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Five Day Paved Trip DFW / Colorado Loop Suggestions?

Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
17,340
Location
Lampasas
#51
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.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
17,340
Location
Lampasas
#52
And to add to Tim's reply the road into Telluride speed limit into was way under what normal conditions would warrant. Also like Tim said in town on the way to the waterfall their are folks like fire ants everywhere you look so you tip toe thru the main street at a snails pace.
 
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Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
17,340
Location
Lampasas
#56
I second buying the Butler motorcycle maps. I purchased mine here on TWT thru Mr2mch he has them handy and they will help you to select the roads that are most interesting for you Jarrett. Get both the New Mexico and Colorado ones. They rate roads and high light them as good,better,and best.

Another thing that I touched on before........most roads are much more curvy than it looks like on the maps. In other words travel time will be longer than you expect sometimes much longer than you would think. I learned this the hard way the first time I went to Colorado. Keep in mind there will be tons of picture taking stops, if that is something your interested in. The scenery is off the chain and you will want to document it to share with lived ones and TWT.:photo:
 

Jarrett

Forum Supporter
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,271
Location
Waxahachie
#57
I actually bought those maps last year sometime and forgot about them. I have been looking over them lately.

One thing I noticed was that NM/CO roads don't seem to be as highly rated as Arkansas roads are.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,282
Location
Huntsville
#58
One thing I noticed was that NM/CO roads don't seem to be as highly rated as Arkansas roads are.
They are very different, so I really don't see how they can be compared via any rating system. I guess you could rate them on the quality of their pavement, potholes versus nice and smooth. However, in terms of the riding experience, well... that is HIGHLY subjective! I LOVE both, but for very different reasons. Roads in NM and Co can be great fun just from a technical riding experience, but for me they are MUCH MORE about the scenery. Arkansas roads are a bit more about the technical aspect of riding nice twisty roads, the scenery is nice, but not epic. Western North Carolina and surrounding areas are ALL about the technical aspects of skilled riding on seriously twisty paved roads!! The scenery is also quite nice. All three areas are loads of fun, but for totally different reasons. This is just as true when going off the pavement.
 

Mr2mch

Forum Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
6,049
Location
Where the road leads ya.... Or Waco
#60
True.... Oh so true

Butler's rating system does have its limits..but without gettn too complex on the color coding...they do state it could be highlighted for scenic...fun to ride...or both
Each map has its highlights for the particular type of landscape in that area.
Not that theyre comparin CO to AR or NC
Jus comparin the roads in that area

Don't get too hung up on the red/orange/yellow. Just go and enjoy.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,198
Location
Far East DFW
#61
Let me explain something. Arkansas roads are much more fun than Colorado roads, and for a few reasons. First and foremost, you can ride them harder. On most Arkansas roads, the penalty for failure is there, and you will probably bounce off some trees, but it's not as scary as that 2000 ft drop with no guardrail. You also usually have better sight lines in Arkansas. With all of that, you will have more fun riding the roads in Arkansas.

That said, the roads in Colorado are nothing to shake a stick at. You will enjoy them every bit if not more than the roads in Arkansas. The views are breathtaking, the danger is always there keeping the adrenaline high, and they are still a ton of fun, but you do have to dial it back quite a bit.

Scary? Riding Million Dollar Highway south when they've been blasting and have it shut down one way where you are using some of the minuscule shoulder on the left side with a thousand foot drop next to you. Black Canyon of Gunnison has some hairy turns too. However, I do love riding both places, just know that they are different kinds of fun, so don't compare rating systems between the two based on maps.

Sample: https://goo.gl/maps/3FR18L7ygEw

 
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Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,332
Location
Arlington
#64
Jason nailed it. Colo and NM have all sorts of riding. The Million Dollar Hwy between Durango & Ouray is about the only one that's ever unnerved me. The secret to that road is to ride it south to north. That puts most of the scarier edges (between Silverton & Ouray) on your left. Even so, it's a wide 2-lane & just as safe as any other curvy road, but those drop-offs can be a bit daunting.

Riding along the north side of Black Canyon of Gunnison is a highly twisty road, and slow riding because there are so many sharp curves. But that one to me, isn't scary - just twisty.

Another road with more than its share of hairpins is the road from Leadville over Independence Pass to Aspen. Beautiful road. The biggest problem is that, well, you end up in Aspen which is a mass of traffic these days.

I'm a guy who enjoys roads the sweepers more than sharp curves & hairpins. The south side of the Black Canyon is better for that. Ditto Hwy 149 that I mentioned previously. Or Hwy 50 from Canon (pronounced canyon) City all the way to Salida, along the Arkansas River - the only problem with that road is you often find yourself stuck behind a train of motorhomes.

New Mexico is all about roads with fast sweepers. Those roads are all over the Cloudcroft-Ruidoso area, and that whole northern section that includes Cimarron, Eagle Nest, Angel Fire, Red River, Taos, and all the way over to Santa Fe & Los Alamos. Many of those roads are perfect if you enjoy zipping along at 50-60mph, constantly leaning from one fast curve to the next.
 
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
588
Location
Plano, TX
#65
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