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Kitchen Pass to Loveland Pass . . . . and beyond

Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
1,021
Location
Beaumont, Texas
The 4th of July weekend looked pretty slow at the bakery. I had been awarded a kitchen pass for Father's Day. Where am I going? COLORADO!

DAY ONE, JUNE 30
I hit the road at 6:30. HalfFastRider buds Taz and The Rev happened to be heading out the same day so I tagged along. This day was nothing more than a fast paced slab trip to Amarillo. 617 miles.

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A storm hit just as we checked in the Motel 6 but lasted only few minutes.

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DAY TWO, JULY 1
Taz and The Rev were on their way to the VTX rally in Denver and ultimately to Yellowstone. I peeled off at Colorado Springs on hwy 24 in route to Pike's Peak. I set up camp in Cascade and then cruised through Garden of the Gods before dark.

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I dined on beef jerky and roasted pecans.

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DAY THREE, JULY 2
I started the day with complimentary pancakes, sausage and coffee at the lodge. Sorry, no pics. At 8am I was at the gate to Pike's Peak highway. The temp at the bottom of the hill was 70f. The view was awesome.

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The road to Pike's Peak is 19 miles long and climbs an astonishing 7,000 feet. The temp at the top: 35 degrees! There were several van loads of mountain bikers being carried to the top so they could coast all the way back down.

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No high speed coasting for old Ken though. I gently descended in 1st and 2nd gears, broke camp and headed west on 24 and 9. I always wanted to get one of those shots of a long stretch of road leading to mountains in the distance. Well this will do.

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Hoosier Pass was first, then a right turn at Breckenridge lead me up Boreas Pass Road, unpaved and beautiful.

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On to Loveland Pass.

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The Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel was just to the west so I couldn't resist.

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Too many photo stops and then the rain and darkness prevented me from reaching Rocky Mountain National Park as I'd hoped. I secured a room at the last motel in Granby and let's just say they saw me coming. Don't ever get caught there on a motorcycle in the rain after dark. It'll cost ya.:eek2:

DAY FOUR, JULY 3
Rocky Mountain National Park! The southwest part of Trail Ridge Road was being resurfaced and quite rough but only for a short distance. The view was awesome, as beautiful as I remembered in my youth.

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As I feared, all the campgrounds were full. I pulled up the ranger station at Glacier Basin at 11am in pouring rain. The nice lady ranger at the window let me in to cruise the campground for anyone packing up to check out. Sure enough, #57, got it! The rain subsided and after staking my claim to my little piece of Rocky Mountain territory I rode to Estes Park for some lunch. The sign caught my eye: TEXAS BBQ. How dare they! I had to investigate. this pulled pork sandwich was indeed worthy of the name.

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Estes Park is bustling with tourists.

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I had other plans. I wanted to find the place my dad had taken me (and mom) in the late 60's and early 70's. Endovalley had been closed for a time and restored to be reopened for day use only. I believe I found the spot along the Fall River where we camped. It was a touching moment. I found myself wishing dad was alive to see it again.

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Fall River Road was to be my next endeavor, narrow, one way, unpaved and eventually wet and slick as the rain returned. Needless to say, I was quite cautious.

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I retired to a gorgeous near full moon silhouetting the mountainous horizon, one of those "It doesn't bet any better than this" moments.

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DAY FIVE, JULY 4
It's a beautiful morning.

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Coffee and oatmeal.

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On the road again, south this time on hwy's 7, 72 & 119. Sweet roads for carving, sorry no pics. I needed to make it to Idaho Springs before noon to meet Redleg, a BMW rider from the Denver area.

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Next stop: Mount Evans. The scenery here is indescribable, even more spectacular than Pike's Peak!

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While heading east on 103, Brigitta, Redleg's 87 R80 suffered an input shaft failure and we waited for the tow truck in impending wind, rain and hail. Too bad.

. . . . . . MORE TO COME . . . . .
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
1,021
Location
Beaumont, Texas
Kitchen Pass to Colorado, Part II

DAY SIX, JULY 5
We kicked the day off with a little breakfast at the Red Rocks Grill.

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Why do they call it the "Red Rocks"? "cause it's next to a bunch of RED ROCKS!

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We headed out 285 for a nice view of the Continental Divide at Kenosha Pass. I'd say Maria (his 04 R1150RT) and the Bandit play well together. Bandit likes the altitude too - getting 12mpg better than normal!

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Today we were more successful dodging these rather ominous looking clouds than yesterday.

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Then we continued south on 285 along The Collegiate Peaks while resisting the urge to get a closer look on the numerous unpaved roads leading up to them.

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We followed The Arkansas River for miles. Awesome!

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A quick pass through the parking lot of Royal Gorge (I'm too cheap to shell out $24 to cross the bridge) and on to Skyline Drive. FANTASTIC!

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DAY SEVEN, JULY 6

Time to head for home. I-25 south was completely closed at Walsenburg. I couldn't see sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the hwy 12 detour all the way to Trinadad so I rode back to Pueblo and took 50 to 287. It may have been a 120 mile mistake but at least I was in the wind. US287 in Eastern Colorado is excruciatingly straight and boring. Colorado is next door to Kansas for a REASON!

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Wind power as far as the eye can see.

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The Bandit hit 70k in Oklahoma. I reached my destination, Palo Duro State Park at dusk with storm clouds on my heels. A young couple with thick German accents checking in ahead of me had a thousand questions for the ranger on duty. Otherwise I might have had time to set the tent up before the deluge. That's ok, the storm passed as quickly as it blew in.

DAY EIGHT, JULY 7
I enjoyed the sunrise over the rim of the canyon.

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Some nice folks from Louisiana were camped across the way.

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The life of a Harley rider: eat, ride, sleep . . . . . . . POLISH!

Today would be another 12 hour day in the saddle spent mostly around 6,000rpm (75mph) It was a 654 mile slab ride home. I learned a few things today:

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If you're in Clarendon, Texas and staying at the "It'll Do Motel" (which I wasn't) where do you eat? Why here I suppose . . . . . .

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. . . . . but don't go out of your way, the food truly was nuttin' fancy.

I didn't get a pic but I did see the meaning of irony: On the side of the road was a truck and lowboy trailer piled high with new tires . . . . . . . . . with a flat tire.

It was a great ride, 3,167 miles - can't wait to go back to Colorado!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
4,622
Location
Jennings,La.
Great pictures Ken. I was in that area last month but didn't get to Mt Evans. ;-(. Fantastic pictures. Love that motel and cafe`. Since I generally just eat at little gas station / store/ dellys' when traveling, any food is good to go. ;-).
 

Duke

Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
4,620
Location
The Woodlands & Woden, TX
EXCELLENT! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Thanks for taking the time to put this RR together. Your photos are a great reminder of some of my rides up through there. Taking that Bandit on street tires no less down those muddy, slick dirt roads, I'm sure was exciting for you.
 
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