Author Topic: COBDR 2016  (Read 5746 times)

Bogus Jim

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COBDR 2016
« on: July 18, 2016, 08:57:59 PM »
I havenít written a ride report in a couple years. This COBDR trip with Dan, Brad, and Mike was a fun one, so I wrote a few paragraphs on the trip. Hopefully this will help me remember the good times a few years down the road.

Day 1 - Rapid City to Guernsey WY, 203 miles

Dan, Brad, and I left Rapid on Friday afternoon. On the first day, we really just wanted to burn a few miles and get into Wyoming. Brad put super moto gearing on his DRZ, so he was able to motor along at 70-75 mph and we were in Guernsey by 8 pm. Brad did run out of gas at one point, and had to refill from his rotopak, but I think he did it on purpose so he could establish his true range for the rest of the trip.

Here we are just before leaving Rapid. Man, these guys look determined!

Day 2 - Guernsey WY to Glenwood Springs, CO, 371 miles

The next morning, we decided to check out the Oregon Trail ruts south of town. The ground here is soft sandstone, and it looks to me like this path (and others) were probably cut by Army engineers to allow easier passage for the wagons.

While Dan and I soaked up the history, Brad stayed in the shade and checked his stock prices. Or maybe he was just talking to his wife.

The clear blue sky in this photo was something that we would see almost every day for the rest of the trip.

We also stopped by Register Cliffs, which was on our way out of town. The vandalism at this site was a little disappointingÖ it was hard to find a marking in the sandstone that predated 1960.

Since I couldnít find anything else interesting, I snapped a photo of this rabbit by the Register Cliffs site. I thought it was just the same cottontail that we have in the Dakotas, but Dan explained to me that this was a Wyoming subspecies that has evolved with higher ground clearance to handle the tougher Wyoming terrain. You can see in the photo that it rides a bit higher in the front.

We left Register Cliffs and rode a really fun narrow section of pavement east and south of Greyrocks Reservoir. This is a road Iíve ridden before when coming from Fort Laramie and itís a true gem.

We continued on through Wheatland, Laramie and Walden on the slab. At Walden, we decided on a whim to get off the pavement and head towards Steamboat Springs on forest roads. I believe 5 and 60 were the numbers, and these roads took us across Buffalo Pass at 10,300 feet, where we saw snow for the first time (other than the Snowy Range peaks, which always seems to have snow).

Hereís a view from the pass as we were starting to descend into Steamboat. You can just see part of the town in the center of the photo above the trees.

South of Steamboat, we jumped on a section of the COBDR and rode south to I-70. We had already decided that we didnít want to ride the COBDR north of Steamboat, since all of us had already ridden that area before.

The plan after I-70 was to meander down the west / central part of the state and pick up the COBDR again near Cortez. We had already done about 300 miles, so we decided to start looking for a camp site. After a few phone calls and some confusing directions, we found a nice camp site outside Glenwood Springs with showers. Itís amazing what a shower will do for you after a long dayÖ we finished with 371 miles.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 07:47:06 PM by Bogus Jim »

Bogus Jim

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 09:08:12 PM »
Day 3 - Glenwood Springs to Delores, 345 miles

Day 3 was another long day, but a good one. We woke up without a plan, but after some discussion, decided to head south west into the White River National Forest. The route we chose was pretty confusing, because the road numbers changed so often, but Dan wrote down all the numbers on a slip of paper and I donít think we missed a single turn.

The route was filled with gentle switchbacks, an excellent morning ride.

During the second half of this forest route, we began to see a large flat mesa on the horizon. As we would soon find out, this was Grand Mesa.

The route took us out of the forest and back to civilization, through the town of Collbran. We turned south on Highway 65, also known as Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, a road recommended by Butler motorcycle maps. We had planned to take 65 all the way to Orchid City, but a chance stop in Mesa for root beer and snacks changed our plans. The waitress there suggested that we ride to the top of Grand Mesa, promising an amazing vantage point with a view of Grand Junction.

So we continued south on 65, with a new plan to head west on Landís End road, across the top of Grand Mesa. Highway 65 began to climb; hereís a view of the highway down below and also Grand Mesa in the left of the photo.

The top of the mesa is about 10,000 feet, and the road across the top was cold and windy. Eventually we reached the western side of the mesa, where thereís a parking area, an information kiosk, outhouses, and a lookout building. The western side of the mesa is known as Landís End, and it is aptly named. There are sheer drop-offs on three sides of the mesa.

