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Sam and friends take on the rain and rocks in Colorado

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Way earlier in this thread you saw a few pics of this old mining structure:

DSCN0699.jpg


Here are a few more interior pics. The construction was remarkable. Sam knew quite a bit about it:

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Vinny

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Sorry I have been busy or out of town for the last week. Thanks John for keeping up with the posts/pics.
Day 5 : time to get out of Ouray .
We decided to move camp. It's always hard to leave that beautiful area but the rains made it an easier decision. As we packed up camp, our neighbor on the next camp came by for a chat. We thought of going to Taylor park or the Leadville area ( mosquito pass ) . He raved about the single track areas at Taylor park so the decision was made to head to that area. We only had 2 days of riding left before having to head back. Going away from our tow vehicle made the return on paved roads longer but it sounded like it was worth the effort.

We went north on 550 passed Ridgeway. A couple of miles later we turned right to go over Cimarron pass and Castle Rock. It was a great road. Very easy but supper scenic . Lots of grasslands, ranches and mountain views. We covered ground quickly . Cimarron road connects to Hwy 50. At that point we rode hwy for about 30 mile. Passed gunnison reservoir and made it to Gunnison . While the boys went into a motorcycle shop for supplies I looked into Trip Advisor for a good place for lunch. We agreed that The Power Stop sounded good for burgers.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60740-d3660952-Reviews-Power_Stop-Gunnison_Colorado.html

Please do yourself a favor and stop there the next time you visit Gunnison. Great place. Burgers are amazing, full bar, clean, good service. I even had a free beer. They had a promotion; head or tails, if you get it right, beer is free of charge. I won. It's a gas station also. One stop shop. Liked it so much we ate there on the way back too.
 

Vinny

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Instead of taking the usual ( and beautiful ) ride up 135 and 742 to Taylor park, I took the guys a little further east on hwy 50 and turned north on 76. That took us over Cumberland pass and into Silver Plume area. Passed that we made it to Taylor Park. Looking for camp wasn't too hard. Lots of places close and far from civilization. We decided on a place that gave us lots of room and was close to the reservoir store/gas station.

After setting up camp quickly we rode some of the easy trails close to camp . We also took some nice jumps and played with the cattle that roams free.
I bought a book of atv trails to give us a guide of what's available. It was very helpful. You could ride that area for 2 weeks and not get bored. We only had 24 hours. Camp food was good and a couple of Coors lights ( the only beer available at the store ) made the night a nice one.

Guess what? It rained again. We just couldn't get away from being wet. None of us had much issue with the rain, it was just uncomfortable.
 

Vinny

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Day 6: plan is to go over Taylor pass and into Aspen. Sam and John hadn't been there and wanted to see the town.
We changed our plan when we found the roads to the pass in a bad state of erosion or impassable due to a river.
The second plan became Ptarmigan lakes. We soon found that trail to be tough also. It went up a river of rocks and fast moving water. I could see the indecision on the guys so I insisted we do that trail and the guys set their minds on it too. I rode the KLR for a change. That monster has great torque and it will just go where it's pointed. I had fun pushing it around. We had a few tough areas to go over but we all did just fine on them.
There was a nice detour to the left facing mountain to Ptarmigan and we decided to go try it. Lots of very small , loose rock and steep hills with no margin of error on that trail. We came to about 20 feet from the top and the snow stopped our progress. There was talk of just shoveling the snow and making it to the end but it soon changed to just leaving the bikes and hiking the last bit. Fantastic views all around. Colorado is amazing!
 

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Vinny

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It was around noon when we took the same trail back. It went from blue sky to crazy thunder in a couple of minutes. As we went down lighting and hail started. The hail made everything white in quick order. The trail was a river of white and very hard to ride since we couldn't see what was a rock vs fast moving water. Once the lighting was on top of us we had to leave the bikes on the river/trail and go take shelter a hundred yards away. We pulled out a large trash bag and stood there just waiting for the main part of the storm to pass.
 

