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The Great Divide Part II, and more

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX

First of all I would like to thank those that made this trip possible. My wife, Sandy, for understanding my need to do crazy stuff like this. Perry, who follows along without question and tolerates all of my navigation errors with a smile. Kurt, Rusty, and Scott who all agreed to monitor the SPOT and help Sandy to find us in case of emergency. My sister Leslie and her family for letting us use her home in Colorado Springs as our base camp and fixing some awesome meals. :eat: The rest of my friends and family for cheering us on.

The Continental Divide Trail is a route composed of a series of dirt roads that follows the continental divide as close as possible from the Canadian Border to the Mexican Border while staying on public right of ways. Originally developed as a ride for mountain bicycles by the Adventure Cycling Association, the roads are County Roads, US Forest Service trails, and State roads. I'm not sure but from anecdotal experience approximately 85% of the entire trial is dirt varying from well groomed very wide roads to seldom traveled and never maintained two track jeep trails. There are even a few sections of single track along the way. Last summer we rode the northern 2/3 of the Continental Divide Trail from the northern border to Salida, CO. You can read all about that trip HERE, if you want. We were limited by time available so we were left with some unfinished business to take care of. This trip was conceived on the way home last summer. Planning began immediately. Dates for vacation were reserved at the earliest possible opportunity. To make the trip more interesting I decided to make a loop out of the ride to include the New Mexico portion of the Shadow of the Rockies trail. We would also use part of the Trans America Trail as it shares the route with the Shadow of the Rockies in southern Colorado. Here is the overall map of our ride. Nearly 2300 miles in 8 days.


Here is a shot of my gear piled on the dining table to give an idea of what I would carry on the bike. As little as possible but it still would end up being about 40 lbs.


We would haul the bikes to Colorado Springs were my sister would let us use her home as a base of operations. We left P'ville early and arrived in CO Springs just after sunset.

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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 1: 9/16/2010

We had no trouble waking up in the morning with anticipation of the ride. But, we weren't in a hurry either. There was a long way to go and unlike many other rides we have done there wasn't any kind of schedule other than to ride, eat, sleep and repeat the next day. Leslie took care of breakfast and we did final prep and loading of the bikes. With bellies and bikes fully loaded we were ready to hit the trail. Bikes: 2000 DR-Z 400 and 2004 KLR 650. After this trip my DR-Z has 26,500 miles and Perry's KLR has 36,000+


This is the view my sister gets every day leaving her neighborhood. Pike's Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. Not bad.


Our route was loaded into my Zumo 550 gps and Karen would be whispering directions into my ear for the trip. I've tried many of the different voice programs and found the Australian accent to have the nicest tone with the no perceptible attitude. The American and English versions get snooty when they have to recalculate due to wrong turns.

We rolled out around 0830 and had to make our way across CO Springs. The weather was perfect. West of IH 25 we went through some very posh neighborhoods on our way to Cheyenne Mountain. This is just one of the homes we passed. Not too shabby.


We stared to climb very quickly and were directed onto Old Stage Rd. which continues to climb high above The Springs and heads to the west side of Cheyenne Mt. In less than 30 minutes from leaving base we were riding through pine and aspen forests on dirt roads. It took a while for me to get my "dirt legs" as I had not been on any dirt rides since our trip to Big Bend in the spring. So soon into the ride the beauty of the trees was breathtaking.


Before getting to far we were treated to one last look at CO Springs.


Old Stage Rd soon transitions into Gold Camp Rd which would take us all the way to the mining town of Victor. We took one detour which which was labeled on the maps as Short Cut. It cut the corner on a large lopping section of Gold Camp Rd. It saved about a mile. It was a short up hill followed by a short downhill section. It was obvious the jeeps had been using this and there was no maintenance. This would be the first challenge with ruts and loose rocks. Here is the view from the crest of the hill looking down.


We both made it though with little difficulty and a couple of jabs on my part. Back on the main road we continued west as we skirted the south slopes of Pike's Peak. Like many roads in Colorado this is and old railroad route converted to dirt road. There are many cuts through rock and even a cool tunnel to go through. You have to go slow and stick to the far right due to many blind spots.



Gold Camp is a really nice road, well maintained, that could be driven by any type vehicle and for me is the preferred way to get from CO Springs to Cripple Creek and Victor.

Perry on his KLR catching up.




After a couple hours we arrived in Victor, CO. An old mining town that is a town frozen in time. Lots of old mining equipment can be seen by just driving through.



In between Victor and Cripple Creek is the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine. An active open pit mine that produces around 250,000 ounces of gold annually.


Welcome to Cripple Creek, CO.


Cripple Creek is the more tourist oriented of the two sister towns. Complete with casinos and restored hotels this is the place most people visit when in the area. Across the street there was a cool sand sculpture. There had not been any rain around here in about a month.


This is my kind of municipal building; a Colt Firearms add on the side. :clap:


The view down Main St.


We were in need of a rest stop so we thought we would check out the fire station. We speak the lingo so figured we could talk out way in. :trust:


We were greeted by one of the local firefighters and within minutes were invited in to take care of business.


She gave us the cheap tour of the truck room and we exchanged uniform patches, a tradition in the fire service. I try to take a few on every trip for just such and occasion.


Next: Skeletons and the first fall. ;-)
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Skeletons, a fall and pizza.

We continued to head west towards the town of Guffey, CO. This is one of the many eclectic communities we would travel through along this route. A collection of 100 year old cabins and unique individuals just enjoying the life they have away from the rat race. As we came into town we were met by some very cool yard art in the form of skeletons.


Across the street was the tire repair shop/tee shirt/antique store.


This shot helps to remind folk that our route was on public roads but much of the land on either side was private. We spent much time opening and closing gates and crossing cattle guards. There were no bump gates like found in the Texas hill country. Our routine became one that I would ride up to the gate; dismount and open said gate; Perry would ride through and dismount followed by me; then Perry would close and secure the gate. It worked very well.


And this brings us to the first fall of the trip. We were riding through and area of plotted roads that had not been fully developed. Meaning they were overgrown and seldom used. Perfect. The route led us up to a locked gate, no problem. I rode up to the gate to check the status of the chain and lock. Sometimes they will try to fool you with a lock in the middle of the chain yet the chain is only handing on a hook on the post. As I came to a stop at the gate I put my right foot down on top of a small rock that proceeded to roll out from under my foot and over we went. :doh: Of course I waited for Perry to get a good photo.


She was heavy to pick up as she was laying slightly downhill but I managed without assistance. The spot was perfect for this next photo. I'm glad I fell there and got this shot.


After a few recalculations of the route we joined the actual Continental Divide Route just in time to meet our first "Dividers". A husband and wife team from Denver. They had jumped on the trail in Abiguiu, NM and came north to get back home from a rally they had attended in NM. This was their first "off road" trip and they were having a blast.


You can see her smile inside the helmet. A normal condition among dirt riders.


