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Old 09-25-2012, 07:19 PM   #1
tenmile OP
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 111
CO: Telluride Blues & Brews, Automotive Admiration and a Leafer Trip

Hey ADVRiders-

Figured you would humor a first time touring rider with a trip report. Note the total trip for me was 9 days, 13 for my friend, but as there were layover days & I don’t have his pictures… it went in the shorter trip forum. **Note- These photos were taken from a variety of cameras, one of them with a blurry lens. Sorry in advance! Also, for whatever reason, it was much more humid then usual in CO, so a lot of the usual crystal clear views were hazy and did not turn out too well.

The Background: And old friend of mine and I had been joking about taking a distance Motorcycle trip for quite a while, neither of us having done more than 200mi in one stretch. We both have ridden for quite some time- both learning on dirt/sand, and then eventually evolving to street after a couple year hiatus. Both of us were riding supermotos (though his stable contained several dirt bikes as well) at the time. Now, all we needed was an excuse…..

The Excuse: A backstage pass to Telluride Blues & Brews, in scenic Southwest Colorado!

The Trip: With the above excuse (and dates to be in Telluride), we quickly picked the week after to continue our trip, and started with the logistics. My friend Kris lives in San Diego, while I had the relatively short trek from Denver. I would be riding my F800GS, which I picked up earlier in the year and finally Farkled to my liking, while he would be riding…. A question mark. Kris was still riding his SM610 Husky- a bike relatively unsuited for long distance cruising, considering the distance he needed to cover on a daily basis to get to Telluride. After 6 weeks of trying to sell his bike, a buyer finally materialized the same day he agreed to buy a 2004 V-Strom 650 from an acquaintance. With less than a week to go before departure, what could possibly go wrong?

Day 0: While I am finalizing my packing and prep the night before my departure, I receive a phone call- Kris has made it to his halfway point for the day- Flagstaff, AZ- but sans wallet. He suspects it was lost somewhere after his last fuel stop, when perhaps he left it sitting on his lap and rode off. Whoops. Calls to the gas station prove fruitless, and I hang up hoping this is the first (and last) of our setbacks.

Loaded & ready to go!

Day 1 (~350 Miles- Route: : A bright and early departure from Denver, on one of our first ‘cold’ nights of the year. 43 degrees when I pull out of the garage. I am bundled up in thermals and down jackets under my riding gear, wondering just how cold it will be when I hit the top of the pass at 8am. Answer? 32 degrees. While I’m feeling fairly decent except for my cold hands, I decide it’s in my best interest to stop & have breakfast with some friends in Dillon. Shed a layer, snap a quick photo (The scenery was of course horrible), and I’m on my way.

Luckily, here in Colorado, we are blessed with pleasant scenery even on our Interstates. A quick I-70 jaunt to Glenwood Springs, and then I’m dropping on Hwy 133 to Paonia over McClure Pass. It’s not long before I realize a very vintage Ferrari has just passed me. Followed by another. Then by an Alfa, Olds, another Ferrari… what is going on here? Dozens of classic (and VERY expensive) cars later, I’m feeling remarkably poor & underclassed and I pull into the small town of Hotchkiss, and find that I’m smack dab in the middle of the Colorado Grand Concours ( I stop at their lunch point, hop off the bike and admire all of the beautiful cars. As it was late in the day and many had already departed for their ending point for the night, I only had 75 or so cars to choose from, but here are some of the gems below:

After a few minutes of chitchatting with the drivers, and dying in the 85 degree heat while still wearing thermal underwear (which, may be burned- I’m not sure I can ever get the smell out), I hop back on the GS for a relatively uneventful (though beautiful!) ride into Telluride. Kris arrives a few hours later.

Day 2 (Layover Day): Not much to say here, other than life doesn’t get much better than this….

Courtesy of someone I knew, I was able to get this shot as well- it’s interesting to get to see yourself from Space!

One photo from the midway station at Telluride Gondola, looking North.

