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600 Mile Weekend Through the Colorado Rockies

by Stacie
(Denver, CO)

Riding Down a Rocky section of Cinnamon Pass

Riding Down a Rocky section of Cinnamon Pass

Riding Down a Rocky section of Cinnamon Pass
Cinnamon Pass
Wet and Muddy After Attempting Corkscrew Pass
Beautiful Colorado

I had my longest motorcycle trip yet (in my short 7 weeks of riding since I got my license) over the July 4th weekend. We rode about 600 miles through the beautiful mountains of Colorado on some of the most remote roads only accessible to Jeeps, dirt bikes, ATVs and our BMWs! I was riding my BMW F650GS and my boyfriend was on his BMW GS1150.

We went from Denver to Fairplay, over Weston Pass to Buena Vista (the backside of that pass had log STEPS, running water, loose rocks, mud, etc.). From Buena Vista, we went over Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Reservoir outside of Gunnison. Then we went over Owl Creek Pass to Ridgway and saw the most beautiful scenery - so beautiful it made me want to cry. From Ridgway, we went to Ouray, up Red Mountain Pass with the intention of going up Corkscrew Pass, but it was pouring rain. We only made it a couple of miles up steep, muddy, rocky switchbacks with scary cliff drop-offs and a river crossing. We ran into two guys on dirt bikes coming down and they recommended that we turn around because we didn't have knobby tires because they said the road got WORSE from where we had stopped. So, we turned around and headed back DOWN the steep muddy ATV road, sliding the whole way. SCARY! I can't believe I didn't dump my bike. We then headed from Silverton up Cinnamon Pass which was the most crowded ATV road with tons of Jeep and Hummer Tours and people who didn't have any trail etiquette for uphill riders having the right-of-way. Very technical, rocky riding - probably the scariest of all the riding I've done. My boyfriend had to ride my bike down a couple of switchbacks that were just too tight/steep/wet/rocky for me to attempt right now. Cinnamon Pass dropped us into Lake City, then we headed back to Gunnison, back over Cottonwood Pass (which is dirt on the Gunnison side, but after all the riding we had done over the weekend, it felt like a paved road!) to Buena Vista. We were going to head back to Denver through Woodland Park and Salida, but my boyfriend's bike decided to break down at a visitor's center on Wilkerson Pass. 5 hours and many repair attempts later, we got his bike towed down to Colorado Springs by someone nice enough to make room on their ATV trailer. They dropped his bike off at the BMW dealership and we rode two-up all the way back to Denver on my little 650! It was tight, but my bike did great.

Sorry for such a long post, but for such an epic trip, I could have gone on for days! It was truly an amazing journey - not just a "trip." Amazing sights, amazing riding, so proud of how I rode all the technical stuff, so happy with my awesome motorcycle, met great people along the way, and experienced the most gracious help from complete strangers. Amazing!!

Comments for 600 Mile Weekend Through the Colorado Rockies

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Jul 15, 2011
WOW
by: Lynn

Wow Stacie! I commend you on handling what sounds like roads meant for dirt bikes. Although I know your BMWs are beautiful for dual purpose, that really tested your ability and nerves! The pictures are fantastic. You are living the life!! Thanks for sharing & keep us posted on your future expeditions!

Jul 12, 2011
"Switchbacks"
by: Stacie

In response to Ev's question about switchbacks, yes, I guess you can consider them a "hairpin turn" but even more tight. I think of hairpin turns as rounded. Switchbacks are not. They're more like zig-zags cut out of the side of a mountain.

Funny, right after I posted this story, someone "Anonymous" posted that I was stupid and motorcycling was supposed to be fun and why would I want to do this to my body. That comment was quickly removed from the site, but I'm still trying to figure out where that person interpreted that I was not having fun from what I wrote? I'm still coming down from the high from that weekend! It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Jul 10, 2011
Dirty Weekend!
by: Ev

Now that was one fantastic ride!! I'm so jealous. For someone who has only ridden for a short time, your boyfriend sure "threw you in the deep end" so to speak! My husband did & does the same to me. And one benefit of traveling with others is that you get some good photos! What is a switch-back by the way? Is that like a hair-pin corner? More photos please!!!

Jul 07, 2011
Great job in such rough terrain Stacie!
by: Robin_uganda

I'm impressed that you really kept the shiny side up Stacie with such awesome off road conditions! Great job! It sounds wonderful! Those BMWs can really take the ruff stuff!

Good on you!

Jul 07, 2011
WOW!
by: Sandra

Sounds like an AWESOME time to me!! And those pictures are something you can keep in your heart forever - gorgeous scenes - and you were THERE!

Sounds like you got a crash course in skill-building and passed with flying colors. I would not have done so well as steep drop-offs scare me in CARS, much less on a bike (I live in F-L-A-T Illinois!). But your rewards in the experience you had were well earned.

As for the community of road adventurers, bikers in particular are known for looking out for each other in most cases...glad to hear you ran into helpful like-minded spirits. Just adds to the marvelous experience you had. THANK YOU, for sharing! :D

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