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316 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First leg: Trip east, Grace Moto Adventure event in Chama, NM

Wednesday 8/26/2014
Left the house at 0400-ish. Needed cash from the bank and gas. Already heard sirens that morning, but didn't think anything of it. As I we recording my gas purchase, an ambulance went by code 3 and the gas station lights went out. I thought the ambulance strobe triggered the daytime light shutoff. But as I look around, everything is dark: homes, streetlights, and traffic lights. Great! I'm on a bike and I have to get through a couple busy intersections with sleepy cagers. They behaved themselves and I'm soon on Hwy 58 east. Ride, gas, bio-breaks...repeat to Flagstaff by 1:00. Coffee and Cliff bar while I'm checking the weather radar to see what the clouds are doing

Weather seemed to be cooperative until eastern Arizona. Yep, I kept missing the until the last 30 minutes into Holbrook.

When I got to Gallup, it was too early to stop, so I figure I'd see what I could find near Farmington. Saw two RV "campgrounds" that were all gravel, so I kept going... and going... and going. Previously, I had found a dirt road on Google Maps just inside Carson National Forest, figuring I'd stop there at the latest. So, now that is my destination. Oh?! Did I saw it was now dark? Really dark? As in partly cloudy, no moon, no ambient lights from the city dark? Yeah! Now I was praying that the deer were already bedded down since there was no moon. Luckily, not a single, glowing eyeball was found.

840 miles.

Thursday 8/27/2014
Slow getting up. This was my view in the morning


And the other side

And still another side

I knew well was there, but didn't care the night before.

It was a nice, easy hour ride into Chama, NM, here are some pics.

I'm meeting up with some guys for a Christian ADV Rider event new this year from Grace Moto Adventures.
Christian ADV Rider Forum - Index
Grace Moto Adventures - Home

It was founded by Big_John from ADVRider, and he was one of the founders of RMAR. We met at the Elkhorn Lodge in Chama, NM. Nice lodge and the new owners are very welcoming. If you get close, look them up. You won't be sorry. They will be keeping the lodge open year-round and are expanding to include RV and tent areas with showers.

After setting up camp, I rode into the big city of Chama to see what it offered. I rode into the parking lot of the Cumbres and Toltec railroad and just had enough time to catch a pic of them moving a steam locomotive

Some other pics of the railroad yard.

I was just hanging out, relaxing, when I had a couple visitors that evening

I missed getting a pic of the owner sneaking around with an air rifle to "encourage" the skunk to visit the neighbors. And there is supposed to be a black bear that wanders through the area. He was a no-show.

People started showing up, and Terry brought a Scrambler. If you've seen a Scrambler on ADVRider in places it shouldn't be, it was probably this one.


316 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Friday 8/28/2014
Breakfast at 7:30

Kickstands up at 9:00
150 mile (?) 50/50 paved/dirt route, only four riders had arrived I'm time to go

Quick view with all bikes

"Half dome"

Sometimes you forget how blue the sky can be

David has been riding for years, but today got his first dirt lesson

Some Pics

Early ranch house

A bit of pavement and back to dirt

Wild Bill, another VStrom

Dinner at 6:00, chicken and brauts

Saturday 8/29/2014

Breakfast at 7:30
Kickstands up at 9:00
150 mile (?) 50/50 paved/dirt route.

The new dirt rider opted out of this day, so the pace was much faster. I didn't get many pics

Cumbres Pass toward Colorado

Back on dirt

Views of southern Colorado

The Rides

Elk Country

Imaging a picture of my VStrom taking a on its side in a muddy area, but I haven't been able to get it. Roots, mud and bikes don't always get along.

Trail kept deteriorating: ranch roads, rutted two-tracks, pasture. The video at the end of this report kind of gives an idea.

Two shades of brown

Happy bike

Dinner at 6:30-hand-cut rib eye steak and fixins

Big John with Grace Moto Adventures posted a video of the event

316 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Second Leg: Chama NM to railroad/stage lines near Victor, CO

Sunday 8/30/2014

Breakfast at 7:30, then everyone packs up and heads home, but I'm headed to Colorado

During a quick stop at the store in Chama, I see this guy roasting peppers in a big rotisserie

Views north of Chama

View from the road headed north

When I get to the top of the pass, the Cumbres and Toltec excursion train had just crossed and the helper engine was decoupling. After a bit, the train headed away from me, but the helper engine backed up and gave me a great shot

La Manga Pass

Views of Colorado

That dust cloud is Great Sands National Park, the wind was whipping!

