Monday, August 29, 2016

Rockmor - August 18 through August 22, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thank goodness the rain had stopped by the time we woke up in Lake City, CO.  Since we hadn't used the tent last night, packing the bikes was quick and easy.  Not too long, we were on the road again.  Still on CO Highway 149, the traffic was light to non-existent and we were enjoying the solitude, scenery and great road.  This highway is a scenic highway called the Silver Thread.  As we neared the end of the highway, we found a nice rest stop and took the opportunity to get off the bikes, look around and take some pictures.

How sad is this?  There was a garbage can in the parking lot just a few feet away.  Ironic, huh, "I'm proud to be an American" stamped on the coke can that was probably smashed and left on the parking lot by an American.  Well, maybe not, who knows.  But totally sad.

A few photos from our vantage spot.

We turned right onto Highway 50 and eventually into Gunnison, CO where we stopped at Mom's Cafe for brekkie.  Yummy food.  After brekkie, we strolled back to the bikes and took a look around the Oddfellows Park.  Beautiful bench, eh?
A nice pond with a clever metal sculpture.
And, a great mural. Although small, it was a very nice park!
On the bikes again and still on Highway 50, we climbed up, up, up to Monarch Pass.  Of course we stopped for the obligatory Continental Divide photo.  (Unlike Wolf Creek Pass - bastage!).

We stopped here for a bit and checked out the tourist store.  We ended up buying some stickers (yay!) and a magnet for our freezer.  It was a bit breezy and definitely cool :-)

There was a storm a brewing to the east, and that was the direction we were headed!
You could see the ski slopes from Monarch Pass!
We finally landed at the Rockmor campsite in Buena Vista and set up the tent.  This was a story in itself!  The wind was blowing at a ferocious rate and our tent is BIG.  The sky was threatening rain and we decided we had better get it up and fast!  Unfortunately, one of the peg holders snapped off.  My honey, ever prepared, had a sewing kit and repaired it.  When we stuck the pole in the peg holder, the other side snapped off!  Really?  Really?  Yes, really.  So Eric sewed up that one too.  Finally, we got the tent set up and all of our gear sorted.  At the end of the day (and it was) all was fine.  Our tent was pitched, our cots set up and all of our geared sorted and stored away.  Hooray!

That evening we spent at the tent after we registered for the Rockmor event and got our swag bags.  We were a day early (which was our plan) so there were no real social events.  We did spend a bit of time at Bex and Lee's (our hosts) trailer with a campfire and chatted up the folks that were there.  However, it had been a long day with a lot of weather challenges so back to our tent for a final cocktail and bed.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The next morning we were up and at it fairly early.  We geared up, headed out and stopped for brekkie at a local hangout.  We then decided it was time to take a ride.  The Rockmor event officially started on Friday.  The night before, we had looked at some of the planned routes and decided we'd take a Bronze off road route to start.  They had provided maps of both on and off road routes with the off road routes rated Gold, Silver or Bronze for difficulty. Since we were fairly familiar with all of the paved routes, we decided a simple Bronze would be appropriate.  Off we went!  We rode over a number of paved roads before we hit the start of our Bronze off road path.  The beginning was quite mild although there was a lot of washboard for a bit.  We easily conquered this and the road began to deteriorate a bit.  No big deal, still an easy ride, especially since we had dual sport tires on the bikes.  I got rather aggressive (for me) a time or two and I found that if I went faster, the washboard went away.  Go figure!

So on we rode to a rest stop, trail head, where we took a break and looked around a bit.

Oh, thanks Eric for taking a picture of my butt!
Yeah, this is better, a front shot :-)
There was a lovely creek and bridge at the start of the trail so we took a bit of a meander and a few photos.
CLOSED TO MOTOR VEHICLES!!!!  Darn, yah, I was going to ride that trail (not).

Eric looking pensive as he gazes at the river.

Me taking photos of the flowing water.  It really was a lovely place to take a break!

So back on the road - we turned around at the rest stop because that's what our route map said to do.  You can see how nice the road was.  There were some spots I called gnarly but later, I decided they weren't gnarly at all, hahahaha.  So here is a series of pics of me riding off road.  Not so scary :-)

We returned to camp and then decided we'd try some of the places suggested by the Camp Ground on their brochure.  Ghost towns, lakes, and other fun spots.  Off we went!  Starting again on pavement, we then ended up on smooth gravel.  Nothing was well marked and we made a turn toward a ghost town but couldn't find it.  Instead the road headed up the mountain and wasn't looking very friendly.  So, we turned around and stopped at this lovely alpine lake to take in the view.

