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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 9/16/2011 8:15 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Triumphs in Taos (New Mexico), 2011 was another great ride, despite the best efforts of Mother Nature.  :p
 
I rode with the Erico Motorsports Rider's Association of Triumph (EM-RAT) group, and we had a large representation this year. 
 
Left on Friday, Sept 9th from home and met the group at Franktown, Southeast of Denver.  I always like to take a photo at the start of a trip, showing my bike all packed up and ready to go: 
 
 
After the hottest August on record in the Denver area, I wasn't expecting it to be so chilly, but it was definitely cool when I left home.  I expected it would warm up during the ride but it never really did. 
 
Our small group of 4 left Franktown after breakfast and gas and quickly rode down scenic CO 83 into Colorado Springs.  From there our leader Captain Bob had found a shortcut to take us around the worst of the traffic and then we headed up to Ute Pass  on US 24 heading toward's Woodland Park. 
 
Highway 24 West of Colorado Springs is a great mountain road with lots of scenic views and great, sweeping curves.  We were having a great time until we got to the summit of Wilkerson Pass (which would take us into the huge open plains of South Park.)  Just as we got to the summit, a group of probably 40-50 Harleys pulled out in front of us, and from then on, it was like being in the Shriner's parade.  rolleyes   Even though the roads in South Park were straight and non-curvy, they decided to maintain a speed of about 5mph below the limit, and there was too much oncoming traffic to pass such a large group, so we stayed behind them and tried desperately to stay awake.  :p
 
Finally at Johnson Village near Buena Vista, we pulled into a gas station to meet some other members of our group and the Harley riders pulled into a bar (what a surprise, eh?) so we were able to get past them at last. 
 
After lunch we headed over gorgeous Poncha Pass and into the San Luis Valley.  The San Luis is a spectacular drive, even though it's arrow-straight, because it runs along the base of the amazing Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and past Great Sand Dunes national park, with some of the highest sand dunes in the country (about 700'.)  After gas in Alamosa, the sky was turning angry, so we put on rain gear and headed East towards Fort Garland and then South through the old town of San Luis (oldest town in CO) to Taos.  Along the way we got splattered with a little bit of hail and rain, but it wasn't bad.  Arrival in Taos was uneventful but we were excited to see all the Triumphs in the parking lot. 
 
Next morning, the Weather Gods decided to play a little trick on us, as we woke up to this:
 
 
Steady, dreary rain.  Although some of the other folks wanted to stick around to see if the rain would let up, three of us thought "what the hell, we have rain gear!" so we suited up and took off to ride the "Enchanted Loop" up through Questa, the ski resort town of Red River, then over Bobcat Pass to Angel Fire. 
 
It rained steadily as we rode up through the old Spanish land grants to Questa, where we stopped for much-needed coffee.  Although it continued to rain, we were determined to keep going.  We headed up the canyon towards Red River.  The leader of our little group, Chuck, had been an F-105 pilot in Vietnam and had flown many missions over the Red River valley near Hanoi, so he had to get a picture next to the "welcome to Red River" sign. 
 
It finally quit raining as we pulled into Red River, for more coffee.  Seeing the name of a local cafe, we knew we had to go there:
 
 
For those of you not familiar with Denver, there's a well known ("Notorious" would probably be a better word) topless club in Denver called Shotgun Willie's.  This one was a lot less topless but I have to admit, the coffee was good.  smilewinkgrin
 
To be continued...


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 9/16/2011 8:28 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Part 2:
 
After getting coffee in Red River, we continued on the Enchanted Loop until we got to the town of Angel Fire.  Angel Fire is the location of one of the most elaborate Vietnam war memorials in the country, really a museum, chapel and burial ground all put together.  It was created by a dentist whose son died in Vietnam in 1967.  Chuck, a Vietnam vet himself, and I, the son of a Vietnam vet, had really wanted to see this.  It was very impressive, and highly recommended to anyone who happens to find themselves in the area.  The monument itself overlooks the airfield at the town and offers some incredible views of the beautiful New Mexico mountains.
 
