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Riding the San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado 7/29 - 8/3

Tourmeister

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:tab The accident we saw was North of Cedaredge on Hwy 65. It runs over the Grand Mesa. It was near the base of the Mesa just where the road starts to get twisty. The person I saw going into the back of the ambulance was a 50-60ish looking male with grey hair. I also saw an undamaged 1200 GS parked a short bit down hill from the ambulance, but did not see a second bike or rider. The corner was nothing special or challenging. So I suspect the rider must have been going REALLY fast and lost control or perhaps there was another vehicle/animal involved?

:tab The incident with the helicopter was when we were coming down Cinnamon Pass toward Lake City. I never figured out what that was all about.

:tab On any of the passes around Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, and Lake City, there are TONS of people. When I was sitting on high on the West side of Imogene Pass with no rear brake, I was not real worried. I figured one way or another, someone would be along that could help me get the bike down even if it meant strapping it to the back of a jeep or something. Worst case, I'd leave it, ride down with someone, then have to hire someone to retrieve it (which would no doubt have been VERY expensive!).

:tab I would be more worried about riding the single track stuff alone. In the event of an injury or going off the trail from loss of control, you might not be seen or found for quite some time, if at all. I think I'd be carrying one of those personal locator devices... Just in case. Cell service was present on many of the major passes, but not everywhere.

:tab While having lunch in Gateway on Hwy 141, I visited with a retired Sheriff. He had many stories of riders going missing, including one where a rider went off and landed on a bike/rider that had been missing for a long time. Neither the later or past rider survived. However, the later rider had a personal locator device which made it possible to find him. The medical examiner determined that he crashed because of some medical issue and was likely dead or dying before going off the road. They determined the first guy had died from injuries and exposure after the crash. So you never know...

:tab Riding smart is a BIG issue in places like this, or any other remote areas. You have to know your limits. You have to be willing to turn around. You just have to be smart about it. There is no guarantee, but you can definitely stack the odds in your favor with good preparation. Even so, there is always a risk of injury and even death. However, I think that is part of what makes it so attractive. It is that which makes you feel so alive while you are doing this kind of activity. Here in the safety and comfort of my office... I don't feel so alive :zen:
 
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houston
I was riding 26a towards Imogene sp? Pass. A family had rented a Polaris 4 wheel 2 seater. Coming around the corner I noticed on of the front wheels was missing. Well it was actually broken but still attached. I felt bad for them as they had rented 3 vehicles and their day was over. I helped them move it out of the line and offered to give the dad a ride back to Ouray. He decided he would push the gps alert button and wait for the company to come pick him up. I hope it worked out for them.
 

Tourmeister

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Me too. There's gotta be some easy roads up there too.
:tab There are roads that are MUCH easier than the high passes. Owl Creek Pass is one, to the East of Ridgway. CR 25, or the Blue Mesa Cut Off road, goes between US 50 not far from where Hwy 92 and US 50 meet, and drops to the SE down to Hwy 149, where you can then head South into Lake City. OR... you can run West a bit on 149 to Powderhorn and pick up Cebolla Creek Rd (CR 27) and run that South to FS-788. You can then take 788 West to 149 and drop out at Slumgullion Pass South of Lake City, or you can run it East to Hwy 114. Just East of CR-25 is CR 26, which also runs between US 50 and Hwy 149. I've not ridden it, but I suspect it is similar to CR-25. The Divide Road (FS-402) that runs South to North along the Uncompahgre Plateau West of Montrose is easy. Last Dollar Highway North of Telluride is moderately difficult for big bikes just because it gets rocky and steep in places. IF wet, I would not attempt it just because it gets messy. Kebler and Ohio Passes near Crested Butte are supposed to be easy, but I have yet to ride them. Cottonwood Pass between Taylor Reservoir and Buena Vista is easy. Stevens Gulch Rd North of Paonia on Hwy 133 is easy. It runs North to FS 265, CR-330 and CR 342 (Penninsula Rd), and then on into Rifle. There are no doubt many others, but keep in mind that even moderately bad weather can turn easy roads into a nightmare in a hurry in the mountains!

:tab Generally, unpaved roads that follow valleys are easy. Unpaved roads that go up and over the mountains will be hard. It helps to look at a topo map to make that determination if you are not familiar with the terrain/roads.
 
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Preacher was kind of down Sunday. The moto accident on Molass pass was a couple of his friends. The girl who didn't make it had worked with him at some point. He said they pulled out to pass and right into an oncoming truck.

Guy in Silverton said they had six fatalities on Black Bear during the first month it was open this year. Folks can dang sure get into trouble in these mountains.

As much as I enjoy single track, I won't ride it alone. ST is different. Outside the technical aspects, there may be only one group of bikes down that particular trail every three weeks. Not the kind of situation anyone wants to be in with problems. I carry a spot but still have no desire to spend the night out on a mountain... I'm a certified wuss about being cold and outrunning bears, mountain lions and such. Not seeking my lower position in the food chain.

All this makes the San Juans sound bad, and they're not. Almost any rider can find incredible beauty and seriously fun stuff to ride here. There's something for almost anyone - BUT - it's also just as easy for anyone to get in over their heads right quick. This no place for bravado and excessive testosterone.
 

Tourmeister

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Preacher was kind of down Sunday. The moto accident on Molass pass was a couple of his friends. The girl who didn't make it had worked with him at some point. He said they pulled out to pass and right into an oncoming truck.
Sorry to hear that. I was not aware of that accident.
 
