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Colorado Adventure V. 2.0

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The Wilson Mesa trail. Near Telluride. Reportedly a scenic and milder single track with little elevation change from end to end. One way is about 12 miles. I started from the Telluride (east) end.

It can be ridden to the end (an intersection onto a nice gravel road - west end) which can be messed with for most of the long ride back to Telluride - OR, you can turn around there and ride it backwards. Anybody want to guess which way I went?

The road going up the valley to Ophir is where we start. A right turn not far down that road takes us up high.

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It gradually decays into a jeep trail that eventually leads to the WM trail
head.

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First impression is not so favorable but then the WM trail splits off from the path and gets interesting pretty quick.

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This is not a really technical trail - by Colorado standards. It would make a fine trail for just getting into single track. There are indeed some up-hill gnarly rock climbs, gnarly roots and gnarly rocks and roots climbs and descents. There are several tight right-hand downhill switchbacks that'll have you tippytoe a bit. There are stream crossings but very easy and brief. I don't want to make it sound like a cruise down to Starbucks. This is not a KLR trail.

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On the way back my legs got a little tired. I cleaned this thing going down and then promptly dumped it going back up on the return trip.

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Vinny

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Pretty:rider:
Your lungs must be getting used to the altitude by now. Too hot here, keep enjoying the mountains .
 

Tourmeister

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Looks like the smoke has cleared out a bit compared to when we were there. I really like that last shot of the bike!
 
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Smoke comes and goes. Yesterday morning was clear (when the pix were taken) and by sunset I was riding the gondola into the west while watching the sun sink into a solid smoke layer on the horizon. Just depends on the wind.

Radio says we have some close fires going within 50 miles of Telluride. It's getting seriously dry up here. I watched three folks get baptized in the San Miguel river this morning and the preacher had to hunt around for a spot deep enough to avoid banging their heads on the river bottom. More like the San Miguel creek at the moment.

We may have turned the corner on crowds today... hoping.

Next up is riding the Adobe's at Peach Creek just north of Montrose. There are some really cool vids out there in videoland. More later... :sun:
 

Tourmeister

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The run up Divide Road (FS 402) West of Montrose was a really nice big bike road! Not technical at all, but very scenic and relaxing... except for the nutter with the big RV hogging the whole road and making me think I was going to fall and be run over by the logging truck riding his back bumper! Other than that though...
 

woodsguy

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RG, I'm sure your pictures don't show all the challenges but that trail looks like something I might enjoy! Thanks for sharing.
 
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Nice. We just got back from our Colorado family vacation. We spent the night Friday in Telluride and it was our first visit there. We enjoyed it and I was standing on the street basking in the cool temperatures while looking at the trees and mountains wondering how the dirt bike riding was there. I didn't expect to come home to find such a fantastic answer to my question here so quickly. Thanks for the pictures and report.
 
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Thanks for sharing. Great area. If I remember correctly much of that moto-single-track directly west of Telluride is only open June 1st through Sep 1st. Is that still the case?
 
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Thanks for sharing. Great area. If I remember correctly much of that moto-single-track directly west of Telluride is only open June 1st through Sep 1st. Is that still the case?
Quite so. The closer to town, the more such signs appear. Further down 145 life is way better for the single track crew.
 
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Ran up the hill to Alta - the old ghost town and to Alta lakes. On the 1190 early but it seems to be a really popular dispersed camping area. Pretty high up and the road is not RV friendly (least not with me at the wheel). Great tent camping area - cept for the cold.

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Tourmeister

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...and we'll post it here and send you some CO ADV stickers. Examples of past ones I've done at the link.
I did that loop back in 2005 on my 1150 GS. We came down into Sawpit from Last Dollar Highway, did the loop counter clockwise and came back out just North of Rico. Then we dropped South to Scotch Creek Road and ran that up over to Hermosa Creek Road. From there it was back up 550 to Montrose, where we were staying at the time. The NW corner of the loop is where the infamous picture of my GS resting upside down on its Jesse bags was taken...

