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Offline kneescrubber

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2013-Endeavor to persevere
« on: January 19, 2014, 01:17:49 PM »

I typically try to take a weeklong trip to Colorado & New Mexico once a year. I have limited vacation time (2 weeks) so this is my "big trip" for the year. I chose to go after Labor Day because I hate dealing with all the traffic and rolling houses that populate the roads during the summer. This would be a 7 day trip traveling thru much of Colorado and northern New Mexico. I would also be riding a couple or roads that for some reason, I'd never been on before.

Saturday, Sept. 7th.

I got a pretty early start. Loaded the bike the night before so all I had to do was go. Oops, forgot to get gas. No worries. I wanted to get an early start so I could at least get to Raton by noon plus I was meeting Justin & JimWilliamson in Ft. Collins for dinner and the Chili handoff.

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I took that pic, hopped on the bike, hit the starter. Nothing. Sidestand is up (I had the clutch pulled in anyway) and the kill switch is good.  :headscratch: Hit the starter again. Nothing! WTF! I just put this battery in in April! So I peel off my gear and start unloading the bike so I can get to the battery. Damn, it's already starting to get warm. Battery connections are good. Nothing to do but call Susan. She was at the farmers market so I had to wait for her to go back home, grab my truck and come give me a jump. Time is ticking here guys. Finally, a little after 9am I am on the road. Yes, that's right, I jumped on the bike and took off.  :eek:  I figured if I could make it to my first gas stop in Clayton without the bike dying, I'd be okay. After all, I hadn't actually ridden the bike for a few weeks before the trip. And anyway, Susan knows where the ramps and tie downs are.

Made it to Clayton with no problems. Stopped to get gas and the bike started right up. I even stopped to get a county courthouse shot.

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My plan all along had been to stop and grab as many county courthouses as I could along the way. But because of the delay I decided I'd forgo the ones on the first leg up to Ft. Collins. I wasn't really looking forward to those anyway since they were all in larger metropolitan areas and were going to be a hassle getting to them. So once I hit I25 it was just tuck and go. Stopped for gas in Pueblo. Bike starts fine. Justin & Jim both warned me about I25 on a Saturday between Ft. Carson and Denver. It's a freaking parking lot in places. And they're doing construction from the north side of Colorado Spgs. almost to Monument. After the construction I caught some relatively clean highway until Castle Rock. I'd been debating whether to plow thru Denver on I25 or detouring west of town thru Golden, Boulder, Longmont then Ft. Collins. After what I'd already been thru, I decided on the detour. That couldn't have been a more absolutely wrong decision. Longer distance, still heavy traffic and did I mention how much I hate stop lights?

So I finally made it to Ft. Collins. In fact, I got there with a few minutes to spare. I got to meet Justin & Jim, enjoy a couple of beers and a mighty fine burger, enjoy some good conversation & get Chili. Justin & Jim are a couple of righteous dudes. Although their encouragement to not head thru the heart of Denver was a little suspect  :blbl:  I'd completed the first leg in fine fashion.

Still, there's something clawing at the back of my mind. What could it be?



Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 01:18:13 PM »
Sunday, Sept. 8th.


I must confess that I have never ridden Colorado north of I70. Sure, I've skied up there and raced in Steamboat Spgs. But I've never ridden up there. I put a couple of feelers out a year or two ago about CO 14. Looking at it on Google maps and the response I received made me want to make the effort to go up there and ride it. I'm glad I did. Again, Justin & Jim, y'all are right. That is a hidden gem.  :thumbsup:

The day started crisp and clean. There had been rain in the area but nothing of consequence.  :lol:  The first order of business was to get gas. Stopped for gas. Bike won't start. This BS again?! After a couple of tries, the bike finally starts. But my brow is furrowed even deeper. I'm about to head out into an area that caters more to snowmobilers and 4 wheelers than proper wheeled transport.

Before I go further; there're only a couple of pics this day.

