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Old 12-10-2011, 05:22 AM   #16
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Looking forward to what remains.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:41 PM   #17
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Thanks for the interest so far! Funny stuff re the tube...

Monday Day 4 Sept 5

Day started great, beautiful weather and going to get hot in Trinindad. Itching to finally get on the dirt. Go to fill up our bikes and Vito looks down at mine. Looks at me, asks me where is my skid plate? I look down and up perplexed. I search my brain and realize I never put it back on after I gave the bike a last minute oil change. Next time, checklist!

Damn, what to do. I can't go on the dirt without my skid plate. I already got some rock dings on my exhaust pipe when I had on the stock guard, I need my Moto Overland skid plate!

I think Vito is disappointed we can't hit the trails right away but he hides it well.

Well they say necessity is the mother of invention, and we decide to make a skid plate out of whatever we can find around us. Now we got a plan, we are not just standing around with our hands in our pockets, so at least for me that dispells the disappointment of not getting on the road right away. Hardware store, not sure where that is, but there is a Safeway nearby... and they sell baking pans. So baking pans it is!

I go into Safeway and find a suitable pan. We dig through are gear, grab the safety wire and zap straps, and cobble something together.

Vito working on the baking pan skid plate

I am installing it

Vito's idea of a joke! At least one part on my bike is now made in China with some American assembly by Canadian workers. Internationalism at its best!

The finished product, after a few miles prior to removal in Moab... worked good. But after this point a decent skid plate was necessary. I thank my wife for finding the Moto Overland skid plate and my son for finding the hardware... I hid the hardware in a box when I was doing the oil change, naughty me. They sent the skid plate to Moab and I would install it later. $200 bucks air freight. I got a lot of money in my skid plate

Having got that behind us, time to get on the trails... we get started late around noon or so. The dirt was well graded gravel roads. Not much traffic, can't remember seeing any cars or trucks really, although a honda civic would have no problem with what we were on.

So a few shots from the gravel.

Abandoned homestead

On the road, typical surface

Even more abandoned!

Nice view

Another shot of the view

With daylight fast disappearing, we abandon any plan to reach Salida, gas up at Westcliffe and look for a campsite. The locals recommend the Alavarado camp ground, and it takes a bit of finding but we get there. Suprisingly this camp is at an altitude of 9000 feet. Supposedly some locally (in)famous guy made camp nearby in the 1880s or so, on the run or going somewhere, maybe military civil war stuff. Can't remember and nothing turned-up on the Internet.

The campsite was largely empty, and the camp host was really friendly. An old retired guy comes to visit us as we set-up and looks like he's going to stay awhile, jawing away, but eventually leaves and we get back to camp setup. Then the RV nearby fires up their generator. We consider leaving to find a quieter site, but instead I brave the NRA stickers on the RV door and ask the guy how long he is going to run the generator for. Turns out he is a nice guy and the generator was off before it became a real concern.

A good night sleep, our first night camping. Our campsite in the morning...

This is the very very approximate route. You are better off buying the maps, not worth trying to figure out what we did. You will spend hours and it won't help. There are mistakes LOL...

trinidad to westcliffe

cathulu screwed with this post 12-14-2011 at 07:37 PM
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:38 PM   #18
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Videos from Day 5, somewhere between Trinidad and Westcliffe

Here's another video, Vito is somewhere way ahead of me... Trinidad to Westcliffe

cathulu screwed with this post 12-12-2011 at 07:14 PM
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #19
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Are you cooking dessert on the new skidplate.
Looks like a great adventure!
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:47 AM   #20
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hhe, keep moving bro.. good RR
Let your mind pursue your dream fella..
make your hearts become the guides..
To Infinity and beyond !

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Old 12-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #21
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Thumb More Please..

No, I don't know where that road goes, let's find out!
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:34 PM   #22
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Nice log

Always fun to ride with buddies after a long time, looking for more ...

Kudos for the SKID plate

Waiting for more
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:33 PM   #23
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Tuesday Day 5 Sept 6

We wake up, pack-up and get on the saddle again, sayonara Alvarado!

Heading up to Marshall Pass today and beyond. Maybe we will get back on track to some more normal end of day TAT stops. Sometimes we stopped in the usual places. Often we were off time and stopped elsewhere.

Meanwhile I am getting more and more confident riding on the dirt, sure, I had done a bunch of riding since I got my bike on short day trips, but riding every day for hours on the TAT in all kinds of terrain really builds-up your skill level. Near the end of the trip I was a God... , or shall I say we were Gods! But not today. Today was still too early.

