we were headed back out towards the camping when we spotted a motel with a few other dual sport bikes in the lot, so I decided to check it out.



Turned out to be Sarah (greer here on ADV ) and her crew from Kentucky. They had been riding the Alpine loop around there and were heading back home the next day.

I was able to haggle a good rate on account of the cash in my pocket , so we would stay here as well.


We went into town later and had some pretty not good food at the Bent Elbow restaurant.



I should have gone with Sarah’s recommendation of the Brown Bear Café place (although we would for breakfast)

Mileage Today: 169

Jordan




jglow screwed with this post 07-24-2011 at 09:18 AM
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:48 PM   #14
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:11 AM   #15
KnobblyOne
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Lake City and the surrounding areas are amazing. Still clearly remember going up and over Cinnamon. Save travels and enjoy the ride.
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