Durrango to Silverton ride - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 4:42 pm Thread Starter
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Durrango to Silverton ride

I need some input on the road from Durrango to Silverton, Highway 550, The Million Dollar Highway. I will be out there end of July, two-up, with gear, on my LT. I hear some people say not to do the road on a heavy touring bike. What do you CO guys say or riders that have been on the road?

Greg and Melanie
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post #2 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 4:50 pm
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Smile Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

My SO and I did just that last year on the way to CCR. It was great! Silverton has a nice old hotel(blue in color) downtown that we really enjoyed. There are gun fights in the street Thur, Fri and Sat nights. Brass band plays Sunday evenings, in the street. Gold mine tour is a nice change of pace.
Heights(steep dropoffs) scare me but I did fine as long as the SO didn't didn't say "oh yeah!".
Do it!

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post #3 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 5:00 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Nice road, no problems at all.

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post #4 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 5:36 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

We rode the MDH last year as well going to CCR, had a blast!

No problem, enjoy the curves and scenery.

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post #5 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 5:45 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Rode it during a couple of Top Of the Rockies rallies in Durango & Paonia,. Only problem was the cramp in the waving hand because of all the other BMW's enjoying the ride.
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post #6 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 5:52 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

We rode it to CCR last year also. 2 LT's both pulling trailers mine was 2 up and the other 1 up. it was cold and raining and still had a blast.

This was at 10,640 ft above sea level





This shot was in Ouray, very neat lil town to stop and site see.

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post #7 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 5:58 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I rode that and the loop all the way around to Cortez and back to Durango about 5 years ago on my Honda Nighthawk!

It was a little low on power above 9.000 feet

I'd love to go back and ride it on the LT. Enjoy the ride!

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post #8 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 6:28 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Wife and I in our middle 60s, rode it two up on our R1100RT about 6 years ago. It was a fun ride & I highly recommend it. No problems.

If it is still running, the Durango to Silverton steam powered narrow gage rail ride was also wonderful and our trip highlight. We took it round trip, but the best part was to hear a steam engine working hard (on the way up to Silverton).
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post #9 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 6:36 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I was going to recommend the train ride also. Miss E and I did it our first trip on the beerburner. took 500 pic's on the train alone. Just enjoy the ride, and dont forget to bring a jacket. It snowed in July when we were there!

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post #10 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 6:42 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

It's arguably one of the top motorcycling roads in the country. Might be a bit challenging for a flatlander with no mountain experience, but therein lies the fun. Yes, there are sharp curves, steep ascents and descents, and sheer drop offs, but that's the whole point of searching out and riding mountain roads. And the scenery is simply awesome.

I rode it on the LT a few years ago on the way back from a CCR. The biggest problem then was passing literally thousands of HD's that were there for the holiday weekend. I rode it again last year on my GT mid-week, and had most of the road to myself. I say again, simply awesome.

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post #11 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 6:47 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

If you do this ride be sure to include the stretch of road from Silverton to Ouray, not just the stretch from Durango to Silverton.
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post #12 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 7:48 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobikerider
If you do this ride be sure to include the stretch of road from Silverton to Ouray, not just the stretch from Durango to Silverton.
I agree with Mo,
You have to go the rest of the way to Ouray. The road is easy, But be well rested and drink lots of water and sports drinks to help with the altitude sickness. Above 9500 feet it gets a little bumpy and will challenge your shocks if the are stock. Awesome road! Do it for sure.

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post #13 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 8:38 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Great Road even pullin' a trailer.
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post #14 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 8:59 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

The wife and I spent a week in Durango last summer and enjoyed riding around there a lot and the train ride is a blast. The LT was in its element although we were not loaded with gear.

We rode from Durango North past Ouray, across Rt 62 then back South on 145 to make our way back to Durango to complete the loop. A fantastic ride.

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post #15 of 39 Old Apr 8th, 2009, 10:17 pm
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Thumbs up Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Do it. Great road.
I rode it last year on the way to CCR. I was riding my R1200RT solo but loaded.

There was construction on going and I had some wait time.
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post #16 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 6:43 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
Great Road even pullin' a trailer.
That looks the one we followed to CCR last year

Not to bash the HD crowd, as you can tell we were behind a few HD riders that COULDN'T ride and wouldn't get out of our way, John couldn't pass due to him pulling the trailer with 350 lbs of stuff for CCR!

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post #17 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 8:04 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I've also ridden that road. One can't even begin to express the incredible scenery from that road. While riding we stopped for gas. a local cop told us to enjoy the road but remember! if it says 15mph. Go 15mph... We did and had a great day! I don't know how many times I uttered WOW! under my helmet at the views....













We started off early in the morning. It was late in May when we were there and it was cold in the morning. still alot of snow on the side of the roads at the highest point. If you notice in a few of the pics there really isn't a shoulder on the road or even a guardrail.. take your time and you will love it!! I'd go back in a minute!!

