Motorcycling to Durango

10/22/07 23:46:00

Posted by: Paul

File Under: Travel

Pictures at Colorado Trip

For a long time I've dreamed of taking a motorcycle trip to the mountains, but there was always some excuse. I put it down to not having a motorcycle that was reliable enough, but if I really wanted to do it, that was actually a minor hurdle.

Well, events this year made me realize that I need to live now and not wait.

I bought my C50 in May because a friend at work asked me if I wanted to sell my old bike, which I had been thinking about. So a deal was struck and I found the C50.

I had already scheduled some vacation for either August or September because I knew I'd need to take it before the end of the year. But I hadn't planned on doing anything.

I hadn't posted this here as of yet as it's been pretty hard to deal with, but at then end of July my little sister took her own life. She's had a number of physical problems for years, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, muscle spasms, basically she had been in almost constant pain for about 8 years. So as much as losing her hurts, she is at least out of pain.

A short time after the funeral I was thinking and it struck me, that I had the vacation time, a reliable motorcycle and the desire. So I started quickly planning my trip to Colorado. Adding last minute mods, highway pegs, getting a tank bag and some saddle bags along with some rain gear to get ready.

Then Born2bWild had her wrench party and I thought it would be a great way to meet some people off the board, but also use it as a "teaser" trip to see how I might hold up on a 1800 mile trip.

The wrench party turned out to be great fun, I met a lot of great people and the trip went flawlessly.

Well, Sept. 1 rolls around and I leave at a little after 8am. The first stop will be in Garden City, KS where my other sister lives and is having a Labor Day picnic. So I got to see her and my father, he lives in Dodge City, KS. Yes, I did indeed "get the hell out of Dodge".

On the way I passed by Cheyenne Bottoms, one of the wetlands in Kansas. It was very high, the pictures I took was right from the side of the road (Hwy 156). Normally you either can't see the lake from the road or it's in the distance. Then it was only about 10 ft. away from the road.

Also, went by the windmill field near Spearville, KS that has gone up in the last several years. I never realized how big these things are until I got closer to them.

I stopped at the "scenic" overlook near Dodge City and took a picture. Thought people might like to see what Dodge City was founded upon.

Sept. 2

I left fairly early as this was going to be my push all the way to Durango. About 450 miles, the farthest I'd ever ridden in one direction.

Start heading west and the land gets flatter and flatter. Head into La Junta, CO and fill up on gas. Hwy 10 between La Junta and Walsenburg is a pretty desolate stretch of road. About 60 miles where there are no services, houses or buildings. And depending on the time of year and time of day you'll be lucky if you see one other car on the road.

Get into Walsenburg and head towards the mountains. Weather is great, has been for the entire trip. Get into the mountains and really enjoy the scenery. Just before I hit Pagosa Springs it starts to sprinkle. I stop and put on my rain pants, but that's about it as it's not raining hard. Uh oh, should've thought twice about this decision. By the time I get to Pagosa Springs, maybe 5 miles, it's pouring down. I stop and cover my luggage with the rain covers, find a bank drive up and pull into there since it's covered. It's Sunday, so I don't have to worry about anyone wanting to use the bank.

After about 30 minutes it lets up long enough for me to head out. Durango is about 60 miles away. The road is damp and it sprinkles some but doesn't really rain.

As I've been getting closer to Pagosa Springs and Durango I'm seeing more and more bikes. Just thinking to myself that it's some pretty nice countryside to ride in and that it isn't unusual. I find out later that there's a rally not too far away from Durango, but the day I pulled in was the last day.

I get to my hotel and check in, find out that they had a hose next to the parking lot and they'd let me wash my bike and even give me some towels to clean and dry it. So I take 10 minutes to wash the dirt off.

I'm pretty tired by this time, but a good tired. I made it. My butt didn't even hurt too bad on the stock seat. I went to find something to eat, don't even remember what it was now. LOL And went to bed fairly early.

Sept. 3

I slept in. Just woke up when I felt like it, took a shower and grabbed something quick to eat. Got ready and rode up to Silverton. It's only about 60 miles away, but what a 60 miles. Durango is at about 6300 ft. and Silverton is at 9300 ft. Went up and down and back and forth. The road was really good, but there wasn't a shoulder to speak of and less dirt and ground beyond that and in most places no guard rails. A little unnerving sometimes. But it was a gorgeous ride. I stopped and took pictures. The highest I was was at Molas Pass at 10,899 ft. above sea level.

Silverton was as small as I thought it would be. I walked around a bit but didn't see anything stores that really struck me as to be interesting. So back to Durango.

I decided this was going to be a pretty easy riding day, so I rode up to Silverton and back and then explored around Durango some. Ended up eating dinner at a pretty good Mexican restaurant.

Back at the hotel I pack everything up as I leave to go home tomorrow.

Sept. 4

I got up pretty early as I was heading back and wanted to get back to Garden City before dark.

When I left it was a little chilly, but not bad. However once I got into the valleys in the mountains it got much chillier. I had to stop and put the liner in my riding jacket. I wore that until I got out of the mountains and it started warming up.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, just putting miles behind me. It's not nearly as fun going home as going the other direction.

Get into Garden City, find a hotel, relax a little and then go to sleep.

Sept. 5

Only 350 miles left to go. Nothing of any event, I do stop by and see my father at work as I go through Dodge City.

I get into Lawrence in the late afternoon. Look at my trip odometer, it was like 1798 miles total, so I round it up to 1800. 1800 miles in 5 days. Pretty good for my first long trip.

I don't plan on it being my last.

For those that don't want to scroll all the way back up for the link to the picutres you can find them at: Colorado Trip

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