My worst road story begins in Basalt CO and eventually ended in Basalt. Two weeks ago I was leading my 78 year old German friend Gerhard riding his R1200R on a ride in Colorado and we wound up on this very nice two lane that supposedly goes from Basalt CO to Leadville.
You know the one. Yeah, that road is something to see. Well it started out real nice. Flat, curvy, not much in the way of traffic. Stunning red rock scenery. Then about 23 miles in it turned to gravel. I asked Gerhard if he was alright with it and showed him where we were going on the Butler map. Being a hardcore seasoned BMW rider he said "sure, vee have rode on gravel before!" OK we pressed on. After another 10 miles the gravel turned to rocks sprinkled with large rocks. Still we pressed on.
We were going back and forth on the now one lane cow path trying to find the best footing while keeping from the sheer edge that would have certainly spelled our doom. We were crawling around at walk speed thinking the road would have to get better and what do you know it did for about .2 miles. Then it got much worse! Being the stubborn ass that I am and knowing there was no where to turn my massive cruise ship around I pressed on all the while bottoming out the trans gaurd and my front shock continually in the bomb craters in the road.
Soon up ahead we ran through a small shallow rock strewn stream and over some rocks that would take several large men to move and then after another half mile or so we came to a fork in the road. Which way to go? The road to the right was nice and the one to the left looked like an avalanche happened on a hillside. Huge boulders that would move the moment you tried it... Naturally, THAT was the way to Leadville according to the map....
I showed Gerhard the map, pinpointed where we were and confirmed that the nice road went nowhere. He exclaimed while pointing at the avalanche, "Kirk, our motorcycles vill not go zere!!" Sadly I had to agree. I told him there was only one way to go and that is back the way we came. "42 miles THAT way" as I pointed. There was a Jeep that had just come down the other way and I stopped him and asked about the the route to Leadville.
I mean who knew, the way could be paved with gold after the avalanche right? The shirtless kid looked at my bike and said " There is no way you are going to get THAT down there!" He showed me his topo map and I had to agree again. DAMN! We went 42 miles back to Basalt and by God's grace neither of us ever dropped it or popped a tire! So learn from my mistake. If you ever get the itch to go from Basalt to Leadville via the shortcut down Frying Pan Road, DONT FRIGGIN DO IT ON YOUR LT!!! You will not make it! Trust me!! On the plus side, we are both much better at navigating treacherous roads!
For those of you who would like to look up the road on your Colorado map or Google map. Just follow Frying Pan road out of Basalt and take it all the way to were Haegerman Bend and Forest road 527/ Ivanhoe Lake road meet up and you will see where we turned around........ stinkin frying pan road..... I should have known with a name like that! I may have to buy Gerhard a new set of hand grips from him squeezing them so hard!