Having grown up in Durango and now living along the Front Range, it has been a dream of ours to ride our dual-sported 450 dirtbikes from Fort Collins to Durango for a long time. Life tends to get in the way of a lot of these Adventures, but this time we decided come hell or high-water, we were doing this ride this year!!

The general outline of the ride had been planned for several years, however there is nothing like the actual ride date on the calendar to make you finish all the small details! I had planned out every road on the GPS, checked with friends and other resources to make sure the route was good and even drove every inch of the route before hand on Google Earth. Everything looked great.

The route was near perfect, except for one slight problem about midway through the ride. What had been labeled a Country Road around 11-Mile Reservoir was actually Private Property so we had to backtrack and go around.

Our goal was to get to Lake City on Day 1. As luck would have it, we were up late on the night before the ride and decided to delay our departure time by one hour so we could get some much needed sleep. Hour #1 lost! After getting the bikes loaded into the truck for the ride to Rollinsville, Travis quickly discovered that he had left his SPOT at home!! NOO!! Since we were using our SPOTs to communicate our whereabouts with our families back home, we HAD to go back and get it. Hour #2 lost!

A fellow rider in Rollinsville, FlyingHorse, had agreed to let us leave the truck in Rollinsville at his house so it would be safe! Thanks Todd!! So we arrive at Todd’s house and unload the bikes, gear up, and go over the bikes one last time. The ride has officially begun!

Final bike prep

Unloading at camp FlyingHorse

We head out of Rollinsville full of energy and vigor. Up through Tolland and on our way to Kingston Peak. The view of Kingston Peak from Rollinsville looked ominous! I am sure we will encounter some weather up there. Riding our bikes loaded down for the first time was quite an eye-opener for both of us. Normally riding Kingston Peak would not be particularly challenging, however this day would be different. We quickly realized that riding with about 30lbs of extra weight would require and adjustment in our riding style. For the first 5 miles we were more like ‘voting members’ on where our bikes went. After adjusting our riding style to match the new weight of our bikes, things went great. On the top of Kingston Peak we ran into the weather we had seen from the valley below. Turns out the precipitation was not rain, but SNOW!

Just above Tolland

The snow was just starting to fly

A short break before we had to get moving again

We were soon over Kingston Peak and on our way down into Idaho Springs. We quickly passed through Idaho Springs and found our way over to Saxon Pass. Saxon Pass sits right over Georgetown and provides spectacular vistas of the I-70 corridor. The switchbacks of Saxon Pass can be seen from I-70 as they zig zag across the mountain. The rocky terrain on the descent into Georgetown definitely commanded your attention.

View from Saxon Mountain

Some singletrack we found that goes to an old mine

The Saxon switchbacks

Once in Georgetown we fuel up and grab a quick sandwich at Subway. I must have been hungry as I don’t remember Subway ever tasting so good! We head south out of Georgetown towards Guanella Pass. No sooner had we left Georgetown are we stopped for road construction. There is a massive Public Works project going on at Guanella Pass road which results in a one lane road for several miles. After a 15 minute stop, we are back on our merry way. The terrain mellows out for a while and we start making some really good time.

Rush hour in Georgetown

More in a bit…