River east of Salida, wish we Californians had more of this

Heading up Phantom Canyon Road, just east of Cañon City. It is part of the Gold Belt Tour and is a designated scenic byway. PCR used to be the busiest narrow gauge railroad line in the West, built in 1894 as the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad
Phantom Canyon Road |
Now it is a rather busy dirt road.


Tunnel 1

Tunnel 2

Spoke to a couple guys from Calgary riding a KTM 990 and a BMW Dakar. They were also warning about traffic.

A couple of the cuts

Only remaining original bridge, the rest were washed out by the flood of 1912. The death blow to the railroad. Pics of the informational signs are in my Google album link at the bottom.


There were several of these narrow cuts, great places for head-on collisions

Not too long after this pic, a young guy comes zipping through one of the narrow cuts as I'm about to enter. I get over, but the knucklehead barely slows down. There is a lot of traffic for a dirt road and some cagers take their half out of the center!

Last pic of the day, camping in the canyon

316 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Monday 8/1/2013

Morning views

Finished Phantom Canyon Rd, first views of Victor, CO and Battle Mountain

Victor, CO, it feels like an authentic old town

Battle Mountain

Nearby active mining

Cripple Creek, CO, commercialism seems to have set in, and it even has a casino

The second half of my loop into this area was to take the Shelf Rd back down to Cañon City. The shelf road was a stage coach line that at many times is just a shelf on the side of a cliff. I'm sure it has been widened quite a bit bit from the original. I would NOT want to be a passenger!

Sitting in Salida, looking over a map, I have a change of plans. Sitting about 30 miles from Buena Vista, I decide to go there and head south on COBDR.

North of Salida, first mountain range I'll be crossing

Views from my campsite


316 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Third Leg: Part of Colorado BDR

Tuesday 9/2/2014
The road up to Cottonwood Pass was paved

Heading west down the pass, the road is oiled dirt for a while

The GPS track takes off on a side road

Water crossing

Tin Cup

Leaving Tin Cup, I found a freshly graded road, 2-3 inches of soft dirt with loose rocks mixed in to slow progress. Luckily, I found the grader within two miles

The road up and over Cumberland pass


I stopped at the store in Pitkin to thank an ADVRider guy that provides updates on the conditions in the area. Great people, drop a couple coins if you can.

Leaving Pitkin, the tracks consisted of many dirt ranch roads, maybe 80 miles worth. However, a couple times, the tracks would take you off onto a little used side-route that would be interesting.

This valley was absolutely beautiful!

Gassed up in Lake City, CO, another tiny town, then continued on the track to find a campsite

Lake San Cristobal

Camp was set up at dusk.

316 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Wednesday 9/3/2014
Tough climb up Cinnamon Pass and down to Animas Forks, the the bike was more that capable. Just "point and shoot" and the VStrom would go. No pics of the harder parts

At the top and coming down into Animas Forks

Ran into Rawhyde instructor who had already been through this section several times. He reported that the upcoming passes were harder and the scree was pretty loose. Being alone and not ready to push my technical limit any farther, I opted out and headed to Silverton.

Picked up a few things a the store and camped "low" on the Ophir Pass road, it was still slightly over 10,000'.

Thursday 9/4/2014
Woke up to overcast skies, quite a change from the past week
Not a bad climb up to Ophir Pass

Struggled with the scree coming down, but survived. I couldn't get a rhythm going.

Ophir, CO and on to Telluride, CO

Made it down to the road to paved road. Thought I would run into Telluride just to see it, but the traffic was becoming a slow train, so I turned around. I jumped back on the track and headed south, watching the dark clouds. I'm now in a bit of a rush trying to get up and over the main ridge and down past a reported mud hole before the rain comes in, so I only took a few pics.