Last photo from the day- for all the gearheads out in the crowd, this is the ‘barn’ of the friend’s house we were staying at. Try not to drool too much over the vintage Power Wagons.

tenmile screwed with this post 09-25-2012 at 09:31 PM
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:43 PM   #2
tenmile OP
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Day 3 (~140mi- After a long day of ‘sampling’ beers the day before, we elected for a nice ride today to clear our minds. We left Telluride headed for Silverton, via Ophir Pass. This is not a particularly difficult road in an SUV or Truck, but the western face does have a steep shelf road covered in loose shale. Kris was riding his V-Strom naked (i.e. no panniers or top bags), whereas I was still carrying my Jessies with camping gear and both his and my tools.

Heading out of Ophir:

Kris, with no idea what's about to happen to us:

Looking back from Ophir Pass:

Once we were on the shelf road, the going got tricky. Both of us are used to light dirt bikes with knobbies and plastics we don’t care about- not a nearly new GS, a new-to-him V-Strom, and 400+ mi separating us from our respective homes. This was not the place to lay one of these down. On top of that, while we both had Street/Trail tires, we were expecting enough tarmac afterwards that we didn’t want to air down too much. So, off we go, pushing 600#+ bikes up the shelf road. It doesn’t look bad in this picture, but the shaded areas were extremely slick & shale-y. By the time we reached the top, I’m not afraid to say my nerves were completely shot.

The top! And of course, the Bikes.

We dropped down the East side (a graded dirt road), then hopped on 550 to run up the top of the pass towards Durango. We don’t have a lot of photos from this stretch, as we elected to hook up a Go-Pro instead. Video will follow, once I get home from a business trip and have some time to edit. We did run into MUCH more traffic then expected, so much of this stretch was used to pass 'Leafers' from TX, OK, CO, NV, MD... essentially every state you could think of. I always forget that people travel to our state to see this, and I just happen to be the one lucky enough to live here!

The kind of sign every one of us wants to see:

A quick stop in Ouray for lunch & the brewery (which, coincidentally I was there for opening day in 2010- if you are ever there, stop in on the rooftop deck. The view is to die for. I don't know why I didn't think to snap any photos...), then back to Telluride for the last day of B&B.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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Day 4 (~210 Mi, We pulled out of Telluride after a quick run up to Bridal Veil Falls. For those of you whom know this road, it starts off at the top as Black Bear Pass- a one way four wheel drive road, then eventually turns into a two way road. By this point, we were both fully loaded with all our gear, and elected not to continue to the top where it turns into the one way.

Picture of the Falls (left- I elected this photo because the scenery was better):

Picture looking back to Telluride- ignore the super-toxic mine tailing pond or TX tourist:

Our route took us out of Telluride, up to Norwood, then continued onto the small town of Gateway, which contains a resort & the Gateway Auto Museum, owned by John Hendricks of the Discovery Channel Fame. The road is like no other. Unfortunately, we were too distracted by the beautiful scenery and twisties that neither of us wanted to stop to take pictures of the route! It is highly recommended, if you ever end up in this part of the state. Completely out of the way, but gorgeous. Looks a lot like Moab, but in CO.

A shot looking at the Gateway bluff.

Inside the Gateway Museum- This is a museum like no other. The barriers are none, security is nil, and the cars are exquisite. You can literally stick your head in the cars and come within 6” or so (if they even have barriers!).

Some of the gems (in my book):
Olds F-88 Concept. On the record as one of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction, for $3.24M. Allegedly, Harvey Earl snuck it out of the factory piece by piece… Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder, though, because I think it looks like a giant catfish.

2nd ever Hemi Cuda ever Made.

If I remember correctly, the #1 GT-500 ever made.

Who doesn’t love Smokey & the Bandit? This is the ’81 version, but it has 75 original miles on the odometer, complete with Autotragic transmission, Velour interior and T-Tops!

Some old Chevies:

All in all, too many cars to post, but a highly memorable time.

We then jetted out to Whitewater, CO, then down to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we set up camp for the night.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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Day 5 (~230 mi-
With a bright and early wake up by the sun, we were off and on the road (in 38 degree temps) by 8a or so.
A quick stop at the Visitor’s Center, looking down into the canyon:

Followed by the Painted Wall (Steepest Cliff Wall in North America, but a bad picture of it):

We then headed down to the river (16% grade road!), back up, and back on the highway to Buena Vista. This route took us over a couple of summits, next to Blue Mountain Res, then over Monarch pass. As expected, the temperature took a turn for the cold next to Blue Mountain, but then warmed up a bit as we headed towards the pass. Monach Pass, for those whom have never ridden it, is a great experience. Freshly re-paved, steep, twisties, two lanes uphill- it’s a great treat. It’s a road you get ‘lost’ in, and at one point looked down while leaning in a turn to find that while my body and bike were to the left of the right limit line, my head in fact was hanging out over the side of the cliff. That was a bit of a start! Again, no pictures, as both Kris and I were completely lost in the ride. Was better to enjoy then document, I suppose.