And the upside down ducks! hahahaha
We rode back to camp and then decided a quick run up to Cottonwood Pass might be a fun way to fill our afternoon.  And, it was!  Off to one side of the pass was a lovely, little alpine lake.  We rode up on pavement and just at the top of the pass it turns to dirt/gravel down the other side.  We just turned around and went back down the paved side.
The obligatory Continental Divide poses ;-)

While we were at the pass, a number of bicyclists came riding up from the unpaved side and boy, were they enthusiastic!  Well, why not?  They had just conquered a dirt pass over 12,000 feet.  Yes, they had big, tough looking legs.

You can see some of the switchbacks here.  This was stunning.  A bit chilly and windy, but totally awesome.  I did get a tiny bit of a headache from the altitude but as soon as we made our way down, the headache went away.
We returned to the camp ground for some socializing before dinner.  Here I am with Ruth and Kandi, both of whom I had met at the ADV Woman Rally.
Random shots of the pre-dinner socializing.

Dinner was catered by "Bite Me" and boy was it delish.  We had ribs for an appetizer and then the main course of brats (pick your flavor + flavored cream cheese filling!), hot potato salad, slaw and green salad.

There was a good line forming to grab some grub!
We enjoyed our meal, chatted with folks and finally made our way back to the tent for the night.  We're both pretty pleased at how we've sorted our camping gear so far.  We're working out the kinks and figuring out how to stay warm/cool.  I think it got down into the mid 40's that night!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

While at dinner we had spoken with "Chip" who told us of an "easy" ride to Salida.  So, we checked the map and decided that's what we'd do.  So Saturday morning we had brekkie at the Pavilion and hopped on the bikes to check out this "easy" ride.

It certainly started out easy!  Just what I wanted to get comfortable on.  We rode south from Buena Vista on CO 285 and turned left at Johnson Village CO 24/285.  Then we were on the lookout for a small gravel road CR307.  Yippee, found it!  We turned right onto CR307 and I was tickled.  It was smooth gravel.  I told Eric I'd like to ride this for about 60 miles or so and get really comfy.  Ha, like that would happen!  From CR307 we took another right onto CR187.  CR187 wasn't nearly as nice as CR307 but it was "okay" and I wasn't too worried.  It was just a bit rough and a lot smaller.

From CR187 we veered right again onto CR185.  Look how nice CR187 is!
I'm even smiling.  I'm actually liking this a LOT!  My Beastie Bike just ate this up.  It was nothing!
And then, the road got narrower and narrower with more and more rocks.  First we climbed up a big hill and then down the other side.  I was getting a workout, standing on the pegs, picking my line and holding on for dear life!  Whew!  Okay that was a bit gnarly but Beastie Bike ate it up again.  It simply amazed me how that big bike rode over that rough stuff.  Of course, I had put it into "Enduro Pro" mode which gives me full suspension and takes off the ABS so you can slip and slide the rear wheel.

Okay, I finally started to breathe again as the road, although rough was kind of flat for a bit....and got gnarly.  I mean really gnarly, especially on a fully loaded R1200GSA!  Now, we were riding over baby head and bigger rocks, deep ruts, whoop de doos, roots and general gack!!!  My lovely "get used to it and comfortable" gravel road had turned into a rugged jeep trail!
I was still up on the pegs, letting the bike do it's thing under me but boy, I was getting TIRED.  My arms and legs were like shock absorbers and they were bending like I was doing a million gazillion push-ups and squats at the same time!  At altitude!  On a very crappy surface!  On a MONSTER BIKE!  Gosh, I was exhausted and breathing hard.  All of a sudden.....I lost my line but I couldn't stop because it was getting steeper and steeper uphill and I needed momentum to get over the rough surface.  Dang!

When I lost my line, I admit, I panicked a bit (understatement).  The Beastie Bike was still just doing her thing and chugging over everything but I needed to stop and catch my breath.  So, panic, OOOHHHHHHH, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, F**K!!!!!!! That's all I could say, f**k, repeatedly as I bounced to and fro on the rocks and ruts feeling like I was totally out of control.  That Beastie Bike kept going right where I pointed her but I was too tired to hang on for much longer.  And, in panic mode, I was certain I was going to crash big time!  Eric could hear me in the comm unit and asked if I was okay.  I couldn't answer, all I could say was F**K!!!!!!

Now, I didn't "CRASH".  I tried to stop and choose a poor location and Beastie Bike just laid over.  I call it a "doink".  F**K!  I knew better than to try and keep her upright, she's a beast and weighs a ton.  So over we went together.  Fortunately, there was a berm on the side of the road and that's where we landed!
Yeah, yeah, I'm okay (but kind of stuck here).
Well, fine, here's an ADV Salute to you, too!
I managed to climb out from under the bike.  I was just fine, but I was a bit shook up.  No bodily injuries and Beastie Bike seemed quite content to just lie there for a bit.  Eric and I righted Beastie Bike and I needed to calm down and catch my breath.

