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Five Day Paved Trip DFW / Colorado Loop Suggestions?

Jarrett

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misterk

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Thanks for that.

Looking at this, it looks like June might be the month to target so you don't get blistering heat in West Texas or freezing temps up in the mountains.
I always do my first yearly Colorado tour first week or 2 of June, I would recommend the same for you.

This year I will be passing through Colorado on my ride to Alaska.
 

Jarrett

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I always do my first yearly Colorado tour first week or 2 of June, I would recommend the same for you.

This year I will be passing through Colorado on my ride to Alaska.
I'd be interested in tagging along part of the way if the logistics work out.
 

Tourmeister

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Thanks for that.

Looking at this, it looks like June might be the month to target so you don't get blistering heat in West Texas or freezing temps up in the mountains.
It's the mountains... Weather can change in a heart beat from cloudless and beautiful to snowing sideways. I have been in March, April, May, June, July, August, and September. I think the only month I did not see snow FALLING from the sky was June, but there was some at the higher elevations on the ground. In March I was riding South from Estes Park in a mesh jacket and it was 80F!! There was snow all over the sides of the road and lakes were frozen! At higher elevations on some of the passes, it can still hit the low 40s, especially if it clouds up or starts to rain. I think I have been rained on at least one day of EVERY trip. I have done trips where it was literally 107 F down at the lower elevations and 30 minutes later it was hovering around 39-40F up high, then back down the other side it was back up into the 90's. In mid July, coming over Independence Pass South of Aspen, it was a spectacular day as we started up. By the time we got to the pass, snow was sticking to my visor so bad I could hardly see. The descent on the East side had snow in the road and cars riding my back tire because I was apparently going to slow... :doh:

The point is hope for the best, plan for the worst.
 
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Yep, my trip I thought west Texas would be bad but my highest temps I saw was coming into Montrose. Crazy.

Definitely though, on your departure, get up early and don't dawdle at your stops. First day of a trip is get the eff out of Texas. If you do these things you'll be surprised how far you can go. You don't need to be an iron butt rider, but you need some of the mentality to do it. Google says it's 10 hours from Waxahachie to Walsenburg. Get on the road at 6am, allow time for gas and a quick lunch and you can be in Walsenburg for an early dinner. Not too late, just a good haul in the saddle. That's not even accounting for the time change either, so technically you'd be there even earlier..

Then, when you wake up in the morning, you leave the hotel directly into the mountains. That's the whole purpose of the trip, right? Your present plan has a day and a half to there and a day and a half back from the mountains, leaving only 2 days out of a 5 day trip for the fun stuff. Don't waste time and make the first and last days about the destination, so you can focus on the ride and the enjoyment for the majority of the trip.

Coming home, same deal. I previously recommended the hotel in Tucumcari NM. Tucumcari is only a few hours out of the mountains so gives you a good head start on the trip home without ruining too much mountain riding.
 

Jarrett

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Thanks for all the info, guys.

This is giving me a lot of good ideas on how to make this work.

I've done a couple of 400+ mile backroads days without an issue. I suspect one 600 mile day on the highway is doable.
 

Tourmeister

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Just a word of warning. No matter how comfy your bike may be, if you are not used to knocking out a 500+ mile day, your body is going to let you know it is not real happy with you. You are likely to feel pretty sore by the second day and almost assuredly on the third day. This can be mitigated to a degree by stopping every 100 miles or so and walking and stretching for even just a few minutes. Also, you can start hitting the ibuprofen the night before you leave, then do half doses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

That said, if you are determined to ride the entire trip, you want the longest days on the front end of the trip and the shortest days on the end of the trip. Cumulative fatigue will be an issue unless you are used to doing multiple long rides day after day. I have led a lot of tour and group rides and have seen this even with experienced riders. It causes them to get sloppy and start making mistakes later in the day and later in the week. It just compounds over the length of trip. So it is definitely something you should be thinking about.

I think Las Vegas or Trinidad would be the best starting points if you want to ride out and back. See the attached GPX.

If you want to hit more of SW Colorado, head for Las Vegas. If you want to hit points further North, like Canon City, Buena Vista, Aspen, Gunnison, etc,... head for Trinidad.

GPX viewer
 

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Jarrett

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This can be mitigated to a degree by stopping every 100 miles or so and walking and stretching for even just a few minutes.
This thirsty VFR can only make it about 170 miles between fill ups at 80+ mph, so I've got that covered :)

Prior to motorcycles, I used to do mutli-day bicycle tours that were 10+ hours in the saddle a day. Compared to that, riding the VFR for hours is a piece of cake.
 

Tourmeister

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This thirsty VFR can only make it about 170 miles between fill ups at 80+ mph, so I've got that covered :)

Prior to motorcycles, I used to do mutli-day bicycle tours that were 10+ hours in the saddle a day. Compared to that, riding the VFR for hours is a piece of cake.
How long ago was it that you did those multi-day rides?

The stopping every 100 miles is not about gas. It is about refocusing your brain with an interruption in the drone and moving some muscles to get blood pumping. Even stopping for 2-3 minutes, just enough time to walk around the bike a few times and do two or three squats makes a big difference. You don't even have to turn the bike off.

I used to do those long bike rides as well. They use totally different muscles and they keep your blood pumping. I've also done the 500+ mile consecutive days on the motorcycle. It is a completely different physical experience, much more sedate, especially in boring places like West Texas... I'm not saying you won't be able to power through it, just that you might have some unexpected physical reactions to it.