Hereís a view looking north west. You can see Grand Junction in the distance.

When we first rode across the mesa, I didnít realize there was a road down the west side. Upon seeing the steep switchbacks winding down to the bottom, I think Dan, Brad, and I all had the same reaction - ďwe are not backtracking; we are taking THAT road down.Ē

To give you another view, I overlaid our GPS tracks on Google Earth. What an awesome road. The first few switchbacks have a bit of ďexposureĒ as Dan would sayÖ slip off the side of the road and itís a long way down.

There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of these chipmunks living at the lookout building. I guess the tourists who drive out to Landís End feed them, and they were quite persistent in their demands for food. I told Brad to give some peanuts or something to one of them, and he got bit! Sorry Brad.

After descending the switchbacks from Landís End, it was a short ride to Grand Junction, so we headed there for lunch, and came up with a plan for the rest of the day. We were going to ride the Divide Road across the Grand Mesa - Uncompahgre - Gunnison National Forest. Yes, thatís a mouthful.

Hereís one of the first switchbacks, as we started the climb to 9,000 feet.

We had been warned that traffic could be heavy on the Divide Road, and at one point we had to pull off and wait as a convoy of pickups, campers, and fifth-wheelers came down the switchbacks. It was Sunday afternoon, and most of them were likely returning home.

While we were waiting for traffic to die down, Brad kept looking back at my Tiger. I think he wants one.

The Divide Road rises to the top of a long plateau, and was interesting for the first 10-15 miles. But it just kept going on and on and ON. It mustíve been 40-50 miles when we finally decided to bail to the south and descend back to Highway 141. At least most of the road was at 9,000 feet, so we stayed relatively cool. That was about to change.

We continued on highway 141. None of us were particularly impressed with this areaÖ Iíve always thought north-eastern Wyoming is desolate but I believe this exceeds it if youíre looking for god-forsaken barrenness.

The temps were climbing (we werenít really that far from Moab) and it was mid-afternoon. At one point we pulled off on a county road to try and find a remote campsite. We crossed a bridge over a creek that was not quite dryÖ I learned later that this was ďDisappointment CreekĒ, a major contributor of sediment and saline to the Colorado river. After a couple miles we ran into a pretty serious rock garden, not easy passage on big bikes, and stopped to discuss options.

Dan had stopped in a draw just short of the rock garden, and noticed some fresh mountain lion tracks. The idea of remote camping here was becoming less appealing. We decided to bail and continue on to Delores or thereabouts. On the way back to the highway, Dan informed us that it was 104 degrees, which explained why I had been feeling a bit hot while standing around with riding gear on.

Eventually we found a remote campsite outside of Delores. Dan rode into town for beer while Brad and I set up tents. Brad started a fire and it turned out to be a pretty nice evening, although Brad did get attacked by a hummingbird. First the chipmunks, then the birds.

It got very cold that night, probably due to our altitude. I think Dan said 30 degrees. 104 to 30 degrees is quite a swing for one day of riding, but thatís Colorado.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 07:51:59 PM by Bogus Jim »

Bogus Jim

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 09:11:23 PM »
Day 4 - Delores to Telluride, 117 miles

The next morning we headed into Delores for fuel, then jumped on the BDR route to Telluride. We were expecting an easy day and it was.

I donít know exactly where on the dayís route I took this photo, but I think itís one of my favorites.

Telluride was not an easy place to find a campground. We ended up staying in a National Forest campground a few miles south of town. We rode the tram to downtown Telluride for dinner. Mike rode about 750 miles from Rapid City to meet us today, and he arrived in downtown Telluride in time for dinner. He mustíve had the 1190 set on warp speed.

Day 5 - Telluride to Lake City, 109 miles

Day 5 was a short day in terms of miles, but with all the passes we rode, it seemed much longer. Ophir, Molas, Coal Bank, California, Cinnamon, Slumgullion, Los Pinos, and probably one or more that Iím forgetting. For the most part, these passes were easy, but there were steep switchbacks and loose shale in places. The best strategy was to keep movingÖ if you stop on an incline with poor traction, it is hard to get a big bike moving again. The ATV and jeep traffic was heavy in places, but itís just something you have to deal with.

We camped at an RV park in Lake City, and rode downtown for dinner. I think riding these passes and riding to Landís End were probably my favorite sections of the whole trip.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 07:57:09 PM by Bogus Jim »

Bogus Jim

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 09:23:21 PM »
Day 6 - Lake City to Leadville, 237 miles

The section of the BDR from Lake City to Buena Vista is only 144 miles, so we decided to ride 1 1/2 sections today and try to make Leadville before stopping. Mike rode with us as far as Buena Vista and then peeled off, since he had to be back in Rapid City on Thursday.