My New Ride.
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post #18 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 11:25 am
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Smile Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I have really enjoyed looking at the pics you guys took of this ride. They reminded me of several things when we rode it:
1. We stopped for the construction in the steepest part possible, down hill in the middle of the switchback just before the flagger(8/08) - Gave this flatlander a bit of the willies. Bike off in 1st gear was no big deal. Just creepy. SO just as happy as she could be.
2. We saw all the steep drop offs and then we saw a sign that read - "Steep Drop Off" - THAT got my attention because what the hell has that been for 10 miles?
3. Looking out and down to Silverton - What a sight!!
4. Red Mountain Pass - must I say anything else??
Enjoy. Enjoy!
And once again, thanks for the pics guys.

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post #19 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 1:59 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

My favorite ride in CO. Durango, Silverton, Ouray,Telluride, back out to Montrose, Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The road into the Black Canyon is very steep. You may just want to look at it from the top.The rest of the roads are breathtaking. Love the Western slope!
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post #20 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 2:17 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

My sister and brother in law live in Silverton. They ride Hwy550 often and both own Harley bikes. Weather can be an issue but if you are riding this summer you should be fine. Make sure you check out Telluride area too, awesome elevation and views, I love going there. They usually drag me out skiing with the kids or riding and camping depending on the time of year.


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post #21 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 3:04 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWWANDRR
... I hear some people say not to do the road on a heavy touring bike. What do you CO guys say or riders that have been on the road?
Aw, c'mon! Who are those people? I did that road on a tandem bicycle!
An Alpine-bred motorcycle would not handle it? It's just a road in the mountains, no biggie. Pretty, though.

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post #22 of 39 Old Apr 9th, 2009, 10:53 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

The ride is fine and a good one. My wife and I did it in June07 two up on a GL1800 pulling a Hannigan trailer full of gear with no problems. Like mentioned already, go all the way up through Ouray for the whole package while you are there. Heading back to that part of the country in June this year and hoping to make the ride again.

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post #23 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 6:59 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
Aw, c'mon! Who are those people? I did that road on a tandem bicycle!
An Alpine-bred motorcycle would not handle it? It's just a road in the mountains, no biggie. Pretty, though.
I agree, that road is no worse than Mt. Evans, Trail Ridge Road, Rt. 6 thru Loveland Pass, or any of the other "Divide" pass roads. C'mon people! And I'm a flatlander from Chicago!

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post #24 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 8:47 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

..............Lived in Estes Park for eleven years................rode an old Ducati Rt, everywhere..................I'm ready for a little touring time with the SO down that way this fall...................can't wait...........miss the country.
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post #25 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 10:27 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

It is a mystery why anyone would discourage you from the Durango to Silverton ride unless they were selfishly attempting to keep traffic to a minimum for their own enjoyment. +1 on the train, but I suggest you consider taking it only one way with either the bus or someone picking you up for the return. Riding the train both ways makes a long day. +1 on the Black Canyon also. After repeat trips to both the Black Canyon and the Grand Canyon I am equally in awe of both. Finally, when in Durango consider staying at the Strater Hotel and visit the Diamond Belle. Louis L'Amour wrote many of his famous western novels while a guest at the Strater. Enjoy!
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post #26 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 10:51 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moot
+1 on the train, but I suggest you consider taking it only one way with either the bus or someone picking you up for the return. Riding the train both ways makes a long day.
But don't ride it one way just going back to Durango! The most fun was hearing it work - and work hard it did!
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post #27 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 11:27 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Greg,

Wife and I spent a week doing loops around CO last September on the LT. Although not pulling a trailer, we were loaded up. Very beautiful scenery and the roads are the same. As the passenger seat on the LT makes for a great photo-taking platform, she would sit back and take photo after photo as I did the piloting.

Exchanged many friendly conversations at the stops. In Cortez, we talked to a nice fellow who drove a semi truck. He said since we are so close we must take a side trip to the 4-cormer’s site (which we did and glad).

I just stayed close to the posted speed limit and looked out for gravel on curves. Lot’s of waving to passing bikes. Most often, we were the ones slowed down by the traffic, but that just made us slow down and enjoy it all the more. It often got chilly at high elevations and the heated seats/grips felt great and kept us comfortable. Full range of weather can be expected. Often no guard rail (which may spoil a great photo!).

We kept hydrated, checked tires (tread & pressures) each morning. All of the places we stayed provided old (but clean) towels to help wipe off the bug and road grime.

The LT is in its element out there. We cannot wait to go back to those roads.