CO 14 is an awesome road. Everyone needs to ride it. And yes, Jim, I looked out for the burn evidence. If you hadn't pointed it out to me, I probably would have never noticed it. Thanks.  :thumbsup:  I stopped in Walden to get a cup of coffee and warm up a little. Talked to a young guy on a Sportster on his way from Laramie to Kremmling. He was not dressed well but he said that was his only transportation. Can't fault him, I've been in his shoes. The bike starts. Continuing west to Craig for my first gas stop. It's been a great day so far if not a bit chilly. I stop for gas in Craig and strike up a conversation with a local rancher in a BIG ASS Dodge Duelly. I hop on the bike after fueling and...........nuthin'. His dog, that has been barking at me the whole time we were talking, suddenly decides to STFU.  :headscratch:  "That doesn't sound good." "No shit." He laughs and offers to jump the bike. So I get a jump, knowing full well that I still have a long way to go to Gunnison. I high tail it down to Rifle and pick up a couple of wannabe ton drivers.  :lol: Yes, I70 from Glenwood Spgs to Grand Jct. is feast of ton  drivers. I enjoy it every time I go that way. I peel off at CO 65 headed south over Grand Mesa. This is again, one of the best roads in Colorado. The view looking north from the top of Grand Mesa.

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The head east on CO 92 on the north side of Black Canyon of the Gunnison thru Hotchkiss & Crawford. Again, another stellar road. I noticed a guy on a GS near the top going down to the dam. The clouds had been forming since I'd left Crawford and in fact I rode thru a little bit of rain to the lookout at the top.

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A portent of things to come.

Arrived in Gunnison after a few spits along the reservoir.

Saturday I'd pointed out to Justin & Jim a peculiarity I'd noticed on my tires. It's a groove that is less than a mm but very noticeable in the right light. We talked about it for a while but never really came up with a conclusive answer. What do y'all think?

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So I'd decided I'd had enough with the recalcitrant battery. Tomorrow I'm replacing it. There's no effing way I'm continuing on another 5 days not knowing if my bike will start or not. The doubt is eating into my desire to stop and enjoy the scenery and/or take pics.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 01:18:51 PM »
Monday, Sept. 9th.

An ambitious plan for the day to say the least. But it just wasn't to be I guess. I called the 2 dealerships in Gunnison trying to find a battery but they were both closed on Mondays.   :baldy:  I called a couple of marine stores and the Walmart but none of them had a battery in the size I needed. I finally located one at the Honda dealership in Montrose but they had to fill and charge it first. It wouldn't be ready until about 1330. Montrose is about an hours ride east of Gunnison. Looks like today's ride is out. So I walked downtown and had breakfast, wandered around downtown a bit, drank a ton of coffee and watched the clouds slowly build up throughout the morning.

I left Gunnison shortly before noon headed for Montrose. It started to rain just west of the Blue Mesa dam. Then I ran into some major road construction on US 50 about 30 miles east of the dam. The highway was completely ripped up in both directions for about 6 miles. And traffic in each direction was held up by a flagman until the guide vehicle showed up. I had to wait about 30 minutes in the rain & mud at a pretty steep angle before the guide truck showed up. And I wasn't about to turn the engine off. There was not much joy in my heart at this time. Finally made it into Montrose and at least the rain had let up. So I wouldn't have to change my battery in the rain. Much thanks to the Davis Service Center in Montrose. They're a Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha & KTM dealer. They had my battery ready and waiting when I arrived.  :thumbsup:  10 minutes later I was headed back to Gunnison. I lucked out at the construction zone going back. I caught the tail end the line headed east. I was the last vehicle in the line so I could hang back a bit and not pick too much mud spray. Not that it really mattered at this point. Once past the construction zone the rain really started to come down in buckets and there was a very long line of vehicles in front of me. I slowly began to pick them off one by one and was finally able to get free of the elephant train by the time we reached the dam. Then it stopped raining.  :confused:  So I promptly pulled off to the side of the road to take a couple of pictures.  :D

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Jim had suggested I ride CO 114 east of Gunnison since I'd never been on it before. I was considering it as I approached town but then it started to rain again. Nope. Not this trip. I just wanted out of the rain. After a couple of beers and a Subway sandwich, I hit the sack early.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 01:19:28 PM »
Tuesday, Sept. 10th.

Today is the day I've been waiting for. Not a big mileage day but I get to ride my most favoritest road in Colorado. CO 149. 125 miles of motorcycle nirvana. It has everything from big sweepers to tight technical stuff. Awesome scenery and best of all, traffic is almost non-existent. The weather forecast called for rain but I really didn't care. It was cloudy as I was loading up the bike but no rain. It began to rain when I turned south from the reservoir towards Lake City. It was pretty light though, so no biggie. This barn and the house behind it are for sale in case anyone's interested.