Thought I would lock up the rear brake and step out the back of the bike to a sweet stop right in front of Vito.

Problem is the bike is heavy, and with all the gear even more so. Everything worked out as planned but I can't hold the bike up at an angle and I go flying to save myself. Vito was far to smart to try something so stupid, but then Vito had his brain fades later.

This was the first drop of the trip, one of many to come.

Now that everything is sorted from my brief get-off, getting ready to ride some more. On the road to Salida. I kept thinking it was pronounced like salida - spanish for exit. But it is pronounced like saliva. Weird. Is that to stick a thumb at the Spanish speakers?

So for this whole trip Vito was the navigator. Vito had a Garmin 60csx with all the tracks loaded onto it and I had the paper maps which came in handy a couple of times. But to navigate by paper alone would have been very time consuming. Glad we didn't have to do that. So as per the usual Vito would lead and I would follow, although I would sometimes lead for short spells. Often I would let Vito get way ahead of me so that I didn't have to eat his dust. As we went along, we made increasingly byzantine rules to follow to reduce waiting time. "OK, if you come to a T intersection, and the route is to turn right, then don't wait for me. If you turn left then wait." or "if you come to a road crossing, and the route goes straight through, then don't wait for me. Otherwise if left or right then wait." Etc... It worked pretty good. More later on that.

Self portrait at speed. Yah I got a road helmet, worked decent, but I will ride with something else next time.

This part of the road was pretty cool. If I remember right I had more stalling issues with the F800Gs today, yet the day before I had none. Lucky for me the stalls did not happen on any steep terrain. It was more just a pain in the derriere and possibly dangerous then it was trip ending. Some days were good, some days were bad.

Vito leading the way.

Finally we reach Salida and take a stop for picks and lunch

We grab some lunch at this place by the river. Good food and beer. Nice watching the kayaks play in the river. Vito is mesmerized by something, probably the food coming.

Then it is back on the gravel road to Marshall Pass. Pretty straightforward ride, a bit disappointing really. I was expecting more of a challenge. But that would come later. So we enjoyed the moment when we got there. It was a bit misty with drops of rain every once in a while.

On the way up to Marshall Pass I made a wrong turn, took a small detour and ended up at Ohaver Lake campground. This was before we had our Rulz.

The studly adventurers make it to the top. Doesn't seem very high. There are still trees! Pretty cool to think that all the water behind me flows to the Pacific.

The trailhead sign

From there it was down the gravel road to Highway 50 and to Tomichi Creek Trading Post.

The next part of our journey was curtailed by clay and mud and then finished off by rain that became torrential.

Supposedly we were to follow some singletrack to god knows where - it was hard to find the trail and not sure even if the trail existed anymore. Still we ventured off road following the route but it was all for nought. The single track was far to slippery and muddy, it was worse then ice. While Vito was ahead, I dropped my bike. I left my bike lying on it's side and walked the trail hoping Vito would wait for me and come back and help me pick it up. Well, Vito was a couple of hundred yards ahead, over the rise and at the bottom of the hill. Turns out he was in deeper doo doo then me.

He had to remove the mud that packed up good between his rear wheel and swingarm and get back up the hill. There was so much clay crap in his bike that the engine wouldn't turn the rear wheel without really revving the engine and slipping the clutch, a recipe for disaster. So it was a blessing I dropped my bike early, otherwise we would be both stuck at the bottom of the hill. I helped Vito get his bike up the hill and all in all spent over an hour getting ourselves back to decent ground because of the KLR mud unpacking, slipping and sliding, and dropping our bikes. Up until now the KLR was looking invincible. But it has a fatal flaw, no clearance between the rear wheel and the swingarm. The F800GS on the other hand had no problems at the rear. Tons of clearance. The Colorado clay got us good. But far worse clay was to come...

Vito's KLR all packed up and no where to go... where did he get the racing slick?

Vito after an hour or so of clay unpacking...

So we got back on Highway 50 and hightailed it to Gunnison during the pouring rain. We cleaned-up our bikes with the pressure wash and found a hotel to hole up for the night.

westcliffe to gunnison

cathulu screwed with this post 12-14-2011 at 07:40 PM
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:47 PM   #24
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Love it!


Kindred spirit! A true KLR mod for a fancy BMW! Love the cookie sheet!
NOTHING upgrades a BMW GS like a baking sheet for a skid plate

(needless to say I currently ride a KLR and hope to see a BMW of some kind in the future so this is very interesting!)