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Scotch Creek was rough and did not appear to be much used at the time. It was quite challenging, but I was a real noob at the time on a giant heavy bike, so my perspective on that might be different if I rode it now ;-)

Near the bottom on the Rico side
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Worth the effort to get to the top!
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I wanted to hit that loop on our trip out there a few weeks ago but we just ran out of time and energy. It is really nice and nowhere near as crowded as the stuff closer to Imogene, Black Bear, and Ophir.
 
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OK, a week in Telluride is quite enough for me. Left early and made it to Montrose little before lunch. After pulling the RV from Silverton to Ouray (550) last week, this trip seemed effortless. Stopped to resupply, take on water and headed on out to Peach Valley. Found it right where it was supposed to be.

Not anther soul in sight... very quiet.

Getting acquainted with the Adobe Badlands -

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DIRT, DIRT and ,yes, more DIRT. The traction is way better than it looks like it should be. Going up the steepest hill is fine except for a whole line of smallish woops near the top that do all kinds of fun stuff with the rear. Stay on the gas, dude! :dude:

Coming down the steepies is just dragging the rear and grabbing some front every chance you can get away with it. :eek2:

Home -

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kubotamiketx

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RG, you are killing me with all of these fabulous posts of yours. That is so differnt from just a little bit south, amazing country.

Thanks again for showing all of us some killer rides, that single track kicked my butt. At least I only fell once and it was within 50 feet of the trail head, so I say it doesn't really count.

Turns out I was fighting a virus the whole time I was in Ouray, luckily I didn't kiss any of you all, so nobody else should have caught it. I am sure I would have been much faster if I was feeling 100%

Thanks again RG. Somewhere I have some pictures and even a little GoPro video I will post up too. I think since my GoPro was pointed forward, it may have caught some glimpses of you in front of me :)
 
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Awesome pics, thank you for sharing.
Scott: I don't believe I have ever seen a GS completely inverted before, that's amazing! lol
 
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Still playing on the Adobes near Olathe, Colorado. Crazy as it seems, I can look south and see Mt. Sneffles so clear it seems within 22 range. Considering beautiful Ouray is just on the other side of it - and here I am in the desolate moonscape badlands. Like Michael said, amazing what a difference just a few miles makes.

Lot of local folks come to play here. This place is nothing more than one giant dirtbike playground. It's the wild west of riding. Anything goes. Want to climb that hill? Do it! Local folks are exceedingly friendly to visiting motorcyclists. Turns out there is forest single track out the wazoo just outside of Montrose - ride all the way to Delta if you're so inclined.

Another revelation is the Adobes ain't all dirt... Eagle Valley trail.

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See the line here? It's subtle but most surely there.

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Local friend Steve on his new Yamaha 250 (in third gear). He throws that thing around like it's a 20" stingray. Amazing how much HP they're getting out of these engines nowadays.

http://youtu.be/u9uoyrAFTA8

I was feeling pretty cocky about doing this until Steve showed up a made it look like the bunny slope.

http://youtu.be/jIzJ8iNS1cQ

Not a place to get off the track...bad juju.

http://youtu.be/8UhaVK3zWcg
 

texaspatrick

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Holy Moly! I'm bookmarking this for my next trip out to CO. Wish I would have known about this a month ago when we were out there!
 
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Just a few more happy snaps from the Peach Valley adventure. Steve lives nearby in Delta and he knows this whole country.

He suggested we go ride the Monster Ditch - while looking sideways at me as if appraising my sanity. I say - OK...sure...sounds fun (what the heck is the Monster Ditch?).

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Here's a video. That's it. Yep, surfing up the sides of berms 10-20-30 feet tall. It's hard to get a sense of scale through a camera. It was a hoot and totally unlike anything I'd ever done before on a dang motorcycle. Just keep up the speed, have faith and let physics do the rest.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM5AcNmf54w"]Monster Ditch - YouTube[/ame]

Then we dashed up onto the highest hill out there - they call it Bertha. Coming down Bertha's Crotch was a test of sanity. (I flunked)

Steve offering encouragement for the shakey dude behind him (me).

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Just some over views from top of Bertha...

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You can see part of Monster Ditch in this shot.