I had read there was sand on the COBDR, and east of Buena Vista we finally ran into it. Very deep but luckily only about 1/2 mile long. Slow going but we managed to get both of the big pigs through there, while Brad gleefully pranced around on his 300 lb. DRZ.

We camped at Turquoise Lake near Lake City that night.

It was a beautiful lake, but the next day while riding out I realized the lake was man made and that kind of spoiled my memory of the place. During the rest of the trip, Dan and Brad continued to point out all the man made features to me, at one point even claiming that some geese in a pond were radio controlled decoys that only moved when tourists went by. This is the type of BS chatter you get when you have 3 DDSR guys on Sena headsets.

Day 7 - Leadville to Meeker, 277 miles

We had a nice breakfast in Leadville before starting our ride. Another cafe picked at random, but one that turned out to have pretty good food. I think I fell in love with the waitress there, but maybe Iíd just been on the trail too long.

The plan was to ride the BDR route to I-70, where Brad was going to split off and head home. Dan and I hadnít decided what to do yet.

Hagerman pass was the last pass we rode this day, and the ascent was quite rocky. Not difficult, but it did require careful line selection if you wanted to avoid smashing the skid plate on the big pigs. Hereís a view about 3/4 of the way up.

And a shot at the top. Dan and Brad were a few minutes behind meÖ donít remember what they were doing but probably just taking photos further down.

We stopped at a barbecue joint in Eagle for lunch. I decided I wanted to ride the Flat Tops trail up by Meeker (more on that later) and Dan and Brad decided to head back to Rapid City. So we parted ways in Eagle CO.

I rode Cottonwood Pass over to Glenwood Springs, then headed into the White River National Forest with the intention of doing one more night of remote camping. But after stopping at a couple potential camp sites, the horse flies were so bad that I didnít even unpack. I backtracked almost all the way to I-70 and then took some fun twisty pavement (from the Butler maps) into Meeker.

Day 8 - Meeker CO to Rapid City SD, 569 miles

There was an OHV rally in Meeker, so I left town early, about 6:30 am, to avoid the ATV traffic. I headed out to Flat Tops Trail and about 10 seconds after turning onto the trail, I realized that Iíve already ridden Flat Tops TWICE! Itís part of the Heart of the West loop, which I rode in 2014 and 2015. So my detour to Meeker was not the greatest planÖ but the Flat Tops area is very beautiful so I didnít mind riding it a third time. Thereís far worse roads to ride on a Friday morningÖ

The west side of Flat Tops is a lush valley, while the east side climbs into the White River and Medicine Bow - Routt National Forests. Hereís a view from one of the scenic lookouts.

Flat Tops eventually exits near Yampa, so I headed up to Steamboat Springs for fuel and slabbed it the rest of the way to Rapid City. I noticed this cool old snow cat in Steamboat.

I had planned to ride up to Bismarck to visit relatives, but when I got to Newcastle I decided I was too tired to continue north. So I made it back to Rapid City about 6 pm with 569 miles for the day and 2,300 miles for the trip.

Thanks to Dan, Brad and Mike for a great trip. I think we rode the best parts of the COBDR, and we also saw a lot of terrain that we would have missed if we'd followed the COBDR route strictly.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 08:02:52 PM by Bogus Jim »


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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2016, 09:27:11 PM »
Great pics.  Looks like an awesome trip!   Sorry to hear Brad got mauled by a chipmunk.

Lonesome Dave

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 07:49:13 AM »
Great report Jim.  Loved the tracks laid out on google earth.

Brad; pretty good deal here on a Tiger;

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2016, 07:54:04 AM »
Thanks Jim for taking the time to put this together. Wonderful pictures & narrative. Good Job!


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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2016, 10:55:56 PM »
Thanks for writing this up Jim. You certainly hit the highlights. It was a great ride.

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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2016, 09:38:54 AM »
thanks for the couple days of fun, I'm doing the entire thing next time..
stupid is my middle name, but my first name is Mike


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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2016, 08:44:31 AM »
Thanks Jim, great write up! can't wait for my turn to do the COBDR!!
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Re: COBDR 2016
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2016, 08:58:26 PM »
Nice write up! Need to figure out how to make more days in the week and month! I
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