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2015 Colorado Adventure - TShelfer & Kickstand-Prophet Ride West

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Tim
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Shelfer
KP’s & TShelfer’s Rocky Mountain Ride -2015

For over a year, Kickstand-Prophet (Drew) and I have wanted to do a Rocky Mountain ride together. That finally happened last week. We’re a good match. Drew’s a better rider than I am. he helped me learn some important techniques – like how to walk a loaded bike without dropping it. I’m a more experienced camper than he is. I taught him some important things – like not to bring a wall-plug phone charger to a national forest campground.

Our trip started Saturday, June 20. Actually Friday, because Drew rode up from Lampasas and slept on the couch. We loaded the bikes – three hour ordeal. I was driving my VStrom up the trailer when the hitch popped off the ball and I was suddenly looking at the sky! After adjusting the hitch, after borrowing better tie-down straps, after BUYING better straps to replace the borrowed ones, we finally got the job done. Trailers and ramps scare me. My hat’s off to those who negotiate them regularly. But we’re loaded. Game on.
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Saturday:

Nice, easy 10-hour drive from Arlington to Raton, where we camped at the Summerlan RV park. Very friendly place. Tent camping was $15 a night – very reasonable. After the bikes were unloaded, we parked the Jeep/trailer for the week in their storage area for only $1 per night.
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Dinner was at my favorite Raton spot, the El Matador Café. I had my usual – Green Chili Burger. Drew ate something bland. Rosa the waitress had been there for 30 years, so we had a little mini-reunion.

Sunday:

Today, we finally cut loose on the bikes. We rode I-25 into Colorado. At Trinidad, we turned west on Hwy 10, one of the lesser known roads, which crosses Cucharas Pass.
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We met some cyclists participating in an event called Ride across America.
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After paying homage to their physical superiority, we moved on. We picked up Hwy 160 at La Veta and followed the tourist route through Alamosa, over Wolf Creek Pass,
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And into Durango. By mid afternoon, we were camped at Haviland Lake National Forest campground. $20 a night, but my “old guy” senior pass cut the price in half.
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I had forgotten to remove the tiedown straps from my handlebars. All the way to Durango, they flapped at me like a beagle’s ears.
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Monday:

We rode the 240 mile loop that is north up 550 to Ridgway, south on 62 and 145 to Telluride, then south through Mancos and back to Durango. Going north, we stopped for a few pictures around Molas Pass.
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I caught this candid shot of Drew on his GS.
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Then on to Silverton for some tshirt hunting.
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Stopped for pictures around Red Mountain Pass.
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Then north through Ouray.
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Highway 62 is a fantastic rider’s road. Sorry I didn’t stop to snap pictures; we were having way too much fun. Then south on 145 into Telluride, hopefully for lunch. Big mistake – the town was a preppy ****hole, busier than Manhattan, and crawling with overtanned hipsters. We took the obligatory waterfall picture and got back out.
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Southbound again, we stopped to enjoy this sight along 145.
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Stopped for lunch at the River Front Café in Delores.
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And back to Haviland Lake for the evening.


Tuesday:

The day started way too early – about 12:01am for me – when I work up sick. I won’t burden you with details, but Drew was nice enough to run into town and pick up some meds for me. :puke:
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My plumbing fixed, we moved on to our next camp. We headed north up 550 again. Toward Silverton, we had to clear the slowest moving pack of cruisers I’ve ever seen – like 900-lb obstacle cones on the road. After that, we made great time until Ridgway, where we ran into one of Colorado’s ubiquitous construction sites.
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Thirty minutes later, we were on our way and doing well until I got stopped by one of Colorado’s Finest. Who knew it was illegal to speed while passing? I guess he didn’t like my
Texas plate. Drew didn’t photograph the goings-on, so here’s documentation of my shameful encounter.
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$162 later, we were northbound again to Delta, where our bikes registered a whopping 100 degrees. We picked up Hwy 92, which runs along the northern edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It was a challenging and slow, but rewarding ride. Great twisties, great scenery.
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Late that afternoon, we were through Gunnison & camped just south of Almont for the next two nights. Nice campground along a roaring river, marred only by the mosquitoes.