What others think of me is none of my business.
What I think of me is none of my business.

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Old 12-13-2011, 11:18 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by cathulu View Post
Putting this together is more work then I envisioned! So better get on it and get her done asap!

Awoke on Sunday Day 3 for the ride from Spanish Fork to Trinidad.
When I stayed in Trinidad, I ate at the Trinidad Brewing Company. It appears they might be closed now??? What a shame - that was a great place with cool owners. EXCERPT from Trinidad stay - about 3/4 of the way down the page. The Inn I stayed in was called Trail's End Inn, I think. Very cool place and bike friendly.

Enjoying the report and already planning a 2012 trip - trying to decide whether to pick up in CO, probably New Mexico because that was awesome... or start over at the beginning since a friend - new to DS riding - will be with me.
2009 Solo TAT Ride Report
01 F650 Dakar | '99 Triumph Trophy 1200
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TJ Willy screwed with this post 12-15-2011 at 09:48 AM
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:07 PM   #26
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Great ride report/Pic's! Thanks! More!
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:31 PM   #27
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:29 PM   #28
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Wednesday Day 6 Sept 7

So we awake fresh on Wednesday morning after the hardship of Yesterday afternoon, ready for more but wiser about the condition of the less traveled less graveled roads and trails in the wet. We took advantage of the morning to do some maintenance, Vito adjusted his chain and attended to the lube if I recall correctly cause it slacked off with all of the clutch slipping and engine revving. I also lubed up the chain. My valve cover was leaking by now and another thing to worry about - a usual F800GS glitch for the early models. Since got that fixed. But I have a feeling today is going to be a good day!

We backtrack a bit from Gunnison and get back on the route. We missed some stuff, but that will have to be for another day. It was just too muddy back there. SO we are riding the typical well graded gravel stuff again. Then we spy this sign along the route and take a stop.

Historic Stage Route, Saguache - San Jaun Toll Road. Constructed 1874.

We can't bypass this! Our goal was to ride the whole route as far as we could, including the optional stuff, unless something physically stopped us like the clay yesterday. Vito sets off first...

and I quickly follow.

After yesterdays afternoon rains, the weather was beautiful and warm. This route was spectacular, now we were getting into the good stuff.

There was some mud, but most of the route was in very good shape. Vito had a talent for finding mud, and going all in...

Once we got Vito up and running he ran off ahead and I stayed behind for some alone time. Nice!

We would collect together to go through the gates and snack.

Later the trees closed into the open areas and we were riding up and down hills throught the woods. I was amazed this was a stage coach route.

The stage coach route was a couple of hours and highly recommended. Back on the main gravel road we passed a snake. Snake on the road! what TAT trip would do without a photo of that?

Then we popped into Lake City for a bite at Poker Alice. If I remember right, this was the place where a sign at the counter said the food would take a while, if you are in a hurry then go somewhere else! I liked that. We did wait a while...

Next was the climb up to Cinammon Pass. This was not Honda Civic territory! High clearance vehicles and preferably four wheel drive. Now we are climbing baby! From here on in the TAT was going to get harder and we were loving it. The pictures do not do justice to the ride up.

Cinnamon pass is off in the distance somewhere... so is Vito...

Me trying to be creative with my Panny LX3, love that camera!

Still climbing...

Even still climbing... and a sign we are going in the right direction. Gotta get some pictures of Vito into this now... but but it is all F800GS as it should be! And my bike didn't stall today! Are my stalling problems now behind me???

Here's one. We made it.

More later... gotta run. Taping Survivor and the family is calling. It is the set-up for the season ender this weekend!

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:40 PM   #29
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Wednesday Day 6 Sept 7 - Cont'd

A shot of Vito climbing to Cinammon Pass

Back to Vito at the top

I made it also

We are surrounded by alpine tundra

Once you hit Cinnamon Pass it is a short and easy run down to Animas Forks, a mining town that was dead by the late 1920s. Animas Forks is mostly gone they say except for the few cabins in the background.

Then it is through California Gulch to California Pass - and I thought we were in Colorado...

We ride past the old Frisco Mine & Tunnel Co. located in the Gulch - elevation about 11,400 feet so any climbing we are going to do for California Pass isn't going to be much. I looked into this out of curiosity and mining started at the surface around 1870 +/-, but about 5 years later the mines were already getting too deep for the economics to work, given the ore quality. This would be the death knell for the small independent miners and shows how tough it may have been. Boom and bust. So a tunnel project was conceived to get at the ore from below and started in 1877 hence Frisco Mine & Tunnel. The tunnel development was in fits and starts with various investors and by 1911 was done as far as it was going to go, 7500 feet long. They got gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc out of these mines.

