Colorado Tour Suggestions? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 19 Old Sep 5th, 2019, 5:23 pm Thread Starter
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Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I've recently retired and have been considering a four or five day tour from my home in New Braunfels, TX (near San Antonio) to Colorado. I'd like to go in the next ten days so am curious if I'm pushing the snow potential over the passes in mid-September? Also, might one of my fellow RT riders recommend a route over that time frame hitting Durango (have a friend living there) and then riding some passes, Million Dollar Highway, etc.? I realize I can't do Colorado justice in four or five days but I'm ready for some mountain riding, solo as the wife will not join me for such a run. I can ride most of a day no problem and have done a few 900 mile days with my Russell Day Long Saddle. I have a 2013 RT and plan to take my nice camera and try-pod. I'm also strongly considering KOA camping cabins for my accommodations but could do a neat hotel in a historic town.

Thanks for any recommendations you might offer.
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post #2 of 19 Old Sep 5th, 2019, 7:02 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

We just rode from South Texas to Durango at the end of July. I wouldn't go via Pecos and Carlsbad unless it's on a Sunday, too much trucking from the oil fracking. We went to Marathon on first day (about 530 miles) and stayed at the Marathon Motel and RV. It's got nice cabins and a great open patio with a fire place; great for star gazing. If you don't want to go that far west go to Junction then head north on Hwy 83 and at Brownfield go west into Roswell. From Roswell head north to Santa Fe. Los Alamos has the National Laboratory that's a good visit. Take the 84 to Chama, NM then on to Pagosa Springs. Then 160 West to Durango. We then rode to Silverton, Ouray, Ridgeway, Telluride, Cortez and back to Durango. Ouray and Telluride are worth spending some time at. Durango has a neat outfitter store and some nice beer places. On the way back we rode to Las Cruces then Alpine and back home. It was a very nice ride and I think you'll enjoy that area of the state.
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post #3 of 19 Old Sep 9th, 2019, 7:49 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

Buy a copy of "The Complete Guide to Motorcycling Colorado" by Steve Farson...got mine of Amazon.
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post #4 of 19 Old Sep 9th, 2019, 9:02 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I sent you a PM.

Here are some videos of my July 2019 trip to take my wife's ashes on a final tour of Colorado and throw her off a cliff on the Million Dollar Highway.

https://www.youtube.com/user/wichitagreg/videos

I am ready to go back. On my RT this time.


Greg
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post #5 of 19 Old Sep 9th, 2019, 10:15 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I have a whole trip with gps, videos and photos you can checkout.
Ridelog: Colorado and the Million Dollar Highway - Matthew Supert
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post #6 of 19 Old Sep 10th, 2019, 12:40 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I see you are coming from the south, so, this is not in the correct order.

I did a 7 day tour of Colorado this summer. Starting in Denver, went to Rocky Mtn. National Park, then via the million dollar highway to Glenwood Springs. There to Montrose, then Cortez and the 4 Corners, then to Alamosa through Durango, to Vail and back to Denver. All total the best of 1300 miles. I saw so much that the cameral couldn't take it all in. The only mountain we didn't climb was Pikes Peak! Did a whole lot of Passes, even saw one of those back-board riders going down the Loveland Pass! Plenty of snow left over from last winter even in August.
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post #7 of 19 Old Sep 10th, 2019, 1:25 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

Heck just pick almost any road west of Fort Collins,Denver & Colorado Springs and you canít go wrong I second getting the Steve Farson book. I used it back in June and the roads did not disappoint
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post #8 of 19 Old Sep 10th, 2019, 3:46 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

You have picked a great time to come to the area surrounding Durango. While it is possible to get snowed on at the higher elevations this time of year, it is not that common and would be, typically, short lived. That said, you never know for sure around here! Personally, I would not hesitate. I've been here 20 years.

Since you are going to be in the DRO area, you might want to consider highway 149 from South Fork up to Gunnison. It is a spectacular ride with some great scenery. Maybe consider the loop from DRO to Montrose (Million Dollar Highway) then across 50 over to 149 (at the east end of the Blue Mesa Reservoir, then south to South fork and back over Wolf Creek Pass to DRO via 160. The entire loop is just under 400 miles.

