Denver to Lake City, CO
Tuesday morning we slabbed it from Denver to Salida, CO. It was freezing that morning and we had to stop at a little diner north of Buena Vista to eat and wait out some of the chill.
We arrived in Salida, got some gas and took off towards Hancock Pass around 11 am. From there we followed the familiar route up to Hancock and Tomichi Passes on our way to Lake City for the night. We found ourselves dodging rain here and there but it was welcome. The rain kept the dust down and kept it pretty cool. I was still able to get some good photos when it wasn’t raining.
I also got some videos with my camera, but my GoPro ran out of juice by the time I reached Hancock Pass which was a real bummer, because I really wanted to get a video of just how technical of a climb that was. Oh well.
GoPro Compilation (sorry for the quality, hadn’t figured out the settings yet):
As we approached Lake City we meet up with five riders who started in Trinidad riding the Colorado portions of the TAT. We ended up camping with them at the same spot we camped at 4 years ago, William’s Creek Campground.
We are currently in Evanston, WY at the end of day 4! This route has been so amazing so far and I can’t thank its creators enough…you know who you are! I have 40GB of video footage and plenty of pictures as well. It will definitely take me a few weeks to sort it all out and piece it together. However, the final ride report should be incredible!
I’ve got a moment before packing up in the motel to share a couple pictures of the last two days in Colorado. It was simply amazing and even better than the last time we went through. This is mostly attributed to the fact that there were no wrecks or accidents and we packed our bikes right this time! I will post up a full ride report on our return.
Packed and ready to go, my friend and I will leave for Colorado on July 26th and start the Rocky Mountain Loop 2014 on July 28th! After learning a lot from the last adventure, I have done some things differently this time. Time will tell if the changes are for the better. Check back occasionally for new updates on the trip and follow along with us. You can also track our progress on our shared Spot page. We will be sending OK messages after each day of riding…assuming no unfortunate events.
The trip will is planned for 12 days starting in Colorado and traversing through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming before ending in back in Colorado. Credit for this route goes to our friend Tavis, with whom we rode the TAT with back in 2010.
The day after getting to the coast we set off up to Salem, OR to purchase the truck that brought us home. We got a Uhaul trailer and made it back to IL in 43 hours, not including the 8 hour stop in Nebraska to stay with my uncle.
Thanks for following our journey! Check out the Lost TAT Photos.
We got started from Canyonville, OR a little late. The ride was quite cold. It warmed up slightly but got colder as we approached the windy ocean.
Today was accident free accept for the devious little insect that nailed me in the throat and then proceeded to sting the crap out of me.
Today was back and forth from gravel to tarmac. We avoided most of the work -around updates from all the logging. I found a bit of issue with Problem 5 on Sam’s list from Scott. “At miles 449.12 go straight” should now be a “bear right” as there is a new logging road there. He has two “bear left” listed in a row when we only went by one. The following “At mile 2.1 bear right” is now a 3-way crossroads…take the right “straight” road. Other than that, it is fairly easy to get around.
We avoided Problem 6 all together by taking a left at Cow Creek Rd. before the route’s left turn. This takes you on tarmac winding through the mountains paralleling the trail to the south.
By late afternoon we had reached Port Orford and the coast.
And proceeded to Paradise Point to play around.
It was tough to “crawl’ through the sand…and even harder to get out.
Thanks for following! The journey ends.
We woke up to a cold morning in the California mountains at Cave Lake Campground in the National Forest. After packing up we treked the 30 miles up the trail to Lakeview, OR for breakfast at this restaurant called Jerry’s. We ordered the Hungry Traveler; allyoucaneat pancakes, 3 eggs, 6 strips of bacon, hashbrowns and 3 cups of coffee for under $10!
After we filled our stomachs, it was onto the rest of the trail. It was nice to see trees again.
The roads were great, and just the nice easy going that I needed. This is the “dual sport” terrain.
We had a nice time on this abandoned railroad…that they tried to block off.
It was upsetting to see that most of Fremont National Forest was either devastated by wildfire or being selectively logged.
Then we hit some sand again, just when I thought it was over.
And then back to the trees, and some nice smooth roads to Crescent, OR.
We camped at an RV park in Crescent and woke up to a foggy mist in the low 40 degrees. We only had mesh gear…
So we were forced to go down the street for some hot coffee and breakfast.
We decided to skip the trail to cruise down to Crater Lake, then meet up with the trail after that. On the way down I saw the biggest DNE sign I’ve ever seen. Apparently Oreganians can’t pump their own gas or drive in the right lane…
The temperature didn’t rise much as we climbed into the Cascades.
Still snow in these mountains.
Luckily the former volcano that is Crater Lake was just around the corner.
As we were taking photos, these little golden mantled ground squirrels came out of the woodwork. Apparently they have been fed to domestication…
Finally we headed to rejoin the trail.
And then we found the world’s tallest Sugar Pine.
Some miles from the trail we found this.
And tried to continue through since we found no work around or update to the trail.