Wednesday:

Perfect weather to explore the area. First, north to Crested Butte.
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We explored CB – charming as ever there.
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Drew found a place to chill for a few minutes.
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Strict parking regulations, though. Just after I snapped this pic, this magpie was towed away.
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After a lunch of ice cream and, er, ice cream, we decided to get dirty. We headed toward Kebler Pass.
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We rode over Ohio Creek Pass and enjoyed riding through the aspens.
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We explored north of CB, toward Schofield Pass. The vistas there are breathtaking.
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Time for a couple of vanity photos.
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We also encountered Bicycle Week, a CB annual event. We were thankful not to be in THIS campground (disclosure: I stole this photo off a website).
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Dinner that night was at the Old Miner Steakhouse in Gunnison; not cheap, but excellent. The owner is an avid hunter, and decorated the restaurant with his own trophies. Tongue in cheek, the waitress assured me the owner had bagged this Rocky Mountain Zebra around Crested Butte.
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Thursday:

Moving Day again, and a long day. We were headed southeast toward Coyote Creek, NM. But first we went west, then south down 149, my very favorite Colorado highway. First it runs south along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.
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Then up and over Slumgullion Pass and Spring Creek Pass.
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Then south along the Rio Grande through a valley that never ceases to take my breath away.
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Along the way, we stopped to visit North Clear Creek Falls,
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And enjoy the Lupines.
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I’m not used to the big, wide panniers on the new Wee. So it was in this parking lot that I accidentally grazed the bumper of a parked pickup, and dumped the bike. Drew wasn’t quick enough to photograph the moment. But here’s the scratch on my engine guard as proof. Oopsie. :oops:
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From South Fork we ran east on 160, then south through Questa NM and Red River. The rain caught us in Bobcat Pass. It cleared up briefly. While gassing up in Eagle Nest, we saw this and realized we were in for it.
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We got drenched the rest of the way – through Angel Fire and south to Coyote Creek State Park. Great roads, but not much fun when we were drowning. Naturally, the sun came out just as we reached the park. Coyote Creek is a pretty little park in a beautiful area, but the campground is disappointing – basically, just a gravel parking lot. I won’t be staying there again.
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At this point, I learned my wife that my mother (I’m normally her caregiver) had suffered another stroke. We decided to cut the trip short by a couple of days so I could get home.


Friday:

We got up with the chickens and rode the 90 miles back to Raton. East from Eagle Nest, the road runs through Cimarron Canyon. Sorry I didn’t have time to snap pix. Just know that this road is an absolute joy on a bike. But alas, we couldn’t linger.

Back in Raton, we loaded the bikes back into the trailer and ran for home.
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560 miles later, we were back in Arlington. Drew once again spent the night on my couch before heading home for Lampasas the next morning.



Even though we had to shorten the trip, we both had a great time, and look forward to future trips together, and with other configurations of TWTers. Our two bikes – my DL650A and Drew’s F700GS – were a great match-up. Both ran effortlessly up long passes, ate up the curves with moxie, and handled the dirt sections well enough.

In 8 days, we rode a total of 1379 miles. Gas mileage for my Wee was impressive: low tank average of 55mpg, high of 67mpg, and a trip average of about 62mpg.

Back home, I was tired and worn out, and telling myself I’m too old to do this kind of stuff. And I’m wondering – where do I go next year? Maybe Arizona……..

PS - Drew was the official food photographer. I'm expecting some pix from him so that we can document our culinary adventures. Sorry to say there are no pictures of the campstove-cooked tuna mac that left me in a delicate way on Tuesday morning.
 
