Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend On the Scrambler

I came home from work about an hour early, and made my last-minute preparations while I waited for Brad to show.  Once he was here, we finalized the packing of the bikes, and had Carol shoot a picture of us, as she picked up my dogs.

Ready to roll.

Brad had decided that the low-mount Zard exhaust he had installed was just too loud.  So, he reinstalled the stock system for this trip.  I hope he gets the baffle situation figured out on the Zard, because it really looks cool on the bike.  (That's the same exhaust that the Hammarhead Jack Pine has on it.)

We took off right in the middle of rush hour, and our first 15 miles took 45 minutes.  Eventually, we broke free of traffic, and headed south on Highway 85 to Sedalia.  Then, we headed west, over to the South Platte River, and followed it south to Woodland Park.  From there we headed west on Highway 24.

We stopped in Divide, Colorado, and filled up with gas.  I was impressed that I had gotten 53 mpg out of the Scrambler, even sitting in rush hour traffic.

We consulted our map, looked at our watches, and decided to try to reach Buena Vista before stopping for the night.  It's not that far, but we wanted to get off the road before it was fully dark, because of the deer and elk which make a habit of walking out in front of vehicles, at night.

We got to Salida just as the evening turned to night, and stopped at the Coyote Cantina for dinner.

The bar is open, in Buena Vista.

After dinner, we bought a couple of beers from the World's Friendliest Liquor Store Clerk, and headed back up the road about a half-mile to the KOA Kampground.  Just about everything around B.V. is private land, so we bit the bullet and rented a campsite.  They initially told us there was no room at the inn, but they eventually put us in an "overflow" site. 

There were no trees, so I attached the top of the jungle hammock to a fence rail, and rolled out the bedroll.  After spilling about half a beer in my lap, I went to bed.  The moon was shining down like a spotlight, and I didn't have a sleeping pad under me, but I slept like a rock, anyway.

The next morning, we broke camp before I even thought to get a picture of my improvised shelter.

The view from camp.  That is the fence I attached my hammock rainfly to...

We made the run down to Salida, 25 miles south, to get some breakfast.  While we were ruising around looking for a breakfast joint, I spotted this:

I haven't seen a Pinto Cruising Wagon on the street, in years.  I had to pull out the camera and get a shot of it.

We eventually ended up at Cafe Dawn, a local coffee shop.

There was quite a selection of two-wheeled conveyances outside the shop.  Mountain towns are pretty full of bikes and such, usually.  Salida is no exception.

After breakfast, we hit the road and headed for Gunnison.  Neither of us had ever been to Gunnison, so the adventure part of the trip was officially on. 

Up and over Monarch Pass, I got in a groove, and was really digging the curvy road.  Later, after we got to Gunnison, Brad said, "I thought you were going to stop at the top of the pass, especially when I saw all of the other motorbikers standing there.  But, you just blew on by them and kept going..."

I didn't really even think of stopping there, since we had been there, before.  I was excited about getting to new territory.

In Gunnison, we parked the bikes and walked around the downtown area for a while.  Eventually, we ended up in a coffee shop (GASP!), where we got some fresh fruit juice, and relaxed on the sidewalk bench for a while.

I wanted to find a mount so that I could put my camera on the handlebars of the bike.  After coming up empty-handed at all the bike shops and motorcycle dealers in town, we stopped off at Radio Shack.  There, I got a flexible tripod and wrapped it around the handlebar.  With the addition of a zip-tie, it was ready, steady go.

On the way north, toward Crested Butte, I got a few riding shots of Brad on the road.

After repeatedly taking pictures of the bikes sitting on the side of the road, it was nice to get some photographic evidence that we were actually riding the darn things.

We got to Crested Butte, and walked the street to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is incorporated into the Crested Butte History Museum, and it was pretty cool to see some of the bikes and parts they had on display.

There was the first Cunningham bike ever built...

and a chrome-plated steel Ross which was an obvious copy of the aluminum Cunningham.

These were the prototypes of the Rock Shox and Manitou suspension forks,

plus ephemera from the early days of the sport.

After touring the museum, Brad and I walked up the road to a pub and had lunch.

From my seat on the shaded patio, I could see these two crows on the top of the old Town Hall building.
There was a picture of this building, at the museum, with a large hole in the side of it.  The local firemen, finding their hoses frozen during a fire in the early part of the 20th century, had used dynamite to extinguish the flames.  The display noted that "much of 4th street was destroyed in the blast."

