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Thread: 2007 West Side Rally and Colo. Tour Report

  1. #1

    2007 West Side Rally and Colo. Tour Report

    Last year I didn't get my photos posted until Christmas. At least maybe I'll beat RMRR and WonderBunny this year.

    This is a day-by-day report of my five-day tour of Colorado, including the 2007 West Side Rally. Hopefully some of the other BBers will be inspired to join us next year. No matter where you live, it's not too far. And it's not too early to put in for days-off with the boss.

    Day 1
    Raton - Taos - Tres Piedres - Tierrra Amarilla - Chama - Dulce - Navajo Lake - Aztec - Jo's House south of Durango
    Total miles: 323 miles

    This is the top of the mountain between Tres Piedres and Tierra Amarilla:


    Here is the Continental Divide near Chama, New Mexico.


    The big drama of the day was almost running out of gas. The Volusia still had three bars remaining on the gas guage when in Taos, so I didn't fill up there. Once past Taos it soon went down to two bars. The gas station in Tres Piedres was out of business, and the last bar on the guage was flashing long before I got to Tierra Amarilla. I thought I was going to be walking...

    It was quite chilly all day, especially through the Cimarron Canyon and the mountains. Never really got warmed up until Dulce. Seemed like more traffic on the road this year than last. And it seemed like Spring was hitting the mountains later, due to late storms and cooler temps.

    -Bob

  2. #2
    Day 2.

    This is the Big Day of the West Side Rally, the loop over Red Mountain Pass.
    Durango - Mancos - Dolores - Telluride - Ridgeway - Ouray - Silverton - Durango
    243 Miles

    Two photos of the scenery from Lizard Head Pass:



    View of Ouray after the first set of switchbacks and curves leading up to Red Mountain Pass:

    Bikes at the Ouray overlook:


    Views north and south from Red Mountain Pass:


    The bikes at Red Mountain Pass:


    The butt-pucker factor of Red Mountain Pass is a 12 out of 10! And it seems that as I get older I'm developing a good case of vertigo. The multiple series of S-curves weren't bad, but the couple of miles were the road is clinging to side of a cliff with a thousand-foot dropoff was absolutely terrifying this year, a white-knuckle ride for sure. Unfortuntely I don't foresee a time in the future when I'll ever be able to take photographs of that section. But here is someone else's photo from another website:



    -Bob

  3. #3
    Day 3

    No picures today. This is the day when everyone sort of goes their own way around Colorado and Durango. My family was here so I spent the morning with them exploring Durango, visiting the fish hatchery, and driving up to the area of a large forest fire from a couple of years ago.

    After Family left, I set out on the bike to grab a few quick miles.
    Durango - Aztec - Farmington - Shiprock - Cortez - Durango.
    208 Miles

    The big event of the ride was a tornado-strength ( ) dirtdevil that nearly knocked me off the road. Near Shiprock a large dirt-devil was attacking a trailer park alongside the road. Typical trailerpark debris (trash, tarpaper, metal sheets) were being lifted in the air and swirling around. Then it came across the road just as I was passing. Dirt was flying in the helmet everywhere, the bike lurched over the center lane, and visibility was zero. Blechhh.

    Suprising most of the highways in the four-corners area are very busy. Farmington was bumper-to-bumper traffic like any urban sprawl area in America. Not at all what I expected in the middle of the desert. Most solitary section was from the Four Corners northeast.

    The highlight of the entire day was Gregg's brisket. Fan-freakin'-tastic!

    -Bob

  4. #4
    Day 4

    This would have been my ride back to Raton. But since I don't have to work until next week, I took an extra day to seek out the most scenic and least traveled roads in Colorado. I think I did pretty well.

    Durango - Dolores - Dove Creek - Natarita - Gateway - Delta - Hotchkiss - Carbondale - Glenwood Springs
    402 Miles

    Another day with cooler temperatures and mostly-clear skies. Scenery was incredible, traffic was light-to-sparse, and I saw a lot of Colorado where I'd never been.