 
From Angel Fire, we could have headed straight back into Taos, but the weather was nice (the sun even came out!) and it was early in the day, so we kept on going down the "Mora Loop" road, NM highway 434.  This is a very twisty, narrow, fast road that is a ton of fun to ride.  We got down into Mora, where the fields were exploding with yellow wildflowers, and then turned Northwest on NM 518 towards Sipapu. 
 
Sipapu, one of the several small ski areas that surrounds Taos, was also the site of the Sipapu BMW motorcycle rally, which was going on the same weekend as ours.  Since my two riding mates, Chuck and Jeff, were on Beemers, we stopped in to check it out.  I was amazed - it was HUGE.  There must have been 200 - 300 bikes parked on that afternoon (and considering that it was finally sunny and nice, who knows how many were on the road.)
 
 
They had completely taken over the ski area and had even gotten the resort's cafe open, serving burgers, bratwurst and beer. 
 
 
There were tents pitched everywhere, groups of bikes (even one group of sidecars) and they even had vendors on site. 
 
 
Just a reminder of how numerous the BMW owners in the US are compared to our puny number of Triumphs!  We were impressed to have 50, they must have had over 500. 
 
To be continued...
 


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

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RedDog
Retired SportBike Bum



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   Posted 9/16/2011 8:31 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
That looked like a great, nice traditional meet! The way they should be. Not packed up with vendor-stands.


RedDog
Think Ahead! Travel Light & Leave Your Fears Behind You!
Normal People Scare me! Travel Light and Leave Your Fears Behind You!

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 9/16/2011 9:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
RedDog said...
That looked like a great, nice traditional meet! The way they should be. Not packed up with vendor-stands.

There were actually about 4 vendor tents in the parking lot.  I was glad to see them as my el-cheapo mechanic's gloves were soaking wet and falling apart.  I bought a nice set of Roadgear riding gloves and a set of ROK straps to replace my cheap bungee cords. 


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

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RedDog
Retired SportBike Bum



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   Posted 9/16/2011 9:34 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
4 is not many, got to eat for them that don't pack/cook their own while camping. And some T-shirts belong in there too.


RedDog
Think Ahead! Travel Light & Leave Your Fears Behind You!
Normal People Scare me! Travel Light and Leave Your Fears Behind You!

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 9/16/2011 10:50 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

part 3: 

Saturday night there was a big barbecue that was moved indoors due to the weather.  A lot of folks gathered together, more than I would have expected.  We filled up the little dining room in the Kachina Inn where we stayed.  Lots of nice bikes outside, too.

There was even a couple who came over from England.  They were planning on riding all across the US and then moving on to Australia and New Zealand.  They had an older (1998) Triumph Trident, with no windshield or fairing of any kind! 

Next morning, Sept 11th, we gathered in the parking lot for a final picture.  So many bikes we couldn't get them all in one shot. This is just a portion of them all:

 

Most of the other people were returning home on Sunday, so after the photos, we shook hands with the other participants and then Jeff, Chuck and I took off on our own.  We headed across US 64 and the scenic Rio Grande bridge and then up to the cool mountains of the Brazos Cliffs ride.  Stopped for gas briefly in Chama and then headed up US 64 and then 84 to Pagosa Springs.  About 50 miles past Pagosa, we stopped in Bayfield to visit a high school friend of Jeff's, who let us pick fresh apricots (yum!) off of his tree.  After lunch we continued West through Durango to Cortez.  At Cortez we turned North towards our destination for that night, the tiny town of Rico.  By the time we got to Rico, about 5pm, the open desert had turned into a narrow mountain valley, and it was sprinkling rain on us. 

We ate dinner at the Argentine grille that is attached to the Rico Hotel (when you only have one hotel in town, just calling it "the hotel" is sufficient.)  We were a bit put off by the prices but I have to say that the chef - who also, incidentally, manages the hotel (which is more like a B&B) - once studied with some pretty famous chef's and it shows.  The food is magnificent, and worth the price.  You wouldn't think a burger is worth $15, but let me tell you this one was.  Best. Burger. EVER.  smilewinkgrin  

We parked our bikes on a concrete slab in the sloping dirt parking lot, which was smart because it poured rain all night. 

