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Old 09-02-2012, 08:17 PM   #61
HighFive OP
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Feeling like Tributes in the Hunger Games, we dodge lightening strikes and pouring rain. The mean sky unleashed its wrath upon us. Reaching Gibson Creek alive was noteworthy, but there was no time for celebration.





Less than thrilled at our chances, we make a daring dash across the tall grass prairie. Gunning for Westcliffe, its a necessary diversion for fuel. This is the closest (& only) point for a pitstop.





The mountain foiled; Westcliffe rolls out the blue sky to welcome us. Mighty fine hospitality, I'm telling you!





When we roll into the Shell gas station, I can't believe my eyes. Some of my best riding buddies from Oklahoma are pumping fuel into their bikes…..riding the Western leg of the TAT. They started in Raton, NM that morning, and we crossed paths here, at the same 15 minutes. Neither of us knew the other was out here riding. In the excitement, I forgot to take a photo with them. Maybe they did. Anyway, what were the chances of that happening? I should have bought a Lotto ticket!

Back on the trail, the sky is darkening as evening falls. An ugly mountain storm still brewing, we are racing the trail in search of a campsite. We pop out onto a dead-end road, which has several good spots along North Taylor Creek. If you're ever here, follow the road to the end (against the mountain) and you'll find some awesome campsites, well protected amongst the Aspens (& bears) at about 9,000 ft.








I tethered my horse within easy reach, and crawled into my bivy. And in less time than has been required to write these few lines, I was enjoying one of those slumbers which only come as the reward for a day of earnest activity in the saddle.




Morning came about when we expected, and I'm not one to miss capturing the sunrise.





Neither was Cyborg, as I quickly learned.





This setup worked pretty good. I liked it. I was trying something new which would pack real small & light. It provided a place to sit out of the rain, and made handy clothesline on top.




Well, what do you know...



Another magnificent day to ride in the mountains! What were the chances?

HF
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:20 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFive View Post



Captain Klingon will have to tell you this story. This one was a Mother of a climb!
HF
As you may have noticed, HighFive has my pictures too and a big thanks HF for keeping this thread going while I've been traveling away from a computer.

This particular climb HF had just gone before me and it was a very tough rocky one MMSTIL that went on and on winding up a steep mountainside, you looked up and the climb just kept going out of sight, whew! Near the top chugging up a very steep section where I could barely keep the front on the ground the rear tire hit a big soccer-ball size roller and the bike yanked sideways to my right. I saw a big rock to my right and set the bike right on it, then fell down the hill 10ft backwards onto rocks because it was so steep, ugh! Right where I took this picture is where I landed. Glad once again for all my armor.

HF was up the trail and not aware of my situation yet, so I caught my breath and pulled the bike back into the trail, trying to keep it from sliding downhill. It was a bear to get going again at the steep angle, but the Berg 390 was amazing and just dug in, hooked up and a tractored the rest of the way up, right at the limit. The camping gear gave extra traction too.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:34 AM   #63
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Ah ha! There be the pesky culprit.





Picking thru your photos, I see that now. And MSTL, of course.

Scootering down the Rainbow is similar to riding thru life. Never certain what lies ahead, and just one bad decision away from disaster. Blame it on the rocks, but its more likely the man in the mirror.


HF

p.s Cyborg is AWOL again. But, I'm used to riding solo. Let's carryon...
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:47 AM   #64
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Hey now, I'll be around the next couple of days. That was also the last big get-off of the trip IIRC...

The one thing HF forgot to mention on the camp night was that even at 9000+ ft and crystal-clear with bright stars, the temperatures were amazingly warm.



I wanted to check out the BD Squadron light on the trail at night, so jumped on the 390 in t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and rode 1 mile or so up the trail.
.

The headlight was awesome! I could see all the trail details and could easily trail-ride this headlight all night.


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Old 09-03-2012, 11:29 AM   #65
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Cool Ride

Really love your report. I have wanted to ride this for awhile. How long did it take to go from Hayden to Westcliff? I was thinking of doing Salida to Westcliff and stay there overnight just not sure if that can be done in a normal day. Thanks.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:21 PM   #66
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3/4 of a day at a leisurely pace toting a load of camping gear.

I imagine Salida to Westcliffe would be a full day of hard riding with a light load.

But you'll love it, if you survive!

HF
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #67
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Anxious for a new day…



...but now he wants his other wrist taped up. I'm really starting to wonder how this guy survives without me.

I want something too. That stocking hat!

We break camp and hit the Trail again, after exploring the dead-end road a bit. That's when we discovered several secluded campsites better than the one we used. Oh well, it all looks the same after dark.



Its more of a worn two-track along this portion. But, still plenty rocky and slow going in places.



I just love riding thru the Aspens….for miles upon miles.

Cyborg did take care of me in a big way! He pulled this rabbit out of the hat:





And filled up our camelbacks with a fresh supply of cold mountain water.



Best I ever had too. He can tell you all about this whizmo. And you can bet I'll have one for my next trip.

Before too long, we crossed the road to Hermit Pass.



Cyborg has me eating "Hermit" cookies all week, which he imported from Seattle. Never seen 'em or tried 'em before. They were wonderful. With my new found enlightenment, I'm thinking all things Hermit must be good. So, up the road we go….its only 5 miles. The Trail can wait.



This road is so rocky its plum wearing me out. First & second gear stuff, I'm telling you (not the portion seen in this photo). Just the time I'm ready to call it quits, thinking its not worth it, we round a corner and get another glimpse.