We had covered this section of the route last year so much of the views were familiar as we approached Salida. A little water action.


Some great views of the Collegiate Peaks along the way.


And finally our destination for lunch in Salida, Amicas Pizza and Microbrew.


Yummy. A regular stop for us when in the neighborhood.


Having refueled both bodies and bikes we had to make one more stop for supplies that we either forgot or just needed to pick up for the next week on the trail.


Next: the rest of the first day.
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 1; Marshall Pass and Storm King

After a short run on the highway we got back onto the dirt on Marshall Pass. Another well maintained and well traveled dirt road that is popular among the leafers. Leafers: people who enjoy looking at the leaves changing color. In this neighborhood that means aspen leaves. And they were just starting to come into full golden color.


The first official crossing of the divide and the first posing in front of a sign. Don't worry, we didn't do this for every one but we had to include a few; it's tradition.


After the pass we took a short break in Sargents before heading south along the trail. The Tomichi Creek Trading Post has a well stocked store, a cafe, camping, and cabins that are reasonable if you are in the area whether riding street or trail. We weren't done for the day yet so we took a pass and continued on. This section of the road had some navigation challenges as the old roads had been replaced by a new, wider county road. We missed the turn since we were looking for the old roads. I spotted a two track road that followed a fence line that led to where we should be. After some consideration and spotting a set of fairly fresh knobby tire tracks in the ditch leading to the road I decided to give it a try and after about half a mile we were on the new road. It followed the old road pretty closely but would occasionally get far enough off the planned route that Karen would ask if I wanted to recalculate. On a ride like this that had preplanned routes you are best off to say no when asked to recalculate the route. The Zumo is not as powerful a mapping tool as Mapsource so when rerouting you can easily loose the planned route. If you think this has happened just go back and select the original route and you are back on the track you should be using.

Some of the scenery we passed.



The sun was getting low so I pulled up some preplanned camp sites from my "favorites" list and set my sights on Storm King Campground. A primitive campground provided by the US Forest Service. We pulled in next to a group of hunters out enjoying the muzzle loading season. We set camp in what light was left then started digging into our packs for supper. Perry sliced up some summer sausage, cheese and crackers. I had some Mountain House lasagna that I felt like re-hydrating to add to the meal. It's pretty good for de-hydrated food and I was itching to try my new compact stove.


It's based on the simple soda can stove but made from heavier gauge aluminum and riveted together so it is more durable and holds more fuel. I bought if from a guy on ADV forum that makes them and sells them shipped to your for about $7. It burns alcohol fuel which can be purchased in the form of gas line antifreeze, Heet is one brand name, from most any auto parts store so fuel is readily available. It take less than an ounce of fuel to boil two cups of water. I thought I'd play around a little to show off the flame it produces.


Add the red light from my headlamp.


Fun to play with fire. :trust: We only covered a couple hundred miles but it was quality riding and good for the first day.

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2; Indiana Pass and into New Mexico

The night was pretty cold. I actually had to zip up inside the mummy as the temps were probably near or just below 40. Don't know for sure. We woke before sunrise and started packing in the early light the sun would never get to us at camp as we were in a valley.


Breakfast would wait for Del Norte which was about 30 miles as the crow flies but we aren't crow so I figured it would take a couple hours. The sun was directly in front as we rode east past a few homesteads.


After taking the previous photo Perry rode up next to me and asked if I had dropped this. One of his jobs in following me is to watch for things falling off my bike.


The flag belonged to someone else but since he is from Canada I told him he could keep it. We eventually found ourselves on some very nice two track road that started out like a roller coaster. Small hills of about 8 feet tall each that would roll from one to the next. Smooth surface made for a fun ride. Then across a high middle section.


Finally the road dumped us into a river bed, more of a wash actually, that was full of marble size gravel that went on for about a half mile. My mind wandered to thoughts of having to wrestle a GS Adventure through trails like this and was glad to be on the DRZ. Another navigation challenge when the road we were supposed to use was being rebuilt into a landing strip for the new airport in Del Norte. I could see a new road being cut over to the west so I took off that direction. Sure enough it made a nice loop around the under construction airport and back onto the road we were supposed to be on. Sometime you just have to improvise; pull your head out of the gps screen and go with your gut. We rolled into Del Norte and I gave Perry the assignment of finding a place for brunch. He chose this cafe.


This is the rig that most cyclists use on the Divide trail.


After filling up on omelets and cakes we found that our bikes had some company in the parking lot. A little fancier and not going where we were but kindred spirits anyway.


From Del Norte we go south toward one of the highest mountain passes on this trip. Indiana Pass. The road was good to a point where there was a three way fork and Karen advised to take the middle. Less than a hundred yards up the hill there was a gate but there was room on the right side for a bike or horse to go around and several had been through judging by the tracks. The road soon became overgrown but still obvious that it was a road. Then a tree across the road. I tried to go over but got hung up/high centered on the branch when my back tire spun the loose and dried bark off the trunk of the tree.


I know it doesn't look like much but what the photo doesn't show is the two foot deep washout just to my right. Perry help me get the bike off and we found a way around to the left that I didn't notice before I attempted to cross. :doh: We kept going and eventually came to the locked gate at the other end. This time no easy way around. We would have to go downhill then make a turn on the slope to make it back up to the road. Perry went first.


And fell making the turn in the loose soil.


I ran over to help him pick up the beast and added weight to the back to help him get traction to make it up the hill. My turn was less eventful but between helping him and taking my turn I was out of breath. I checked and we were up around 10,800 feet. No wonder I was winded. Looking back at the gate you can see the slope of the hill.


We pushed on toward the summit of the pass. 11,910 feet. The road going over the saddle.


A mining operation and the runoff collection pond. There was a lot of activity and new construction going on at this location. Must be making money.



A little further down the road and a couple parks over we saw this nice cabin at around 11,000 feet. Nice and secluded for a summer place.


This was probably the nicest reservoir we would see on the trip. It was posted private and no fishing but the view was primo.


Alamosa Canyon was beautiful with red and yellow colors. The soil is very acidic from the runoff the these hills that are rich in iron and other minerals. Vegetation will not grow in the soil resulting in the bare hill sides.


After taking that picture I notice that a bee had tried to take on the armored gloves I was wearing; he lost. What was the last thing that went through his mind as he hit my glove? :lol2:


Next on the agenda was Stunner Pass. At 10,541 feet it was.....stunning.


From the pass we descended through the aspens...


to the village of Platoro.

There is a nice lodge with a cafe, store, and GAS. Never pass up gas or water when you have a chance to fill up on a ride like this. It was 4 bucks a gallon but we only needed a couple to top off so not to bad on the wallet. The village consists of all log cabins, many over 100 years old.



On down the trail a little further we reached the border with New Mexico.


I shot the gap between the two tree on the left and we parked to have lunch. A nice spread of summer sausage, cheese, crackers, and trail mix for desert.


