I have logged just over 500 miles so far today but I strarted heading home i'm going all the way. After the bears there wasn't much action, it was dark and pretty uneventful. I kept racking up the miles the same thing over and over 210 miles stop for fuel, refill gatorade bottles with fresh water and go another 200. I ended up riding 1095 GPS or 1147 Odometer miles since I started that morning. 22 hours straight.
It was a good time and I will go again as time allows.
Made it to Raton and fueled up. I get 210 miles per tank before I hit reserve. I have been riding since 7:30 am and only took the helmet off once I believe while eating crackers. I take a senic route out of Raton to Folsom NM it is a good ride and would do it again.
There is a bear in the pic up by the trees. I have been all over Colorado, Hunted there several times and never seen a bear in the wild before this is the 2nd one in 20 minutes. The first bear was much bigger than this one. The first one hit the brush before I could get a pic. I came smoking around a right hander then into a left and there was the first one standing about 100ft in front of me. I was doing fist pumps and talking to myself it was awesome to finally see one in the wild.
Left Montrose around 11:45am and headed East. I planned to ride Pikes Peak in the morning then go to the MX National in Denver on Saturday. While riding I began thinking I wish the family was with me to go up the Peak the first time, somewhere between Gunnison and Salida I found that the double yellow lines are slick, DUH! I was passing a RV around a curve when the back end slid out some but just gave a slight wobble before hooking back up. It could of been much worse but I did not go down. I continued East through Canon City, a storm was brewing to the north and kept thinking that the peak would be better with the family and I didn't want to get wet.
I-25 North or South?? Its decision time.
I'm going South what?? I have been waiting for months to go to that MX race and I have 3 days of riding left. I really shouldn't of went on this trip, I have been building a house for years, it's getting close to completion and the wife is sweating at home in a trailer house. (she is a Good wife!) Oh well it's raining to the north I am going home. If I could make it to Trinadad or Raton that would cut down on the miles that I would have to travel tomorrow.
After fueling in Silverton I headed north to Montrose. I pulled in to an old closed down gas station to eat some crackers, I have about a 6" long and scraggly looking beard it has not been washed for 3 days and has several bug particles embedded in it. A homeless guy comes over and says....
" You just Passing through?"
" Well there is a place just up the road here we can get a free meal starting at 11:30 if your interested."
I politely declined but it would of been a much better story if I had accepted the offer.
My tire was beginning to lose a few lugs but was still working ok and holding air. I guess to 900 miles at 70+ mph was more than it could handle.
So I headed East to possibly go Pikes peak in the morning.
Thursday AM i wanted to go over Engineer pass just to check it out, this is a relatively easy ATV 4x4 trail it is steep off the sides and probably no one would ever find you if you went off but its a good time. I would recommend waiting for it to warm up for motorcycle travel. The snow had melted and ran down each track of the road the day before and it was all frozen when I went up. So the layout of the trail was rocks, ice, rocks, ice, then a several hundred foot drop off the side.
I rode over this pass and back down to Silverton Co. I really didnt know where I was going this is just where I ended up. Fueled up in Silverton and headed North. I later learned that it was the Million Dollar Highway that I was on. Hmmmm who knew??
I make it into Lake City just after dark. So much for relaxing and setting up camp in the light. I am tired and hungry, There's lots of Pubs there with people relaxing and eating but I am still on a solo mission to only eat the food in my pack. I see a big neon sign that says CABINS and tents welcome. I thought well I bet they wont charge for just one night, its already dark and I will be gone at daylight anyway. The guy that owned the place said its $20 a night and I can sleep on his lawn and use the showers. Nice... a shower sounds good but I am going cheap and not paying $20 to sleep on his yard. He directed me up the road where he thought I may find a place. He also warned me of the multiple Bears they had seen since it was so dry up high and no food for them up there, But he said now there hasn't been any in his camp only everywhere else. LOL Ya right I am not falling for that I'm not scared of bears. Only made 250 miles this day.
It turns out maybe I am a little scared of bears especially when you smell like tuna and cant find your pistol. The road was close by and a big rock bluff on thee other side. Just across the road was the river. There are small rocks that constantly fall off that cliff, if you listen just right it sounds like something walking. After completely unpacking the bike I finally find the pistol. I sleep like a rock that night, didn't get cold, temp was around 23 degrees that morning.
I slept in a little, got up around 7am. Warmed some water from a small fire I built and poured in some oatmeal, well I only needed about half the water so each bite was mostly water. I didn't have enough food to throw it out so I just had to eat it.
Several Pics from old mine sites just outside Lake City all of this can be accessed with a car so its worth looking at if your in the area.
Made it to creed that evening, fueled and filled my gatorade bottles from the stored outside hydrant, headed out of town there was a detour sign?? So it went north west thats the way I wanted to go, it went about 15-20 miles up a dirt road to a large Gold Mine. The road quickly turned to a trail.
I continued up the trail with a couple switch backs as I was going up, the road turned left I had my head down watching rocks and thought it was another switch back, well it wasn't.
The road turned and went straight up the mountain, the pic looks like flat ground but it's quite steep. The bike was spinning, trying to wheelie and in the end the mountain won. I had to drag the bike around by the front wheel so I could stand it back up and back track. Man that sucks being defeated, I wanted so bad to try it again but standing the bike back up with 75 extra pounds on it really sucked.
