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Just another ride in Colorado, 5 friends for life

Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Lots of TWTs have gone to Colorado in the recent years. Here’s another. The only difference is ours is street and dirt. That’s not much of a difference, but here it is anyway.

Twenty or so years ago, I went riding to Colorado with 6 friends. The ride was one of my top 5 rides ever. For one reason or another, we haven’t been back to Colorado together. We have all ridden together over the years, but until January of this year we had not all ridden together at the same time. One of our original 7 had babies, a career, house, etc. and drifted away from the rest of us. He even quit racing. Ryan died in turn 9 at Texas World speedway and has remained with us in memory. We took a group picture 20 years ago and Ryan and the group picture will ride with us on this ride. Hopefully, one of my companions will post the original picture as I gave my copy to Ryan’s mom.

Before, we drove to Taos, dropped one tow vehicles at the fire station and the other at my mom’s house. Street bikes only. This time we drove to Ouray, Colorado and towed 8 bikes, 3 street and 5 dual purpose. We left Bryan Texas Friday after work and drove overnight to Ouray, with a stop in Dallas to pick up a rider and 2 bikes.

Eight bikes, one trailer and a comfy van.

Mark, Phil, Maurice, me, friendly waitress at Denny’s, Ray. Note the FMF shirt Ray is wearing. It comes back to haunt us several times.

We stopped in Durango to get a supply of food and beverages. Food-$8.73, beverages-$99.27. We also unloaded 3 dual sport bikes to ride to Ouray, by way of Lime Creek road and Skyline drive. The second may be the most beautiful short ride in Colorado. On arrival at the campground, we immediately marked our territory.

Our territory in one of its more organized moments

Up early and anticipating French toast for breakfast. Alas, we forgot to buy butter. Cold cereal and pop tarts for breakfast. All five of us re-rode the Skyline Drive on our way to Silverton. Today is going to be nice and gentle to get us used to the Jeep roads. Two of our riders have never been on these Jeep roads and one is riding a new CRF250L that he just purchased. We save the relatively hard ride from Ouray up to California Pass for another day.

This is why I like Skyline drive.

The Million Dollar highway meandering down in the valley.

Flowers and a bumble bee along the way.

The miner’s shrine above Silverton.

And Silverton down below

A familiar picture to riders that have followed previous TWT posts. We took the easy ride on 110 from Silverton to the point where this picture was taken.

During our the next few days, some of us would agitate others. My agitation was stopping to take pictures of flowers, rocks, etc.

And, of course the obligatory picture of Lake Como. The young boy in the middle was with his mother. He wanted to pose on that rock and she told him no. I suggested he go with me and she said yes. After we got back she was a little upset because I had not held his hand while getting there.

And one at Engineers pass. Even though 2 of us had been over Engineers Pass many times, we still had a couple of “turn around, this ain’t right,”

I’ve seen this house many times. It’s now for sale.

Maurice, Ray and myself went down the trail to the waterfall while Phil and Mark stopped in awe of the alpine beauty above.

Flowers close to the falls. They look similar to Blue Bonnets and there was another kind that looked similar to Indian Paint Brushes.

We continued to Lake City and rode back over Cinnamon Pass to camp. I went to bed at 8:45 and the rest went to town where they gave a heavy bartender chick a hard time. They did convince her to give them some butter so we could have French toast for breakfast.
We did have a crash fest today. I fell, Mo fell, and Phil had to turn around and get a second run at a little hill. Mark says he didn’t fall, but he was riding the bike when it fell. Ray complained about street tires on his DRZ400. Heavy chick was cute and got a large tip for putting up with my friends. I know she deserved it.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Day 2, Monday
The weather channel has predicted at least a 40% to 80% chance of rain every day for the next week. Other than short sprinkles that didn’t even warrant stopping to put on rain suits, the only real rain came one night. Lots of lightning and thunder, but only about 3/4” of water in a cup sitting on the table.

Everyone’s rear is sore from 100 miles of riding and from the unfamiliar beating they took on the Jeep roads so the consensus is another light day. Me Maurice and Ray decide to ride to the south rim of the Black Canyon on street bikes. We had my FZ1 and a couple of lesser quality bikes that might make the 200 mile ride. The south rim drive is totally paved, unlike the 15 or so miles of dirt on the north rim. Actually, the south rim drive has been totally repaved, with the west side overlayed and the east side sealed and graveled. I took it very slow on the east side. Mark and Phil decide to take the van into town and shop. I felt like I had brought wife and sister with me.