I took a bunch of photos but they honestly don't do justice to the terrain.  The road was a bit steep here and still more climbing to go.

Yeah, this gunk!  This is what I was riding over when I lost my line.  What you can't see are the dips and holes.

What you also didn't see was the two four wheelers that chugged past us.  And then, the group of Rockmor riders that passed us.  One of the Rockmor bikes was two up and they were sitting down just chugging up the trail.  I felt like a total rookie!  Yes, they all asked if we were okay!
And crap, more to come!  It took me a while to calm down and climb back on the bike.  I pointed it in the direction I wanted to go and slowly let out the clutch.  But, my bad, as soon as the clutch engaged and the bike began forward movement, I pulled the damn clutch in again (why? I don't freakin' know!) and guess what?  Yup, doink a second time within three or four feet of my first doink.  Really?  Really?  Piss.
It took me MUCH longer after the second doink to get my breathing normal and to stop shaking.  Cripes, I wasn't even hurt!  Finally, after what must have seemed eternity to Eric, I remounted Beastie Bike and turned her on.  But.....I couldn't move.  I just sat there looking up the road, knowing I could not possibly turn around and face that stuff going downhill.  I'd close my eyes, shake my head and ponder how in the heck I could get a truck and trailer up here to rescue me!  No, that wasn't really an option and I knew it.  I just needed to get some confidence.

So, we waited.  I took in deep calming breaths.  Eric was extremely patient, encouraging and kind.  It took a long, long time and then I cautioned Eric to stay away because I didn't want to accidentally run him over.  And.....after even more time, I just let out the clutch, stood up on the pegs and rode that Beastie Bike up that stupid hill.  I passed Eric's bike which was parked up the hill further and I didn't stop - no way.  I wasn't going to stop for anything and risk another doink!

And then.....after only maybe 100 yards or so, I burst out of the woods onto a beautiful, flat, plateau! Hooray, I could safely stop!  While at the top, a group of jeepers came along from our left, the direction we were headed to reach Salida, CO.  I had a little laugh because they were going to go down what I had just gone up!
Actually, I think the road improved a bit as we headed down the other side of CR185.  Either that, or I was more comfortable.  No, really, truth is I wanted to get off that freakin jeep path and onto some smooth gravel or pavement so I was going to just ride over whatever was in front of me and that's what I did.
Eric stayed quite a ways in front of me because I needed space so I could go my speed and not worry about running him over.  He would tell me over the comm what was coming up and what to expect.  That was VERY helpful.  We took another break, this time at a smooth spot on the road and no more doinks!  It was lovely up there in the Colorado Rockies!

During this rest break another group of jeepers passed us going up the mountain.  I asked the last jeep if they wanted to trade places.  They all laughed but I could see the driver was having some difficulty handling the jeep on the trail.  Little did they know, but it would be worse going down the other side, hahahahahaha!  I know, I was just there ;-)

Another ADV salute to all my friends!
Yes, the road improved the lower and lower off the mountain we got.  Hooray!  I was pooped!

We did make another quick stop almost to the bottom of the road to look at this beautiful little spot.  Looks like it may have been a rock quarry.  Anyway, there was one little campsite along the shore.  I was a bit jealous of the folks that scored that site!  Simply gorgeous!

And then, pavement!  Woohoo!  We headed directly back to camp (well we did make a stop for ice and beer).  We returned to our tent, changed into comfy clothes, made cocktails and just took some time to chill.
Here is Beastie Bike, Rockmor #59 (because that's how old I am!)
Here is Eric's Super Tenere, Rockmor #63 (because that's what year he was born!)
I LOVE my Beastie Bike.  She churned up that nasty, rutted, rocky, jeep trail like it was nothing.  All errors were on the part of the pilot!  I'm simply amazed at how well this bike rides.  I actually laughed out loud when we reached pavement and I put the bike into "Road" mode from "Enduro Pro" mode because I could feel the bike lower and I could flat foot again.  While in Enduro Pro mode, I'm pretty much tippy toe!
Whew!  It was time to go to the Pavilion and check out tonight's appetizers.  Oh boy!  Rocky Mountain Oysters!  Ever tried them?  Me either.
Eric takes a bite.
Then, another.
Then yet another!
Eric said, "Yummy!" so I decided to be brave and give it a go as well.  Surprise, they were quite nice, especially with cocktail sauce!  Rather than try and cook huge balls, the chef had sliced them thin, breaded and then deep fried.  Yes, they were Yummy!  (Not a big crowd of people interested in the Rocky Mt. oysters, so Eric got plenty of appetizers before dinner. )
Here is a pic of Dimitrios who was part of the organizing/planning Rockmor folks.
Some tree art at the campground.
And now, dinner and then presentations and door prizes.
Random pics of folks at the Pavilion.

