Day 3

So as night was quickly approaching, we wanted to get as far north as possible to get a good run at getting home on Sunday. We cruise through Slumgullion and head to points North. Working our way towards Cathedral, we pass many fine looking campgrounds. I stop Travis and ask him to stop at the next good campground. He assures me that there will be others just up the road. As we roll through Cathedral we start climbing and climbing quickly. Pretty soon we are going past 10,000 feet and the air is getting thin and cool. The last whispers of dusk are fading from view as we find a semi-level piece of ground to rest for the night.

We wasted no time getting the tent setup and finding firewood for a little campfire. We downloaded on the days events in front of the campfire and then settled in for the long ride on Sunday.

It got cold overnight. Damn cold. I didn’t have a thermometer with me, but at 10,000 feet in the middle of August, it was cold! We broke camp around 7am and started making more progress north. We were a little worried about gas at this point thinking we had to make it all the way to Mt. Princeton resort for more gas…we would be close, damn close. As we crest Los Pinos Pass we are riding in conserve fuel mode keeping our engine RPMs low and coasting where we can.

Because of our stealthy ways through the forest, a wayward rabbit doesn’t here us approaching and jumps right out at me. He is attacking my foot. I am afraid for my life. What if this is the end? What if there are more killer rabbits just waiting to attack? My only instinct is to kick and luckily I thwart the attack of the killer rabbit. The rabbit goes flying back into the forest as is he had been launched off the rotors of a helicopter. I look back to check on Travis and he has also had a near death experience. He is laughing so hard at watching the attack of the killer rabbit that he has nearly wadded up his bike.

About 300 yards further down the trail I am being paced by a bird that suddenly swerves into my path and THUMP…I tag a bird! I now have had two animal incidences withing 300 yards of each other!! WTF?!!!

We get to the bottom of the pass and at our first intersection we have a good laugh at the suicidal animals of Los Pinos Pass!

Discussing suicidal animals

Rolling through the plains of central Colorado is mostly uneventful. We work our way back past Waunita Hot Springs and begin our trek back into the mountains.

The start of Waunita Pass

Our worries about fuel are all for not as we had forgotten that there was gas in Pitkin. With our next planned stop for gas in Grant, we would be good on gas for the rest of the way…or so we thought.

Pitkin is a cool little town in central Colorado. A guy could spend weeks here riding the local terrain.

The local store has free Wifi and cell service…although you HAVE to stay on the porch for cell service!

It was here in Pitkin that we decided to deviate from our previous route. Instead of going back over TinCup Pass we both wanted to scout out Taylor Park. From Taylor Park we would head over Cottonwood Pass and down into Buena Vista. This would mean trading a little dirt for a bit of extra slab. No problem, this would put us into Fort Collins a few hours ahead of sunset…riiiiight!

Climbing up out of Pitkin

The top of Waunita Pass

A fun descent down into Tincup!

After getting some food in Buena Vista we are back in the saddle again. After logging soo many miles in the last few days, our tolerance for asphalt is minimal. It takes only 30 miles before we are sore all over. 100 miles of dirt is waaaay easier by comparison. We skipped on gas in Buena Vista and we skipped on gas in Jefferson. We had enough fuel to get us into Grant. About 8 miles out of Grant the traffic starts to pile up. We figured it was Sunday RV traffic and we would soon be off on our own up Guanella Pass!

About 7.5 miles from Grant, the traffic comes to a standstill. In fact, every car is doing a U-turn?! Sure enough, the road is CLOSED!! There has been a 3 car, head-on, fatal traffic accident right in Grant. Road is closed for a minimum of 3 hours!! Travis and I park the bikes and go over and talk to the Sheriff. At first he is wrapped up in his job of keeping the road closed. After a bit of conversation he sees that we mean no harm and are only looking for a work around. The option he gives us is to back track to Fairplay and head through Breckenridge. Not really an option for us as we are so sick of riding asphalt!! The officer pulls out his local forest map and helps us plot a way around the accident. GOT IT! We will head down to CR62 and catch some singletrack up and over the mountain and drop in on Guanella Pass…perfect!! Only one problem…we need gas in Grant and Grant is closed! As we walk back to the bikes we are looking for anybody with some four-wheelers or dirtbikes in the back of their truck that might has some extra gas. We luck out and find a great guy with some extra gas from his generator. We each manage about a gallon of gas from the can which should be plenty to get us into Georgetown.

Blowing through a Police road block is a pretty exhilarating feeling! We get a few strange looks as we blaze on down the road. Soon enough we are at CR62 and looking for some sweet singletrack! About 2 miles up the road we find our sweet singletrack! And a gate with Private Property all over it!!! Damn…Nixed again!

Looking at the GPS we find that we can get up and over Webster and down into Montezuma and on into Keystone. This is a possibility, but it will drop us into I-70 and a LOT of asphalt during Sunday rush hour. No thanks!

We have burned about 1.5 hours of time so far waiting on this road closure. At least we have enough gas! We decide not to go back up to Kenosha Pass, but instead we break out a few snacks and chill on CR62 so when the road opens we can get up Guanella Pass road quickly. After we get our snack eaten, the road apparently re-opens as a few cars start trickling past! We are about the 4th vehicle through the newly opened road. We blast up Guanella Pass like two bats straight outta hell. We are flat rippin! That is, until we reach the road construction that is 8 miles outside of Georgetown. We are stop and go. Miserable. 7 miles an hour for 1/4 mile, then stopped for 20 minutes. Move 200 yards…sit another 20 minutes. This is ridiculous! We burn another 1.5 hours in this construction and there is no end in sight. Thankfully a gentleman that apparently is working on the site comes up to us and explains that the automatic signals are messed up and are only allowing cars to go down for 45 seconds and then waiting 9 minutes! He says on those bikes you have you can just go to the front of the line and down the single lane road into Georgetown!

That is all we needed to hear. Travis and I are out of there like a shot! We roll passed at least 2 miles of parked cars and get to the front of the line. Boy did we get some EVIL looks! We roll into Georgetown and it is practically deserted. Stopping for gas and water was a relief. By the time we had gotten out of the gas station, the town was FULL of cars!! It appears that after Travis and I hi-jacked the light, the flood gates were open! The citizens were going to damned if they were going to sit at that light any longer!

Sitting in traffic on Guanella Pass

Almost 2 hours invested in this traffic jam!

Heading back out of Georgetown we rolled into Idaho Springs and up Fall River Road. We had Kingston Peak to roll in reverse and we would be home free. The heavens decided to open up one last time on us before we got back to the truck!

Gearing up for one last rainstorm!

All in all it was a most wonderful experience. Having a riding partner that rides like you, thinks like you, and enjoys the ride like you is sooo important. I am ready to do it again!!