    Here are two pictures at the top of a series of switchbacks leading down into Disappointment Valley on Highway 141 north of Dove Creek.



    A mine adjacent to Disappointment Creek:


    Here is the highway in the bottom of Disppointment Valley:


    Four pictures of the Dolores River Canyon north of Uravan: If you look close, you can see the historic Hanging Flume that runs along the canyon wall.





    Scenery near Gateway, Colorado:



  5. #5
    Day 4 Continued (limited to 15 photos per post)

    Two photos from along Highway 133, on way up McClure Pass:





    5 p.m. on McClure Pass:


    Two photos near Redstone, getting dark in the Canyon:



    Overall, a fantastic day. Topped off the day with a sunset hike up to the Pioneer Cemetery in Glenwood Springs and dinner at a good Italian restraunt. Glenwood Springs is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Carbondale isn't even a nice place to visit. And I wouldn't mind living in Natarita, Dolores, or Dove Creek.

    -Bob
    Last edited by Bobthearch; 06-07-2007 at 03:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    That late afternoon light at McLure Pass looks good on the bike. Nice ride, too bad I was short on vacation time or I'd have ridden with you.
    When life throws you curves, aim for the apex
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  7. #7
    Maybe next year Jeff. It was an incredible day at a leisurely pace, but I still covered a lot of pavement.

    -Bob

  8. #8
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    You said you skipped Independence Pass, what other route did you take back to Raton?
    When life throws you curves, aim for the apex
    [sigpic][/sigpic]
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    my Facebook, SpeedShotsPhotography
    MITGC #22

    "I have seen fat kids on Segways go through corners faster."

  9. #9
    Contributor 8000 Posts! jenniferb's Avatar
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    Awesome photos! I really hope I have the opportunity to ride those roads some day.


    I would have been very hard pressed to ride that road with the drop off...sheesh!

  10. #10
    Day 5, the ride home

    Glenwood Springs - Leadville - Salida - Westcliff - Colorado City - Raton
    349 Miles

    Dark clouds were over the high mountains, the sky was overcast, and the air was cold. So it seemed like a good day to not attempt Independance Pass. Instead I headed East on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, perhaps the hairiest portion of I-70 in the entire country - heavy truck traffic, construction, sharp curves, tunnels, and cold rain. I dropped off the interstate as soon as Rte 6 seperated, followed it until the intersection of hwy 24, and turned south. Some sharp curves and minor pucker moments as Hwy 24 winds through the Red Cliff area. Should have taken some pictures, but with the wet pavement, cold temps, and long day ahead it was low on the priority list.

    Here is one photo from the top of Tennessee Pass:



    Had an early lunch at Leadville (perhaps my favorite Colorado town of the trip) at a restraunt called the Golden Burro.

    The rest of the day was scenic, but uneventful. Except...

    Riding through the National Forest one Rte 165 NW of Rye, and had a what-the-hell-was-that moment. Did a u-turn and headed back to see:

    Bishop Castle:


    Don't know if anyone else had heard of this place, but it's the craziest darn thing I've seen in a long time. One man is building this huge "monument". The construction is rather ghetto and nothing appears to meet any sort of building code. But I climpbed up the towers anyway for a look around.
    Amazing effort has gone into the project. It's open to the public on a donation basis. And is another place that's difficult on the vertigo senses.
    The atmosphere of the place is rather spoiled though by giant hand-painted signs around the place outlining the owner's legal problems and political gripes...

    I have a few more pictures of the castle I can post if anyone's interested.

    The rest of the trip was strightforeward. 80mph interstate travel with 30+ mph side gusts of wind. Rolled into Raton just in time for supper.

    -------------------

    Trip summary:
    5 days
    1,525 miles
    No mechanical problems at all
    Turned 15,000 miles on the bike's odometer.
    Fuel economy ranged from 38.5 MPG (I-25, windy and high-speed) to 51.3 MPG, with an average of 47.1 for the entire trip.

    -Bob

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