Next: into New Mexico.
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2: Into New Mexico

We had been warned by the couple we met on the trail north of Salida about a very rocky climb that we faced a soon as we got into New Mexico. It wasn't long before we were there. A couple hundred yards up the trail I came a cross a fella pushing his bike up the hill. I had to stop and give some support; in words if nothing else. These guys have all the respect I can give another adventurer. They are hard core for sure. And they have all been a pleasure to talk to. I suppose the adversity they overcome makes them have an attitude such that nothing can bother them; even dirt bikers. Kindred spirits of sorts.


The bike he had was something unusual. It was very long as if it had a trailer but it was a single frame piece. Only two wheels. He said it was better than any trailers he had towed. Made for a wheelbase of around 7 feet. Not as maneuverable but easier to handle was what he said.

We continued up the hill being careful not to roost the cyclist. The rocky slope went on then leveled out then got worse with the world famous baby head rocks for around a mile as we climbed. At the top we were treated to this vista.


I was trying to make Abiguiu for the night so I didn't stop for many photos. The terrain was definitely transitioning from mountain to foothills and on to the desert. We stopped at this old cabin for a break.


I enjoy trying to imagine what it would have been like living in a place like this. There was an old corral across the road probably from the same era. And the view down the valley was soothing.


We made it to Abiguiu in time to eat supper and get to Lake Abiquiu where there is a Corps of Engineers park to camp for the night. Supper was a plate of chicken enchilada and chile relleno with green for me.


And for Perry a chicken quesadilla. With poblano cream sauce so you can't pick it up with your fingers so easy.


The food was awesome and we decided then that we would be back for breakfast. I plugged the campground into the gps and off we went. MISTAKE. I forgot to reset the navigation settings to keep us on the highway. :doh: So, she took us on a road that paralleled the highway which on the map was named OHV Road. That's off highway vehicle for those that were wondering. It was dusk when we left the cafe. So, we were on a two track trail, at night, with deep ruts and potholes that would swallow a jeep. I could tell that there was a river on our right so I knew we must be heading toward the lake. Then, there it was. It loomed above us in the darkness. The dam that made the lake was blocking out the stars in the sky. I had a sinking feeling that we would have to retrace our path and go back to where we had started. Not happy about that thought. We got to the bottom, rode past the generators and through the parking lot where we found a road that took switchbacks up the face of the dam and deposited us on the highway about a quarter mile from the entrance to the campground. Sometimes you just have to get lucky. Here's the path we took.


The river split the space between our path and the highway. We checked in and set up for the night. Perry put his KLR on the center stand to do some chain lube work. The surface was a little two steep and the bike rolled forward and fell against the split rail fence. :doh: Damage: one broken mirror perch. We will check in the morning to see if it can be fixed. That's two drops for him, one for me. But it's a long road ahead so we'll see how the tally ends.

Our track for the day:


Next: Into the desert
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
We woke before dawn and started packing our gear. This would become routine. make camp just at sunset and start packing before dawn. Teh park manager had given us a primo tent camping spot where the tent pad was looking out over the lake.


Perry took a look at his mirror and we figured there where enough threads left in the perch to re-attach the mirror after removing the broken bit. It worked just fine but next time it will break the switch housing and cause problems.


Once loaded up we made a beeline to Abiquiu for breakfast. It was just as good as the night before. Perry had his now regular omelet with everything available while I chose the huevos rancheros with red.

Art from a local artist......$525
Huevos Rancheros plate.......$10
Trying to decide which would look better hanging on the wall.... priceless!


We ate at the Abiquiu Inn Cafe.

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3; to Cuba

The trail as it heads south from Abiquiu begins very easy on well maintained roads. We could really tell we were no longer in the mountains.


Long straight roads.


Then winding through low hills.


Then just past an intersection the trail became more challenging. We use this hill as an example. Deep ruts to the left, rocks and more ruts to the right. Pick your line and go for it.


We climbed up to a mesa top and the road went along the western edge. A fence a 50 feet of trees between us and the valley. The top was a mix of silt and foot deep ruts. We slowly picked our way through what firm lines we could find and plowed the silt when needed. Another hill with more ruts.


This section would be impassable if wet. The silt would become sticky muck and the ruts would fill with the same. We where there when it was totally dry and it was a challenge. Another section that the heavy trailies would find to be a problem. At the end we started winding our way down toward Cuba.


Lots more rocks. I stopped in the middle of a section that was about a mile long going downhill. First looking back up.


Then looking down the hill.


It was slow going in first and second gear. Another section where a heavier bike would be a handful. In the flatter parts there would be huge mud wallows that would swallow a jeep. Most had trails to bypass but too much speed could get you in trouble.


The terrain eventually smoothed out as we got lower in elevation.

At an intersection we took a break before heading down this red dirt road.


A BMW GSA flew by on the main road while we parked here. Way too clean to be doing the whole trail but he was riding dirt roads. Maybe he was local and knew how to get around the worst sections since he New Mexico plates.
We took the trial indicated and ended up at this gate. How do you spell trespassing?


A couple minutes studying the alternatives and we were back on track in just a few miles. The last section coming into Cuba is a super smooth and fast paved section of twisty turns that was a blast even though it wasn't dirt. Very fun. This was our choice for lunch in Cuba. Excellent bacon and cheese sirloin burgers.


Next: The desert and BeemerBob's washout
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3; into the desert to Bob's Washout

OK Bob is in a good place so here we go.

After a good lunch we road about 10 miles asphalt before heading off into the desert. No plants taller than about a foot except in the wash areas, rugged rock formations and vistas that go on forever. Not much else to say so enjoy the photos.




Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3; into the desert to Bob's Washout

After a while riding in the flat open we came to an area that skirted a mountain and was once wash after another. Slightly elevated we had nice views out over the lowlands.





On the level areas between the washes the trail turned into a fine powdery sand. This was deep on the order of 8 inches in places. Usually not a problem but the trail was winding around with pretty sharp 90' turns so we would have to slow to make the corner. The front tire would not want to stay on top through the curve so it was only a matter of time until......


Going slow through a turn the sand grabbed the front wheel and I tipped over. Low speed, no damage to me or the bike. It was a real soft landing. I stood the bike up and the front wheel sunk into the sand above the rim, it was that soft. We pressed on to a place where there where two holes in the road. Not potholes. I'm talking holes about 4 feet deep and one was 3 feet in diameter.


The drainage pipe running under the road had failed and the road washed from below. :eek2: If anyone hit that it would swallow the front wheel and would send the rider flying over the bars. Perry stuck a piece of the pipe in the hole to make it more visible to anyone approaching.

A couple more gates.....


and a few more rock formations......


and we were at the location marked on the route as WASHOUT. From what I gathered from Bob's report, this was the area where he had his fall and his overnight ordeal waiting for help to arrive. It was fairly obvious that heavy equipment had been working there. The road had recently been maintained. I don't know if the drainage pipes were out when he was there but they had all been removed at some time.