Earlier, we finally had French toast. Everyone ate at least 3 except Mark and he went without breakfast. I guess he had one too many beverages the night before.

Maurice wasn’t particularly happy with some of the lengthier walks, but after we got back his wife told me his blood pressure had gone down 20 points.

Due to the abundance of pictures on TWT, I know that many think the Black Canyon is a lake close to highway 92. It is not. Ray doesn’t seem to mind the 1700’ drop behind his perch.

I joined Ray.

This is as close to the edge as Mo was inclined to go.

Looking down.

They traveled over a thousand miles to see the canyon, but this little girl was more interested in the sand.

Happy to be here.

Same canyon, different rock and view

This doesn’t look too bad

Until you see this

I don’t know if this is considered national park humor or is intended to inform our intellectually declining population.

This one is just for Mark.

When we got back from the Black Canyon, Phil and Mark met us at camp for some Frito Pie. Afterwards, we went into Ouray for some ice cream before going for a short ride to Yankee Boy basin. I forgot my camera. Phil and Mark stayed in camp for more rear end rest. They would need it for tomorrows ride over Imogene and Ophir.

Ray’s DRZ went rubber side up today and I believe he holds the record for the longest roll down a hill. The bike did not roll, only Ray. We went to the hot springs, but they were closing early today at 8:00. It was already 7:40 and they wouldn’t give us a discount for 20 minutes so we went back to camp and plan on returning tomorrow. Another light day planned for tomorrow. Probably Minnie, Maggie and Clear Lake, with another run, this time with a camera, to Yankee Boy Basin if we get back in time.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
It wasn't a big cliff. I have video. Just like Mark, he says he didn't fall. He does admit to being on the bike that fell.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Looking across the canyon. There is supposed to be two dragons in the face of the cliff. Use your imagination.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Day 3
Going through my notes, I suddenly realize why we decided on another easy day. Last night it rained most of the night, especially up on top of the mountains. It was even raining a little while I made breakfast. We stood under an EZ-up until it stopped. Off to Minnie and Maggie or until it gets messy. It never did. We had a great ride.
Mark and Phil led once we got off the pavement. Mark later told me that the ride along wet pavement of the million dollar highway was the scariest ride he had ever had on a motorcycle. He did have full knobbies on his CRF450. Anyway, they didn’t know where we were going and drove right past the turn to Maggie Gulch. We waited on them to come back. I guess I have mellowed in my old age. The rock crusher at the top of Maggie was the highlight of the day

The little waterfall shortly after leaving the main road

The rock crusher. Probably 150 years old

Does anyone else think these look a little like Indian Paint Brushes?

The fields were alive with flowers. Yankee Boy has the reputation for flowers, but I believe Maggie won the beauty contest this year.

We rode up a little used jeep road and found this mine. Ray went inside with an LED flashlight. He turned around when he saw 2 lights shining back at him.

The road to Maggie gets easier toward the top. It’s just the opposite of most of the Jeep roads.

This one is just for Seth.

Top of Minnie

After Minnie, we rode to our first campsite from 20 years ago. We camped beside Animas Fork. Twenty years ago, the guys were a little upset at me leading them down 15 miles of dirt road. We were on sport bikes with a Suzuki full dresser thrown in the mix.
Our reunion campsite with Ryan joining us.

20 years ago. Phil, me, Ken, Mark, Ryan and Maurice. I wrote in my notes, “It’s not like Ryan is with us, but his presenc is sure felt,” The original picture was taken on the next to last day of our first trip. Ray had gotten sick, we divided up his assets just in case he didn’t make it through the night, and then he found out his girlfriend was seen with another guy. He had left to return home and missed this picture.

Five of us had the same Jacket, maybe 6 of us. The distributor put them on sale for around $100 and I bought one and sold a couple to customers to pay for mine. Later they went all the way down to about $50 wholesale and I sold one to nearly everyone. Three of us are still wearing the jackets.

A little side canyon. This is where I fell again. Mo also fell. My riding buddies count it as a fall even though I wasn’t on a bike. Their fall doesn’t count because the bike went sideways but they remained upright???????

Back to Silverton where the T-shirt reads, “I got pickled at the Pickle Barrel.” We opted for a beer and sandwich at another local pub.