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I was planning on having breakfast at the Sportsman's Bar BQ Station in Lake City. It's owned by an ex-Texan who moved up here more than 30 years ago. Awesome breakfast and killer Que.

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Breakfast burrito. I missed the rush and they were already out of chorizo. :(  So I had sausage, egg, cheese, hashbrowns & green chili. Yummy. If this doesn't get you warmed up there's something wrong.

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Fly fishing is big in this area. That's the only thing you really have to watch out for here. There's lots of little pull offs to the side of the road for the fisherman to gain access to the river.

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As I start the climb up to Slumgullion Pass the rain starts come down a little heavier and gets pretty foggy too. By the time I get to the top it's snowing ever so slightly. Down the other side then back up to Spring Creek Pass. It's snowing up there too. The rain continues all the way to South Fork. I tried stopping a couple of times for pics but the lighting really sucked and I really hate dragging my camera out in the rain. The ride itself was pretty enjoyable though. Rain doesn't usually bother me much when riding. Just back it off a notch or two and enjoy. The road still has curves.  :thumbsup:

Going thru Pagosa Springs something caught my eye that I might want to stop and shoot. Maybe tomorrow when I pass back thru the weather will be better. Durango, what can I say. When I used to come up here as a kid I thought it was a pretty cool little town. Now it's just traffic nightmare. Even in the off season. More snow going over Coal Bank, Molas & Red Mountain Passes. Arrive in Ouray with a slight drizzle. That's okay. They have an awesome brewpub that just opened 4 or 5 years ago. Good pub grub too.

Sleepy time to the sound of rain on the roof.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 01:20:03 PM »
Wednesday, Sept. 11th.

Time to leave Colorado for warmer climes. It's been fun. Soggy. But fun. I'm loading the bike in the rain and have 3 passes to crest before getting to Durango. As I ease out of Ouray heading south and immediately up in elevation, I have a nagging question. Am I actually having fun or am I just trying to convince myself that this is fun? It only takes a couple of miles of curves. Yes, I'm yelling yahoo in my helmet at every turn.

A little sidebar. I've been experiencing SW Colorado since the first time my family came thru in 1968. Ouray was nothing at the time. Silverton? Even less. Telluride? It was a shithole hippie commune at the time. I've driven, ridden & hiked to Yankee Boy Basin. I've done Engineer, Cinammon, Ophir & Lizard Head Passes. Both 4 wheeled and 2. I know every curve of the Million Dollar Highway intimately. I've been here at least once during every month of the year. Keep in mind, 1968 was a long time ago.  ;)

So anyway, heading south of Ouray the rain continues and turns into snow at the top of Red Mountain Pass. Down to Silverton, then up over Molas & Coal Bank. Surprisingly there's no snow over either of these. But heavy fog and drizzle. You can't see more than a couple of hundred feet. By the time I get to the north side of Durango, the rain is starting to let up. By the time I get to the south side and fuel up, the rain has stopped. I start to head east to Pagosa Springs and I begin to see patches of blue showing thru the clouds. By the time I get to Pagosa Springs the sun is shining with just a few puffies around. Time to stop for some pics of what I saw yesterday.

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I talked to the lady that owns the shop. Yes, those are all beer caps collected from the local taverns.  :thumbsup: The big shield looking things are from a turkey farm. Something about how the turkeys are processed.  :shrug:
I picked up a bit of rain from Pagosa Springs to Chama on US 64. Really just a couple of spits. This road can be fun if you can catch it when there's no traffic and the local gendarme (CSP & NMSP) aren't patrolling it. I call it old man river simply because it's easy to ride and beautiful look at.

Heading south from Chama brings us to my #2 favorite road in New Mexico. Just south of Tierra Amarilla US 64 turns east of US 84. But while you're riding south on US 84/64, you can't help but notice a large buttress of granite off to the east. Brazos Peak.

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Well it appears to be hiding right now. We need to get closer.

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Dang. Not yet.

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Finally. Brazos Peak is a monolith. Not unlike El Capitan in Yosemite.

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Coming from the west side it's all downhill to Tres Piedras. Beautiful country, mostly good pavement & again; very little traffic.  :thumbsup:
Tres Piedras. There used to be a gas station here. But it died. Just like this diner.

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I have to trudge on to Taos. The lack of rain is really depressing me. Thank God Eskes, Orlandos & Taos Outback Pizza awaits me.  :inlove:


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 01:20:37 PM »
Thursday, Sept. 12th.