Some of the swag to be given away.
Ladies telling stories about their ride.  An amazing detail, the event was about 50% women!  That is incredibly unusual for any motorcycle event.  They were also incredible riders with great stories to tell.
We scored on some swag and got a lucky trade - we traded the dry bag Eric had won for a BMS saddle that fits my Beastie Bike!  Yeah, we threw in a few $$$ too.  But both parties were happy.  The gal that won the saddle really wanted the dry bag and the saddle wouldn't fit her bike anyway.  It worked out well for all of us :-)

Both Friday and Saturday nights was live music at the Pavilion along with socializing.  Sometimes I got so wrapped up in chatting that I forgot to take pictures.  We had a marvelous time at a fantastic event that was outside our comfort zone.  Big kudos to Bex and Lee Becker and all who helped them put on the event along with all the great sponsors.  I hope they do it again next year and I'll be signing up to go.  I think there were around 100 people at the event and everyone was so supportive and positive.  It was good :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

We probably left around 10:00 am or so after brekkie provided by Rockmor.  It was an easy ride up CO 24 to I-70.  Then, well you know, slab along I-70 west.  We did take a quick rest stop at the summit.
We were going right through Grand Junction, CO and I remembered that Justin Philipson was holding "How the West Was Won #3", (a long distance endurance rally), and the finish would be today in Grand Junction.  I sent him a message asking if I could crash his party.  (Party crashing has been my theme this summer!) and he very kindly said yes!

So, we arrived in Grand Junction about 2:30 pm or so.  Eric helped valet my stuff to my room and parked my bike.  What a fantastic hubby I have!  He hung around for a very short time and then left for home.  He had work obligations :-(  But, I didn't :-)

I got to hang out with all the cool rally rider staff and participants!  What a perfect way to end an already fantastic ride-about.

George Z. looking graceful, as always!
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!  Lucky me, the Crockett/Loomers were there!  Wendy had ridden the rally while Mike and Mike's mom watched over Tess.  Here, Tess is sound asleep, hahahahaha
I got to see some folks I hadn't seen in a LONG time.  Hi, Mr. Aikens, Ms. Barb Smith and Mr. Langon!
The event was well attended, dinner was awesome and everyone had a great time.  Well, except for Maura who WAS having a great time until Bambi decided to crash her party.  Fortunately, Maura is safe but her bike was destroyed.
Yeah, it was just that good!
I hung out listening to the riders rally tales until late.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The next morning I had the delight of breaking fast with Ken and Linda Schleman.  We laughed until we were blue in the face.  Man, we had fun!

From there it was slab on the I-70 to the I-15 and roll on in home.  It was a wonderful week of riding and camaraderie.  We met new peeps, made new friends, saw old peeps who are still old friends ;-)

I certainly stretched my envelope!  Yes, I'll be doing more of that!  I know it's mostly all confidence.  I have the skills.  I used to dirt bike a LOT.  Of course, being on a huge Beastie Bike is a bit different but the skills and techniques are the same.  I just need to do more to gain my confidence.  I'm so happy we went.  I'm happy we camped too.  Camping alone opens up a whole new area of fun for us.

So, my friends, thank you for following along with me.  I'm thrilled when someone tells me they actually read my blog.  It's because of you that I continue to post.  I have more fun stuff coming up so please stay tuned!



  1. Wow! Way to go Cletha - looking forward to riding and camping with you one of these days!!!

    1. Hahahaha, thanks Kelly. Yes, lets, indeed get together and have some dirty fun!

  2. What an awesome trip and incredibly scenic area! I will have to remember the Silver Thread for the next time we get to CO (hoping that will be next year). I am so impressed with you taking that beast of a bike on rocky trails, even if you didn't think they would be rocky trails!!! I have to admit that my standard GS is every bit as capable of doing them, it's me that's the problem, LOL. I get that same kind of panic in my head and then I am a mess. You did awesome, and were rewarded with tons of fun, see how that works? Looking forward to more stories.

    1. Hahahaha, thanks Lynne. The Silver Thread was awesome, it had been quite a few years since I last rode it. Maybe one day I'll ride it in the sun instead of wet :-) Thanks also for the vote of confidence! Just got to get out more and do it!!

  3. :-) Hoping Colorado is on that same trip next year I just mentioned in my other reply...