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In Telluride today. Rode the 1190 in for a little recon this morning. Back this afternoon (truck) in search of the perfect margarita and - of coarse- ice cream. Rode the gondola down from mountain village into town. Hope I can find it later. Retired CIA chap speaking at the library this evening. The one who wrote "sleeping with the devil" and a few other titles. I've read a couple of his books. He's going to set us straight on the whole Trump/Russia thing. Looks to be a cozy affair.

Heard a couple of motorcycles heading down 145 toward Rico this morning. A smoker and a couple of strokers. Few R1150's and R1200 GSA's with full baggage here today. Nothing but jeeps coming into town from the Bear. I'm hoping to scare up a crew in the morning to ride the Wilson Mesa trail. It's reported as a milder single track that runs along the north border of the Lizzard Head wilderness. I've had the track for years but never run it.

Still a lot of smoke in the air. Yesterday the sunset over Sunshine Mt and Wilson Peak was hidden in a red layer. Radio says there are a couple of local fires to blame. Rumor round the campfire is the train actually started the 416 fire near Durango. Seems they have a guy who's job is to put out train fires everyday but with everything so bloomin dry, the 416 just got away from him. Looks to be raining up on the Bear and Imogene right now... dry as a cob here in the low country.

If folks in Telluride didn't have their cell phones I'm pretty sure they'd shrivel up and die. Maybe I've just been out in the woods too long... More later...
 
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rg dont now how long your going to be there but me and my buddys wil be outside of creed sat afternoon .we love single track all ovr 50 expert level riders .one 30 yr old .i left your phone number at work .pm it too me if you want tptal of 6 of us be safe :rider::rider::rider:
 

Tourmeister

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:tab Okay, so here are the tracks from the routes I did each day. Some of the other guys did different routes or didn't ride at all a few days. I think all of us did the first three days, then after that folks started doing a bit of their own thing as their butts directed... :-P

[Gotta do a "Right Click, Save As" on the link above]

Red tracks are small bike days and blue tracks are big bike days.
 

Tourmeister

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On the small bike days, gas really isn't an issue as you'll rarely go more than 30-40 miles without access to gas. You can get gas in Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, Lake City, Creede, Rico, and Durango. Most of the small bike days were less than 100 miles total. Even on the big bike days it really wasn't an issue.

Now, if you head West into Utah, it can be a BIG issue. I've done some small bike days out there where you need to be able to run about 200 miles on a tank.
 
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On the small bike days, gas really isn't an issue as you'll rarely go more than 30-40 miles without access to gas. You can get gas in Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, Lake City, Creede, Rico, and Durango. Most of the small bike days were less than 100 miles total. Even on the big bike days it really wasn't an issue.

Now, if you head West into Utah, it can be a BIG issue. I've done some small bike days out there where you need to be able to run about 200 miles on a tank.
Thanks Scott! I have an IMS 3.2 gallon tank & get 125 miles to a tank before the light comes on. So I guess I won't be going to Utah!
 

Tourmeister

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Thanks Scott! I have an IMS 3.2 gallon tank & get 125 miles to a tank before the light comes on. So I guess I won't be going to Utah!
They make bigger tanks ;-) It's worth it to be able to ride out there as the riding is fantastic.
 
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They make bigger tanks ;-) It's worth it to be able to ride out there as the riding is fantastic.
The only way I would put a bigger tank on is if I had a complete 2nd tank with the fuel pump & wiring so I could do a quick change just for the long ride. I take my bike to the MX track all the time so I don't want a gigantic tank on it all the time.
 
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Bryan, TX
I guess that's what I'm trying to slowly figure out.

When is the right time for each bike?
Get the book "4WD Adventures: Colorado" by Massey & Wilson. Other states are also available. If they rate the road 1, any bike is OK. 2, I wouldn't take a Gold wing or most Harleys. 3, I did #3 Cinnamon Pass on a 650 Seca, but messed up my pipes and #3 . 4, more fun on a little bike. 5, most rental companies will not allow you to take their 4WD vehicles on 5 or higher. That being said, Larry Buckley rode his 1200 GS over #5 rated Black Bear and said he enjoyed every minute of it.


My Seca 650 above Animas Fork, looking back toward Silverton.
https://ctbids.com/#!/storeDetail/130/0
 
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I guess that's what I'm trying to slowly figure out.

When is the right time for each bike?
Get the book "4WD Adventures: Colorado" by Massey & Wilson. Other states are also available. If they rate the road 1, any bike is OK. 2, I wouldn't take a Gold wing or most Harleys. 3, I did #3 Cinnamon Pass on a 650 Seca, but messed up my pipes. 4, more fun on a little bike. 5, most rental companies will not allow you to take their 4WD vehicles on 5 or higher. That being said, Larry Buckley rode his 1200 GS over #5 rated Black Bear and said he enjoyed every minute of it.
 
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Joined
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Rusty
Get the book "4WD Adventures: Colorado" by Massey & Wilson. Other states are also available. If they rate the road 1, any bike is OK. 2, I wouldn't take a Gold wing or most Harleys. 3, I did #3 Cinnamon Pass on a 650 Seca, but messed up my pipes. 4, more fun on a little bike. 5, most rental companies will not allow you to take their 4WD vehicles on 5 or higher. That being said, Larry Buckley rode his 1200 GS over #5 rated Black Bear and said he enjoyed every minute of it.
I just ordered the book from Amazon, thanks for the info!
 
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