We left out on Monday August 15th for a grueling 15 hour drive to to Twin Lakes, CO. Normally we would only drive to Canon City and offload the bikes there, but a couple of the frogs had the bright idea of camping out for the week this time around. While it sounded like a grand idea, the event did not turn out as wonderful as we expected. We headed west through Canon City on highway 50 to 285 north, then up 82 west to Twin Lakes. After 15 hours on the road, we finally arrived at our camp site at 2am. At an elevation of over 9,000 feet it was a freezing 38 degrees outside and pitch black. So here we are trying to be as quiet as possible since we had other campers all around us, while unloading gear, firewood, tools and tents that we were to call home for the next 5 nights. So far so good! (Not) We half ass set up camp with me and Dave in one tent freezing our nuts off, Larry in his "supposedly" two person tent, and Phil in the back of the truck. Phil and Larry were supposed to bunk together, but neither felt like spooning in a tent made for one man or two midgets. In any case, night one was a beat down with literally no sleep unless you were Larry who claimed to be comfy alone with his white noise machine blaring in the distance. After 17 minutes of sleep, we awoke to some beautiful scenery and frosty nuts. We started a fire and warmed up with some coffee and luke warm oatmeal before heading out for our first ride to Aspen.
Though it's mid-August, it still gets cold in Colorado and the weather is unpredictable as previously noted. We headed west through Independence pass and ultimately made it to Aspen for lunch and a little site seeing. We always keep our weather app handy and noticed that storms were brewing, so after a $20 burger we decided to hit the road and try to beat the storm that was headed our way. We got a little wet, but not too bad as we arrived back to base camp and Twin Lakes. Phil decided to head into Leadville with the truck and pick up tent that was suitable for two grown men and a few other supplies. We set up a proper camp and fixed up a few hobo packs with steak and veggies that we could throw on the campfire and had a hardy meal and apple crisp for desert.
Night two wasn't much better. My "bed" would not blow up all the way, so I slept half way on and half way on the ground and had literally every piece of clothing on I could find. Dave couldn’t take it. Between the cold, Phil's snoring and Larry's white noise app he was up and down all night and keeping me up with him. After a few hours of tossing and turning, Dave finally retreated to the truck to try to get some sleep. Of course, it was still about 35 degrees outside so as a courtesy to the rest of the frogs, he had to start the truck about every 30 minutes and run the heater. I can hear a fly's shit hit the floor when I'm sleeping, so needless to say, starting the truck 10 times during the night was a real cherry on top of sleeping in a tent in freezing temperature.
After 23 minutes of sleep, the sun came up and breakfast was on tap. Thankfully, we had a hot breakfast of bacon eggs and sausage that was better than anything ihop can serve up. After a few laughs, some cussing and discussing the previous two nights of sleep deprivation, an executive decision was made to pack up and head to Canon City for a warm shower and soft beds for the remainder of our trip. We loaded the truck and Dave's bike on the trailer and hit the road. Dave followed the three of us and took some action photos as we headed into Salida, CO stopping at Fiesta Mexicana along the way for a Super Burrito. And boy was it super. After arriving at the Comfort Inn in Canon City, we offloaded the entire truck to the hotel, cleaned up and headed up to the Royal Gorge Restaurant that evening for wings and drinks. Due to the previous two days beat down, it ended up being an early night.
Thursday we headed out early in some welcomed sunshine with our destination being Durango, CO. The ride out of Canon City on highway 50 west towards Gunnison is always one of my favorites. It twists and turns following the canyons and the Arkansas River and is just spectacular. We stopped off for lunch at Mario’s Pizza and Pasta in Gunnison, CO then headed south on highway 149 into the Curecanti National Recreation Area. This took us to Lake City and South Fork through the Rio Grande National Forest, but unfortunately the trip was hindered a bit with a lot of cold rain. After a few nice stops along the river we gassed up in South Fork and headed south on highway 160 to Pagosa Springs where we finally got a break in the weather. After 10 hours we finally made it in to Durango for the evening. The boys went out for steaks at Diamond Belles Saloon but I stayed behind to relax since it was already dark, but the boys did bring me back some tater skins that went nicely with my Crown Royal.
After a good nights rest we headed out north on highway 550 towards Silverton and Ouray for a much anticipated ride. The million dollar highway as it's called by some was built in the late 1880's as part of the San Juan Skyway. It's one of the nation's most spectacular drives. We made our usual stop in Silverton for a shirt and coffee and then continued up to Ouray, CO for lunch/Green Chili Cheeseburger at Maggie's Diner. We headed out north seeing a couple of Bull Moose on the way with our destination being Montrose and then Delta. We had not been this direction on 92 east in our previous rides to the black canyons of Gunnison, so it was pretty nice. We came in on the north side of the Gunnison Gorge which had some really good riding and circled back to highway 50. After a few stops for photos we headed back towards Gunnison and then back to Canon City. Between Salida and Canon City we got completely obliterated with cold hard rain. It was white knuckles all the way, but we finally made it back safely at about 7:30pm and dinner at K-Bobs Steakhouse. It was quite an interesting week, with lot's of laughs and world class riding. We left out a day earlier than planned making it back at 10:30pm Saturday evening. It seems we had more fun than we could stand.