Back down the mountain I seen a guy on a dirtbike panning for Gold, I stopped and chatted with him a while about the mine etc he actually worked at the big mine up the road. He was quite interested in my trip of "touring around the country" as he called it. He wondered about the cost involved, so I shared with him that Hotels have Free breakfast LOL, and you have to eat anyway you can be conservative and eat on a few bucks a day if you want so then all you have is the cost of gas around $40-50$ per day.
We rode back down the mountain together and I am still unsure why the detour sign was where it was at. The guy on the DB said they were filming the new Lone Ranger Movie in the town of Creed. I never seen anything about it though.
North to uhh well I don't really have a plan but it ends up being Lake City Colorado.
This is the River crossing that I probably shouldn't of crossed. It did not look that bad, I crossed up by the evergreen tree that"s up on the right side. I had decided to not cross but on my way out I began to call myself a wuss and that I am getting old and afraid to do anything so I turned around determined to cross. The decent down to the water was steep and rocky I was sliding on rocks while on the front and rear brake simultaneously. The river was flowing rapidly but looked to be only 6-8" deep, that was not true, The current was strong and trying to push me over because it was halfway up on the bags and my legs were under water to the knees. The water had to be right below my intake, Remember the bottom of the river is made up of large round slick river rock so its not easy maneuver even without water pushing against you. I made it halfway across and drifting left with the current (about 2 foot left was a 2-3' drop into a deep pool of water) a large rock was sticking up and was able to give it a push and straighten the bike up as I went by.
This is a view after I went across the building is at a turnaround point where the narrow gauge railroad stops for lunch and a tour of the place.
This is just across the river also here is a railway about 3/4the way up and there is some kind of small cart traveling on it
While traveling from taos to colorado there was a bunch of old shacks out in the desert, these places make my trailer house look like a palace, the nicest place was made from an old school bus. I saw a lady hitchhiking so I stopped and talked to her for a while, I was going the opposite direction and no room anyway. She said the land sells for 600$ for half acre plots and people try to make a go of it but it just don't work. She was hitching into taos to pick up her car that was being repaired. She was dressed with the tree hugger/nautralist type clothing with piercings in her nose and lip and several in her ears. I didnt get any pictures of her or the homes maybe next time.
This is an Adobe trailer house and pretty sweet I might add, but it was much nicer than the shacks in the desert.
I head back into Taos after push starting the bike, wal mart is the only place I can find a battery that will fit in the box and do the job. The new battery is slightly bigger and terminas are reversed but made it work. I am now ready to hit the road but my belly button is gnawing on my backbone at this point. There it is a hotel with a sign out front that says free continental breakfast..... perfect! It didn't say you had to stay there. So I went in the side door as if I had stayed he night, walked on in and had a fresh waffle hot off the grill. Ok now its time to head North. One of the guys from ADV Rider was asking about a water crossing on an alternate route to the, I told him I didn't have anything better to do so I will check it out.
I get up just after daylight get everything packed and ready to go. Helmet on, gloves, tunes, still shaking from the cold hit the start switch and clickkkk clickkkkk nothing! Crap! Battery has been acting weird for a while but never failed to start. A bus full of soccer girls pull in to the rest area as I was trying to push start the bike. I'm sure they all got a good laugh as I was running along side a bike, trying to jump on with 75# of crap strapped on it. I have went from cold shivers to sweating and out of breath, but were off and running.
1st night was kinda cold it got down to 32 degrees but I have a 0 degree sleeping bag I will be fine right?? I about froze and didn't sleep much at all. I camped outside of Taos on 64 right by the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge. There is a rest area there so I parked there and packed my tent and bag out closer to the Rio Grand Canyon where it is BLM land and made that home for the night.
I made it in to Taos NM just before dark. I had only eaten 1 package of crackers all day so was starving. If you have ever been through Taos you know what a cool little town it is, people were out walking, sitting on the patios, awesome smelling Mexican food filling my brain, but I had to keep going I made myself a deal and needed to find a place to camp before it got to late. 705 GPS miles logged that day.
I stopped in Amarillo Gander Mountain to buy a couple things. Extra fuel bottle and some fly fishing lures, after all I am going without purchasing any food so I thought it would be easy to catch some fish and eat them. I came out of GM ready to leave when the bike wouldn't do anything, the lights came on but wouldn't crank, pushed it around the back of the store to begin working on it. I got all the tools out including a test light made it through a few checks then started thinking safety switches. I have the kickstand disabled but not the clutch, pulled the clutch and it busted off. The neutral safety switch was not made and I seldom pull the clutch to start it. Lesson learned. Threw everything back together and back on the road. Taos NM here I come.
So I planned to leave at 4:30 am but stayed up the night before to late working on some electrical in the kitchen so the tile guys could do their work on Tuesday. I didn't get going until 6:30am I made it to Morris and was already hungry. I stopped there told mom I was headed out but did not eat. After leaving I began thinking about how that I always take a little food and it always goes to waste. I end up stopping and just eating out the entire trip sooo.......... I started thinking maybe I should make this somewhat of a personal challenge. What if I only ate what was in my pack??? I had 4 packages of oatmeal, 4 small flower tortilla shells, 4 lance peanut butter and cracker packages and some dried banana chips. This would be plenty to eat, but when you are use to eating hot meals drinking tea and dr. pepper all day it is quite a challenge. I had picked up 2 gatorades while in Morris because these make great refillable water bottles.
Prep and Packing day May 22, my help (Aspen) had to move and reorganize all my tools and supplies several times. Each time the bike would move she would reorganize a little closer to me. Luke didn't want to help at all he just made everything an obstacle course for his scooter.