Enjoy your ride. You've picked a great area to ride and explore and a beautiful time of year to do it!
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post #9 of 19 Old Sep 10th, 2019, 4:34 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Supert View Post
I have a whole trip with gps, videos and photos you can checkout.
Ridelog: Colorado and the Million Dollar Highway - Matthew Supert
Very nice ridelog, Matt - thanks for sharing that. My wife and spend a week every summer in and around Gunnison/Crested Butte and have enjoyed the Black Cannon and Curecanti quite a bit!
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post #10 of 19 Old Sep 11th, 2019, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by Booger man View Post
Heck just pick almost any road west of Fort Collins,Denver & Colorado Springs and you can’t go wrong <img src="http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/images/BMWLT_2015/smilies/tango_face_smile_big.png" border="0" alt="" title="Laugh" class="inlineimg" /> I second getting the Steve Farson book. I used it back in June and the roads did not disappoint
Yes..it's all great out there...try picking a destination and set your nav to curvy roads with avoidance and let it surprise you...sounds like you will only have two maybe three days at most...enjoy and ride safe
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post #11 of 19 Old Sep 11th, 2019, 8:14 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I can't help with the snow question - my impression is that it could happen, but that seems to fit Colorado all year long!

I did a rally in Colorado earlier this year and enjoyed US-50 from Montrose all the way east of the Rockies. I don't recall there being any significant construction and the roads were in good shape. Of note, there is a little known national park along US-50 (Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP) that is worth a stop. I also enjoyed traveling around Rockies NP. I used CO-14 north of the park and it was fantastic! The thing I enjoyed most about Colorado is that you are just riding along, enjoying the mountains, and suddenly you see a sign for a 10,000+ ft pass. Crazy cool.

You really can't go wrong (even I-70 through the Rockies wasn't a bummer) - just keep an eye on the weather and don't let yourself be surprised.

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post #12 of 19 Old Sep 11th, 2019, 8:31 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

The twisty part of this route is as good as it gets for twisty roads in excellent condition pavement wise. You get up to about 9200' and it's very lightly traveled even on Sunday--I just did it this past Sunday and if you're in the area it's well worth the ride.
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post #13 of 19 Old Sep 11th, 2019, 9:19 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

As a Colorado Springs resident and rider- I can tell you it is hard to find a bad set of roads here. Obviously some are better than others. The major highways are usually efficient but there may be a lot of traffic around any city. I-25 is problematic north of say... Monument to Denver due to highway construction. Always congested and often problematic.

I advise you to avoid the Denver area- period. As well and the surrounding metro areas. The traffic is bad and the drivers are worse. We have to go there for business but it is always a near-traumatic event every time. The positive comments about I-70 are reasonable if you exclude any part of it West of Denver to say Idaho Springs. There will be lots of tourist traffic mixed in with locals trying to either go West or East as fast as they can.

I-70 East of Denver is the "Plains"- is more open and flatter and well... efficient but not scenic unless you like wheat. If you are West bound on i-70 from Kansas like I said is fine but unfortunately it will meet Denver eventually. Find a way around it if you can.

The area to the East and South East of Grand Junction is Great. Nice twisties. Salida is a good place for a Stop and the highway to the South is pretty following the river. If you are anywhere near "Bishop's Castle" it is worth the side trip and the roads are good to there from any direction. This guy built his own castle. No admission fee and an interesting place to cool your heels for while. Bishop Castle - Adventure To New Heights | Official Website

The whole of Central Colorado is generally nice. Small and historic towns abound and can be interesting if you like to stop and sample the local culture.

The Great Sand Dunes N.P. in the South is a good thing to see. Highway 550 North out of Durango is "interesting" in a way. I find it threatening from traffic and the curvy mountainside cliff drop offs but maybe that is just me. Most riders like it.