End of trail riding for today. We had to shop around Silverton to let the effects of 3 pitchers of beer be diminished. We rode back to camp and all went to the hot springs. I needed it much more than the rest. My “crashes” had nothing to do with my need for massaging warm water. I haven’t mentioned it, but I fell off the trailer while loading bikes last week and my left ankle is swollen. It was motorcycle related so I guess that makes my 3rd crash. The swelling would bother me for the entire trip, with me not being able to zip up my boot by the end of the first week. I’m a fairly staunch believer of ATGATT, but I admit I wore tennis shoes for 7 or 8 days.
4 days down 10 to go
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
It's not going to be 20 years before we go again. We have to go in less than 10 because all 4 of you are going to have kids at Texas A&M in 10 to 12 years.
Sep 20, 2006
NW Ft. Worth, Texas
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I see two of the group are riding CRF250L Honda's, I owned one and rode it in Colorado and for it's size was truly fun to ride. I did sell it the first of this year, now I'm wondering why I did, thought I wanted another 650 DS I guess.

Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
I see two of the group are riding CRF250L Honda's, I owned one and rode it in Colorado and for it's size was truly fun to ride. I did sell it the first of this year, now I'm wondering why I did, thought I wanted another 650 DS I guess.

Mark is on a 450, Maurice is on a 250L, the rest are on DRZ400s. The only time Maurice was at a disadvantage was on the pavement or really tight switchbacks.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Day 4
The plan is to ride Imogene and Ophir. Ray and I have ridden them before. Every time I ride Imogoene, it seems to get harder. This time would be an exception. Maybe it’s because I was not riding double like the last 4 times or maybe it’s because the water crossings weren’t as deep. I did fall 2 times. Once I was going around a blind switchback, expecting to use the exit as a berm when suddenly there were 2 kids on a 4 wheeler right where my berm was supposed to be. I tipped over. The second time, we were going up a really steep section for quite a while when I saw Maurice and Ray wrestling with Maurice’s CRF250. It looked like it was leveling off so I stopped. The bike went into reverse and I haven’t practiced reverse riding. Another tip over.

The first indication that things are going to be interesting. This is a very dangerous curve. Everyone is standing at the edge of the road. Why would anyone speed while surrounded by all of this beauty.

I don’t know the circumstances involved, but this is proof that one needs to be careful around this blind curve.


The famous overhanging rock. This is the proverbially straight up on one side and straight down on the other.

We rounded up an elderly woman to take our picture at the top.

The road down from Black Bear and Bridal veil falls.


I seem to have lost two and a half days worth of pictures. I’ll skip to Saturday when three unlucky riders leave for home and two STOP STOP STOP My wife just came in and asked, “What are you doing?”
“Word processing.”
“What’s word processing?”
“What?” And I burst into laughter.
After looking at my computer screen, “Don’t tell anyone, OK.”
Back to the thread.
and two lucky riders get to stay for another 6 days. We hauled 3 street bikes, but Mark’s wife had to go on a business trip and he had to be back in Texas by Wednesday afternoon. Remember the kids I mentioned earlier. Two darling young ladies that need him home. If they were my daughters, I would have wanted to go home also. Maurice and I head to I-70 by way of hwy. 92 on my FZ1 and his Interceptor.
Blue Mesa lake is as high as I have seen it in years. It’s only about 4 or 5 feet low.

The lake that should never have been built. It covers the start of the Black Canyon and is sometimes confused with the north rim of the NP. We had originally planned to ride to the south rim and then to the north rim of the Black Canyon NP and to camp at the north rim campground. Since we took a light day and rode to the south rim earlier in the week, we decided to motor right by the north rim and thereby skip the 15 miles of dirt road.

We stopped in Crawford and I ate the worst Navaho taco I have ever had. Pie was good so I’m giving them an 8 out of 10 rating.

We thought we could ride up to the mill above Marble, but the road was way rougher than my FZ1 needed. I know that I’m going to crash it, but I want it to be on pavement. We turned back. We did go up to the quarry that gives the town its name. This house and 60+ acres, right next to the quarry is for sale. The sign said, “Shown to pre-qualified buyers.” Since I’m fairly certain that Mo and I didn’t qualify, we took this picture instead.

Marble is so cheap there that they line the outside of curves with it. This is where the marble for the Washington Monument and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was quarried.

Interstate highway 70 in the background. This portion of the highway through Glenwood Canyon is the most picturesque interstate in the US. At one point, you can look right and see the traffic going the opposite direction.

Start of a little hike. It’s only 1 mile, but over a thousand feet of elevation gain.

The hike is pretty though.

It does get steep.

Looking back. The I-70 is back there In the canyon.