The final bit of climbing to the top of California pass. I stop to admire my bike and what I guess is an old heat exchanger in the background sitting all alone... not sure how it got there or why...

Vito on the climb to the top of California pass.

At the top. This is as high as we would get... plus a few feet to walk to the top. The altitude is noticeable!

Looking back from California Pass at the road from which we came through the Gulch

Looking across to Lake Como and the road down and going off in the distance that we were to take.

So we are riding along, it is starting to get late, time to find a camping site. Across the way we spy this old mine site, looks like a good opportunity to stop and it is getting the late afternoon sun. So we head over.

Not nice for setting up a tent on the gravel so I look around and grab some large timbers for a pad to set the tent on. Vito rips a few doors off the abandoned shed (actually they were just lying around). I laugh at the thought of Vito sleeping on the door knobs. But then we grab a rock and off go the knobs. Now I look at his sleeping platform and it is nicer than mine. He who laughs last laughs best.

Edit - OK, someone pointed out that these mine sites should be protected. Don't do like we did. While this mine did not look old or historic, it will be one day. This is an example of what not to do. Thanks and please don't do as we did. PS we did return the timbers and doors back to their locations where we found them.

Our camp set-up. Mine shaft where we stashed food visible behind.

We build a bit of a wind block and get a fire going. This is wear Vito's hose comes in handy. We couldn't get a fire started, the altitude seemed to have something to do with that. So Vito siphoned off some gas and we got the party started!

Then it was a quick shower with my pocket shower filled up with some nice warm water (worked great, Vito thought I was nuts, glad he didn't pull the camera on me) and off to bed. Not sure if a bear would find me or Vito more yummy. We moved what little food we had into a mine shaft to be safe.

Our approximate route

cathulu screwed with this post 12-19-2011 at 10:40 PM
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:40 PM   #30
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Thursday Day 7 Sept 8

It was warm in the tent but we awoke to frost on the seats. The sun inched closer as it advanced from the other side of the valley to our side but too slowly for us to keep waiting. So we packed-up in the shade with our tent flys wet. It was going to be another beautiful day.

In the early morning we could hear and see sheep come down the mountain to greet us. They were accompanied with this large guard dog that I think was a Great Pyrenees. It was not aggressive, but it did eye me with wariness. Wish I got a picture of it when I saw it. They came down to the road. It was cool.

Back on the road, the scenery was awesome.

We corkscrew our way down off the Mountain, into Corkscrew Gulch - a fitting name. Good brakes needed here. Then we get on this fast gravel road at the bottom of a valley and follow it along to our next destination - Ophir Pass.

Corkscrew down... this was fun

Going down

The back country byway that we took advantage of - but the map is missing the piece between Animas Forks and Corkscrew gulch.

The ride up to the summit of Ophir pass was nice. The summit is marked with a cross that is barely visible in the rock pile.

At the summit we start descending to the town of Ophir. This is a neat summit, going through a gap in the rock piles. I remember it as a bit rocky. Later it smoothed out and got real fun as we rolled further down and made our way to Ophir.

We roll through Ophir without stopping. Neat little town. Not much there.

Both our bikes and ourselves need fuel. We decide to head to nearby Telluride for lunch. Very trendy town, reminds me of Whistler a bit. A friend of mine would call most of the folks that visit "trend sucking dilettantes" . Does that include us? But good gnosh can be had and after a nice sandwich we get back on the bikes.

After lunch we are back on the road and find ourselves on this trail. I remember it as fantastic fun and seemingly goes on for a long time. I happened to have lost the map for this trail, so if someone is so kind and reading this, can you send me a pdf copy? It is map 12 in the Colorado set.

Then we are discharged onto some fast gravel roads for the final run to Monticello, Utah. We are leaving Colorado and the high country is far behind us now, but we are still at 7000ft elevation!

Monticello is close to Moab but nothing like it, even though we stay at the "Canyon Lands Motor Inn", there are no tourists, just passing through maam. The hotel is real spartan and probably the best in town. We take the opportunity to dry our tents out and leave them under the watchful eyes of our neighbour in the room next door. A nice couple planning to pull massive miles two-up on their Motorcycle to get home. Can't remember how many miles they were going for, but it raised my eyebrows. Maybe they were a bit eccentric. As I age, I realize we all are in our own way.

animas to monticello

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