Guanella Pass to Grant. From Grant we zip down 285 to Jefferson and make our way towards Tarryall. We top off our tanks in Jefferson and discover we are getting 50+ MPG!

Beautiful high mountain lake

It is from Jefferson south that is an entirely new experience for the both us. This is a part of Colorado that very few people see or visit. It is a beautiful part of Colorado and I am glad that it is relatively undiscovered. It reminds me of a time 25 years ago in Colorado when things weren’t quite as busy.

On our way to Tarryall

Rain was all around us, but we stayed remarkably dry

The valley towards Tarryall had wonderful rock formations

More great views in the valley

We even found a dude ranch! Everyone waved after I took this picture!

We work our way through Tarrryall and head onto LaSalle Pass Road. The road to the top of LaSalle Pass isn’t challenging and is a very beautiful ride except for the deep sand which keeps you on your toes.

LaSalle Pass…that way <—

Typical conditions on LaSalle

We work our way off of LaSalle Pass and onto the 11-Mile and Spinney Lake recreation area. There is weather all around us, but so far we have been able to avoid all of it. We head west down Black Mountain Road and we know our luck in avoiding the rain is over. We pull over and don our waterproof jackets and press on. About 10 miles down the road we run into a BIG problem. There is a big green locked gate crossing the road with a huge PRIVATE PROPERTY sign on it! Uh oh! Now what? After checking all of our maps and looking for a route-around on the GPS, we decide that there is no go around and we will be forced to back track and find a new route.

Heading into Spinney and 11-Mile

We were a little skeptical of this section and double and triple checked our route

You think we are going to get wet??

Looking back at 11-mile

Luckily there is a nice dirt road that will take us around to Hartsel. Heading from Hartsel over to 307 our luck in dodging the rain ran out. We got pounded for about 15 minutes and then the rain was gone as quickly as it came in. Our rain gear proved effective as we were warm and dry.

Our reroute takes us into Hartsel

Don’t freak out, we dropped down into 307 in the Fourmile Recreation area and had an absolute blast. We connected with road 300 and thoroughly enjoyed every inch of that trail. The route connected us with Nathrop which is just south of Johnson Village. From there we ripped on over to the resort village of Mt. Princeton and topped off with gas and had a well deserved ice-cream bar. It was 6pm and the sun was starting to hang low on the horizon and we still had about 140 miles to Lake City. Time to mount up and get down the road.

Heading down 307

Don’t Freak Out

Bald Mountain Gulch…super trail!

The Collegiate Peaks

Things are going great!

The lady at the gas station told us it was 12 miles to St. Elmo and then another 6 miles over to Tincup. The first 12 miles to St. Elmo went by in a flash, however the next 6 miles to Tincup were a slow grind of a ride over a very rocky trail. At the top of Tincup Pass we were rewarded with stunning vistas and a light rain shower. We had enough time to snap a picture and then we were off to the village of Tincup and racing the sun.

Time for gas and an ice-cream

Racing the sun up Tincup Pass

Just above Tincup

Be careful, it is Open Range

Finally in Tincup

We rolled into Tincup, looked around for a second or two and then headed South towards Wuanita Pass. Neither of us had ever been to Wuanita Pass before and didn’t know what to expect. The pace was brisk and the scenery breathtaking. We were the only people on the entire trail. We stopped periodically to take some photos and then hopped on the bikes again and raced down into the village of Pitkin. Pitkin is a great little mountain village with a gas station. Why it didn’t occur to us to fill up is beyond me. I hope this doesn’t bite us down the road later as we head deep into the forest in the dark!!

Climbing up Waunita Pass

The pictures don’t do this justice…

Got any Capt. Morgan?

Heading out of Pitkin we ran into a couple of campers out playing on ATVs, but that was really the first encounter of any type on this trip so far. Running back down the road we eventually get to Wuanita Hot Springs and on to the plains of the Gunnison National Forest.

The sun is quickly setting and we still have about 100 miles to go. This is going to be interesting. As the sun dips behind the horizon we are climbing up to Los Pinos Pass. This pass sits at 10,600 feet and with every foot in elevation that we are gaining the temperature is dropping. Every gap in our clothing is becoming more and more noticeable. We stop to close all the gaps in our clothing and to don our balaclava’s to keep our head warm. We manage to squeak out 10 miles before we HAVE to stop to warm up. We get off the bikes but leave them running and huddle at the exhaust pipe trying to grab every bit of warmth we can. Three or four minutes goes by and we begin to regain feeling in our fingers…time to press on. We repeat the tailpipe congregation two more times before we finally leave the Forest and head on down into Lake City. As we are rolling down the pass, I begin to flameout and am forced to switch my gastank to Reserve. We roll into Lake City on fumes and stop at the first gas station we see.

We have made it and survived Day 1!