Sunday, June 2, 2013

Colorado Trip 2013 - Part I

Ah! It's good to be back.  A couple of days rest,  if you can call house chores resting, and I'm ready to head back to work tomorrow.  Well maybe not, but I'm required to be there so I guess I'll try to drag myself in.  Before that happens, here's a few pictures from a trip that my dad and I took last week through the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and finally ending back home in Arizona. 

The catalyst for this trip was the graduation of my cousin's son from high school.  The plan was to attend the graduation and get there via motorcycle.  So dates were picked and eventually the day to depart arrived.  Day one's goal was to make it to my parents cabin in the White Mountains.

286 Miles, 5.5 hours drive time

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One of the brighter decisions I made in preparation for the trip was to pick up a couple of Butler Motorcycle maps of Colorado and Utah.  These maps highlight awesome motorcycle roads with various colors.  Yellow being the best, then red and then orange.  I highly recommend them if you're looking for theperfect route to ride, but don't know where to start.  The book was a package deal with the Colorado map.  It breaks the state into different quadrants making it easy to find history and unique stops listed for each road within that quadrant.
At last! Day of departure.  I rode over to my parents house to pick up my dad.  Another key item on this trip was our Sena Bluetooth headsets.  My parents had purchased the SMH5 headset awhile ago and used them to talk to each other while riding.  I liked how they worked, so I bought a pair for Kiri and myself before this trip.  I just paired my headset to my dad's and voila!  We could talk and understand each other even at 70Mph on the freeway.  They made it convenient to decide where we were stopping or if wanted to change our route on the fly.  I highly recommend them!
Nothing exciting to report heading out of Tucson.  Interstate travel is like watching paint dry.  We gas'd up in Safford and then headed into New Mexico.  Making our first lunch stop in the small town of Alma.  Apparently this town was home to Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid's "Wild Bunch" gang for awhile.  Didn't know that until checking the Wikipedia page just now.  How interesting!
One of our goals for the first day was to check out a old mining town called Mogollon.  Some interesting history there.
I expected the town to be short ride off the main highway.  But the road ended up winding way back up into the hills.  Eventually narrowing to a single lane before dropping down into town.  Be careful bringing a RV here.  If you encountered a vehicle coming the other direction their be no place to pass each other.
Signs of the town's past gold and silver mines could be seen everywhere.
Riding into town was like going back in time.
According to Wikipedia, they filmed a movie here in 1973 called "My Name is Nobody" with Henry Fonda and Terence Hill.  This might have been one of the buildings built for the movie set.
We wandered around town for a few minutes taking photos.  It was a Tuesday and most of the shops and museum didn't seem to open until the weekend.  Besides a few locals we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Another building for the movie?  Not sure.
As we headed out of town I took this picture looking north towards our final destination for the evening, the White Mountains.
And boom! After setting the throttles to warp speed, we made it in a few seconds.  Well not really, but it was an enjoyable relaxing afternoon ride. 
Wanted to show my new kick stand plate.  Bought it at the local motorcycle leather store in town.  Needed to make sure I had something to keep Bonnie from tipping over with all the extra weight she's put on.  This picture is also notable because of the pine needles.  We spent some of the rest of the afternoon raking these guys up in a perimeter around the cabin.  With every summer seeming to be a fire season, the forest service recommends clearing a certain area around structures in case of fires.

Day 2
346 Miles, 6.5 hours drive time

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Not a lot of pictures on day 2, but there was a lot of driving.  My dad wanted to visit the El Malpais National Monument on our way to Colorado.  I covered this area in May of last year HERE if you'd like to see more pictures.  This detour ate into our time on day 2, as our final destination was supposed to be Ridgway State Park on the far side of the Million Dollar Highway.  It ended up being ok as we found a very nice campground in Durango, leaving us to enjoy the Million Dollar Highway the next morning.  Here we are entering the monument.  I like this picture has it shows the sandstone cliffs rising out of the ground.  The road then snakes between these cliffs and old lava flows on the left.
 "Luke, I am your father.  Join me on a ride through the southwest."
 Stopped at the La Ventana Arch in the Monument.  While we were taking these pictures we ran into a gentleman who was currently hiking the Continental Divide Trail which goes from Mexico to Canada.  I didn't get any photos, dumb on my part, but what was interesting is that this hike takes 6 months to complete.  Talk about a commitment.  Makes a 9 day motorcycle trip look tame!
Ok, everyone say "cheese" then pose exactly the same way! No, no, don't try to be unique or anything..pose exactly the same way!
 From New Mexico we pushed hard to make Colorado.  A little too hard.  One of the quirks on motorcycle riding is saying things like "Let's do lunch in the next town".  Well the next town always ends up being a few hours down the road.  We reached Farmington, NM around 3pm.  I was a bit cranky, having had no lunch.  It was a bit warm and we couldn't seem to find a fast food joint with any shade trees.  Farmington doesn't believe in trees by the way, just letting you know now.  It was at this point that we decided that weren't going to make Ridgway and needed to find another place to stay.  Smartphone to the rescue.  I located THIS campground in Durango and everything worked out perfectly.  My dad and I felt better about being able to explore the Million Dollar Highway the next morning.
My tent is the yellow one.  You can probably note a higher skill in tent building just by comparing the two. 
 As we finished setting up camp the Durango to Silverton train rolled through our campground.  Another cool reason to camp here.  Bonus!  I should have filmed a movie of the train coming through, but I failed, and only took a few pictures.  Quite neat to see coming down the tracks!
 When I was a kid my family took a ride on this same train.  It's an all day affair so if you plan on riding it keep that in mind.
 It had been a long day, and my dad and I didn't feel like getting back on the bikes.  So dinner was some Sprite and a couple of power bars.  After a quick call to the wife it was off to bed.

Stay tuned more pictures to come!


  1. Ah! Roadtrip! The train going through the campground looks cool.

  2. I bet the BlueTooth headsets made the trip a lot more enjoyable. How is the battery life?

    Thanks for the detour into Mogollon, I've always wondered what was down that road!

    Cool campground with the train right there.

  3. Looks like a great trip so far. How many times did that train rock your world during the night?

    The Senas are awesome. I hate to ride without them now they are so convenient for pointing things out or even to let the other know when a break is needed.

    I liked the picture of you and your dad posed the same way. With those cliffs in the background - it is probably my favorite shot so far.

  4. @SonjaM - Thanks! Glad to hear from you after the move! Need to catch up on your adventures.

    @Dugg - The Sena headsets were great! We got a full days ride out of them. There was one morning where we didn't charge them and my dad's unit ran out of juice mid-morning. We would end up charging them in the KOA restrooms during the evening. 2-3 hours of charge and they were good to go again for another day's ride.

    @Trobairitz - The train only rolled through that one time. I'm not really sure how many trips it makes between Durango and Silverton in a day but after that 7PM roll through it was done. Thanks on the picture. Hoping to post more soon!