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Vinny

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Once the big part of the storm passed we continued. The water on the trail was running fast so it took some of the hail away and we could see a little better. It sure was cold ! The trail was just as tough on the way down. I'm glad none of us had a fall. If the trail was tough without the rain you can just imagine what it was like during the storm.
Once out of that trail we went to the Dorchester camp area and took shelter at a forest service cabin. I was able to finally put on my rain attire ( the storm didn't give me a chance before) . Once I warmed up.....of course the rain stopped and blue sky showed up again.
We had our minds to head back to camp and just enjoy the ride back. John actually did do just that ( we later found out he also decided on his second night at a cabin on this trip) Sam and myself thought we would ride a little longer.
The innkeeper of the cabin mentioned Flag Mountain as a good ride. We decided on including Flag mountain on a long loop that also included Italian mountain trail.
The ride to Flag mountain was great and the flag and views where incredible.
Sam noticed we used more gas than we thought so far. The loop we decided on would have to be shortened. A look at the map showed a little trail that would cot our ride by 2/3 . We decided to take it......big mistake.
 

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Vinny

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I'm going to attach a link to ADV rider so you can read what happened next:doh:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998337


I'm also going to copy my explanation here for the ones that don't want to go read that one.

Thanks for all the concerns. We extended ourselfs on gasoline. The plan was to go from Taylor Park over the pass and into Aspen. That got derailed when some of the hills proved to tough for the KLR. Once we headed up to another area (Ptarmigan lake) and back we had used 1/2 a tank. It rained and hailed on us coming back to the Ranger office close to a campground. We dried up and the KLR decided to go back to camp. The 2 ktm Riders talked to the Ranger about some rides in the area that might provide a challenge. He recommended a long loop (20 miles) that included American flag mountain and Italian Creek. Once we finished American Flag, we noticed that we had used more gas than we wanted. A quick GPS check showed a single track that would only be 8 miles long and would drop us into road #748. Then we could take #742 back to camp.
Little did we know the toughness of the little trail. It was muddy and steep with large boulder to go up, around and down on. After an hour we only did about 2 miles and used a lot of gas doing it. We decided to turn back to#759 since we knew we didn't have enough gas to make it much farther than that road. At that point my partner with the Spot decided that if he pushed the help button his wife would get in touch with the KLR rider and he would come to the location of the Spot, then we could send him out for gas. We also sent text but signal was non existent.
Little did we know of the consequences of pushing the button. Both our wife's started calling the authority and my brother. They couldn't get in touch with the KLR rider.
From the previous posts you can see what was going on while we rode back to a main road.
The KTM 690 run out of gas at the start of a shortcut to camp. I (KTM 530) didn't know he ran out of gas so I kept going till the end of the shortcut. After 5 minutes I had to go back up. There are a couple of tough spots if going up but it was fun getting over them. I found my friend walking down the trail towards me with gas can in tow.
Now we had to ride 2 up on the 530 thru the shortcut. He had to get off a couple of times. We rode all the way back to the guard station. The very nice gentleman was happy to see us again. We told him we needed gas and he said he always kept 15 gallons around for just that occasion. At that point I asked my friend to send out the OK signal on the Spot device and he did.
We rode 2 up via the long way to his bike. Once filled we rode back to Taylor reservoir in the rain. We just made it to the restaurant with 10 minutes to spare. We started checking our phones and apologized to our wifes.

My friend had to file a report with the sheriff the next day. No one was dispatched so no charges.
Thanks everyone for your quick response.
 
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Vinny

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We made it to the restaurant by camp with 10 minutes to spare. The waitress was very nice to serve these two wet, stinky , hungry and muddy riders.
After that we headed to camp. No John at camp. He was at a warm cabin with shower and snacks. We couldn't think about doing anything other than go lay down and sleep. :giveup:
Taylor Park showed us who is boss.
 

Vinny

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Last day :
I woke up feeling refreshed.

In retrospect the day before was one of my best riding experiences ever. I was with two very capable riders, in Colorado ( my favorite) and I was riding a wonderful motorcycle . I'm in great health and no one or no bike was hurt while riding some of the hardest trails of my life. That's what I wanted when this trip was planned and that's what Colorado gave me. I could of done without the hail but that just adds to the adventure.

John had packed his camp the day before. On this day, Sam and myself packed our things and placed them on the bikes.
We made it to John's cabin and finished up the packing. I was on reserve so I headed to get some gas. No gas ! ! Pumps are down and no suggestions from the owners of when they could be back on. I made a quick call to Sam and told him he might have to get some gas from someone at the cabins.
We had to make it to Gunnison or Buena Vista for gas.
Sam acquired some free gas from a fellow rider. It was only a couple of gallons so we had to be careful with our right hands. The decision was made to go to Gunnison since it's mostly downhill to get there.
We made it ! :rider: and we get to eat at the Power gas station too.
After a nice brunch we went west on hwy 50 and then south on hwy 149.