Looking back toward the wash.


We took a short break here and rode on towards Grants.


As the day wore on, we once again found ourselves riding late into the day and I was looking for a campsite. It was very pleasant the last half hour coming into Grants as we rode over the mountains through the pine forest. We stopped in Grants for gas and some decisions. There was a campsite 20 miles south of Grants. We could get dinner in a restaurant and we wouldn't finish till after sunset. Or, we could grab something to go and make camp before dark. We try not to ride after dark so we grabbed some gas station food and got on down the road. The highway takes us past the El Malpais National Monument. This is an area of lava flows with sandstone rock formations. Formations include this arch in the face of the rock. You can see the sun was getting low.


We arrived at The Narrows. This was a campsite marked on the Adventure Cycling Assoc. map. We pulled all the way to the back where we found a pavilion large enough for both of our tents and our bikes to be parked under the roof along with the two picnic table. Perfect.


We first set camp and then went for our gas station dinner. Here is what we had.


Those burritos were really good. One was Carne Asadero (pork with red chile, potatoes and cheese) and the other was Steak with green chile, potatoes and cheese. We talked to the nice lady that made them so we know they made just before we bought them. They were very filling, I couldn't finish mine. A gut bomb for sure but I slept pretty well that night.

Our tracks for the day.

Nov 21, 2008
Valley Mills (Just north of Wacko)
Dang! I had seen the area marked 'wash out' on Big Dog's track, so I had decided to detour around it (the beginning of the end). I later learned that the wash out area had been repaired, as you showed in your pictures, and that the detour I took was worse the then the washout area. I was to the west of the repaired wash out area.

I should have just stuck to the route. Lesson learned. When in an unknown area, one should stick to a route traveled by someone that had been through. Oh well, there is always next time.

EDIT: Those holes you showed were scary. If you were to hit that, there would be some big time hurt involved.
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 4; Run for the Border

Up with the first light we continued south toward Silver City. The roads were long, smooth, and straight which means fast.


We were able to maintain speeds of 55-60 through this section. It sounds easy but you still had to have total concentration as you scanned the road ahead for rocks, animals, ruts and whatever else might make you take evasive actions. In less than an hour we arrived in Pie Town. Pie Town is all about pies, duh. Pies were not a priority of my planning so it just happened that we were there at 0830 on a Sunday morning and everything was closed up tight. :doh: We got some photos and moved on.

The Pie-o-neer


A windmill museum.


And a bit of humor. People out here always have a good sense of humor.


A bit further south we stopped here for our Sunday morning church.



Moving on we traveled through areas of open plains broken up by short sections of forest.



The roads had all be in real good condition until one section of about 15 miles where there had been rain and the road had been rutted by trucks. Had to go slow to make sure we didn't get tied up in the ruts. The ruts where about 8 inches deep. There were some mud puddles to go around but no real problems.


We eventually got into the Gila National Forest which was a very nice section. Tall pine trees with very little undergrowth except grass gave it a park like feel. We set up a couple video fly by shots. You decide which you like best.

Mine of Perry on his KLR.

Perry's of my DRZ.

As we climbed the switchbacks to the top of the mesa we were treated with nice vistas.



A sample of the trail as it dropped to a creek bed.


The road dropped down towards Mimbres and I was watching my fuel get real low. The route kept changing along with the new roads so I wasn't sure how far we had to go. This section is why I brought the extra fuel pack because I knew it was a little beyond the range of my 4 gallon tank. We hit the asphalt and kept the speed down to the 45 posted limit which is barely using the throttle. Now on reserve, having already tipped the bike to get the last few ounces to the petcock we reached the turn to Georgetown Road which heads west toward Silver City, another 35 miles or so. About a quarter mile past the turn I spotted a store that had large above ground tanks out back so I figured they had fuel. YES! We both put in a couple gallons to get us to Silver City and went back to pick up Georgetown Rd. Georgetown was a fun road with dirt twisties. Very good riding.

We rode past the Santa Rita mine on our way into Silver City.


Decision time again. I knew from research that the trail south of Silver City was all fast riding. First some desert then asphalt for the last 65 miles. There is a store in Hachita that has gas but no credit card reader so if it's after closing, no gas until Columbus, NM. I thought we could make it with my extra 1.5 gallons but it would be after dark for the last leg of 45 miles from Hachita to Columbus. No real camping until Columbus but there is some commando camping in Hachita if we can't get fuel and decide not to ride after dark. After discussing options we decide to go for it and make a run for the border and take whatever comes along. So we left Silver City around 1530 heading south. It started out sandy and not as fast as I thought as we made our way through creek beds. Then we climbed up to the top of the rolling hills and started to make good time.


We crossed under IH 10 to find a tourist stop selling fireworks and snacks. Not quite beer, bait and ammo but pretty close. Make sure you drink plenty of water in the desert or you'll end up like the guy in this car.



For the next 10 miles we rode a dirt road that went along IH 10; a dirt "access" road if you want to call it that. 65 mph standing on the pegs kicking up a dust cloud got us some strange looks from folks traveling IH 10 and a thumbs up from a Goldwing rider that rode along with us for a short while. :rider:

The dirt road led us to the highway heading south toward Hachita. NM 146. I had to stop and insert earplugs for the long highway run. The one complaint with the Nolan N-102 is wind noise. I don't get it on the Harley behind the shield but the DRZ has no wind protection and with 150 miles of road ahead of us I wanted a little protection.


We rolled into the store at Hachita at 5:45; the store closes at 6. Good timing. We topped of our tanks and fuel concerns disappeared.


Heading south to the border is a nice two lane road. I was surprised at the scenery. Very nice with mountain ranges and plenty of vegetation of the desert variety.


Perry got a photo of me taking a photo.


Shortly after this picture there was a sweeping corner with a cattle guard at the exit. Just beyond the cattle guard was two cows in the middle of the road. :eek2: I stomped and grabbed brakes and slid to a near stop while the beasts ambled off the roadway. The next cattle guard was less than a hundred yards away.

No issues from here to the border. We passed a couple of Border Patrol trucks parked along the side of the road. We waved and were not followed. We got to the border and it was locked up tight. This crossing is only open for business hours. We were there pretty much all alone. Plenty of ops for posing.


CDT done!




Photos done we head back north using what daylight was left.


We got to the place were I nearly hit the cows and one of them was back on the road. She must like the warmth on her hooves. This time I was well prepared and as I rolled up, she ambled off and out of the way. It was getting dark as we arrived in Hachita and we rode the next 44 miles to Columbus in the dark. Perry noticed my tail light was out so he stayed close as we plodded along at around 55 mph so as to not out run the lights on our bikes. We passed several Border Patrol and a couple of National Guard observation posts without getting too much attention and arrived in Columbus. We pulled into the state park campground and set up for the evening.
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Dang! I had seen the area marked 'wash out' on Big Dog's track, so I had decided to detour around it (the beginning of the end). I later learned that the wash out area had been repaired, as you showed in your pictures, and that the detour I took was worse the then the washout area. I was to the west of the repaired wash out area.