I used to do the 400-500 mile days on the motorcycle all the time, so doing it was no big deal. It doesn't take more than a few months without doing it for my body to remind me that it's been a while when I go out to ride even for a few hundred miles.

So make your plans, but be aware and smart.
 
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You've already been given a lot of great suggestions; I won't repeat them all. Couple o' things I WILL reiterate:

Like everybody said, get out of Texas as quickly as possible. Vernon is barely 3 hours drive, and is as boring as lint once you're there. Go to Amarillo (350 mi) or Dumas (400 mi). Like Jason said, we do it all the time in the car AFTER WORK. On a bike, if you're not used to long hauls, take a lot of long breaks & you can still make Dumas in under 8 hours (I do it in 6 1/2 on the VStrom without speeding) or Amarillo in 7 (roughly 5 1/2 hrs for me).

Or, as Scott suggested, trailer to Raton - an easy 9 1/2 hour drive. You can store your vehicle/trailer at the Summerlan RV park on the east end of town, for a whopping dollar a day. Then jump off from there.

Somebody mentioned 300 miles a day is good, comfortable Colorado or mountainous NM mileage, and I heartily agree. Take your time, take lots of breaks & lots of pictures, and that 300 miles will take anywhere from 6 to 9 hours - strictly up to you, your camera, and your bio schedule. And you'll arrive at your destination not feeling overly road weary.

If you don't have them, invest in Butler Motorcycle Maps - one each for NM and Colorado. They'll show you all the great routes - which, by the way, are many of the same ones everybody mentioned above.

Telluride - Drew & I went through a few years ago. Not horrible, but VERY touristy. We could hardly drive down the street through the hoards of people walking everywhere - all wearing pink golf shirts with sweaters tied around their shoulders. Am I right Drew? Have lunch there at a trendy bistro, then move on. The roads around that area are fantastic. If you stay around Durango or Delores. you'll find that you can make a great loop up through Silverton & Ouray, over to Telluride, then back south to Mesa Verde and back into Durango, in a very comfortable day.

Also, if it works into your route, drive Hwy 149 between South Fork at one end and near Gunnison at the other. Either direction is fun. You'll do canyon running, cross two curvy, high passes, see the headwaters of the Rio Grande, and pass through the historic mining town of Creede - all in about 120 miles. or heck, drive it north, then turn around and drive it again southbound.
 

Jarrett

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Is the area between Las Vegas and Chama as nice as north of Chama?

Or does it get considerably better in Colorado?
 

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Is the area between Las Vegas and Chama as nice as north of Chama?

Or does it get considerably better in Colorado?
Las Vegas to Chama is quite nice. I've been up through there several times. That said, it DOES get better or more dramatic as you get into Colorado because the mountains get bigger. If I were to live there though, I would prefer the area around Chama because I like the pine forests.
 

Liteitup

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Las Vegas to Chama is quite nice. I've been up through there several times. That said, it DOES get better or more dramatic as you get into Colorado because the mountains get bigger. If I were to live there though, I would prefer the area around Chama because I like the pine forests.
518 thru Mora into Taos is nice. Not Colorado, but nice.
 
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Northeastern NM has great windy roads, beautiful forests, nice canyons to carve, and some very enjoyable lower passes. What you also get in Colorado are higher passes & dramatic snow-capped mountains.
 

Texas T

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Next 550 south from Delta all the way to Durango or you can loop over to Telluride on 62 then down toward Delores and Cortez then home.
Lunch or dinner at Tequila's in Cortez is recommended. Cheesy name, great food. We eat there on every Colorado trip and haven't been disappointed yet. The last time we were there a group came in that appeared to be a ranch manager and his caballeros, all with spurs a jingling and dust falling off of their clothes. I figured that if it was good enough for them that I'd made the right choice for the past few years.

:eat:
 

Liteitup

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Buy this book
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Motorcycling-Colorado-Definitive/dp/0760361665/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547134692&sr=8-1&keywords=steve+farson

don't pay $85. I bought mine off Amazon several years ago and still refer to it before every trip, but I think I paid around 20 bucks. At one time Butler maps had a combination offer, their Colorado map and this book.

here it is at Barnes and Noble for $27
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-complete-guide-to-motorcycling-colorado-steve-farson/1110793522
 
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Liteitup

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Shows to be out of stock for on line purchase on Barnes Noble website - none in stock at any of the Barnes Noble's in Texas & New Mexico - Aurora B&N is only Colorado store to have it in stock

Well shoot, sorry for the bad link. I guess it's been out of production too long to still be around. Too bad, it's an excellent resource.
 
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I would be interested, I would probably want to trailer, to a starting point.
 

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It's not a loop, but here is our rough plan for a July ride this year (Argyle to Rapid Springs, SD). We are planning to get all the way to Clayton, NM on day one - a Colorado trip is pretty difficult if you can't get all the way out of TX on the first day.. The little bed icon at the bottom right is Clayton.

https://trips.furkot.com/ts/hTLovP

1547162324938.png
 
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The roads NM 434,518, and 38 are a must. As Phil said not maybe Colorado nice but well worth riding. They are narrow and a times tree covered(shady) and last loop NM 38 is a scenic ride with pull overs and plenty of opportunities for pictures.
 
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