Hwy 149 was another fantastic surprise ride. In readable views all around and for many miles. It was really overwhelming at times. We passed Lake City and missed some rains by having coffee in Crede. John was also able to visit a rock show ( not music, actual rocks) he had been looking at rocks all week but the ones that interested him where under glass at a mine in Crede; go figure.

Well, 149 to 160; west on 160 to Pagosa Springs.

We rode to the truck and put the bikes on the trailer. All our wet and stinky stuff went on the back of the truck and we headed to a hotel for the night . After a nice shower Sam and me went to where it all started , Pagosa Brewing company. Had another delicious meal and another flight of beers.
Next morning we drove to Texas without incident .
 

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Vinny

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We arrived to Austin with heat in the high 90 range. I threw my things in the garage and said bye to Sam.

Thank you Sam . This ride was your dream, I destroyed your dream but you still had fun.
Hope we get to do it again.

John was still in Colorado for another week . I was happy for him but sad for me. He kept sending pictures and comments of how great it was and how it wasn't raining anymore. Thanks for that John.

image.jpg
 
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Vinny

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I'll add some more pictures of the last days when I get a chance .
I'm sure John has a few more too.
 
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Last day :
I woke up feeling refreshed.

...

Hwy 149 was another fantastic surprise ride. In readable views all around and for many miles. It was really overwhelming at times. We passed Lake City and missed some rains by having coffee in Crede. John was also able to visit a rock show ( not music, actual rocks) he had been looking at rocks all week but the ones that interested him where under glass at a mine in Crede; go figure.
...
you are so right!

149 has so much going for it

it's a great surface running thru a bit of just about everything COLORADO has to offer

MORE PICS PLEASE

sw
 
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One of the crew used to say something like "Great adventures don't always seem so great while they're happening."

Glad y'all handled the situation and made it out safely. Very enjoyable report! Thanks for sharing. :thumb:
 
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Thanks to all for the positive comments. It was one of the best trips I've ever been on.

The next series of pics, we packed up camp near Ouray and our goal was to end up in Taylor Park. We left Ouray, went North on 550. About 10 miles past Ridgeway, Vinny led us off the highway onto a dirt road (Vinny: was it Owl Creek Pass?). It was a great day of riding.

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Wildlife:
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Lunch in Gunnison at a place Vinny mentioned above:

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Can't have a Ride Rpt w/o one of these pics, right?
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For maybe 10 miles the road stayed close to this aquaduct that was moving a lot of water down from the mountains to the farmers in the valley:
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We go to Hwy 50, headed east along the Blue Mesa Reservoir, thru the Curencanti Nat'l Rec Area. Stopped for lunch in Gunnison. Headed east on 50 about 10 miles and then north on 76 toward Taylor Park Reservoir and "Disney World" for riding.

Passed thru the small town of Pitkin:
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stopped to put on rain gear in Pitkin:
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I know I got some more good pics of this day above (July 30), I'm not sure where they are. I posted the pics above in multiple posts Sam and Vinny, can add comments and insert more pics, if they wish.
 
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I just went up and inserted a few pics.

Below we arrived in Taylor Park and chose this spot for camp:

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We dropped most of the gear off our bikes and went out for a little exploring. There were RV's, ATV's everywhere:

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Our campsite was in the hills in the background. Here's a view of some cabins for rent:
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Close up of Cabins:
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Here's the Taylor Park Store:
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Back to camp for final setup:
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fire, smores, end of a very good day:
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Rsquared

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Looks like a fun trip. I hope to make it back to the Rocky's next year, but until then I'll have to live vicariously through everyone's ride reports. Thanks for sharing.
 
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The ride report continues!

We awake in Taylor Park on July 31 and start to plan the Big Day!
(Sam and Vinny do most of the planning. I do most of the pics and just agree on the route)

IMG_6704.jpg


Sam thinks it through:
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I hand Sam the cam, and take a min to capture perhaps the only known existing pic of Vinny and my self. And we have smiles that could generate enough power to supply the town of Tin Cup for about 8.3376 minutes (more or less).
Vinny is the handsome one on the left:

IMG_6706.jpg
 
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The plan was to go to Aspen up this little old trail. We had no idea what we were in for. Sam takes the lead but drops his bike about 5 mins in, and Sam is an excellent rider! We walk up to confer, "Man, are we crazy? This is HARD riding! Are we crazy!?" Vinny folds his hands in kind of a sagacious way, and takes an assessment. (I am riding the KLR Walrus and I am ready to turn around!)