I should have just stuck to the route. Lesson learned. When in an unknown area, one should stick to a route traveled by someone that had been through. Oh well, there is always next time.

EDIT: Those holes you showed were scary. If you were to hit that, there would be some big time hurt involved.
So you were at a different spot. That makes some sense. I bet the deputy that came looking for you that evening came to this spot along the route that he thought most "dividers" take. You weren't where he assumed you would be.
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 5; El Paso

We were greeted in the morning by a brilliant sunrise.



We stayed at Poncho Villa State Park. From the website:


The park is located on the grounds of former Camp Furlong from where Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing launched 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. The Exhibit Hall tells the story that begins with the 1910 Mexican Revolution and ends with Pershing’s command of the Allied Forces when the U.S. entered World War I.

Through donations and funds appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature in 1999, Pancho Villa State Park acquired expedition-era examples of the vehicles and technology employed by Pershing and his men. The Exhibit Hall contains a full-size replica Curtiss JN-3 “Jenny” airplane used by the 1st Aero Squadron; a 1916 Dodge touring car, the type used by Pershing for a field office; historic artifacts; military weapons and ribbons. An armored tank stands as a sentinel outside the facility.

With only rudimentary initial instructions, military recruits were given orders to drive vehicles and fly the airplanes, which had not been previously tested at high altitudes. As a result, equipment modernization and mechanical specialization during the 1916-1917 expedition period proved essential to U.S. military success during World War I.
At the time of the raid Columbus was the largest city in New Mexico at around 20,000 population. The above does not mention that 38 townspeople were killed in the raid. General Pershing chased Villa some 300 miles into Mexico before the expeditionary force ran out of fuel. They learned a lot about logistics for a mechanized force. The ruins are preserved among the campsites.



This jackrabbit was a more recent casualty. Looks like he bought it in full run.


You really don't want to crash into one of these.


We took advantage of the early morning cool air to do some basic maintenance since this was about the half way point in our trip. Perry had a spare 1057 bulb so I fixed my tail light. Air pressure and oil levels checked. A general survey for loose parts; non found. However I found this in the radiator shroud of my DRZ.


Poor little guy should have flapped when he fluttered.


We hit town for breakfast and had to stop at the Pancho Villa Cafe. One of the two eateries in town.



We sat next to a couple of border patrol officers. It was like being in Mexico with the same language barriers with the cook/waiter. She did not speak English and I had to use the little food ordering Spanish that I know to make due. As we were waiting a local Sheriff Deputy and a police officer joined the crowd. As my coffee ran low the police officer served as waiter and she refiled by cup. I like this town. Food was great. The officer told us about the local FD and encouraged us to pay a visit so we did.


Nice folks with a huge job as volunteers. We talked to the Chief for around half an hour. He said around 70% of their calls are medical for illegals. He specifically mentioned how they cross the border and call 911 for a ride to the hospital to have their babies in the US. The feds just built a new school for the area and send buses into Mexico to pick up all the minor US citizens to take them to school. Your tax dollars at work. He is a little frustrated as he has to scrape for funding to continue the call volume that they have. Every quarter they come close to running out and have to go in search of funds to run their two ambulance and staff the fire trucks. He did mention the violence from the drug cartels. He feels the focus on Arizona and in El Paso are starting to funnel the bad guys towards his neighborhood. He mentioned there were six human heads found in the town square across the border where the cartels were sending some kind of message. He has concerns. Good luck to them.


It was around 1000 when we finally got on the road heading east on Hwy 9 to El Paso. Long straight road that goes very near the border. We could see the fence about two hundred yards to our right in many spots.


As we neared El Paso we were met by a National Guard convoy heading out to deploy somewhere. Humvees with gun mounts and small armored vehicles. There were around a dozen in the convoy. On the eastern edge of El Paso one of the armored vehicles was watching the intersection. We had to stop so we got a photo.


Coming into El Paso Perry was no longer following me. I backtracked and couldn't find him. I stopped and turned on my phone and retrieved a message saying he had to stop for a broken clutch cable. He had one pre-routed and was making the swap out. I backtracked farther and found him under a shade tree working on the swap.


El Paso is huge. I tried to come up with a route that would get us through with the least suffering. While playing around on Mapsource I found a road call scenic drive that skirted the northern edge of town. That sounded good and it was. In the middle there was a nice overlook high above the town.


We spent several light cycles stuck behind this as we passed through some road construction.


We could easily see across the border and could see the traffic jam on IH 10 eastbound. Glad we went around that as the temps were in the higher 80's.
As we got to the east side of town we stopped to fill up with gas. I pulled up next to a guy riding a very nice Victory and started up a conversation. I asked if he knew of a good place to eat close to there. He gave directions to a local joint that ended in "next to the fire station". I mentioned we could find that since we were firefighters and he says he is one too. Cool. I say we are from Austin and he says his brother is an Austin Firefighter. He give the name and sure enough we know him. Small world indeed. Here is the place he recommended; our type of place.


Lunch done we made our way into the wilderness east of El Paso.

Next: Timberon and Cloudcroft
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 5; north to Ruidoso

About 15 miles east of El Paso we turned left on the dirt road that is the beginning of the Shadow of the Rockies trail and headed north.


Long straight dirt roads. I actually measured one at 10 miles without a turn.




This type of sign always make the ride interesting. We were in the north east corner of Ft. Bliss. I had an alternate bypass planned in case they had closed this section.


It took over an hour to get to the foothills south of Timberon and the mountains that make up the area around Cloudcroft.


The road dropped into this riverbed for a couple hundred yards at a time then would climb out on the same intervals. You better do well in rocks for this section.


As we went further we started getting into a series of creek crossings.

And we met some of the local residents. They were curious for sure.


We climbed higher in elevation and the cooler temperatures were welcome. The clouds were building and provided shade to make things even cooler. North of Timberon we stopped a the indicated intersection an took a short break. Perry had to get his head wet. Refreshing.


Nice to see this sign on a dirt road.


We followed the route until we came to this sign.


Time for another reroute. This would be a good time to talk about a couple issue with routing. First, the map database is not always the most up to date accurate resource. You have to use your brain when you get to a section that doesn't look right. Zoom out to a level where you can see a way around and use a little common sense. Here is how I got around the closed and gated section.


The purple line is the planned route, the blue our actual track. You can see the actual road is not on the map. This area had not been updated since the closure and rerouting of the road. What you see as camp view was a spot with a fire ring that had a great view and would make a nice camp.


The issue with the routing is when you get a route that looks like this.


I think this happens when you use waypoints from someone else. They can get out of order and try to take you back and forth. The straight lines were made with a gps in off-road mode. Just follow the road until you get past the waypoints and it all straightens out. Again you have to use common sense and not follow blindly. GPS routing is a suggestion, not an order.