On the private ranch

Near the top

However, coming down the other side, I found that a grader had just gone through and left loose dirt and rocks all over. Joy! One good thing was that the grader took care of any mud holes. It's starting to sprinkle now, but all is good because I'm on flatter ground...except I start climbing again. Up and over another ridge I go, and the sprinkling is slowly getting heavier. I get to a fork with the route heading back up to go around Groundhog Reservoir, and it's a light rain and and more dark clouds coming. Time to call my tour of the COBDR done. I pull up Google Maps looking for a route out, and still have 30 miles of dirt ranch roads until pavement. The final riding for the day on pavement into Durango was almost uneventful, except for not seeing the puddle in the other lane in time. Yep, it was just like the videos you've seen, and I was the recipient! D'oh! It was lights out for a few seconds. That night was at the KOA 7 miles east of Durango. That shower felt good!

316 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Fourth leg: Million Dollar Highway, Hwy 50, and Home

Friday 9/5/2014

Woke up to a beautiful day! I ride through Durango and head up the Million Dollar Highway. Words can't describe, so I'll let the pictures talk

A guy at the Grace Adventures event in Chama brought some jerkey from Old World Meats in Grand Junction, and I found the place about 30 minutes before they closed. I chatted with the guy a while and he talked about going to a family reunion in Monterrey, CA and how much he enjoyed driving Hwy 1. After I paid for my jerky, he grabbed a bag and got another big handful and gave it to me "so I wouldn't have to open the bags". Cool guy, and you have to get their jerky if you go through there. Old World Meat & Marketplace | Grand Junction, CO 81501 | Wild Game & Domestic Animal Processing | Butcher Shop I camped that night near the CO/UT boarder in Rabbit Valley Conservation Area.

Saturday 9/6/104
Headed back toward California, I'm taking Hwy 50. I didn't get too many pics, but here are a few.

Capitol Reef

Long, straight section

Hwy 50 between Ely and Carson City, NV was dubbed by Life Magazine as the "Loneliest Road in America", so it sounded like a pretty cool road. It was very enjoyable, and a lot better than slabbing it. It consisted of mountain range, valley, and repeat. The valleys were straight where speed limits tended to be 70, and the mountains had great curves and forests. Yes, there is a lot of distance between gas stops, but no problem for any bike that can get 150+ miles per tank. There wasn't a lot of traffic, but there is enough if you have issues. That night, I camped near Austin, NV.

Sunday 9/7/2014

Hwy 50 is also the Lincoln Hwy, the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the US. Here is one of the Lincoln Hwy markers

Hwy 50 also follows the same general path of the Pony Express, and you can see remnants also the way. Here's another long, straight stretch of the highway.

I keep motoring on through Fallon, Carson City, and into South Lake Tahoe just in time for the Tour de Tahoe bicycle event (read ZOO!). The bicyclists stayed near the side of the right lane, but it still didn't leave enough room for two lanes of traffic, so everything pilled up. I did ease down the right lane at a few stop lights to jump ahead of the line. :) I only got one average pic of Tahoe, too busy motoring. I finally reached Hwy 89 and head south over Monitor Pass to our favorite Hwy 395. As I'm headed south, I see tons of smoke, probably the thickest over Bridgeport. The glowing circle is the sun.

Someone at the gas station said it was the Meadow Fire in Yosemite. Bummer!

I keep motoring south. I tell my wife I'm picking up a loaf of bread at Schatts.

She's a happy wife, but then asks for three. So, I get FOUR, and repack a lot of stuff to make it fit. As I'm packing, the guy parked next to me comes out and stars chatting. We talk Colorado, motorcycles and travel, then he gets in his minivan and leaves. He's a little odd, but aren't we all. As I'm trying the leave the parking lot, I'm behind a Honda Civic. Some lady enters the exit driveway and the confused Honda stops in the exit. After a few seconds, I go around him and off the curb, he is rebooting or looking at a map. IDK.

Quick dinner and gas in
Lone Pine. Really windy for a while, but after sundown and south of Red Rock Canyon, the air gets really smooth. It's a nice ride on home to Bakersfield, pulling in the garage at 10:10, where my wife meets me with a camera.

618 miles. Home. Shower. Bed. Done!

316 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)

Amazing how dirty the gear gets

Spotwalla record, New Mexico and Colorado


Here is the link to the video Big John with Grace Moto Adventures posted

Sorry for the glove fingertips or lanyards in the photos, there was always a glare on the screen of my iPhone. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here is a link to my photo album, if you aren't already on picture overload
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