Last edited:
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Great report. Fantastic photos. I'm making notes on the roads and campgrounds you chose. Glad you got to eat at the old miner in Gunnison. I was there for work over the last Memorial Day weekend, and they were closed. I'd like to have tried it. I ended up across the street instead. It's good too for future reference.

Sorry you had to cut the trip short, but it looks as if you got plenty of great riding in anyway.
 
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Great photos & memory scratch on your crashbars.
Sorry to hear about your Mother, prayers your way.
Sounds like an eventful, short, picturesque trip.:clap:
 
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Great report. Fantastic photos. I'm making notes on the roads and campgrounds you chose. Glad you got to eat at the old miner in Gunnison. I was there for work over the last Memorial Day weekend, and they were closed. I'd like to have tried it. I ended up across the street instead. It's good too for future reference.

Sorry you had to cut the trip short, but it looks as if you got plenty of great riding in anyway.
Hi, Sean. I chose Haviland Lake, just outside of Durango. An equally good campground is Junction Creek, which is actually closer to town. At Almont, I chose the Almont NF campground, 2 miles south of Almont. There are numerous other NF campgrounds along 742, NE of Almont.

For a comprehensive online listing of NF campgrounds, check this website:
http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm
 
M

mr-roboto

Tim,

As always, it is a delight seeing your lovely pictures and reading the ride report. I really like the way you composed the pictures. The waterfall looks amazing!

...seeing KP stretched on a bench with a wool cap on the picture you posted, I thought it was a local Colorado dude for a second.

:mrgreen:

Good stuff!

RB
 

jfink

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Tim; it looks like we just missed each other on our rides. Looks like some very enjoyable day rides. May be next year we can coordinate a ride together.
 
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I saw your reports, Joe. Looks like you're much more dirt oriented than I am. It would be fun to get together, though.
 
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Hi, Sean. I chose Haviland Lake, just outside of Durango. An equally good campground is Junction Creek, which is actually closer to town. At Almont, I chose the Almont NF campground, 2 miles south of Almont. There are numerous other NF campgrounds along 742, NE of Almont.



For a comprehensive online listing of NF campgrounds, check this website:

http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm

Thanks for the info Tim.

I'm looking forward to next year's Arizona report.
 
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:clap: the weather looked amazing 'cept for that one drencher. and i love all the full disclosure. i look forward to making it up there to ride....
thanks for sharing. :sun:
 
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The weather was mostly good, Duchess. The first couple of days were blazing hot - highs of 95 in Durango and 100 in Delta. Gunnison / Crested Butte was very pleasant. We did get the occasional afternoon shower, but that's to be expected, and those weren't enough to wet the ground.

On the way home, we actually lucked out. We got soaked on the 25th, then rode back to Raton on the 26th under clear skies. Somebody told me that there were very heavy rains on the 27th, resulting in a boy drowning at Philmont Scout Ranch - Cimmarron Canyon is the gateway to Philmont, so I'm glad we weren't caught there.

I've always been very fortunate in my travels, and have rarely had to ride in bad weather.
 
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There was also a mud/rock slide on 64, between Cimarron and Eagle Pass, I believe. Nice pics.
 
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There was also a mud/rock slide on 64, between Cimarron and Eagle Pass, I believe. Nice pics.
:eek2: Glad I missed THAT fun, Danny. By the way, the construction back at Ridgway appeared to be a rockslide they were clearing and reinforcing for, but I don't know what caused it.
 

SpiritAtBay

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What a wonderful trip and report. Great pix.
Tim, hope your mom is doing well. Glad you got a break, even if it was shortened a bit.
Drew, we are waiting to hear from you!
 

WoodButcher

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Funny how paths cross, but with a slight miss. I was in Ouray last week when you came through. On Monday I spent lots of time on the main street with a camera and probably saw you come through. On Tuesday, I got caught in the same construction north of Ridgeway, but I was going the other direction. I had run up to the Montrose airport to pick up my kids. Going north I got lucky and went right through. South, I sat for 30 minutes.

And not being able to speed while passing is silly. If you can't speed, you don't have time/space to get past a car unless they are significantly under the limit. In Wyoming a few years back I was told that they had just passed a law allowing you to exceed the limit by 5mph to pass. Before that you weren't allowed. 5 mph isn't much though. :roll:
 
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To be honest, Rusty, I was 12 over. But still, I think most Texas DPSers will give you that in a heartbeat, on the theory that the less time you spend across the yellow line, the better. But, life happens. I haven't had a speeding ticket in 25 years, and probably won't for another 25 or so. Sorry we didn't bump into each other.
 

Tourmeister

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Nice.

I've ridden almost all of those same roads and love them. Some of your photos look just like mine, especially the waterfall ;-)

I rode 550 between Ridgway and Durango at the end of April of this year. The mountains were covered in snow. There was snow, ice and sand on the road. The difference between what it looked like when I went through and your pics is amazing! Seeing them makes me REALLY want to go back.
 
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Snow, ice, and sand on the road? Gee Scott, you make it sound so enticing. :eek2: I guess I'll always be a fairweather rider; it's challenging enough for me to stay upright on dry asphalt.
 

Tourmeister

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Snow, ice, and sand on the road? Gee Scott, you make it sound so enticing. :eek2: I guess I'll always be a fairweather rider; it's challenging enough for me to stay upright on dry asphalt.
:lol2:

There were a few places where the road was in the shade of the mountain and ice/slush was piled up between the tire tracks. It made for an interesting moment or two dropping down into Telluride from Lizard Head Pass...

Molas Pass on 550 was covered in snow (except for the road of course).

I think the lowest temp we saw that day was around 28 F. High temps for the trip were probably in the low 90s closer to Moab.
 
M

mr-roboto

Somebody told me that there were very heavy rains on the 27th, resulting in a boy drowning at Philmont Scout Ranch - Cimmarron Canyon is the gateway to Philmont, so I'm glad we weren't caught there.
That road (Highway 64) claims quite a bit of lives due to the top portion of the mountain which lacks trees and is very open or exposed during storms....including this motorcycle dude from near Houston.

RB
 
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To be honest, Rusty, I was 12 over. But still, I think most Texas DPSers will give you that in a heartbeat, on the theory that the less time you spend across the yellow line, the better. But, life happens. I haven't had a speeding ticket in 25 years, and probably won't for another 25 or so. Sorry we didn't bump into each other.
Texas lawmen are probably the nicest fellows in the country. :mrgreen:
 
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KP’s & TShelfer’s Rocky Mountain Ride -2015

Saturday:

Nice, easy 10-hour drive from Arlington to Raton, where we camped at the Summerlan RV park. Very friendly place. Tent camping was $15 a night – very reasonable. After the bikes were unloaded, we parked the Jeep/trailer for the week in their storage area for only $1 per night.
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That camp site looks familiar - Great ride report - Thanks for sharing!

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Beautiful pix and a great report. Looks like way more snow than usual this year.

We came over the CDT from Lake City heading to the falls last summer and got just to the far side of this picture. Found a fence at the back of a little sub division and a gate saying end of the line. We had to hit the gravel from there to the falls. :doh:

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Yeeha! Stephen

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"Nice, easy 10-hour drive from Arlington to Raton, where we camped at the Summerlan RV park. Very friendly place. Tent camping was $15 a night – very reasonable. After the bikes were unloaded, we parked the Jeep/trailer for the week in their storage area for only $1 per night."

Did you set the parking up in advance or just show up?
I'm going to be up there for about 3 weeks and parking at the Raton Police Dept is $5 per day.

$20 vs $100 is beer money! :trust:
 
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I called in advance just to be sure, but didn't have to make reservations. They have a "back 40" area in which they could easily park a couple of dozen rigs. Only thing is, if you're coming in after 8pm, it's good to let them know in advance, as that's when the office normally closes for the evening.
 
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Well here are a few pictures as promised. Most failed the download so we will have to try again.

