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Old 02-16-2013, 05:22 PM   #46
byways
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Owl Creek Pass Road and Blue Mesa Cutoff Road can be linked with some pavement for a beautiful, easy and rewarding alternative way around the high passes, from Ouray/Ridgway/Lake City.

byways screwed with this post 02-16-2013 at 05:22 PM Reason: fix typo
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:28 PM   #47
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I agree that it all depends on your skill set. I just bought my Tiger 800 XC in November, but I won't hesitate to take it over Cinnamon, Engineer, etc. BUT, I've jeeped all of those passes multiple times and have 20 years worth of single track experience.

I have seen numerous bikes up there. Half of them are having a blast, the other half are nervous and ready to get off that mountain.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:35 PM   #48
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As others have said, consider a rental bike out there- the smaller the better in that terrain. Haven't been down there (yet) but took a 800GS over Mosquito Pass (East to West, Fairplay to Leadville), Weston Pass, and Breakneck Pass. Huge diff between a 1200GS vs 800GS. Huge diff between 800GS and a KLR/DR yada yada 650. Ditto 450. Ditto 250.


Nice thing about the 800GS was it was a rental. I find most all rental bikes are capable of doing absolutely amazing $#!t my personal bikes are often incapable of... Kinda like the old joke "What kind of car can go from 60mph to reverse without stopping?" Answer: a RENTAL!!!


As others have also said, so much depends on your abilities and comfort. For instance, I am a middle-aged, fairly responsible and ultimately quite experienced dirt rider and I never jeapordized the 800GS I rented. I would however, like to return on a smaller bike and do more dual sport riding in SW CO.


For the seasoned Colorado Inmates, how difficult is Engineers, Ophir, Black Bear, or Cinnamon Passes compared to Mosquito or Breakneck Passes (Weston could be done in a minvan)? The guy I rented the 800GS from in Boulder (Ron from http://www.wdsma.com/ Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures- a super nice guy I will rent from again) now has a DR650 that I will get out to rent. I would love to get to SW CO where I have only ridden through on the road.

From one frustrated midwesterner to another, enjoy Colorado, Stephen. Man they've got stunning riding out there!
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #49
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Snow in the passes/late season snow

Fellers:

Being no stranger to the Rockies, I can tell you that a late season snow at the elevations you're talking about could occur in June or July...

Just saying that there are other reports on Ophir where the pass had been recently plowed in late May and early June, and water crossings were troublesome.

Be prepared to change your plans when you arrive if the conditions aren't your cup of tea (at least thee are plenty of twisters and alternate gravel stretches down a little lower), ask for info from the locals before heading out, and remember that an "adventure" is what you're looking for!

Thankfully there are always the amenities of Silverton or Telluride and the hot springs of Ouray to ease the pains associated with adventures that are just a little too adventurous!

Have fun, me and some friends will be up there taking the circle tour in Late July early August.

John


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Hello,

This would be taking place on about May 20/21 and I have heard mixed reports as to whether those passes will be clear by those dates.

Any advice on attempting either Ophir or Cinnamon during that time would be greatly appreciated. Of course we realize that a late season snow could drastically alter our plans and we can always audible to take some alternate scenic pavement but would prefer a more adventurous path.

Also its important to note, our group rides "big traillies" (1200gs's and 650 KLR's) but we are pretty gritty and experienced.

Thanks very much for any input.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:29 AM   #50
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It can be done on a big bike, or any bike for that matter. One of our Tulsa inmates took a Versys with stock 17" wheels over Hancock Pass. Did he have fun? I don't think so.

Here are a couple of pix from our Colorado trips. Just think what would you do in those situations on a pig-of-a-GS.





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Old 02-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #51
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On edt: I was 47 years old and native of Illinois. Been riding bikes since I was 6 or 7. First time in the mountains on a motorcycle. Engineer Pass is not equivalent to anything in the Midwest! Dirt/gravel roads nor frozen, plowed corn fields don't hold a candle to these Jeep Trials!

I did all these passes on a brand new 2009 KLR 650 and didn't drop it once. However...Engineer Pass was not fun from Route 550 up the first several miles. Big rocks and steep. My first gear (stock) is too tall for this trail and I had to slip the clutch a lot to make the switchbacks. Compound that we had 3 bikes and I led so when one went down...I'd have to find someplace level enough to stop the bike and run back down. I'm in good physical shape but being from Illinois...this first few miles about did me in running up and down the trail picking up bikes. Parking a bike here is crazy. Putting your feet down and holding the front brake...the bike would start slidding backwards down the hill with the front wheel locked. You'd have to kill it in gear then try to get it started and moving while rolling backwards! I was there more for the scenery and have no idea what the area around Engineer looks like except the 100 feet or so in front of the bike.