When we awoke, the valley was surrounded by misty, low clouds.

Looking to the South, we could see clear weather. 

 Unfortunately for us, we were headed North.  But although it was cloudy, it wasn't raining.  So we headed up to the summit of Lizard Head Pass (over 10,000') and fortunately, the sun broke through for us. 

By the time we were headed down to North slope of Lizard Head towards Telluride, it was gorgeous enough to stop for a photo:

Oh, you better believe I'm smiling in this picture!

After gassing up in Telluride (the only time we had to pay over $4/gallon!) we headed Northwest towards the part of the trip that I most anticipated:  The Unaweep Canyon/Tabegauche Scenic Byway!

(To be continued)...


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 9/16/2011 11:11 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Part 4 (and last!)

After leaving Telluride, we headed Northwest on CO 145 towards Naturita.  The road starts off in a deep, mountain canyon, and eventually, ascends to the canyon rim, and all of a sudden you break out of the mountains and into a wide open flatland, mostly farms and ranches.  After passing through a couple of towns you come to the river town of Naturita and then turn off onto CO141 on the Unaweep Canyon/Tabegauche scenic byway. 

(Read about it here:  http://www.motorcyclecolorado.com/unaweep_canyon.htm)

All I can say about this road is:  WOW!  shocked  shocked shocked  What an awesome ride!  You first go through some narrow sweeping turns and then - BAM! - You're in the middle of huge, towering red-rock cliffs.  I keep thinking they ought to rename this area "Moab East."  The road winds around atop the canyon at first, and then after 10 or 12 miles drops down to the canyon floor, so the red cliffs tower above you. 

These photos don't do it justice, not by a long shot, but you can get an idea of what if feels like. 

And it's so amazing that it's less than an hour away from the green, wet mountains pictued above!  It was also getting warm so we doffed our cold weather gear here, too. 

About 50 miles in (exactly halfway), we found this well-developed resort, which I'd never heard of.

We parked the bikes to stretch our legs and enjoy a snack.  The scenery was majestic.

After cooling off here, we continued on.  The scenery for the last 50 miles was nice, don't get me wrong, but not nearly as awesome as the red-rock valley of the first 50. 

Heading toward's Grand Junction we got stopped at a construction project for about 15 minutes waiting for the pilot car.

Not sure what these yellow flowers are, but they're everywhere.

Just outside of Palisade, we stopped because Chuck's wife demanded that he bring home a case of their well-known peaches.  Chuck is seen here on the left (red jacket) strapping the box onto his back seat.

The funny thing about this is that the vendors put the peaches into a Budweiser box, which Chuck strapped onto the back of his big BMW K1200LT.  I told him I was going to snap a photo of it and send it to his BMW club - I figured he'd get drummed out of the club for hauling domestic beer on his Beemer!  tongue

By the time I got home, this was what my back tire looked like.  Can't say I didn't get my money's worth with this one, eh? 

All in all, a great, great trip!  Every bit as good as last year, even despite the less-than-perfect weather. 


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

Post Edited (martinjmpr) : 9/16/2011 6:14:04 PM GMT

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GAJ
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   Posted 9/16/2011 11:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Very nice!


Selling my one owner '97 TL1000S: www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=372346

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jon
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   Posted 9/16/2011 4:20 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
nice stuff martin!
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Deacon Blues
The Imaginary Director



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   Posted 9/30/2011 3:55 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hrmm... thinking that yellow brush might be chamisa. Hard to be sure.

And yes.. Palisade is AWESOME for fresh fruit... even if they do pack it in Budweiser boxes.

Incidentally... I graduated from high school not far from there (Central High School, Grand Junction CO) and have quite a few friends in the area.


"Lane splitting will never be accepted in those areas where driving is considered a martial art."

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