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I'll kick in some more stuff on the Adobe Badlands later on. Time to move on to Lake City, Colorado. :sun:
 

Tourmeister

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Okay... that was just too cool!! Now you are making me want to do another trip out there SOON! :lol2:
 
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Lake City, Colorado

So, back to riding motorcycles!

Saturday started out with bright clear skies and warming nicely soon as the sun peeked over the eastern ridge. A day made for exploring.

Night before, I put together a GPS file with three nearby trails - easy, tougher and single track. My hope was to cruise into LC early and scare up a crew of off-roaders who were ready for adventure. Well, seems all the riders were still snuggled in their motel beds dreaming of Linda Lovelace and premix.

So, what's a fellow to do? Ride the bloomin motorcycle, that's what. The easy track was passed onto me several years ago by a fellow TWT rider. He called it the Jarosa Mesa trail so that's what it is. As you leave LC toward Creede on 149, the first really big tight curve – maybe three miles up the mountain – has a small dirt jeep trail to the right that mysteriously disappears quickly into the trees. I've looked at this thing numerous times over the years and heard it calling me near. That's where our trail begins.

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If you're familiar with running up Corkscrew pass out of Ironton near Ouray, this thing starts out pretty similar.

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It has way fewer rocks, only a dozen or so switchbacks and really nice dirt until you approach the summit where things get pretty loose and chunky. Ninety percent of this trail is big bike friendly (with a fully capable rider) but that other 10% would be a struggle and quite likely to end with scattered plastic.

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It is scenic. Old growth Aspen forest, winding dirt climbing up the mountain, each curve with berms to plant the front into, water bars to help catch a little air off of... it's a nice ride. High altitude – well past 12K and you feel the effects on your engine losing a tad of kick as air grows thin. Picking lines and soothing the smooth groove gets a little physical. Running this trail before acclimating to elevation would be humbling. It gets high and stays high.Took about two weeks for my lungs to get fully rejetted here.

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It's clear why this is called a mesa. Levels off on top for quite a ways. The view from the peak of mountain 71 is 360 and reminds me of Flag Mountain at Taylor Park. Good clear air day with Uncompahgre and Matterhorn peaks in plain view.

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Looking down on LC and up the entire valley toward Cinnamon pass.

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The opposite direction, Bristlecone is front and center with the village of Creede just on the other side.

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Amazing how close all these places really are when you can go over the mountains instead of all the way around them.

Beetle damage is nearly 100% up here.

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Some trees survive and new ones are growing among the graying stands of devastation. Trail hikers pitch their tents well away from these dead trees. They are often awakened during the night by the sounds and ground shudder of trees falling nearby. They take it seriously.

The entire valley has really good cell service now. Here's why. Right on top of mountain 71.

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Riding toward the end of this trail involves very little descent but there are still some rugged areas to pass through.

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The trail kicked me out at another location I've seen many times in passing... a little parking area at the top of Spring Creek pass on 149.

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Just down the hill is South Clear Creek Falls. I started out for the falls but rain was getting pretty cold so I turned around and headed back to the pass. I huddled under the roof of a small park sign with three trail hikers and their two dogs who were making their way along the Colorado Trail.

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Two guys and a gal waiting for a shuttle into LC. Think I did a good job of ambassadorship for our ilk. We parted friends and I later saw them again in town.

The choice here was once again – either turn around and ride the trail back the way I came or slab it all the way back to LC on a wet 149. You all already know which way I chose. This trail with all it's rocky stretches and lovely dirt takes on an entirely different personality when freshly wet... which it was. Not really bad, though. A little slip here and there but overall a fun trip at a spirited pace while hoping to make LC before the skies opened up for real.

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It was seriously pouring in every direction except a small narrow path ahead of me leading straight into LC. Thunder and lightning were happening a lot and I really didn't want to get zapped up on top of this mountain. This high mesa goes on for miles and I felt like I was in Nature's own shooting gallery.

I made it into town and slid under a shed behind the Packer Saloon just as the sky opened up.