I rented a Jeep this past summer to take the family up to this area and we skipped the bottom of Engineer. Keep going south out of Ouray on 550 past the Engineer Pass turn off on the left. The area flattens out and there is a park just a few miles up on the left past the Road Maintenance building. Use Hurricane/California Pass trails to get to Animas Forks. You can still get up to Engineer Pass. I did this one too on the KLR... still gets you to the top and able to do the Alpine loop without backtracking but misses the worst part of Engineer.

I'd recommend staying in Ouray. Do the Alpine Loop one day and Ophir/Last Door the next. Run 550 from Ouray down to Durango and back as many times as you can fit in. This road (Million Dollar Highway) makes Deals Gap Dragon a drive to the mall! There is no better road period!

Take your time, drink lots of water, enjoy!

Sidney



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Old 02-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomski74 View Post
It can be done on a big bike, or any bike for that matter. One of our Tulsa inmates took a Versys with stock 17" wheels over Hancock Pass. Did he have fun? I don't think so.

Here are a couple of pix from our Colorado trips. Just think what would you do in those situations on a pig-of-a-GS.




Love this pic, which pass is this?
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:36 PM   #53
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Me two! I think.


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Old 02-20-2013, 01:49 PM   #54
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engineer's pass

I had always thought of engineer as one of the easy passes until I rode it last August, I rode from the Lake City side on my well sorted DR650 and didn't have any problems but damm its not as easy as I remembered.
I think the ATV's and side by sides have just beat the shit out of the trails, they blow out all of the gravel that used to "smooth" out some of the sharp edge rocks.
I would not ride a GS on that pass, no way also one of my memories of big bikes on Engineer is a Cagiva Elephant with a broken oil pan/crankcase on the uphill side from Lake City this was about 6 years ago big bikes do have some issues on these passes
but if one must ride a big bike I would start on the Ouray side as I think the down hills are a bit easier going down to Lake City
ARR
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #55
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Love this pic, which pass is this?
That is not a pass. It is a spot on the trail West of 550 headed to Black Bear pass. The third pic in Tomski's post is Black Bear. That is me sitting with my Husky.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:36 PM   #56
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From Lake City to the top of Engineer pass is easy. I saw a ford minivan go to the top this way. The other side , to hwy 550, is tougher. I wouldn't recommend that you do that side.

Lake City to the top of cinnamon pass is fairly easy. A buddy of mine did it on his RT. But there is a long steep loose rocky downhill that goes into the ghost town of animas fork. Silverton to Animas fork is fairly easy. A few swithcbacks and a little bit of rocks here and there.

Ophir pass is mostly easy. Rocky at the top and going toward Telluride for a little ways. Go slow and pick your way through.

Imogene pass from ouray is moderate. The pic above is going up to Imogene. Imogene pass from Telluride has narrow steep swithcbacks with straight down drop offs.

My definitely DON"T DO list for an inexperienced dirt rider is --
Black Bear pass and Poughkeepsi gulch. Jeep rental places tell you to stay off these.
Corkscrew gulch is steep and narrow and slick with drop offs. California Gulch is rocky towards the top. And when you get to the top you either go back, or go down poughkeepsi or corkscrew.

An easy scenic ride is Last Dollar road. It goes north by the airport in Telluride. Scenes from True Grit were filmed there. When you hit the HWY turn right to ridegway. Just a little ways north is Owl Creek pass. Another easy scenic ride. More of True Grit was filmed through here.

Almost anyplace that you walk into in that area will have good maps for sale. Trails Illustrated are some of the most detailed maps.

The scenery in this area is incredible. Have fun and take lots of pictures.
Rufus pretty much nails it! Great advice!
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:29 AM   #57
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That is not a pass. It is a spot on the trail West of 550 headed to Black Bear pass. The third pic in Tomski's post is Black Bear. That is me sitting with my Husky.
Thats just below the top of BB on the 550 side....its a little spur/shortcut.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:54 AM   #58
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Here's a link to a thread I did about my trip to Ouray on my GS: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=732968
Lots of pics and unedited video (sorry about that). Good luck.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:13 AM   #59
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Thanks for posting that J-Dub. The more information the better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Dub View Post
Here's a link to a thread I did about my trip to Ouray on my GS: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=732968
Lots of pics and unedited video (sorry about that). Good luck.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:03 AM   #60
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Thanks for posting that J-Dub. The more information the better.
No problem.
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