The reward. Hanging lake.



Tired, winded, but glad he came.

The source of the water in hanging lake. I’m fairly certain that the source is the reason hanging lake was formed.
Spouting Rock

Another view of I-70 from the feeder road.

We were tired so we decided to spend a night in a motel if we could find a reasonable rate. Glenwood Springs is the town that all the millionaires moved to when the billionaires kicked them out of Aspen. It would be a long shot to find a reasonably priced room. The first one we stopped at was recommended to us by a convenience store clerk. It looked way out of our price range, but I asked the price anyway. The desk clerk said he only had an economy room left and it was clean but not pretty. We took it. His definition of not pretty was a small place on the ceiling that had been repaired but hadn’t been painted. $69 for the room with 3 queen beds.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Next up is Aspen, Independence, cabooses, Norwegian on a rideabout, phone booths and Montana. If I find the missing pictures from Ouray, then Aspen and the Norwegian will have to wait.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
I guess I should mention something about the roads we are traveling. Of course the Million Dollar Highway between Silverton is awesome as everyone knows. It is also extremely dangerous. Highway 92 from Sapinero to Crawford is also a great road that is lightly traveled with good scenery and curvy roads. Highway 133 through McClure pass has great scenery with many curves, however most of the curves can be taken at over 70 MPH and the speed limit is 45 to 55 MPH.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Day 7
In order to ride or drive to Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells, you have to get to the gate before 9:00 AM. After that you have to ride the free bus. We didn’t want to ride the bus so we set the alarm for 6:30 so we could eat breakfast and ride the 100 or so miles to Aspen. We also left a wake up call for 6:30. The next morning Maurice’s frantic voice woke me up, “Dennie, it’s 7:00 and we’re going to have to skip breakfast. After frantically loading the bikes, he took his phone out and said, “Hey, the clock is wrong and it’s only 6:20.” Ten minutes later the phone rang with our wake up call.
Maroon Bells and Lake. The breakfast that came with our cheap, ugly room was delicious.


Looks similar to a dandelion

We rode through Aspen without stopping. We saw gas for $5.009 per gallon, well above any other station we saw on the trip.
Just east of Aspen Maurice pulled over because he saw some hang gliders. There were a lot of them, but we arrived late and got to see 2 land. It was a group that takes passengers in tandem. All of the gliders didn’t have passengers and those had to go last.

Some tourist, I believe he was from Germany, took our picture at Independence Pass. We returned the favor.

My mom’s gravesite, mile marker 65 of highway 82.

Looking back the other way.

Her “urn” was in remarkable shape after 9 years. The 50 or so children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’s names had been covered by avalanche rocks, but one of the flowers was still visible

I believe this is a pika.

You can’t to get her actual site without a little scrambling, but it’s about 40 feet behind me.

On to Twin Lakes where we stopped for a coke and ate our lunch. This drove up while we were eating. I checked on the internet and they start at around $100,000. I think I’ll keep riding my FZ1 and DRZ400. They’ll go anywhere this thing will go and costs less than 10% for both of them. Of course, neither have an awning or a potty.

Eleven years ago, I walked the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. I sent myself a food resupply package to the post office in the store at Twin Lakes. Even though they are no longer a post office, they still accept packages and keep them until November. Most backpackers go into town to resupply every 6 to 10 days. Over 10 days and the food weight is too much for most.

You can tell the experienced hikers from the inexperienced hikers by the size of their packages. The small ones are from the experienced hikers because they know how much food they are going to eat in a week and they know how much weight they are willing to carry.

I sent banana boxes to myself. The postmaster and I both had a good laugh, mostly at my expense, when I told them who I was and what I was there for.
Hey, it was my first backpacking experience.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Highway 24 from Twin Lakes to I-70 is a good cruiser road. There are lots of long sweepers and fairly good scenery. From I-70 we headed north on 131 where there were more long sweepers with the occasional 30 MPH turn thrown in. Right past the intersection of 134, still on 131, there is a great store. It’s the strangest convenience store that I have ever been inside. The couple that own it are hoaders. Stacks of newspapers and magazines were everywhere. They even had 6 toilets outside the store. We didn’t take any pictures inside because we didn’t want to offend anyone. We did enjoy the experience immensely.
They even had a phone booth

Onward to Hot Sulfur Springs where we found a free campground provided by the city. Our neighbor was a young Norwegian boy that was on a driveabout around the US. He bought this 1972 Chevy camper van to make the trip. His name was Pete.