The pictures don’t do this justice, but this road has been closed off for at least 8 years since the trees growing in the middle of it are that old. I find it hard to believe everyone has been making it through there. Its about 4 miles to the next road. Anyway, it was too rough for our bigger bikes. So for those following, take a right onto Hwy 29 at 349.27, or at the road to the Sugar Pine. That takes you to Tiller for gas and food.
Then it was up and down the mountains to Canyonville.
These roads must be dangerous…yes that is a car.
Then we got on this really awesome ATV trail.
This trail took us through some really steep hill climbs, up to 40 degrees in some places. Then we got to this steep steep hill that was layered with large loose rock. I made it halfway up, Chris almost got to me.
Then I tried to start again and lost it.
Chris finally got injured…
If you thought the uphill was bad, you should see the downhill.
It wasn’t that bad.
Not far from our destination, we made a left turn at 432.17 and were stopped a mile later by this.
This landslide looks pretty old as well. Just continue straight on Hwy 95 to I5. Then you can go up to Canyonville or down to the trail. We have a little over 100 miles on the trail till the coast. We should reach it by lunchtime tomorrow.
Continue through to the coast.
I limped into Battle Mountain and got my box “reattached.”
We stayed at the Big Chief Inn in Battle Mountain which was the nicest and cheapest place we have stayed the whole trip…we even got breakfast.
So after bringing all their food we gassed up for another day.
And the roads just got “better”…
Until we couldn’t even find the road…
And finally my rack could take it no more.
So we split up the boxes and I strapped what was left of my rack to the bike along with my side plastics since the bolts vibrated out.
And headed off for more.
A short while later, we reach the summit of these Nevada hills.
Then Chris did this…I’m not sure how. Nevada road – 1, Chris – 0.
Then we got into some two track that was camouflaged by foliage.
We never made it to Denio for the night. It was getting dark by the time we made it to McDermitt and there were some pretty bad thunderstorms to the west. So we got a motel in McDermitt. I pitched my rack, got some bolts for my side plastics and had to take of my windscreen as well.
The road to Denio was a bit more pleasant, but not enough for my top rack to bear.
Since my top rack wasn’t designed to carry the weight I was putting on it, another weld broke and sheared another grade 8 bolt.
At Denio Junction we parted ways. I took highway 140 to Lakeview, while Tavis and Chris got back on the trail. So here are some pictures from the road and the trail.
While the other two were on the trail, I got into Lakeview and found a guy to weld my rack for me.
Then I went up to Cave Lake Campground, and back tracked the trail to meet up with Chris and Tavis who were only about 3 miles out.
Then 4 miles back to Cave Lake Campground in California where we stayed for the night.
On to Oregon.
Nevada, so far, is like the last half of Utah…it would be a nice ride if we weren’t baking in the sun, choking on dust, or eating sand in a crash. The morning started off with some two tracks through the middle of nowhere.
Then we got to Sam’s Dual Sport Bypass. I elected to take the bypass because I can’t help but push it pass the limit with this bike and am tired of crashing. Chris and Tavis took the trail through the 5 miles of single track and deep sand.
After waiting for a short while for them to get to where I was, I learned that Tavis had taken a spill in the sand not 2 miles in. I also found part of his headphones wrapped around his rear wheel, and then he discover his case holding his new iphone4 was open and his phone wasn’t there.
So we all went back through looking for it to no avail.
So I got to go through it anyway…twice. We never found the phone, so for those following us, keep a look out for an iphone in a plastic ziploc bag.
Then it was through the range pastures of Nevada where both Chris and Tavis went down.
Coming down a hill, there was a small water runoff that the cows had been walking through. Chris and I went on the outside of it. Tavis did not…
The mud stopped the bike dead and Tavis went flying off. Both he and the bike are fine.
Chris and I waited a little while down the trail before realizing he wasn’t coming back. Chris was the first to get there and couldn’t control the bike down this hill.
But there was one nice thing to look at during this ride.
Then down the mountain to Lund.
Since the search had cost us so much time, we finally made it to our halfway gas stop in Lund, NV around 4:00 in the afternoon. We were exhausted. We voted to skip the other 100 miles on the trail for 100 miles on the highway so that we could make it to our next stop in Eureka, NV. Its a good thing that we did because we made it into Eureka at sundown and promptly set up camp at a RV park.
We packed up the next morning after camping on this small patch of grass and went to get breakfast before setting out again to bake and choke.
Right out of Eureka we ran into roads closed as described here.
No wind today. The dust just hung in the air.
Not long into the trail, I’m moving along at a steady pace until I hit this.
I was doing about 40 mph and tried to just blast through it because there was no stopping. I leaned back putting weight on the rear and let the front float and then it catches the side of the rut…
It may be sand but it still hurt. After the dust coated me and cleared, I found out that the force of the crash sheared the grade 8 bolt that was holding the whole right side together. Sub-frame is still intact. Chris went down shortly after we got going again but I didn’t see it.
So we put that box on Chris’s bike and continued on.
The crash also broke my windscreen. So I have come to the conclusion that everything that I spent my time building has been broken…I will be posting how to build a damage resistant rack when the trip is over since I have had a lot of time to think it through now.
One more day in Nevada to go.
Continue in Nevada.