Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30th, 2009 - Telluride to Manti-La Sal

Originally posted by Dave W

After spending a night of relative luxury in a Telluride suite, and a quick bagel/coffee at Baked in Telluride, it was time to hit the road...

Early on in the trip, we decided it'd be more efficient to take turns paying for gas, and pass the hose to one another than to each pay separately each time. I think I got the better deal on this technique as the KTM was averaging around 35mpg, and the BMW was closer to 45mpg. Don't mention that to Dave though.

While there a many spectacular valleys/bowls in the Rockies, Telluride is perhaps the fanciest and most modern. It was a nice, brief detour from our mini version of the TAT.

After a brief bit of pavement along highway 145, it was back to a gravel road. Gravel definitely keeps you on your toes more than pavement, but isn't nearly as much fun as dirt. It seems to have the potential wipe-out factor, with out as much fun or creativity as the dirt paths have to offer. In any case, after being on either dirt of gravel, we'd generally get sleepy after more than 10 minutes of asphalt...

Before we knew it, we were off the gravel and into dirt, or rather mud. The recent rains and omni-present cattle had really done a number on the path...

There were plenty of puddles/ponds that were initially avoided...

...and then seeked out to see how big of a splash could be made. This was great fun until Dave & Ann hit a big ol' puddle that was about a foot or two deeper than they were expecting and the bike bucked them off. It was both hilarious, a bit scary, and definitely messy. They were both okay, but we proceeded ahead with a bit more caution...

Coming out of that stretch, it started to rain on us a bit, but the downhill section, albeit thoroughly muddy was a great time (for me at least). Dave & Ann's confidence may have taken a step back after their fall, and subsequent slipping and sliding. The trail went through a birch/aspen(?) forest with some nicely burmed turns, while some lightning and thunder were going off around us.

Just outside the forest, there was a brief, recently paved section that lead by Dolores campground. It ended up being a good spot to take a break, catch some sun, and checkout some wild-life. The chipmunks were seriously fat (probably from all the red M&Ms -- Ann couldn't resist).

Back on the trail, we had a bit of a routing issue. We had taken Sam's maps and converted them into tracks for our GPS's. Our tracks had us cutting across a field occupied by more cows...

We're pretty sure it wasn't right, but after a bit of trailblazing we were back on track. Coming out of western Colorado and heading into eastern Utah, we were all a bit concerned that the scenery of the Colorado mountains was all behind us. It looked like we were entering endless farmlands...

and tweakers...

and radio-activity...

(Note that this section of the TAT was fully closed, either by actual radio-activity, or a pissed-off land-owner. It wasn't too hard to route around)

Before we knew it, we were back in the cow-infested mountains. In this case, the Manti-La Sals, and towards Mt. Peale.

Rush hour...

We ended up cowboy camping for the night on the mountain, overlooking Moab and the Canyonlands...

After gathering some wood...

and making a fire...

we called it a night.

 

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