Colorado is remote trail riding to the extreme. I was greeted
by 15 fires burning throughout the state. A thick haze blocked out some
great views of the southern mountains. As I traveled north, the smoke
dissipated and the Rocky Mountains appeared in the distance. The trails
became narrow as I went up the mountain. My riding skills were pushed
to the limit on several trails outside of Salida and the 3 major passes
including the Continental Divide.
a few scares, I stopped in Sargents to fill my tank. I noticed a squeaking
noise from the bike's rear suspension - the rear fender was loose. I
had a sinking feeling that the frame after Baja was not holding up.
I asked the station attendant if the mechanic next door did welding.
He told me that the mechanic was out of town. Luckily, Jerry (the assistant
mechanic) was in and ready for the job, but three customers were ahead
of me. I asked him if there were town camp sites since I needed accommodations
for the night. I pitched tent next to the garage. Morning came and I
disassembled the bike to prepare it for welding. The frame was broken
in the same spot (from Baja) and with the added stress of this trip
- two other sections were now broken. My rear rack and fender were held
on by the lower frame brace and EXHAUST PIPE! The whole frame could
have collapsed at any given time. Jerry successfully welded all parts
and reinforced the frame this time to endure the luggage.
noon I was packed and riding. The trail, again very narrow, was tricky
in many sections to maneuver. Softball and football size rocks made
for a very bumpy and unnerving ride. The difficulty with rocks, for
a motorcycle, is that I had to keep moving in order to stay up. Stopping
in the middle of a decline was never an option.
Continental Divide, the route over the top of the mountain, is reserved
for horses, hikers and dirt bikes only. Again, a difficult ride. The
large rocks bounced the front tire around causing me to skid towards
the cliff's edge. I kept the bike in first gear most of the time and
leaned into the mountain ...trying to not look down.
the top of the divide, I rode for 8 miles between the 30 or so downed
trees. I constantly looked for ways around to see if new routes existed.
The further I got down the mountain, the less alternative routes. I
found myself unpacking and packing the bike several times over. I also
spent around 4 hours creating new paths by walking the bike through
swamps and dense forest. One section required me to clear logs up a
steep hillside. As I lined up the bike, I thought, if I flip this over,
it will be a 2 day hike out. I revved the engine and went for it! Everything
was fine until the soft ground started to give way. The back tire was
digging a hole and I was slowing down. I reached out for leverage to
a dead narrow tree and pushed off - planting my left leg and pivoting
down the other side.
7pm - time to call it a night.