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This wasn't going to be one of those afternoon mountain showers that lasts just long enough to get stuff wet. I finished lunch and waited for it to lighten up. Made the nine mile dash to camp. It rained the rest of the day and well into the night. A gentle rain on the RV roof ain't such a bad thing about bed time. :yawn:

Next up: Sargents and the Tomichi Creek playground
 
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Sargents, Colorado (Tomichi Creek)

Mentioning Tomichi Creek around the campfire is like saying Taylor Park Reservoir.- in either case you'll notice an instant twinkle in the eyes of most dirt riders holding forth. And, for good reason.

Tomichi Creek, besides being an actual creek, is a small store with gas, accommodations and surrounded by BLM lands full of technical single track motorcycle trails. There are also scenic gravel roads to various passes for bigger bikes. The area is not practical for quads and 4-wheelers.

Located near the western base of Monarch Pass, it lies along the routs of several “formal” rides – TAT, COBDR, etc. A huge number of motorcycles show up in Sargents every day. You name it... from groups of chrome cluttered butt jewelry to mud caked long range adventure rigs to hot-rod dirtbikes ridden by folks who haven't successfully made it through an airport metal detector in years – they're all there.

Camping: There are small cabins, tent sites and full hookup RV spots at the store. Tent sites are charged per person – not per site. Quality bathrooms and showers are provided. Dispersed (free) camping is available near the store in Daley Gulch SWA and near a couple of trail heads such as Agate Creek. All are primitive and none are practical for larger RV's. A more developed area is around Needle Creek Reservoir near Doyleville. However, NC is a long way from Sargents both in miles and time. I wouldn't try pulling a full sized RV to Needle Creek.

I met up with Eric and Anne. Both remarkably talented riders. They live in Arizona and travel extensively to ride trails. I've ridden with many young ladies over the years but none with technical skills equal to Anne. This girl is talented on a motorcycle.

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We went through the Daley Gulch SWA to reach our trail head. We started off on Waunita Creek trail. This is a really nice flowing trail trough the woods with some challenges and a creek crossing. One trail leads to another and each one has its own personality.

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Anne has a problem with this rocky hill climb. Where she stops is at the top of a really long and loose climb. We were tired.

http://youtu.be/0IYIpWkaUng

Things got pretty challenging as we went on up. This all above 12K.

No problem here...

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Now, look more closely...

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Eric stood guard while Anne made it over the rough spot.

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Another of those downhill righthanders that was pretty dry and dusty.

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Jolly good views in all directions.

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This is the smooth and easy side. The other side looks like a wall. Sneaky rascal too. Come around a blind curve in the trail and there it is...like right doggone now.

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Next, on to the Hartman Rocks near Gunnison.
 

kubotamiketx

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RG it’s Morisoli I am in Littleton CO working for the week. I just happens to have my truck and trailer with two bikes loaded. Mary is flying in Friday then we were going to head back towards ouray so I could do some two up with her on some of the stuff we road.

Depending on where the heck you are would love to connect if practical

You can call or text 512 four zero six 1796




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Michael that just bites! Hope the hound recovers quick. I've been moving around some since my last report.

Hartman Rocks... for example.

This is a cool doggone place to bring a dirtbike. It's only 8K acres in size but boasts more than 40 miles of single track. And, it's a different kind of riding experience. Cool part is you can climb up on the "top of the world" trail and look right down into Gunnison.

HR sort of leans toward a Moabish angle - but only so far. And the sunsets... every bloomin day the evenings were spectacular. Mix up a cool tangy rita and saddle up with a comfy chair facing west... so quiet you can hear the breeze whispering through the rocks. And the night sky... milky-way from horizon to horizon. Looked like I could just reach up and grab a handful.

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Riding this place - like Moab - requires some recalibration far as traction goes. The rocks are like 80 grit sandpaper. You can point the motorcycle at darn near anything and climb it. Like sand? It's here! Is it technical? Can dang sure feel that way at times.

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My camera battery died right about the time I made it to the fun stuff. Here's what I had. It runs kinda long...duck the tree.

[ame="https://youtu.be/VOmun1uukCM"]Hartman3 - YouTube[/ame]
 
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Tourmeister

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Cool vid!

I don't know where the mic on your camera is, but you are getting a ton of wind noise. Depending on the nature of the mike, you might be able to buy a wind cover for it that knocks out almost all that noise but still gets the ambient and engine sounds. If it is a built in mic that just has a little hole in the side of the case, sometimes just a little piece of scotch tape over the hole will do the trick. Just something to consider.
 
