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Thread: Rockies

  1. #1
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Rockies

    I just purchased a 2000 K1200RS. After having it get a level II service I took the bike east past through the brushed corduroy hills of the wheat near Walla Walla, through the hot (and dreadful) city of Lewiston and into the Idaho Rockies over Lolo pass. This road is renowned among motorcyclists and it is common in the blogs to see photos of riders next to the road sign that reads ?winding road next 99 miles?. On the east side of the Bitter Root range I got a room in Hamilton Montana. Even though the route 93 ran through a broad flat valley, the elevation was quite high. This is evidenced by there being ski areas with runs to the valley floor and by my waking up with a splitting head ache after having only 3 beers the night before. Continuing south I rode over a pass that had, within this past decade, been denuded in a hot fire. It was now recovering with a shrub layer of huckleberries and deciduous plants that painted the ground plain red between the black decaying snags of the burnt woods. That pass dropped me into Salmon ID and from there I rolled at a brisk pace south then east through the flat, open and empty sage steppe to Idaho Falls and from there north east over Targee pass and Teton pass. These passes went between craggy peaks and bright aspen fall color. The drop down into Jackson WY is nothing short of spectacular. A little south of there I saw a sign that indicated a road that lead to a camp ground. The road started as paved, then went to smooth gravel and incrementally worsened until it became too rough for my limited courage, and I just found a flatish spot and set up camp in the big rolling foothills grassland that is so emblematic of Wyoming. I woke in the morning with an antelope staring at me from a nearby ridge. I was apparently in his game trail.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Went south and east to Rawlings through fracking land and isolated and disposable communities of trailer homes, then south through low broad valleys between pine covered slopes into Colorado. There I encounted my first rains in the form of textbook example of high anvil, gray slanting column of rain, thunderstorms. This route took me through a few historic, brick front hamlets including Granby where the rain became unrelenting I suited up for the weather, had the heated hand grips and electric vest powered up and continued up into the ski area of Winter Park and over 11,000? Berthoud Pass. The skies cleared at the top of the pass and the late afternoon light on the aspen covered slopes of the high Rockies were aglow in yellow.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Took the Fwy to Denver where I stayed with my sister & brother in law at their new house for a few days to help with gardening and sight seeing, then went south through Colorado Springs into pinon pine hillsides along the east slope of the mountians whee the Arkansas River cuts through the Royal gorge. Checked out the San Louis Valley where a pancake flat prairie is nestled between 13 and 14 thousand foot peaks. The water table there is quite shallow, and at the south end (low end) of the valley some large lakes get choppy enough to erode their shores and release sand into the winds. At the east edge of this plain the sand had accumulated over the millinia against the Sangre De Cristo Mts. to form the Great Sand Dunes National Park which I went to check out. Then back west where it was potato harvesting season in the agricultural portion of the valley, and truck after truck were unloading into sorting stations that were dotted throughout the valley. Into the San Juans and the Uncompaghre National Forest I went past Creede and Slumgullion Pass. Again through glowing aspen, between craggy peaks and the headwaters of the Rio Grande. I grabbed a burger in Lake City and bagged it in a state campground. North to Gunisson where the motorcycle shop said they would be happy to sell me a tire, but they didn?t have the time to mount it, then west to Montrose where they were happy to sell and mount a new tire within an hour of my asking. Then south over the Million Dollar Hwy through Ouray and over Red Mt. Pass. Apparently an ancient volcanic event melted the sedimentary rock in the volcanic vents, and these became ore veins of significant value. South to Durango, then west to Cortez and up toward Telluride, where I again grabbed a bite and found a campground. There were other motorcyclists there. An Aussie stopped by my site and chatted me up, but when I went to their site, just to be friendly, the dominant character of that crew had lost his camera and was pissed off at the world, and not good company. I left at dawn with a skin of frost on my motorcycle seat. North, now through red mesa country and high desert toward Grand Junction. Then north some more through grey mesa country to Rangley. Crossed the Wyoming border and saw Flaming Gorge, then got on the interstate at Fort Bridger (Jim Bridger) and spent the night in a Motel 6 in Ogden Utah. The Ogden site was a typical freeway truck stop. For dinner, I checked out "Outlaws Saloon and Dance Hall". Once I figured out is was a hook up spot for truck stop hookers I went to Dennys for a nondescript sandwich. The next morning it was steady, pouring rain. Four hours later the rain let up in Twin Falls, and I pushed onward all the way to Portland (730 miles). - photo below is a valley at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    In retrospect, I think I should have taken more time and ridden less hard, but all and all it was a good trip. Saw deer, lots of antelope, bighorn sheep, a moose in a willow bog near winter park and a golden eagle. No mechanical issues, no speeding tickets (for which I surely qualified) no scary moments ? all good. The size in both height and breadth of the Rockies is mind boggling. The Aspen and fall color were spectacular through every high pass and plain. The History of the region is rich and interesting and I would do it again tomorrow if I could. The entire trip was 3300 miles and ran from September 19 till the 30th.
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  5. #5
    roamingbeemer roamingbeemer's Avatar
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    Perfect time of year to ride in that area. I was home in Colorado for a month (from work) and I rode the wheels off my two bikes. Glad your trip was fun and safe.
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    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT, S1000RR sold, F650 sold
    2011 R1200GSA
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