Mush doggies were headed to the top! We start a chant to keep us going….worth it…..worth it….worth it. Our strength ever fading, so early in the day.







Slowly but surely we are making progress, and beginning to see some potential.







The road with out end. I can assure you its MRTL (much rocky'r than it looks).



And somebody turned off the oxygen!



Promising…..very promising. The Trail can wait. More climbing to go.









On top of the world and wide awake now. No caffeine ever jolted my system to awake this good, this early in the day.

Was it worth it?





Yes indeed! One of the many highlights of our whole week.







I imagine most years, this area is covered in snow all summer. You might not be able to get up here this high. But we had a mild winter and the summer has been much warmer than most. So, its all clear right now. Don't think I saw a patch of white anywhere around.

HF
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by rufus View Post
I been here several times. It'll put a lump i your throat every time.

I always wanted to get a picture there. But i also didn't want to stay there that long.............deep breath, focus and keep moving.

Great story

Few questions?


Rear tyre:
Is that a Metzeler Karoo rear?

What size?

Why did you not go specific dirt tyre?

How do you rate it?

Luggage:
The bike with the yellow luggage - what is the exact make and model of all that luggage? I'm getting me some. Is it as good as it looks?

Front headlight:
Are they the new baja designs squadron headlights? Views?

rmhrc628 screwed with this post 09-03-2012 at 03:37 PM
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:58 PM   #69
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Hermit Pass

Hermit Pass road is sure enough a rough one. The Pass is usually clear of snow by late July. I've driven my '99 4x4 Suburban up to the pass 5 or 6 times over the past ten years. Again everyone, it is a very rough road. My son-in-law on my KLR250 which is geared way down and my grandson in law on a friend's XR650L rode to the top two years ago. Both took a couple of falls, no injuries.

I'll stick to the Suburban, I just don't have the strength or stamina anymore at 72 to want to ride the KLR up there. The views from there are definitely fantastic as HF says. On a clear day you can see into the San Juan valley, the next valley west. If you're in the Westcliffe area and have the time, make the drive or ride.

I just returned home from riding the KLR250 (at 330cc) to the rop of Hayden Pass from Coaldale. As HF said that side is not too difficult, I took no falls. Not all skinned up HF. LOL! I went down the tough side only a little way before turning around, it was more than I wanted. :-(

Which road or trail did you take from the Rainbow to get gas in Westcliffe HF?.

L D in Westcliffe, CO
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:01 PM   #70
cyborg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmhrc628 View Post
Great story

Few questions?


Rear tyre:
Is that a Metzeler Karoo rear?

What size?

Why did you not go specific dirt tyre?

How do you rate it?

Luggage:
The bike with the yellow luggage - what is the exact make and model of all that luggage? I'm getting me some. Is it as good as it looks?

Front headlight:
Are they the new baja designs squadron headlights? Views?
rmhrc628, don't mind a few questions.

Tires:
- Rear: Michelin T-63 130/80-18, very good DOT tire for the Berg FE390, I like better than all the other DOT rear's so far.

- Front: Pirelli Scorpion Rally 90/90-21, also a great DOT tire, my new favorite DOT front tire.

Both worked very well in mixed conditions and also on a fair number of pavement miles. Ran standard tubes and 16psi, no flats.

HighFive was running non-DOT Maxxis Desert IT's, I think he liked them too.

Luggage: Wolfman, see here and here worked great!

Headlight: Baja Designs, see here and here
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #71
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Really enjoying this. Great look at some details about the trail. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:59 PM   #72
cyborg
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Here we are at 13,000+ ft, eye candy and amazing views everywhere, and what's HF's doing?






We had great cell service up here so if HF can call out my numerous dabs, I can call out his TXT'ing



We reluctantly leave this awesome place and head down










Elevation drops fast on this road.


Can you spot HighFive in this photo?





How about now?




Zooming back out

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Old 09-03-2012, 06:18 PM   #73
Ratman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFive View Post
3/4 of a day at a leisurely pace toting a load of camping gear.

I imagine Salida to Westcliffe would be a full day of hard riding with a light load.

But you'll love it, if you survive!

HF
You guys are doing a bang up Ride report. Thanks for sharing.

How's Cyborgs wrist coming along.....and nice job on the LED conversion.

BTW, you mentioned Medano Pass a day or so ago. I rode it a month ago all the way past the sand dune to Antelope Wells.... No one told me about the beavers that make that last water crossing 30" deep.

Drowned out my little old DR350....it did.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #74
cyborg
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You guys are doing a bang up Ride report. Thanks for sharing.

How's Cyborgs wrist coming along.....and nice job on the LED conversion.

Drowned out my little old DR350....it did.
Sorry to hear of the drowned bike Ratman.

As for my wrist(s), due to HF's expert wrapping skills, both are doing fine, and in fact were doing quite well at the end of the ride. I "rode through the sprain" as it were. With good wrist support and a few Advil here and there, I enjoyed the ride even at it's roughest. A roll of Coban tape is going in my bike kit every time I ride from now on.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #75
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Say Cyborg,

Have you been on Brewton road down to west bar on the Green Dot roads out of Ellensburg? That is a rocky son of a gun.
If so, is this tougher going in the rocks [ I will admit some of it looks steeper than Brewton] on the Rainbow?

Fabulous ride report, btw, you guys know how to live. Your Cascade rr with H5 inspired me to ride the Red Hill trail after I read it, and I am down the singletrack rabbit hole ever since...
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