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Thanks Scott. Camera has the little pin hole mic. Wind has always been irritating with this thing. I'll try the piece of tape approach.

Meanwhile, I added vintage tunes to the vid to help block out some wind noise.
 

kubotamiketx

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Hey RG, the dog is doing surprisingly well. She had to have two TPLO procedures on each of her rear legs, she tore her dog version of the ACL ligament. No idea how, they think just a heredity weakness that finally tore.

Should have full recovery in 7 more weeks, but she was up and walking again the next day. Amazing, with a procedure where they cut each leg in half and them bolt them back together again (agg)

Cant wait to get back out your way, may have to wait till next spring, too much to do at the home front.

Stay safe out there, we worry about you riding so many solo miles in the wilderness. Lucky man!
 
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And then came Taylor Park…

Phone rings…

“Yo! RG, wassup? You still in Colorado?”

Uh…yeah, sure.

“When you coming back to Texas?”

Right after the asphalt there solidifies.

“Huh? Well hey, where are you now?”

I move around. Ride a week here and move on to there. Bouncing around searching for the holy Grail.

“OK, you remember Quinn? Rode with us around Divide and few years ago?”

Quinn…wasn’t he the dude who showed up with a beater 450 Yamaha that seriously died about two miles up our first trail?

“Yeah! You remember, he and Sam ended up pushing the thing back to camp the rest of that day.”

Didn’t Sam spend the next three days huffing O2 and getting IV’s for mountain sickness over in Pueblo after that?

“Oh yeah. Well, anyways, Quinn and some of his buddies are flying into Denver and renting bikes. They have a cabin rented just south of Taylor Park and they want to try some dirt riding. You feel up to doing some tour guiding for us?”

You know, Denver is quite a ways from TP… What kind of motorcycles did you say they’re renting?

“Uh, dunno right now but they really want to try some dirt. So where are you?”

Bout 20 miles south of TP. Place called Hartman Rocks, near Gunnison. They coming to “try some dirt” at Taylor Park? Maybe I’ve been at elevation too long but isn’t that sort of like setting a cooler full of Everclear punch in a junior high dance so the kids can “try it”?

“Yep, they’ve heard all about it and can’t wait to jump right in. I told em you know all the cool stuff around there and would be glad to put together an awesome ride for us.”

So, besides Quinn, do we know any of these folks?

“Wellm I’ve never met em but they’re his regular riding buds and they all take a riding trip together somewhere every summer.”

And you’re providing margaritas until closing each night of this adventure?

(Sadly) To Be Continued... :doh:
 

Tourmeister

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I know the fall colors have to be in full swing. Where are the pictures!? If I can't be there, the least you can do help me live vicariously through your meanderings... :-P
 
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Well now…

Group of lovely Stroms and a dandy KLR came to Taylor Park.

And one of them piloted by a chap who’s actually been off-road before. :-D

Seems our GPS tracks will need some tweekage before this little party gets started. Clearly, such delicacies as the Star trail and Flag Mountain are so off the menu.

Good news is friend Travis (yes, that :hail: Travis) who now lives in Crested Butte offered some fine options for a grand two wheeled sightseeing adventure semi suitable for this hardy bunch.

Here’s a potential problema, though… you see, anytime we leave the safety of pavement in the lumpy parts of Colorado, stuff has a way of morphing into temporary times of two wheeled peril. It’s just how things go in the mountains. We’ve talked about this… :rolleyes:

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Spring Creek reservoir with aspen trees showing the first signs of fall.

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Plan was to ride north along Spring Creek, loop around the north end of Taylor reservoir, climb over Cumberland Pass, head down to Tincup, Pitkin, Ohio City and pop out near Parlin.