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(The pics do not really show how hard it was, believe me!).

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Bikes in waiting for instructions:

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A few 4 wheelers come by to pass and we need to get out of their way:

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No, we are not crazy. We are wise. We want to live another day (and stuff like that).

So, we picked another route that we hoped would take us to Aspen. But after riding easy roads, we came to this dead end:

IMG_6716.jpg


Fearless Explorer Sam C. went ahead a bit. The road turned into a very narrow, wet, muddy trail thru the woods that was not ridden much. Since there had been a lot of rain in the area, we expected that this trail would be slow, muddy and a LOT of work, and The Walrus (ie, me on the KLR) would slow us down. To get to Aspen, we needed to cover ground fast, and we are burning daylight. So we looked for other options:

IMG_6717.jpg


So, we decide not to attempt Aspen (too far) and stay local. We'll head up toward Lake Ptarmigan.

https://goo.gl/maps/RbxOo

That can't be too hard, right? I mean, what's the worse that can happen?!?

(stay tuned....).

Hey Vinny: you got some good pics of all 3 of us at this stop. Please share!
 
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We pick another route that goes up a mountain near Lake Ptarmigan. A short distance up it, it was steep, very rocky, and literally had running water coming down the trail. It was literally a steep, shallow creek. I still had more than a week ahead on my 2nd phase in CO, so I told Sam and Vinny they could go on, and I'd meet them later. Vinny offered to ride the WaKLRuS, and give me his much more agile KTM. So, I agree to press on. It was so steep and difficult, none of us made it up w/o stalling.

Here's where we came to rest. Look at the water running thru the rocks:

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We stopped not far from the top to take pics:

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Just a few more turns ahead and we'd be at the top. Just 30 ft from the top we ran into a minor obstacle that slowed our progress: a large block of snow right across the trail. Here Sam attempts a valiant effort to dig through it:

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Vinny Supervises:

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The view down from the ice. We came up a long way:

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We decide not to cut thru the snow, and not to lift the bikes up onto the snow bank, (we could have) and bravely, recalling the Motto of The Trailboss, "Safety Third", we load up on food and supplies, not fearful of hail, rain, snow, sleet, sleep deprivation, attacking packs of starving, ravenous, omnivourous marmots, or, even, run on sentences, or, excessive commas, or other stuff, and we leave the bikes behind, and head out, on foot, to finish, the task, of, reaching, the, top!

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It was a long, lonely journey:

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About 10 minutes later, the two brave explorers reach the top and stare in wonder ( I guess that's what they were doing. I couldn't really tell, I was too far away).

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Sam strikes a pose:

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I too, get my pic taken, not knowing if I will ever return safely from this Dangerous Journey. It was an Epic Day, and Epic Time. An Epic Tee-Shirt.
So, I force a smile:

IMG_6744.jpg


Little did we know, that heading down, Vinny and I would be tested yet again...

And, what I said about the attacking marmots herds? They have been know to attack unsuspecting hikers. It says so on the internet:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxtinqZ_hkg"]Marmotte Attaque - YouTube[/ame]
 
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Here's a vid of some of the easier riding on the way up:

[ame="http://youtu.be/Q8GiYv7ddDU"]Sam and Vinny ride by - YouTube[/ame]

Here's Sam riding down from the top of the mountain in the previous pics above:

[ame="http://youtu.be/eFqHN11GWtc"]Colorado - Riding Down - YouTube[/ame]
 
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jqueen

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Hey guys - any chance one of you might have saved your GPS tracks from this trip? It's early, but I'm thinking about next summer's trip (trying to do one per year), and this looks pretty awesome!
 

Vinny

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Hey guys - any chance one of you might have saved your GPS tracks from this trip? It's early, but I'm thinking about next summer's trip (trying to do one per year), and this looks pretty awesome!
Sam had a SPOT and said he was going g to download the tracks for future reference.
I didn't use one; paper maps.
You might send him a PM.
 
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Great report. But to have not included a pic of pie at Tincup Charlie's is sad indeed! For future reference, at altitude choc is preferred.
 