If you have a route in mind drop me a line and will offer an opinion. Hard to go very wrong here....
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post #14 of 19 Old Sep 12th, 2019, 9:07 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I live in Colorado and did an 8 day tour with some friends from Canada in 2011. We met at Flaming Gorge Res. in NE Utah and re-entered CO. near Dinosaur Park. Then headed in a southerly direction to Durango, eventually heading up towards Vail and The Snowy Mtns in WY. You obviously don't have time to do that whole route but just to judge, each colored track was about a 200-250 mile day all on very rural but paved roads, including the Million Dollar Hwy US 550 due north out of Durango. The red flags are campgrounds or towns with gas/motels.
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post #15 of 19 Old Sep 15th, 2019, 7:53 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

Colorado weather is notorious for changing quickly, so be prepared. I lived north of Colorado Springs at 7500' elevation, first snowfall of the fall season was usually around this time of year (Sep. 15) and perhaps a foot of wet snow. Whether or not it accumulates on the roads, flurries can stick to your windshield, headlights and front end including radiator; last time I crossed I-70 in the spring I had to stop and take the wet muck off the front as intake airflow was affected.
But, as others have pointed out, there's lots of beautiful scenery everywhere if you stay west of I-25.
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post #16 of 19 Old Sep 18th, 2019, 5:24 pm
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

I presume you're probably already on the road by now, given that your original post was on the 5th, and you planned on leaving in the next 10 days or so, since.

Did a quick short loop of Colorado with a colleague from work, over Labor Day weekend. Left Saturday morning around 6am from Lawton, OK going through Tucumcari and towards Las Vegas, NM on to Santa Fe and up towards Chama, Pagosa Springs and into Durango. Always great riding north of Durango to Silverton, Ouray, and you can make a loop from Ridgeway towards Telluride, Cortez if you would like to return to Durango. Else, you can continue towards Montrose and head east towards Gunnison and down towards Lake City, Creed and South Fork. Or go north from Montrose towards Grand Mesa and head east from there to Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Buena Vista, Leadville, Estes Park.

Like you said, it is hard to do Colorado justice without having a couple of weeks riding time IN the state on hand. Otherwise, your best option depending on what you'd like to do (ie, ride the twisties or go from point to point, staying in each location and smelling the proverbial roses as you go). Would love to see what route you ended up taking when you return.

Ride safe and have a great time!

Manoj
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post #17 of 19 Old Sep 20th, 2019, 9:19 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

My Son and I took a tour from Denver a few years ago. I was an auto-travel counselor for AAA for 10 years. My Son was working for Digital Globe at the time and had access to satellite images with shadows. He found a shallow canyon that the asphalt was perfect, traffic all but non-existent, it was such a great ride. I need to touch base with him, but we both agreed it was the perfect motorcycling road. In all my years with AAA, it was never listed as scenic, but we both thought it was scenic. You will need to top off the tank at the beginning, but it will be worth it. Iíll get back with the route number.
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post #18 of 19 Old Sep 20th, 2019, 9:38 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

OK, pretty sure it was route 141 through Gateway. Itís a hidden gem.
Couple of other things. Bring cool weather gear for the mountain passes. Places like Independence pass are usually closed by now. (Only open during the summer.). You will need some warm weather gear too. Trail ridge road through Rocky Mountain National park is closed for the season. Colorado Monument near Grand Junction is worth while. Some roads require so much concentration that you donít really get to enjoy the scenery. Iíve been over Independence pass twice and have yet to see it.
There are numerous hot springs around the state so a bathing suit is useful. You will use summer and fall gloves even with heated handgrips. In Colorado, avoid the national restaurant chains. The locals have better food, slower service and reasonable prices. (Ski resorts have faster service, but I love the small towns.) Ski season hasnít started up yet, but in about a month, they will start making snow. Try to keep the bike below 80% on the twisties. The scenery is well worth the extra time.
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post #19 of 19 Old Sep 20th, 2019, 11:55 am
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Re: Colorado Tour Suggestions?

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Trail ridge road through Rocky Mountain National park is closed for the season.
Is it? According to this site, it's still open. Unless they suck at updating their page. It is the Feds, so...

https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/road_status.htm
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