I didn’t ask if he bought the van with the stickers or if they were his idea.


He did have a solar panel mounted on the roof to charge his battery. He was using his cell phone to find free campgrounds and most did not have power. I told him about free camping on the BLM and national forest. He found the idea very unusual.

We took him to dinner and he was surprised that someone would buy a stranger their dinner.

Our campsite. There is a train track just over the road. It comes through about every 2 hours during the night and announces several times that it is coming.

During breakfast, Maurice mentioned that he had never been to Wyoming so we rode 75 miles north, turned around and rode 75 miles south. He’s now been to Wyoming, but not the good parts.


We saw 2 elk. Well, we saw lots of elk. These 2 bulls were close.


This cow with a collar was also close.

It got a little frosty. Mo’s thermometer read 26 degrees.

Pine beetles are devastating the forest.

Entire forests are dying

We rode back through RMNP because……..? Did I mention the ride home from Ouray was 2,630 miles. We took the short cut through Oklahoma City.

Somewhere around Blackhawk.
Jun 14, 2007
You make me want to go back........and I think I will. Thx! I bet you guys had a great time. Good memories.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
I labeled a picture above, "somewhere around Blackhawk." I think it's the canyon west of Loveland. It's a lovely road, but very crowded with cars going to Estes Park and RMNP.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Highway 125 from Granby to Walden is a terrific motorcycle road with very few cars and lots of curves. Scenery is so-so. Highway 14 from State Forest State Park to highway 287 is Fantastic. It‘s better than the Million Dollar Highway because there are way fewer cars and it is longer. The drop offs into the river are not as steep or as deep, but they are still life threatening if a mistake were made. Scenery is nonstop. My new second favorite Colorado highway.

After leaving RMNP, we headed south to Colorado Springs where we were going to meet a long lost buddy that went off to med school, the air force and now Colorado. On the way, we are going to ride the Peak to Peak highway, highway 74 between Evergreen and highway 8, and highway 67 to Manitou springs. 67 is my favorite motorcycle highway in Colorado. Notice I didn’t say it’s my favorite ride in Colorado. The road is sparsely traveled and very curvy, but the scenery doesn’t measure up to other parts of Colorado.

On the way to Greg’s house, we took a short cut up Mount Evans

Where we saw these

And this

We took another short cut up Pikes peak. I have been up Mount Evans quite a few times, but I went up Pikes Peak in 1980 and 1981. The road up was totally gravel and for 31 years I felt like Mount Evans was the better ride with better scenery. I have been wrong. That gravel road must have affected my vision because I now suggest PP over Evans. Do both if you can.


The road up

As it was in 1980
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
We took a day off and rode around Colorado springs.
We were photo bombed by bigfoot himself.

We ate at a little bar in the middle of nowhere. Food on the other side of the menu, but check out the items in the little box on the right. This is the only time I have ever seen Shower on the menu.

Greg and his lovely fiancé joined us for a ride. Dirt OK, 15% grade OK, Freshly graded…..?
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
Jim Bishop, castle builder, has been at it again. More signs.


Typical "scaffolding"

The arched walkway has not been finished. I don't think it has been worked on in the last 4 years.

I ventured out on it anyway. Maurice declined.

The moat has been started. He is 70 years old and aging fast. This gate looks deadly.

Jim would fit in with most Texas meetings. He doesn't mince words about his political or religious beliefs.

We decided to slab it to Oklahoma City and the next morning I stopped at a fried pie shop near Turner Falls. There were no apricots in my pie, just a jelly looking substance that had an apricot flavor. No more for me.

Five people were making fried pies

Four were working the cash registers. Somebody likes them more than I did.
Oct 16, 2008
Bryan, TX
A couple of missed photos because it was raining. One was the worlds largest rocking chair and the other was the largest cross in the US.

If I find the day and a half worth of pictures that I lost, I'll post a little more.

Right now, I feel like this ride was one of my best, definitely in the top 5 and that's saying a lot since I've been riding 51 years and been on many, many rides. The scenery played a large part in my enjoyment, but the people I was with added as much or more to my experience. Thanks to Ray for organizing the ride. Thanks to Phil and Mark for adding unique perspectives to a camping and riding experience. And thanks to Maurice for enduring an extra week of sore butt by touring around on the way back. 2,630 street miles on the FZ1 and I didn't pay attention to the DRZ, but it now has 17,000+ miles and counting. The only thing that would have made this ride better is for Mark M. and Jeff P. to come along.