I looked over at the street sign next to the pub, and noticed that the old Town Hall was on 2nd Street.  If "much of 4th Street was destroyed", and a hole that you could drive a truck through was knocked out of the side of a building on 2nd Street, what do you suppose happened to 3rd...?

After filling up with food at the pub, and $4.00/gallon gas at the Shell station, we headed up Kebler Pass.

Much of the Kebler Pass Road is dirt...

some is paved...

but all of it ...

is awesome!

Not long after this picture was taken, the camera got enough dust in it, that it was only semi-operational.  That was the end of the action shots.

We eventually reached the highway, and decided to head north to Carbondale.  That would give us a short day on Sunday, and let Brad get home to his ladies early enough to see them before Noella's bedtime.

We rolled into Carbondale late in the afternoon, and stopped The Blend, for iced vanilla lattes.  We got into a conversation with the guy behind the bar, and he told us there was camping along the creek, in the trees, along Prince Creek Road.  So, we had him cook us up some paninis, and grabbed a couple of beers each, and headed back south to Prince Creek.

Unfortunately, all of the campsites in the trees were occupied, so we continued up the dirt road, gaining elevation as we went.  We finally found a spot, but it had no trees.  I talked Brad into riding farther on to see if we could find something in the trees.

After about an hour rough jeep trail riding, in and out of Public Lands, we eventually ended up back at the spot with no trees.  Oh well, at least I got a bit of dirt riding out of it.

I have to admit, though, that the lack of trees was worth it for the views.

I used the bikes as tent poles, and set the hammock up on the ground, once again.

The sun went down...

and the bright-ass moon came up.  How bright was it?  I shot this picture with the flash, because if I shot it with no flash, the shutter stayed open and I got this:

These two pictures were taken about a minute apart.  That was a bright-ass moon, people!

But we still enjoyed a campfire, and ate our dinner before bedtime.

The next morning, I noticed that Brad's bike was a bit dirtier than mine.

I suppose that's because I am running a full-length fender, while Brad is using a shorty version

After we were packed up, I noticed that my chain was a bit slack.  So, I busted out the tool kit and adjusted it.  Then, I did the same to Brad's bike.  Once adjusted up, we ran back down to The Blend.

There, after breakfast burritos, we donned rain pants (40% chance of rain), and went across the street to fill up with gas.  We figured up our mileage, and I got 63 mpg on he $4.00/gallon gas!  I guess you get what you pay for.

Then, we headed out toward Aspen.  We blew through Aspen, and headed up Independence Pass.

I will say, right here, that I have never had any more fun on a motorcycle than I had riding over Independence Pass.  I got into a zone where riding the bike was like carving turns on a snowboard.  I wasn't going  particularly fast, but I was getting a good lean on, going into the turns, and not hitting the brakes.  It was smooth, and cool and exactly why I ride a motorbike.

Looking back at where we just rode.

We did stop at the top of this pass.

My new computer wallpaper.

From there, we went down the other side of the pass, and on to Leadville.  The Leadville 100 crowd made the traffic a bit heavy in town.  We stopped and filled up with gas.  66 mpg.

From Leadville, we could smell the barn, so we hightailed it for I-70.  After a pee-stop at Copper Mountain, we hit the superslab back to Denver.  After a bit of harrowing time on grooved pavement, and a little rainshower as we came into town, we were home.

Brad continued down 6th Avenue, as I peeled off onto I-25, and headed to the house. 

As I entered my neighborhood, I stopped at the gas station.  We were 100 miles from Leadville, so I figured I might as well fill up.

76 mpg!  

I mean, I know it's downhill from Leadville (10,200' elevation) to my house (5400'), but still...!

When all was said and done, I had put 535 miles on the bike, pushing my total over 2,000, since I bought the bike in April.

It's been a cool summer (despite the temperatures).



At 8:52 PM , Blogger katina said...

my boss was just up in leadville last week - he has some friends that run the leadville 100 and they go up a month early to acclimate.

At 4:50 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

53+ mph! That's reason enough to get a motorcycle. A bike trip in the mountains, well, that's nirvana!

At 5:00 AM , Blogger Pondero said...

That looks like a blast! The dirt roads, and stops to see the sights, were especially inviting.

At 6:01 AM , Blogger Jon said...

I dreamed of this kind of trip since I got my first motorcycle. These past few years, riding to Tennessee and back, and riding in the mountains, have been (literally) the dream come true.

I am hoping to make it up to Mt. Rushmore, next month, before the threat of snow makes it unadvisable.

At 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

E N V Y O U S !

At 12:15 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Incredible! I can only imagine how much fun riding a motorcycle on those mountain roads must be. The scenery is stunning ... Just awesome.


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