XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Friday, 27 June 2014

Colorado - 6 High Passes in a Day!!

WOW... What an truly fab day... we've been up at 12000ft, ridden through snow higher than our heads, ridden the corkscrew down to the Million Dollar Highway & ended up in Durango after a mega blast down some seriously good & fast bendy mountain roads... this place is ace!! What a playground...

So we left Salida around 8 ish this morning after I'd burnt the waffles & made a mess in the busy little breakfast place!! Matt had caught us back up with nice shiny new Dunlop 606 trail tyres, (apparently a very popular tyre over here), Within a very short time we were heading through the woods by the side of a little babbling brook with loads of folk in their campers parked up. We climbed & climbed up a fairly narrow & rocky trail that led us to our first pass of the day, Marshall Pass, 10824ft... & it was also the line of the Continental Divide, so we were officially in the west after crossing here!! Woohoo...
 The trail down from here was fairly steady away & nothing like the up we'd done to get there, we were soon on a stretch of graded road that led us to Sargents, a fuel & coffee stop... from here we found a discrepancy in the roll maps & the GPS waypoints, there had been a change to the route that was shown in the GPS but not in the roll maps, so we decided to follow the GPS & it took us over the the Tomichi Pass & the Los Pinos Pass, (Yes we did crack the penis joke too :-))... this had loads of aspen & birch trees along the trail & opened out into some really high prairie land that was beautiful with the backdrop of snowy peaks to offset the greenery.

We had a few miles of graded road to get us to Lake City which is a proper little touristy place nestled in a steep sided valley... plenty of rafting, mountain biking etc here... From here climbed straight up to Cinnamon Pass, this was ace, plenty of 4x4's on the trail, loads of quad bikes, even with old couples on them out for a pootle in the hills... the trail going up wasn't too technical & the surface was generally good so progress was made to the ruins of the ghost town at the bottom, Animas Fork was an old mining place that has gone to the dogs with neglect. From here we took the Animas Pass, which was by far the most technical today, it wound up into the snow line properly, a huge channel had been cut into it to get the road open, it is a county road after all!! :-). Both the up & the down were tough, lots of soft snow to navigate through, even a frozen lake en route... the Animas joins into the California Pass & eventually drops back to tarmac via a descent route called the Corkscrew, well named as it twists & turns & has loads of roller coaster humps in it. Its great fun & very pretty.

Oops Matt got stuck in the snow!!

We hit HW550, which is dubbed the 'Million Dollar Highway' it cost that much to build a very long time ago before a miilion dollars became small change for some! It's a fast, sweeping road that would be utter bliss on a decent sportsbike, as it was I was grinning like a loon following the boys into Silverton & on down to Durango. We missed out on meeting up with a friend of mine so ended up staying in a motel for the night, so we could get away early tomorrow to get back on the trail as we have a couple more passes to do in Colorado before heading into Utah & Moab.

What a fab day, this has been by far the best riding of the trip & I can see a return visit to this area in the future for more exploration!! Oh & we saw a dust devil today too... spinning away like crazy til it hit a tree & a groundhog, (Marmot) & a beautiful Eagle not more than 50 ft away from me...

Oh I have to admit too.. (Only cos Geoff will not let me get away with it... I was the only one to drop my bike today!!!

Oh & Matt met the Chicken!!

Hee Hee