Gravel roads the whole way - what could possibly go wrong? :shrug:

We're going to fast forward past the part about the little road up the mountain that Quinn "sort of remembered" from the fog of his mis-spent youth. The one he felt we should make a quick detour for. The one that's actually a nice little sparkling creek flowing down the mountain with basketball sized rocks glued into the ground every few feet. Hey, the 1190 was game but after I pulled over to check on the crew, our neo Stomers were all enthusiastically waving gloved hands sideways across their throats. Ah well... guess we better try to get back down to the road. :doh:

OK…truth in advertising - Cumberland Pass has a few bumpy rocks, some elevation and maybe a few switchbacks but honestly! I mean, kids ride four-wheelers up and down the thing all without adult supervision. :headbang:

Meanwhile, me and Bart are waiting up on the pass enjoying the spectacular view... and waiting... and, yes, still waiting. KLR dude comes tooling up. "Hey, we got a dead bike, man."

Maybe a half mile from making the pass we find ourselves with a seriously stopped motorcycle. You know the drill... engine dies. No sput. No sputter. Just outright lays down and dies.

Seems the stator in your average Strom is a little fragile when shaken and not stirred. :shock:

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To be continued...:giveup:
 
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Tourmeister

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The SV 650 motors were known to have stator issues. I believe the 650 motor in the stroms used the same stator.
 
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OK, so this rescue could go a couple different ways… none of them good. :doh:

Bart, KLR dude and I rolled back down the mountain to find a sad looking scene. Strom on side of road, seat off and thrown to the side, chaps gathered round solemnly looking down at it as if it was being laid to rest. Thing is, after the engine cooled a little while, it would start and run...a little. Battery was tragically dead but with the help of jumper cables (THANKS KLR dude!) the thing would eventually crank.

Whatever shall we do? :scratch:

Option 1 - Maybe the Zuk was just having a bad moment and is feeling much better now. Do we press on ahead, make it over the pass and then down into Tincup and maybe farther. The road to this point is pretty much doable in an adventurous rescue truck. After the pass… not so much.

Going to camp this way is a good 50 miles or so through mucho mountains and Gunnison. And BTW, trying to tow this pig over the mountains is insane to even consider… pre-ordained disaster looking for its next victim.

Option 2 – Turning around it’s about 15 miles to camp back down the mountain – taking the slab at TP HQ and going along the curvaceous Taylor River. Of course these intrepid Stomers have no rescue vehicle. They have no ramp. They have no tie-down straps. They have a yellow dying motorcycle on the side of a mountain. Shadows are long, its late September and the wind is getting cold up here.

Option 3 – It really is a cool sightseeing ride with spectacular scenery the rest of the way and we could all wish :haha:Quinn the best of luck and reassure him that it couldn’t possibly take long for someone to come along after we’re gone. Yes, they’re shutting down the store and restaurant at TP day after tomorrow and no, we’ve never seen so few people around this area ever before. But, the view really is breathtaking from here while he waits and all that talk about bears and chupacabras is surely so much overly exaggerated mountain myth, probably. :uhoh:


So, fellow TWT’ers, let’s hear your suggestions. :ponder:

For a moment, put yourself in the place of the unfortunate rascal who’s de facto leader of this ride. It’s all on you. These folks are looking at you like you’ve got some kind of magic wand you can whip out to make all this go away. Only two of this group have ever been on dirt before today. None has a clue as to navigating through the mountains and most of them will likely be stretched out gasping and hurling with mountain sickness well before dark… which is going to happen way sooner than they realize (you know, mountains and all). Cell phone? Ha! That’s cute. There hasn’t been a signal for quite some time. Maybe on the pass but I wouldn’t count on it. :pray:


They’re all looking at you…WhatchagonnaDo? :duck:
 

Vinny

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Leave that sucker . Learning experience for all. Get his family details and hope to hear from him in the next two weeks. Bears have to eat too. Nice Japanese parts there for the next guy.

(I'm kidding of course)
 
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Tourmeister

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Bears have to eat too. Nice Japanese parts there for the next guy.
I'm gonna remember this if I ever go riding with you... :-P :lol2:

At this point, safety first. Abort and retreat. Sometimes you get in a spectacular ride and sometimes you get a good story about how the ride won instead of you... Better to survive to play another day. If it is down hill most of the way back, coast that baby. Worst case, leave it, get the rider down, find someone willing to recover it.

A BIG part of surviving is the willingness to let go of a plan so you can improvise based on reality.
 
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