OK, back to the ride. It was around 6:00 when we got to Cloudcroft and decided to push on to Ruidoso. The official route took us out of downtown on a trail that was gated but had a bypass for two wheel vehicles. I assumed that included motos. This is the backside of the gate. You can see the gap on the right of the photo.


This was nice single track right up until we got to the locked gate with one of the two turn bypasses that will not let a motorcycle through. :doh:


We spotted a very new trail up the side of the hill and Perry said, "you first" thinking I would not take the bait because he didn't want to go up. So, I said 'Why not" and took off up the hill. It was steeper than it looks in the video. It's always steeper than it looks.

I climbed into an area of fresh logging slash. It was slow going and the basic trail petered out and disappeared. For the first time on the trip the fan on my DRZ came on since I was barely moving. I shut the motor off to see if I could hear Perry. I could not hear him in the thick forest but shortly he came rolling up to the top. I took off in the general direction of the fresh cuts and spotted a warehouse type building and figure we could get out there. It turned out to be a County Maintenance Yard so we took the road out only to end up at a locked gate. That rarely stops us, especially when we are inside the gate, so we took a path around the uphill end of the gate and got out.

The only problem was this wasted some time. The sun was down behind the trees and we still wanted to make Ruidoso. The route took us off HWY 244 and into the Mescalero Apache Reservation and since I wasn't sure about the rules out there I didn't want to get stuck out there after dark. So, we stayed on 244 and made a run to Ruidoso. Perry got some video. Notice the herd of forest rats, aka deer, at about 35 seconds into the video.

It was just about dark when we hit Ruidoso. We checked at a RV park and they wanted $30 dollars to tent camp. No thanks. We opted for Motel 6 since there was a 40% chance of rain. For $60 we got a room. I think there were only 3 rooms rented for that night. The off season between summer and snow had the town pretty dead. The manager at the hotel was super nice. We asked if we could park the bikes under the portico and he directed us to the front porch, next to the door.


And best of all, we had access to this.....


Indoor hot tub and pool. 104' felt real good. I slept like a log that night.

Next: Capitan Gap and the NM prairie.
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 6; NM grassland prairie

It's harder to wake up early from a motel bed but we didn't sleep too late. We got breakfast at our favorite place in Ruidoso, Chef Lupe's Cafe. Across the street the building had dogs on the roof parking at passers by. Funny.


Fueled and fed we left to the north riding by the airport. We could see our next challenge in the distance; Capitan Gap. The notch in this range.


Then we came upon Ft. Stanton which is well known for it's role in the tale of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War of the 1800's. Next to the fort was a cemetery dedicated to Merchant Marines which I found a little odd. They had their version of Forest Gump mowing the grass.


Ft Stanton from the road. We visited the museum on a road trip to the area a few years ago.


This was all on pavement since Ruidoso. After a few more miles we were on dirt and closer to the gap.


Once in the gap the trail became more rocky and slower going. With no breeze it soon became rather warm since most of this section was 1st and 2nd gear.



We came to a section that had numerous streams running across and along the road. Our first real section of any kind of mud. Nice for a change.




Then a section that had seen a forest fire. It's always a little surreal riding in these areas.


The trail followed the elevation around the mountain for at least 5 miles then dropped toward the plain. The horizon was calling us to the next part of our adventure.


But first we had to get out. Another gate. This one built from retire rails from the railroad. Sturdy for sure.



On the prairie it was wide open spaces. Rolling hills so the vistas weren't going on for miles but I thought more beautiful than the desert east of El Paso.



These guys were friendly enough. They are there to watch over the sheep.



We mostly traveled well maintained roads interspersed with pieces of roads that used to be. I stayed to the route as much as possible. It took us through some seldom used gates.



This storm was chasing for a while but never caught us.


After riding through the back yard, past the house and down the front entrance we got out of the gate.


A rail crossing in the middle of nowhere, NM.


We rode past Ft. Sumner Reservoir....



and into Ft. Sumner for food and fuel. We at this joint.


I had New Mexican chicken fried steak. That's real steak, cream gravy, green chile, and cheese on top. Oh man let me tell you that was awesome. :eat:

Next: to Logan, NM for the night.
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 6 continued

After the late lunch we continue heading east and north along the prescribed route. Fast roads that soon started to get chocked down with grass and tall weeds. One particular sections had tall sunflowers on either side that were loaded with birds. As I flew through they would take to wing to flee my screaming machine. A least a couple bounced of me. One of my face shield and another off my thigh. I'm sure they didn't survive since they hit so hard. Had I not had a face shield in the lowered position I would have taken a hit as well.

We came to yet another gate, also unlocked. The route went that way so onward we went.


The road led us to a row of wind generators and turned into the service road for them.



Then the route separated from the road and headed across a pasture. I could barely see the two tracks in the grass so I followed. It led to a gate that we could open then approached the back of a house. The area was full of cattle but there was not gate at the road. We had to go nearly to the back door of the house where I found a gate to let ourselves out. This was the only time I felt uncomfortable about where we were riding. It was just too close to the house and I expected the owner to come out at any minute but never did. No harm done.

We followed the route across a few more miles of abandoned ranch land and abandoned housed. This piece of Quay County is gridded with roads called Quay Roads. The ones running north/south are lettered and the ones running east/west are numbered. A lot of them are well used and some are not even visible as a road. It made for interesting navigation.

We came to an intersection with NM 252 and it was decision time. We were running out of daylight and still had over 100 miles on the route to get to the next known camp site. After a brief discussion the joint decision was to bail and take the asphalt directly to the camp in the fastest route provided by the gps. This took us almost due north toward Tucumcari on NM 209. This saved us 60 miles over the defined route.


We got fuel in Tucumcari and made it to Ute Lake State Park outside of Logan, NM just at sunset. Perfect. Our tracks for the day.....

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
For the mirror mount...


Pick "KLR/KLX" --> Control --> Billet Mirror Adapter w/Choke Mount PIC 12-7099 16.95

This gets the mirror off the switch assembly. It also relocates the choke lever so it doesn't hit the gas tank in a drop and break off.

Carry on... :popcorn:
Thanks Scott. We talked about him finding that part. His choke lever broke a couple of years ago and he has a custom set up for that. It hangs below the tank with a hose clamp to grab hold of. He sets his throttle lock to keep it revved once it starts. :lol2:
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 7; northern NM

Up early we broke camp and went in to Logan looking for breakfast. We found this local joint and gave it a whirl. Not disappointing at all. :eat:


More locals started showing up. We saw this rig out front when we were leaving. Anyone know what is going on here? Looks to me like he was using the bike to charge battery packs for something.



The sky was gloomy so it gave the roads a different feel.


You'll see some strange sights on trips like this. Mostly someone with an idea that didn't quite work.


Supposed to go here. (lousy photo)


Not too far along we came up on a real western cattle drive. I stopped with plenty of space to not spook them.