Our first camp site in Raton.
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Brother Tim at his favorite dinner in Raton.
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No ride report is complete without food pics!
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Nothing spicy for me please.
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Our waitress who has worked there a majority of her life.
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I believe this was right outside of Trinidad.
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Random flower pictures. Some places had so many blooms that the air was fresh with scent all the time.
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Move along no snow melting here.
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We were surrounded by trees most of out journey. So different than most of Texas.
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Same area stopping for Tim to snap a few pics.
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Will post more when the rest download correctly.
 
Last edited:
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Great pix, Drew. And they add an excellent different perspective to the trip. Keep 'em coming.

My food picture is the 'green chili burger' I've been buying at the El Matador for the past 25 years or so. They look awful, but I'm addicted to them.
 
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Some more beautiful scenery.
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Some pictures of our second camp ground in Durango.

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Driving the last peg.

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Someone who kept us company

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Some more snow capped peaks.
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Look mom no guard rails.

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Something you won't see in Texas in June.
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Quick snap of Silverton.

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Downtown Silverton.

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Beemer posing.

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One of many waterfalls we saw.

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Getting ready to dive over the edge pic.

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The waterfall in the same area off the million dollar highway. One of many scenic pull offs.

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Ouray. Just passing thru.

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What motorcyclist dream of. You will see plenty of these signs if you take the same route.

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Waterfall number 3.



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Heres one I really like.

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Stop for late lunch in Delores.

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View from their patio.

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My selection. Better than what I thought. They called in country fried steak. Did not try the gravy it looked like runny dog food.

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For you foodies. The sign. A lot of these small town the dinners were all closed down.

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Did not turn out well,but this is for speed demon Tim.

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The Black canyon of the Gunnison. The back side that tourist sometimes miss. A must road to travel two or four wheels.

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Our third camp ground near Almont.

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The Gunnison river just 15-20 feet from our secluded camp site.

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Dinner in the big city.

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Their award winning burger.

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A few Crested Butte pictures.

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More Friday night Stay tuned.
 
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Thanks for posting this thread. I will be there this July and hope I can see how beautiful this area is.
 
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Ya'll sure make me miss my travels though out these areas. Enjoying the pics and narrations. Thanks for the work to share with us and revived my memory banks. ;-)
 

cdc

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Diaz
Enjoyed your report, great pictures.
 
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Nov 25, 2012
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Lampasas
First Name
Drew
Last Name
Wright
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
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16,896
Location
Lampasas
First Name
Drew
Last Name
Wright
Awesome! Really wish o could have gone with you guys. Thank you so much for sharing!
We could have used another rider to help swat mosquitoes they were on the attack most nights.:eek2: You missed some incredible road ways. Views for most of the ride were as scenic as it gets. Hard to concentrate on riding with all the beautiful picture perfect acres that seemed to surround us where ever we turned.:sun:
 
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Nov 25, 2012
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Lampasas
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Drew
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Wright
Drew, this was along Hwy 149, maybe 10 miles north of Lake City. The river there is the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.
That little waterfall picture was taken at the same area. There are so many of them where we were I lost count. The dirt back road to Gunnison had one but not really a good spot to pull over to take the picture.:doh: Maybe next time.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
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3,938
Location
Coryell city
I was just thinking my friends John and Gail were there in their motorhome and Jeep...You got their picture....small world,,,they had left their bikes behind this time.
DSC_0565_zpsno5w5ml1.jpg
 

jfink

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May 29, 2007
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Conroe, Tx
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Joe
That little waterfall picture was taken at the same area. There are so many of them where we were I lost count. The dirt back road to Gunnison had one but not really a good spot to pull over to take the picture.:doh: Maybe next time.
The big waterfall is called the North Clear Creek falls. It's on 149 between Creede and Lake City. They claim it is the most photographed falls in Colorado. In fact I think I see the guy with the clicker right there on the left in one of your pictures! :-)
 
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