Sunday, June 9, 2013

Colorado Trip 2013 - Part II

This is the continuation of a trip my dad and I took at the end of May.  The previous evening we had made camp in Durango, Co.  The next morning we awoke early eager to start our first real ascent into the Rockies via the Million Dollar Highway.  Our destination for the day was the city of Lakewood, outside of Denver.  My cousin's first kid was graduating high school and my dad and I were going to see if we could make the ceremonies.

Day 3 - 358 Miles, 7 hours drive time

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After breaking camp we headed north.  It didn't take long before we made our first high elevation summit, Coal Bank Pass, at 10640'.  Living in the desert for so long, being able to drive in scenery such as this is a true treat! 
 I'm guessing a few people have passed through this area.  Looks like it belongs in an art museum.
 From there we pressed on and soon came to Molas Pass at 10910'.  The air was brisk but we weren't cold at all.  If anything I'd say it was perfect riding weather.
 Taking in the view from the top.
 Maybe it was the early time of day, but we had the whole place to ourselves.  Traffic was very light.  We never got stuck behind any slow moving RV's or tractor trailers.
 We rolled into the town of Silverton around 8ish? on a Thursday.  You could tell the Durango train hadn't arrived, as there wasn't a tourist in sight.  Except for my dad and I of course.  We spotted a open coffee shop along the main drag and decided to check it out for breakfast.
 Nobody on main street except for a few locals.
 The mountains tower over the town any direction you look.
 The name of the coffee shop was Mobius Coffee.  The owner whipped us up some amazing lattes, in addition to a bacon egg sandwich, for me, and a huge! egg burrito for my dad.  It was fun to hang out with the locals for awhile and listen in on the latest town news.
 From Silverton we pressed on towards the town of Ouray.  Making a stop at Red Mountain Pass at 11018'.  They had a small overlook where you could peer down to the mountain streams below.
 Ladies, try to control yourselves.  He's already taken.
 The wife of this one might be willing to let him go.  Depending on the day of the week, and whether or not he's finally gotten around to taking out the trash, or unloading the dishwasher, or on how many motorcycle trips he's been pestering her about.
 Looking down into the abyss! 
 In Ouray we had to pull over so my dad could reset his trip odometer or update his new GPS unit.  Can't really remember which.  Allowed me time to snap a couple of pics.
 After extensive computer adjustments my dad was ready to press onward.  His bike has so many electronics you'd think he was navigating a star ship.
 We gas'd up in the town of Montrose before heading east towards Gunnison.  I had to pull over, outside of town, to take one last picture of the San Juan Mountains.  It was amazing knowing we had just crossed over those peaks.
 The section of road between Montrose and Gunnison was beautiful to ride.  Nice long curves surrounded on either side by green fields.  Eventually it came to a end when we ran into road construction.
 After sitting around for ten minutes or so, the pilot car finally took our long line of vehicles through the work area.  The damage was done though.  For the rest of the way into Gunnison we found ourselves stuck between semi trucks and cars.  No use passing anyone as there was another truck in front of the one you wanted to pass.
 Things got better heading out of Gunnison.  We road snaked up into the Sawatch mountains leading us to the highlight of the day which was Monarch Pass.  The weather was beautiful and the curves were so fun we didn't stop once until we made it all the way to the top.
We met a group of BMW riders who where very friendly and got to talk shop for while.  Everything from where we had started from, to where we were headed, how the bikes handled and on and on.  It's always amazing how complete strangers turn into instant friends because of motorcycles.
 This is how you pack a bike!
 If we had time it would have been nice to take a ride up to the top.  I'm sure the view would have been amazing!
 Just chillin...
Heading down the mountain was just a fun as going up.  Down in the valley we found a scenic lookout that gave us an amazing view of the mountains we had just crossed.
 Looking west towards the Sawatch range.
 The view was so amazing I grabbed a panoramic of it.

Mean while, back at the ranch....about the same time that my dad and I were coming out of the mountains Jared's(my cousin's son) high school reunion was taking place, west of Denver, at the Red Rocks amphitheater. (Lots of history here, be sure to read the Wiki)  Since the graduation was taking place at 2pm there was no way my dad and I were going to make it.  So we took our time coming into Lakewood knowing that we'd still be able to have dinner with everyone.  My mom took the following pictures.

Heading into the amphitheater.
 During the graduation.  Quite the view huh!  You can make out downtown Denver in the back left.
 And of course the newly made scholar Jared on the left.  Congrats!
 My dad and I rolled into town around 5 or 6pm.  After checking in at the hotel we headed over to my cousins' house for dinner.  Here I am clowning around with two of my cousins, Lance on the far right and Ryan in the middle.  Young Sam is watching over everyone making sure none of us get into any trouble.
 Dinner was delicious!  Barbequed brisket with green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes.  For desert, fresh cut pineapple!  Amazing!
 That's the end of Day 3.  Stay tuned for more.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Thanks again for a brilliant set of vistas. Although I quite enjoy the European Alps and landscapes I still have that craving for the North American scenery. With the help of your journey and pics I can control my desire to pack my things and just move back...

  2. Riding through the Rockies = Awesome!!

    Sure some beautiful roads you two travelled. I am surprised you had the roads to yourselves for so long before the construction caught up to you (or you caught up to it).

  3. @SonjaM - Haha! I hope your homesickness fades fast. I envy you your endless European roads to explore. But to help out I will continue to post the pictures:)

    @Trobairitz - Yeah we seemed to be blessed on this trip. Beautiful weather, beautiful roads. Minimal traffic. Couldn't ask for more!

  4. Hey quiet one, whatever happened to the rest of the trip?

    Anywayz, looks like I'll be doing your exact route from Farmington to Gunnison on September 9---only in reverse.