This is Roy and his horse, Grace. Super nice guy rode back to check us out. We talked for about 10 minutes. He couldn't believe anyone would want to come out in the middle of nowhere on vacation. When explained we spent all of our working time in the city he immediately understood. He and his daughter were driving the herd. He prefers horses to bikes because of the terrain. He never could get used to 4 wheelers.


He directed to stay to one side of the road and if we went slow it would be fine. So we said our adios and pushed through.

More fast roads.....

then I came upon what I called the gate of death. I could barley see it across the road. In the center of the road you can see where I came skidding to a stop in time.


The route took us onto some more seldom used roads. Find me in this shot:


Nobody home.


Just to show we were really on the road.


After a brief stop in Clayton for lunch we stopped here to top off fuel tanks. My son's name is Clayton Taylor so this is his store.


Another interesting sight in Clayton is this dragon along the highway.


Just west of Clayton we head north toward Colorado. Paved for about 15 miles than turning to dirt. Eventually we would find ourselves at a major crossroads. This is where the Shadow of the Rockies intersects with the Trans America Trail.


We took the TAT west and came upon a paved stretch that led down into a valley. Perry had a great idea. He set up at this spot to catch a shot of me making the corner. Look for my white helmet in the trees before the curve. I ruined his plans by stopping to take a picture of the valley. :doh: His shot...


And mine.....


The road would change back and forth from paved to dirt for a while than stayed paved. Karen directed me to take a side road which led to a gate. Through the gate the road all but disappeared. We crossed a set of train tracks and the road then disappeared except for a purple line on the gps. We were on a ridge and heard a strange sound then saw the train winding it's way up the valley. Pretty cool.


We decided there was no road here so headed back to the highway. Perry got some video of this "road". I was following it as best as I could.

Next: Into Colorado
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 7; Back on Colorado

We crossed the state line with the required sign shot.


Just across the border is the small burg of Branson. Famous for this well preserved jail.


It's in a prominent place in town with it's own prota potty. Too many adventure riders stopping here I suppose.


The route goes almost due west from here towards Trinidad. Those gloomy skies were becoming dark and threatening.


Finally, about 2 miles from Trinidad we surrendered to the elements and had to don rain gear. :giveup:


Perry's monkey, our mascot, was not pleased but he hung on.


I had planned to stop in Trinidad for fuel and to visit my nephew who is in gunsmith school, but with the rain I was concentrating on riding and completely missed the turn into town and took a bypass. This put us on a wide spot in the road along the Interstate about 12 miles north of town. The placed was called Ludlow.


The rain had let up where we were but we could see it was coming down hard to the south in Trinidad. I turned on the phone and I had a message from Leslie saying my nephew was in his machinist class so couldn't have met up with us anyway and with the rain it's just as well that we missed Trinidad. We had a slight problem though, low fuel and I wasn't sure where the next station was. While standing around the local Barney Fife officer pulled up so we asked him about fuel. We heard a whimper coming from the seat and saw a baby in a car seat. Perry said, "Those perps always cry when you stick 'em in the back seat". He laughed. Yes, there is fuel in La Veta and we can make that so we press on.

We were dodging rain and trying to make time to get to town before dark so no photos. We rolled into the gas station downtown as the operator was turning off the lights. He stayed open for us to fill up our tanks and gave us a recommendation on a place to eat. We found out later that a new gas station/store down the road is open 24/7. We ate and started looking for a place to camp. Perry was looking for another roof to cover us in our tents. It was dark so we rode into the park downtown and set up in the picnic pavilion.


It seemed like a good idea at the time. At around 0100 the yard sprinklers came on. The first cycle was OK; it came in under one end but not all teh way to where we were. The second was no problem but the third came in under the roof and was hitting the end of my tent. Who knew I would have to put on my rain fly under a roof. :giveup: At 0400 a freight train came rolling through blowing his crossing horns. We were about 100 yards from the tracks. At 0500 the sprinklers came on again! Then another train at 0600. Like I said it was a good idea at the time.

Enough for today. Tomorrow, day 8.
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 8; The home stretch

This is the wake up call provided to us by the Rio Grande RR.



We packed our gear for the last time with the yard sprinklers still hitting the front of our bikes. :giveup: It seemed like a good idea to stay there.


We rode around town looking for options for breakfast and found this joint at the far end of Main. We instantly knew we had found the spot.


Inside was decorated in 50's and 60's memorabilia and was small but cozy. One other customer had beaten us to the table and was sipping coffee in the corner.


Great service with a kind smile. Perry had his omelet and I chose the Cowboy Special; two eggs, bacon, fried taters, homemade corned beef hash, and the best biscuit I've had in quite a while. :eat: Very good.

La Veta is off the beaten path but a very nice town worthy of a visit in cage or on two wheels. The main road to town is paved. ;-)


The sun was shining but the clouds were hanging on top of the mountains. This is often an indicator of still unstable atmosphere and could bring more rain. No matter it makes for nice photos.


Perry caught me snapping this one. Kinda neat with all our shadows.


The road was fast and straight at first but we soon turned of onto the next leg that wound it's way along the front of the Sangre de Christo range.

This old church is a common photo seen among many ride reports for folks riding the Trans America Trail (TAT).


Eventually we head down into the valley to cross over HWY 69 and head north.

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 8 continued

After crossing CO 69 west of Gardner we began to gain altitude heading north on Greenhorn Mountain Rd. Before long we came to where the rain had fallen overnight and the road had not yet soaked up the fresh liquid. It was a mix of mud and goop. We slowed because there is no other way to handle long stretches of mud. Try to follow a rut or find a drier path. Then while following a rut the rut splits as cars move around and you find your tires trying to follow different ruts. :eek2: This induces what is commonly called a low speed tank slapper as the bike flops back and forth between your thighs. Just hang on and try to get a handle on it. Both of us had this fun and managed to keep the bikes upright. After about 10 miles of this fun we began to gain enough altitude that the road was less goopy and more solid. There was an area that had just been subject to a prescribed burn by the forest service. This removes underbrush but doesn't harm the larger trees. It prevents a small ground fire from jumping into the canopy and destroying the larger trees. The smell of wet burnout reminded both of us of the many wild-land fires we had fought together.


We climbed higher and higher into the San Isabel National Forest and were treated to some beautiful views of the aspens in their fall colors. Amazing!








The clouds got thicker and the wind was stronger and colder. Coming down from the pass I started to get drops on my face shield and thought we were gonna get wet again. We soon found ourselves on the Greenhorn Hwy, CO 165.


We rode a few of the sweeping corners and the rain came along with us. I gave up and stopped to get my rain jacket.


The rain didn't last long, or we got far enough north to get out of it. We rode HWY 96 east for a while. Lots of curves. I need to come back on the street machine and catch these two roads.


There was a mix of paved and dirt roads that took us across US 50 east of Canon City and put us on CO 67; Phantom Canyon Rd.