The plan today is to make a loop around Valles Caldera. As I head south from Taos it is cloudy and scattered showers but nothing to make me want to call todays ride off.

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San Juan Catholic church at Ohkey Owingeh Pueblo.

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West of Abiquiu.

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Looking south towards the caldera. It really is there. Really.

Heading south on NM 96 at Abiquiu Reservoir towards Cuba the rain starts to pick up. And to make matters worse, they've recently tarred and graveled the road in sections. This really slows me down. Fortunately there is literally no traffic going in my direction. By the time I get to Cuba the rain has let up somewhat but it's still all around. My original plan had been to take NM 126 up to NM 4 from Cuba. I have never been on this road and after talking to a couple of locals in Cuba I discovered that the pavement ends about 20 miles up and turns into a gravel road. Had it been dry I might have attempted it. In fact, I smoked at least 2 cigarettes before I finally convinced myself not to attempt it. I really need a DS.

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This was supposed to be a phototag but someone grabbed before I got back to Taos.

So I have to detour down to San Ysidro and pick up NM 4 there. It's a pleasant ride.

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Church in San Ysidro.

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Jemez Soda Dam.

At this point the rain is starting to come down pretty steady. By the time I get up top it's foggy and raining pretty hard. There was no point in stopping now since you couldn't see a dang thing anyway. So down we go on the east side heading to Los Alamos for gas and a cup of coffee.

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Drying out in Los Alamos.


By the time I got back to Taos the rain had let up a little. Mostly just a light drizzle. So I grab my umbrella and head into town to Eske's Brewpub for some green chili beer and a sandwich. Stumble back to the motel and go to sleep with the sound of rain on the roof.



Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 01:21:23 PM »
Friday, Sept. 13th.



It's raining pretty hard when I get up.  :(  And I've decided I've pretty much had it with the rain. Besides, I know I'm going to have to ride most of tomorrow in the rain to get back home. So today I just wander around the square and shoot pics.

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Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 01:22:02 PM »
Sorry for the delay folks. I've been really busy at work this week.

Saturday, Sept. 14th.

So we're headed home to Amarillo today. Of course it's raining as I'm loading the bike. Heading southeast to Mora, Las Vegas & Tucumcari. NM 518 to Las Vegas is a fun road.

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Looking down into Mora Valley.

By the time I get to Las Vegas the rain has stopped for the time being. Time for a cup of coffee. I was a little concerned about taking NM 104 from Las Vegas to Tucumcari. Once you drop off the caprock into the mesalands at Trujillo there are a LOT of low water crossings. Fortunately a NM trooper pulls up while I'm having a smoke and cup of coffee. I asked if he knew if any of NM 104 was under water. He happened to have just driven it from Las Vegas and gave me the all clear. Bonus, I knew there wouldn't be any LEO's to worry about either.  :D So off we go. It drizzles a little until I drop down at Trujillo. From this point on I dodge the scattered showers to Las Vegas.

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Dodging the rain.


Stopped for gas in Tucumcari then slab it to Amarillo. The clouds start to thin and by the time I get home there's just a few little puffies around.

A word about my gear. I figure I easily traveled over 1200 miles in the rain. Maybe more. My First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket, Aerostitch Darien overpants & Alpinestar boots performed flawlessly. I have yet to find a pair of gloves that will keep my hands dry. Eventually even my Held Warm n Dries leaked. Oh well.






I figure RDoug owes me for soaking up all the rain before his epic ride.  :lol:



Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline Spanky

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 12:24:48 AM »
Great ride. Thanks for the report. I really want to see that part of the country some day.

Offline R Doug

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 07:30:42 AM »
I figure RDoug owes me for soaking up all the rain before his epic ride.  :lol:



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 :bigok:

Thank you.  And peace be with you.    visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Great report.
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Offline chornbe

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 05:51:06 PM »
I only spent half a day in Taos, but thought it was a very interesting town. I want to get back there.
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Offline coucours grad

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2014, 06:16:54 PM »
So....



What are the grooves in the tires from????
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Offline Mac

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2014, 08:09:29 PM »
So....



What are the grooves in the tires from????

The manufacturer?





Great pics.
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Offline kneescrubber

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Re: 2013-Endeavor to persevere
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2014, 08:51:00 PM »
I honestly don't know what the grooves were from. They were there until I replaced them. Never seemed to have any effect on the tires though.  :shrug:
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson