T-bills goes west again - Page 2 - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2018, 8:06 am Thread Starter
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@Varmitcong you need to ride 256 to 72. Its right up your alley. 20 more days worth of trip to post. Just getting into the good stuff.
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Thomas Williams
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2018, 7:21 pm Thread Starter
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Day 4

Today's route:
https://goo.gl/maps/cPDEpDWb4yw

I start off the day meeting with a former boss for coffee in Colorado Springs. He took a job here about 3 months ago. Lots of talk about work, old and new. Leaving the coffee shop, I see my next destination.

Pike's Peak is a bucket list item for me. I've always been amazed with the race. I'm on a KTM Super Duke GT. Before that, I had a Multistrada 1200. I also have a Hypermotard. All three have won the race. Weather is looking good for my attempt at the mountain. I start up the mountain. I make it to the lake part of the way up for my first stop.

Moving along, prep for the race has already begun. I'll be honest. I seriously considered trying to acquire one of the hay bale covers.

I continue on up the mountain. I have developed a whole new level of respect for the racers. I've seen videos and photos. None of it does justice to this place. Guardrails are few and far between. Shoulders are minimal. Drops are steep. Riding at regular speeds are still scary.


I make it to the top. The past few weeks, I have worried that the weather may prevent me from making it to the top. Its 60F with a few light clouds in the sky. Life is good. The famous little weather station sits on the edge. The view stretches for well over 100 miles. I grab a bag of the famous donuts made in the gift shop.



Back on the road, I decide to head towards Cripple Creek. The roads leading into and out of the town appear to be fun. Sadly, I'm stuck in heavy traffic doing 10 under the speed limit. I stop in this town to find lunch. Its nothing more than a gambling town. Most establishments are casinos. The few that aren't are tourist trap gift shops. Not finding anything to my liking, I decide to keep moving. Rolling out, I change up my route in search of more riding. I decide to drop down and catch highway 50 to Salida. The roads are 2 lane roads going through high altitude cattle farms. The hills roll along with frequent beautiful sweeping corners. As I make it onto 50, it runs along the Arkansas River. It is a rafting river. Lots of people are out playing on the water. The mountain sides on either side of the river are steep.
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Thomas Williams
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2018, 7:22 pm Thread Starter
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Once into Salida, I find a burrito shop. The town has a nice vibe. Very much a hippie place. There are pot shops everywhere, which amuses me. It is mid afternoon, and I'm wanting to ride quite a bit more before I get to the Great Sand Dunes for the night. After consulting my trusty Butler, I decide to continue on 50 over Monarch Pass. There are nice views of the tundra.

I continue on 50 towards Gunnison so I can catch 114 and head south. As I am approaching 114, I am running a bit hot. I still have a lot of miles for the time of day. A state trooper heading the opposite direction lights me up to tell me to slow down. I listen. For at least 15 miles. 114 is a wonderful little road that runs through more cattle country. It makes a few high speed mountain passes. I see 3 cars on this never ending road. Once done with 114, I'm effectively back in the plains. Everything is flat and the roads are straight. Sunset is nearing as I roll into the Great Sand Dunes. Indeed, there are huge sand dunes, but what I wasn't expecting were the wonderful mountains surrounding them. What a strange phenomenon.

The national park campground is full. The nearby state park has conflicting information regarding camping there. I decide to go with the private campground between the two. They know the national park fills up regularly. The prices are high and the amenities are crap. The restroom is a shipping container. Signs are everywhere about being in bear country, but they have no bear boxes. Mildly concerning. At least the views at the campground are nice.



384 miles, 7:37 seat time
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Thomas Williams
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2018, 7:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bills View Post
Day 4

Today's route:
https://goo.gl/maps/cPDEpDWb4yw

I start off the day meeting with a former boss for coffee in Colorado Springs. He took a job here about 3 months ago. Lots of talk about work, old and new. Leaving the coffee shop, I see my next destination.

Pike's Peak is a bucket list item for me. I've always been amazed with the race. I'm on a KTM Super Duke GT. Before that, I had a Multistrada 1200. I also have a Hypermotard. All three have won the race. Weather is looking good for my attempt at the mountain. I start up the mountain. I make it to the lake part of the way up for my first stop.

Moving along, prep for the race has already begun. I'll be honest. I seriously considered trying to acquire one of the hay bale covers.

I continue on up the mountain. I have developed a whole new level of respect for the racers. I've seen videos and photos. None of it does justice to this place. Guardrails are few and far between. Shoulders are minimal. Drops are steep. Riding at regular speeds are still scary.


I make it to the top. The past few weeks, I have worried that the weather may prevent me from making it to the top. Its 60F with a few light clouds in the sky. Life is good. The famous little weather station sits on the edge. The view stretches for well over 100 miles. I grab a bag of the famous donuts made in the gift shop.



Back on the road, I decide to head towards Cripple Creek. The roads leading into and out of the town appear to be fun. Sadly, I'm stuck in heavy traffic doing 10 under the speed limit. I stop in this town to find lunch. Its nothing more than a gambling town. Most establishments are casinos. The few that aren't are tourist trap gift shops. Not finding anything to my liking, I decide to keep moving. Rolling out, I change up my route in search of more riding. I decide to drop down and catch highway 50 to Salida. The roads are 2 lane roads going through high altitude cattle farms. The hills roll along with frequent beautiful sweeping corners. As I make it onto 50, it runs along the Arkansas River. It is a rafting river. Lots of people are out playing on the water. The mountain sides on either side of the river are steep.
Bucket list indeed. That's in my bucket too... Thanks for sharing.

Scott L.

2006 ST3
Maryville, Tennessee
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2018, 6:27 pm Thread Starter
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Day 5

Today's route:
https://goo.gl/maps/vbaTaYn449J2

Ready to be out of this campground. Some neighbors fought in the middle of the night. Not sure what over, but the lady slammed a door no less than 300 times. I start the day off going to the Great Sand Dunes. Neat place. I went for a hike up the dunes. I didn't quite make it to the highest point, but did get on top of the ridge. The sand dunes are deceptively large at 750 ft tall, but surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Trying to hike up these dunes is a serious workout!



Moving along, I take hwy 149. This is another road that everyone should ride. It is ~120 miles of motorcycle heaven. It leaves out of Del Norte and follows the Rio Grande. Here, the river is pretty small. It cuts up through a canyon with rugged, steep mountains on either side.


Continuing on upstream, the whole river seems to be dedicated to trout farming. There are small communities along the way. Every home is a log cabin. And everything is centered around trout fishing. I make it to the top of the first pass and overlook the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Further up 149, I proceed to make some more mountain passes. I think there were 5 passes on this one road as it goes over the continental divide. The road is mostly high speed sweepers, but tightens up from time to time.

I stop at Lake City for lunch. This is a fun little mountain town. Clearly it is supported entirely by tourism, but they handle it well. They are targeting outdoors tourism (mountain biking, fishing, dirt bikes, 4 wheeling, etc.). The food is excellent. I finish up 149 as it puts me onto Hwy 50. I approach Black Canyon where I am going to camp for the night. There are great roads on by the north and south rim of this canyon. I start out riding the north rim.
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Thomas Williams
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2018, 6:27 pm Thread Starter
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I stopped at several of the overlooks. A couple of big Harleys roll up as I'm about to leave one. The second guy drops his bike, so I run over to help right the bike. These two guys are pushing 80. They have ridden out here from Florida. Every year they meet up and take a trip out west. They claim this is probably the last, but it seems they have been saying that for at least 5 years. They remind me of the Colonel. Maybe not quite as badass. But still pretty awesome. I hope to be living it up as well as them at that age.

Hwy 92 on the north rim is a great one. It is much tighter than the rest of the roads in Colorado. Its not like back home, but a nice change of pace. I rip up the road and then back. I run the south rim and go on into the park. I set up camp. The campground is pretty full. A neighbor offers some food they have cooked. Apparently, the lone motorcycle guy eating beef jerky looks like he could use a meal. I seem to offend the guy by not eating all of his leftovers. Oh well. Time to go play in the park.

The campground is on top of the rim, but there is a road that goes down to the river. The road is ridiculously steep and tight. The pavement is beat up.


Back on top of the rim, I head to sunset point. It is rather hazy, but still a great view. I meet some more nice people at the overlook. Turns out they are camping right beside me.


336 miles, 6:36 seat time
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Thomas Williams
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2018, 6:39 pm
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Wow. Awesome! Beautiful! What a ride!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Mike
2006 999, 2007 S2R1000, Ninja 400RR
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2018, 8:15 pm
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Quote:
I meet some more nice people at the overlook. Turns out they are camping right beside me.
Watching for the next report of who robbed who.

J/K. I need to get out of the city. Good pics.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2018, 12:25 pm Thread Starter
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Day 6

Today's route:
https://goo.gl/maps/epbtausV9tj

I start the day out by finishing out Black Canyon. I go along the south rim inside the park stopping at the overlooks. The places reminds me of Little River Canyon in Alabama, but much larger and harsher. The canyon walls are steep and unforgiving.



I take a nice hike at the end of the south rim road. The trail follows a ridge with the canyon on one side and plains on the other with snow capped mountains in the distance. A forest fire about 15 years prior has cleared the area immediately below the park.

The trail runs through pinyon pines and junipers. The age of these trees is impressive. I go by one with a sign that it is ~800 years old. It is no bigger than a 4 year old maple back home. This poor guy is no more, but still stands strong and will for years to come.

The trail finishes on a point that juts out into the canyon. The skies are getting hazy. Later in the day, I'll find out why.


Done with Black Canyon and heading towards the famous million dollar highway. I've heard all about it the road and the area. The road runs from Ouray through Silverton to Durango. This is an old mining area. There are mines everywhere. Given the climate, these old structures from years ago remain intact.

A lunch stop in Ouray results in an excellent burger. I seem to have a terrible superpower of finding crappy burgers. This little deli pleasantly surprises. The town intrigues me. Its clearly a tourist town for skiing and fishing, but only the main road is paved. All of the cross roads are dirt and gravel. Lots of money here. Lots. Time to get out. The road leading out heads towards the top of Red Mountain. The road winds wonderfully. I throw the bikes into the corners, but there aren't any surprises. The sky is becoming more hazy as I top the mountain. The top is wonderful. I am well into the alpine region.

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Thomas Williams
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2018, 12:26 pm Thread Starter
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Soon as I start down the back side, it becomes apparent why the sky is hazy. Wildfires. The air turns from the wonder smell of sandalwood to burning wood. I continue along the highway and the smoke gets heavier. I can see that there are huge mountains all around me, but I can barely see outlines of anything more than 3 miles away. A smarter person would turn around. Or at least a less stubborn person. I press on and find my way into Silverton. The town is full of smoke. There aren't many people here as a result.

I grab some coffee and inquire about the wildfires. They are between Silverton and Durango. The road is open the direction I'm going, but with piloted trips. As I approach the wildfire, there are camps set up for the firemen. The smoke becomes thicker.

For an east coast guy, this is a bizarre experience. I probably should have feared the fire more than I did. I've barely been exposed to forest fires. State troopers lead and tail the group of vehicles as we go through the fire. At one point, the fire is about 100 yd from the highway. A group of firemen are working to protect a house. With 30 mph winds pushing it directly at the house, its demise seems inevitable. The houses in the area appear to be rentals for the ski slopes. I can't say I have sympathy. Helicopters appear at one point. They are pulling from a lake on my left and dumping on the fire on the right. Two single rotors and two chinooks. One of the chinooks dives for the lake as I pass under it being beaten up by the wash. While the supposedly wonderful views were ruined by the smoke, this is an unforgettable experience.

I make it into Durango and stop for gas. No longer at elevation, the temperatures have climbed well into the 90s. I take a break in the gas station to hydrate. An older guy on a Harley does the same. He is from South Carolina and has been on the road for a couple days more than me. He first went to Tullahoma, TN to see his mother. He grew up there. I grew up 30 minutes from there. Small world.

On to Mesa Verde where I will stay for the night. This trip was based on hitting 3 national parks in particular. This is the first. Mesa Verde is the place known for cliff dwellers. I set up camp. Two other people traveling by motorcycles set up beside me. One is on a Tiger, the other a Harley. I'm amused by the combination. The Tiger guy is wearing the typical ADV textile gear while the Harley guy is in jeans and a leather jacket. Both nail the stereotype. Friendly people on a short jaunt from Denver. Off to explore the ruins.

These structures are thoroughly impressive. The people who built them were clearly OCD. The buildings are constructed of lots and lots of rooms. Everything at right angles. Also, round rooms drop down in the buildings. These rooms are their special, religious rooms.

Heading back to camp, I get a good view of the wildfire.

And a nice sunset.

Another epic day, but nothing like I expected.

210 miles, 4:46 seat time
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Thomas Williams
2018 Multistrada PP, 2012 Hypermotard 1100 Evo SP, 1995 900SS/SP
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