Another road that was originally served the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad, Phantom Canyon road is designated a Back-country Byway. Since this was narrow gauge the cuts are tighter and the blind corners more hazardous. The road surface was excellent and all the cars we came up on were able to find a spot to pull over and let us past. This unique steel trestle bridge is the only remaining of the original six bridges along the route.


One more stop for a photo before arriving in Victor for lunch.

Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 8 continued

We arrived in Victor to sunshine and a crisp cool breeze. Victor and Cripple Creek is the richest gold camp in history. Today the two towns, separated by less than 10 miles, have a completely different feel to them. Victor is more rustic while Cripple Creek is restored and bustling with tourism. We chose Victor for lunch and ended up choosing a joint called The Lucky Buck. Your basic grill and bar.


Inside the decor was definitely to our liking. The owner had his "I love me" wall and he was a firefighter. :clap:


He had the requisite dead heads present.


And some cool murals on the walls.


Hidden back in the corner was the old pizza oven, perfect.


We got a large supreme and I washed it down with a Tommyknocker micro-brew which was appropriate for the situation. Tommyknockers are miners who have been trapped in cave-ins and pound on the rocks for rescue. It is believed that the ghosts of these miners go on knocking in the mine shafts long after the victims have died. Stephen King got it all wrong.

The buildings across the street from The Lucky Buck.


From here it was east on Gold Camp Rd and one more chance to enjoy the aspens.



Before long we were on Old Stage Rd. overlooking CO Springs.


And after enduring the traffic :rolleyes: we arrived back at the start point. We had made it.


2285 miles in 8 days.

Next: We take on the Mountain
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Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Bonus: Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods

We enjoyed a great night's sleep in soft beds. Leslie had made us some breakfast tacos with egg, potato, and chorizo and left it in the pan for us whenever we woke up. :eat: Awesome! We had stripped most of the baggage off the bike that made them top heavy and went out to take on the mountain. She loomed high over us as we topped off our tanks for the day.


I had plugged in our destination on the Zumo so we had no trouble finding our way. Of course a destination like this is pretty easy to find. Lots of signs along the way as you head west from CO Springs on US 24. First thing on the Pike's Peak HWY is to pay the troll, er ah toll. $12 per bike and worth every penny. I pulled over in the parking area to remove the dirty filter skin to let the bike breath better. It was needed as it had been on for half the trip. And we were off on the route of the famous Pike's Peak Hill Climb. The road is curvy and smooth with a speed limit that varies from 20 mph to 35 mph. OK, it's set up for cars that are sightseeing. We like seeing these signs.


I didn't stop for many photos on the way up it was that fun. First asphalt then dirt for a few miles and back to asphalt above treeline. Everyone pulled off to let us past. It was a hoot right up until the ranger came around the switchback turn and came at me head on in my lane in a blocking move. :eek2: I grabbed the binders and came to a stop and before I could turn down the music coming from the Zumo he had pulled up next to me and was yelling something. Perry had stopped between me and the pickup truck and heard all that he said. It went something like this: "The speed limit is 20." Me, "what?" Ranger, "Two, zero." Perry, "OK, we'll be good." Yeah, I'll be a good boy. OK, we had been doing between 40 and 50, we slowed down for the sharper corners. :trust:

Then, we were at the summit.



14,110 feet.


The cog railway was at the top so the gift shop was full enough. We got our donuts and went out to take a look around.


They had some snow with the front passing a couple days ago.


You can see Kansas from up here.


Looking west you can easily pick out the Victor and CC mine and the town of Cripple Creek. The lake are drinking water reservoirs for CO Springs and most are off limits to recreation.


Out in the middle of the looping drive at the summit is a pile of rocks that is the highest point. Perry added a rock to the top and claimed his honors.


Tourism done it was time to make our descent. We took it slower and stopped for photos along the way. Watch for the fist pump around 45 seconds from the passing car as he sees my one handed riding technique. :dude:




Funny story from this last overlook. A guy and his wife were stopped here on a nice Road King. She was sitting on the bike facing away and he came up to talk to me. He said they had been traveling for 8 days and had gone 1600 miles; she corrected him with the number 1400. She said "those bike look like fun" without turning around to look at us. I said that we had just done 2300 miles of dirt roads in the last 8 days. He spun on his heel and stomped back to the bike. She said "WOW, that's quite a trip" still without turning around. He fired up the Harley and left without another word. :lol2: When we got down to the parking area they had stopped and she was walking toward the trash can facing us with her back to the Harley. We got the biggest smile and one of those low waves so her husband couldn't see. True story. :rider:

We rode through Manitou Springs, a nice town that looks like it's straight out of Disney park and on to Garden of the Gods. I'll post the photos since there isn't much story except riding through the park.






It was afternoon and it was getting warm and we were getting hungry so we rode into Old Colorado City to a place in my personal favorites list.




Desert, raspberry chip and blueberry cheescake


A great day and to finish it off, dinner at the Phantom Canyon Grill and Brew Pub. Perfect



A long report for a long ride. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. :rider:
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
The question always comes up about tires so I'll just go ahead and address now. We both had fresh Dunlop 606 on the back. The tires did fine but I think I prefer the Maxxis Desert IT I had been using. The 606 slipped more in loose corners. This shows the wear of 2300 miles, 85% dirt.


I was sporting a used Maxxis Desert IT on the front this tire has seen our previous summer's trip of 1800 miles and a trip to Big Bend this spring that added about 500 to that. That makes over 5,000 miles and it's pretty used up but did very well on this trip. I'll keep it on for a while longer for running around town.


Perry started this ride with a new Pirelli MT21 on the front. It did not fare so well. The knobs had thrown some small bits and the center knobs had some serious cupping on the trailing edge. These tires are done after this one ride of 2300 miles. He may try reversing the rotation and see if the can get a few more miles out of it. We'll see, the wear is pretty bad.


As always with tires, YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Oct 9, 2009
Bryan-sort of-Texas
Awesome ride and an excellent report guys. Posting up this kind of report takes a lot of time and effort. Much thanks for taking us along. :clap:
Aug 18, 2008
Victoria, B.C.
Enjoyed your write up and photos. I am planning on doing the CDR next year on a DR 650. As yet I still don't have a set of soft panniers, and would like to know what panniers you have and are you satisfied with their overall performance, durability, and carrying capacity?
Oct 19, 2006
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Enjoyed your write up and photos. I am planning on doing the CDR next year on a DR 650. As yet I still don't have a set of soft panniers, and would like to know what panniers you have and are you satisfied with their overall performance, durability, and carrying capacity?
I use the Dirt Bagz Ranger. I love them. Tough as nails. Good water resistance, not waterproof though. The racks are simple and work great.
Nov 11, 2006
Out Standing in the Field
You did a Great job telling the story in pics and videos. Finished it up tonight with a Arturo Fuente and a Mcallen. If you're ever up for another one just let me know.

BTW, ordered the wr426 petcock and it should be here next week.