A quick stop at the Eddy Line Brewery in Buena Vista for lunch (continuing our Beer tour), then we headed North to Independence Pass into Aspen. We stopped just short and strapped on the Go-Pro again, which ended up in absolutely no hard photos. I’ll spare you the rest (since there’s no photos), but we ended the night at the Aspen Brewery for a pint, then off to our campsite in the Maroon Bells.

It was important to note that at this point in time, Kris began having bike issues. Cold Starts were not happy, and idle sounded rough- as if the bottom end was knocking.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #5
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Day 6 (~184 mi-

With yet another bright and early wake up by the sun to 30 degrees, we were off and on the road (in 38 degree temps) by 9a or so. This involved some harder starts by the V-Strom, as it didn’t seem to appreciate the cold soak in the freezing temperatures.

A couple of shots from our campsite:

We ran up to the Maroon Bells (and saw some amazing scenery), but as you might expect, it was overrun with tourists and in the couple of mile stretch to the visitor’s center, we encountered several bonehead maneuvers in cars. With some mileage we wanted to cover today, we elected to leave and head on our way to Steamboat Springs.

The Chaos at the parking lot at the top:

No sooner then we hit the highway out of town, did we come across an overtly aggressive gent in a modded Porsche Cayenne Turbo. After edging me out in a roundabout, he proceeded to drive like a complete idiot down Hwy 82 to Basalt. We maintained our speed (due to much construction- tis the season in CO), and ended up passing him a few times, which always resulted in a high-speed fly-by. Somewhere around Carbondale, said ‘gent’ decided he wanted to race. If only I had the Go-Pro mounted…. Needless to say, he was remarkably pissed to learn a loaded GS can hang with his $100k+ SUV.

Some lunch and many laughs later, Kris and I hopped on I70 through Glenwood, then exited at Dotsero to take the CO River Road. They had recently done construction and the road was not quite clean, so the going was slow, until it finally petered out in dirt/gravel. Despite the slower going, the scenery was great, passing several fisherman in the water and the train (which at one point, runs essentially on the road next to a cliff). We eventually popped off this road, jumped on Hwy 131 to Hwy 134 (Gray Pass, IIRC), then to 40 to take Rabbit Ears pass (a road I’m familiar with) into Steamboat. Hwy 134 was relatively unknown to me, but after coming around a corner on Hwy 131 and being overwhelmed by the vastness of the view, then seeing all the gorgeous trees on 134, I was sold.

tenmile screwed with this post 09-25-2012 at 08:33 PM
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Day 7 (~60mi,

Layover day! After visiting with friends the night before, Kris & I elected to stick around Steamboat another day. We both had some work to catch up on, and were not feeling the pressures of being absolutely anywhere.

After a quick lunch, we stopped by a friend’s house, then jetted up the road to Steamboat Lakes.
A couple of shots (Yes, there's a lake behind us, I promise):

At this point, Kris had done some research and determined what he thought, is that the poor start/idle/run condition was due to out-of-sync throttle bodies.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Day 8 (~200mi,
Kris awoke bright and early to try and sync his throttle bodies. Being a Southern California boy, working in the cold is NOT in his blood- a joke I continue to get a lot of mileage out of. After a couple hours of tinkering, the throttle bodies were synced, but now we felt he had a loose linkage that was compounding the issue. So, the TB’s were synced while at throttle, so the idle would remain lopey but it would run on the highway just fine.

We pulled out of Steamboat around noon, and headed to Grand Mesa via Hayden, Craig, Meeker and Rifle. Despite going 10mph under the speed limit in Hayden, we still managed to catch the evil eye from a trio of local police officers whom had set up a speed trap through town.
Nothing too eventful on the way; the Meeker to Rifle route is Cop central, so we kept it to a dull roar. By this time, the sadness that the trip was ending was starting to sink in, so both of us were lost in melancholy thoughts. A quick stop in Rife to pick up some food for the night, before we ran up the twisty highway to Grand Mesa.

Pulling into the Campsite:

Embarking on a Short Hike:

Coming back (and running into some other Motorcyclists):

Water was so glassy, it’s nearly a perfect reflection of the Leaves. Ignore the RV ruining my photo:

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Old 09-25-2012, 09:08 PM   #8
tenmile OP
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Day 9 (~270mi,
After a great campfire, good dinner and slightly too much whiskey, we awoke bright and early to get packed up and headed out. While I had the short day back to Denver, Kris was headed to Bryce Canyon and wanted to get a jump on it before the temperature got too hot. We broke down camp and headed to the Grand Mesa lookout for some last photos together, before we parted ways.
These three make up a panorama:

Another Shot:

Bike shot!:

Us boys parting ways:

We then split ways at the Hwy 330 cut off and went out separate ways. Hwy 330 runs through Collbran, then turns into a county road, then a Forest Service road before spitting you out near Silt.
A couple of shots at the top:

I then hit the slab and ran the road up to Hwy 24, where I jumped on Shrine Pass for some last minute Dirt action! It’s a relatively graded road, but packed with tourists (it was Saturday), so I turned ‘Dirt Mode’ back on and cranked through with a grin a mile wide on my face. I’ve done this pass so many times that I didn’t think to stop and take too many photos, but here’s one from an old trip:

After dumping back onto I70 at Vail Pass, I ran up to Hwy 6 and took Loveland pass, where Porsche just happened to be testing two new 918’s, in full mock up. They of course were not keen for photos (and were keen for testing), so I was too happy to oblige following them as they tested the capabilities of the 918’s on the twisty Loveland Pass. Was an experience I’ll never forget. This photo was ‘borrowed’ from someone else whom happened to be on the road that day, and shot one of the cars while it was stopped.

Altogether too soon, I was home (1640 miles later!), and already plotting our next big adventure for 2013. Seems like life, work and home duties often get in the way of spending quality time with friends doing what you love, but after the memories of this trip, it’s sure to become an annual tradition.

Obligatory Bug photo (after two clean-offs for this trip!):

Signing off-
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:36 PM   #9
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Location: Durango, CO
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Great Ride!

Great CO ride. My friend and I did almost the same ride last year about this time. Except I live in Durango and that was the start/finish line for us. Lots of great beers, roads, and scenery! Leaving Friday morning for a dirt road exclusive over to Bluff UT, to Canyonlands, to Moab, across to Gateway, down Uncompagre Plateau, into Telluride, Ophir, Silverton, and Home. So pumped. Saw your post and had to comment on your excellent tour. You hit the best CO has to offer. Life is great!
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:13 AM   #10
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I grew up in Durango but have never been to the Festival in Telluride. I DID go there in the 60's for the 4th of July.....a slightly different period in the life of Telluride.

Oh, what happened to your photos? A shame they are not showing up, perhaps a problem with the host?

PS, while you were riding towards Durango from Silverton, you should have taken the Lime Creek Road. It is the original route of 550 from just north of Durango Mountain Resort (previously known as Purgatory) to the foot of Molas Pass. A great dual-sport road!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #11
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I was up there for Friday. Had a great campsite up on Last Dollar Road.

You can see the KTM between the aspens.

I've been in Durango since '09, but spent the first 16 years of my career working in Telluride. I do miss being up there daily.
I find your lack of faith in the force disturbing.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:35 PM   #12
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Nice ride tenmile!
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:45 PM   #13
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: 1000 miles to Colorado
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See that white suburban in the background of the HEALY and ALFA pictures?That was me ,I maintain a few of the
cars that do this event.It's actually the opposite of a concours in that we drive the cars for four days all over Colorado
(1200 miles) regardless of weather etc.At the end of the week we have an anti-concourse at LIONSHEAD village showing the cars as they came off the road.This has been going on for 24 yrs and is always the second week of September.You were correct about the value of some of the cars, one of the cars I take care of is in the 4to5 mil.
range and it is not the only 7 figure car on the event by a long way.
Doing the COLORADO GRAND has allowed me to ride Colorado in Sept for the last 20 yrs.and it's the high light
of my year.
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