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Great report. But to have not included a pic of pie at Tincup Charlie's is sad indeed! For future reference, at altitude choc is preferred.
Hey Irish! I KNEW I was missing something!

This gives me the perfect reason to go BACK next summer !!

Thank you!
 
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After we headed down from the high point above, I took a wrong turn and briefly got separated from Sam and Vinny. They went up to Ptarmigan Lake, where they continued to have Adventure. When I found Vinny, we did not know where Sam went. We learned later that he returned down the mountain on his own ahead of us.

Vinny and I headed down together and suddenly we were in the middle of an intense hail, rain, LIGHTNING and thunder storm. It was intense (did I say that already?) :storm: :storm: :storm:


Of course, it started very suddenly. The hail was pea-size or smaller and the rain was very heavy. I had never seen so much hail and rain at the same time. We passed by some small ponds and puddles and the impact on the surface was amazing to see. It was surreal!

We were caught in the open and we going as fast as we could to get back below tree-line into some cover. A few days earlier, we had already discussed some stories of riders at high elevation getting hit by lightning. Some had near-death experiences. Some worse.

All that was on my mind, and I'm sure it was on Vinny's too. We did see some lightning around us, too.

I started wondering what it's like to be hit by lightning. What would I feel? Would my bike be ok? Would it be melted? Would it have any resale value, since I would not be riding it again? Do I have full-coverage?!


Also: When was the last time I went to Confession (1981)? Did I tell my wife I love her enough? If I don't make it, who will I meet? ( :angel: or :evil:). :pray: Does Vinny REALLY have to be the last person I see on earth, in CO : ( !?

And I thought, "maybe I should have listened to that Life insurance Sales guy, and bought the life insurance! I think I'll call him as soon as we get below the tree-line, and give my my credit card number!!" :deal:

I also thought, "man I'd LOVE to stop and get a few :photo: in case we don't survive -- but this is not the time!"

But, fortunately for me we got into the trees w/o experiencing a surge of voltage. Vinny made the smart recommendation that we get off the bikes and get away from them, as they could attract a lightning strike (not to mention we both have highly magnetic personalities, and that sure doesn't help us now). So, we parked the bikes and walked a few hundred feet away and stood under a tree for about 20 or 30 mins, with a trash bag draped over our heads.

After the thunder and lightning passed we emerged from our hiding. We survived. If we had not, this ride report would have been a lot shorter.

My camera battery was dead, so Vinny captured these two pics:

CAM01537.jpg


CAM01539.jpg


Vinny described this event in posts 108 and 109 above, posted on Page 6, on Aug 21. He's a lot faster than me in more ways that one.
 
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For me and Vinny, on the ride down the trail almost the entire way turned into a creek, covered in white hail. The small creeks we crossed were wider and faster. We made it down w/o incident, and found Sam waiting for us at the bottom under some trees.

The 3 of us were pretty wet. There was a ranger station a few miles away at a location called, "Dorchester". We rode there to take a break, and get dry.

This cabin was occupied by a couple that spends the summer there as volunteers. This was their 15th summer there. They were very helpful to us. The cabin was still very remote and did not have cell service. They did not even have Papa John's Pizza Delivery!!

This area was one the site of a very small mining town. The cabin was the only remaining original structure. The other structures had become unstable and were determined to be hazardous to the public, and were torn down by the Park Service.

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The Cabin Host told us about a nearby Flag Mountain (I think that's what it was called) that is a popular ride. Sam and Vinny spent about 30 mins talking to him, studying maps and planning to go there on "The Next Big Adventure".

I think it was about 2 or 3 pm, or so. I was thinking, "that last adventure was enough for me for today."

The next day we had a long trip ahead. We were returning to Pagosa Springs. So, understandably, S & V wanted to cover as much ground as possible around Taylor Park.

The next day, I'd be ending my first half of my CO trip and would be starting my second half. On this trip I had broken some personal records, but still had not broken any personal bones or personal bike parts and wanted to keep that record.

So, I decided to head back to town and wait for them. I expected to see them again in 2 - 3 hours. What we did not know is that they would not be back for about 6 hours.

Here they are ready for "The Next Big Adventure":

IMG_6746.jpg


This was the ride where one of the 2 bikes ran out of gas. You can read about it above on post # 110 by Vinny, page 6.

On the way back, I suddenly realized I was getting very close to hitting reserve on my gas tank and there was no way I could have gone with them. What did not occur to me was, "where are they getting their gas?"
 
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