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post #28 of 39 Old Apr 10th, 2009, 10:45 pm
 
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Never inquire about the suitability of a road pre-ride, just discuss how much fun or terror you experienced afterward.
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post #29 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 9:08 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I think it is a great ride but I wasn't able to see much of the scenery - literally. We did a leg from Ouray to Durango while a snowstorm was brewing in Utah, predicting 29 inches at the mountain peaks when it swept through Colorado. We thought we could get over the mountains before the snow came and we mostly right.

During the traverse, it started raining, became very humid and the temperature dropped significantly. The cold was not a problem other than it caused the windscreen to fog. No problem, I look over the windscreen anyhow. Then my full face shield fogged up. No problem crack it a little more to let air circulate a little better, right? Wrong - still fogged up. Face shield now all the way open. Now my prescription glasses are fogging up. Problem. I am now looking over the top of my glasses, which means that I can see basically images. Fortunately, a raindrop hit my glasses and dripped down the lens clearing the fogged area a little and I could see through the track. I stopped cursing the rain at that point. Throw in a little hail to complete the picture and you can see why I wasn't able to enjoy the scenery.

When we got to Durango and got off our bikes, my cousin, Tom, said to me: "I saw you slow down a litlle - I assumed you couldn't see." I said "Yeah." We checked into our room, had a shot of Jack Daniels and hit the hot tub.

I'm looking forward to doing that road over those mountains again when I can enjoy the scenery. I made a note to myself to not do it in late September when the weather is iffy. Sorry I don't have any pictures to post.

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post #30 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Like others have already confirmed it's a great road and the LT is a great bike to ride such a road,
the scenery is spectacular although the weather can be an issue depending on the time of the year,
as somebody else already suggested ride it during the week rather than on the weekends
to avoid the "slower" bikes.

I am disappointed in myself that as many times as I've been there,
I've never taken the time to ride the train,
so that will be the "purpose" of our next ride out there.


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post #31 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 11:49 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palerider
..............Lived in Estes Park for eleven years................rode an old Ducati Rt, everywhere..................I'm ready for a little touring time with the SO down that way this fall...................can't wait...........miss the country.
OK, a few more pics of this great ride... in order from Durango to Ouray.

Looking north from Molas Pass. The descent is to Silverton...


Silverton...


Ascending the southern slopes of Red Mountain Pass...


On the descent to Ouray, 100 years ago...


Today...


The descent continuing, 100 years ago...


Today...


Ouray 100 years ago...


Ouray today...
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post #32 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 1:15 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

SFarson - THX for the pictures. they bring back wonderful memories of our trip in similar weather.
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post #33 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 4:10 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

I agree with the above post. It's really cool to see a then and now view of such an awesome place.

Thanks.

Rick
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post #34 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 6:20 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Steve--thanks for the great "then and now" pictures. Have you seen that 100 year anniversary book by John Fielder where he traveled to Colorado loactions where he had a 100 year old photo then took a current picture in the same spot with the same vantage point as the picture from 100 years ago? Almost as great as what you shared with us.
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post #35 of 39 Old Apr 11th, 2009, 9:41 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWWANDRR
I need some input on the road from Durrango to Silverton, Highway 550, The Million Dollar Highway. I will be out there end of July, two-up, with gear, on my LT. I hear some people say not to do the road on a heavy touring bike. What do you CO guys say or riders that have been on the road?
If you are not sure about doing it on your LT....try it on one of these!
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post #36 of 39 Old Apr 12th, 2009, 3:00 am
 
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular rides you will ever do, but do not stop at Silverton. Go to Ouray, continue up and turn to go to Telluride. Spend some time in Telluride, then continue south back to Durango. Watch out for falling rocks off the hillside and watch out for ice in the tunnels, even in June. As good as PCH between San Louis Obispo and Monterrey. Make sure you stop in Ouray and check out the hot springs.
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post #37 of 39 Old Apr 12th, 2009, 9:28 am
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by indianut
If you are not sure about doing it on your LT....try it on one of these!
No way Dan,
I would never ride a purple bike!


Hans
St. Petersburg FL

2002 K1200LTE
"Silver Buffalo" Totaled 5/06
2005 LT
"Esperanza"
BushtecGenesisTrailer
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post #38 of 39 Old Apr 12th, 2009, 12:36 pm
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Smile Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

That is quite a trip. From Silver City,NM to Durango, Silverton, Ouray (hot springs), Aspen,
Nathrop (Lloyds B&B with regulation swimming pool fed with hot spring), Moab, UT and return. 1600± miles. http://www.bbonline.com/co/lloyds/
Lloyds is a treat after a day on the LT.
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post #39 of 39 Old Apr 12th, 2009, 2:23 pm
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Re: Durrango to Silverton ride

Do the loop, absolutely! And since you'll be in Colorado the end of July, be sure to spend a day or two at Top of the Rockies Rally in Paonia - the most fun you'll ever have!

http://www.coloradobeemers.org/content/view/2/25/

Dean and Deb
Golden, CO


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