Motorcycling TAT-CO

Challenging Dirt Roads Through Colorado

Motorcycling Adventure #10

8 days, 2,073 miles, Sep 2012

Ray Jardine

Day 5 2012-09-17Day 5 page 6 of 8

After breaking camp, warming up the bike in the cold. The lithium battery is sluggish in the cold, and takes a few tries to get the engine started. I like it anyway because of it's super-light weight.

On the first switchback above my turn-around point of yesterday.

This early in the morning I had the whole pass to myself, so I didn't have to be as careful watching for oncoming traffic. Up here the road becomes much less steep and rocky - but on the other hand, the occasional seep running across the road was frozen.

I was happy to reach Cinnamon Pass.

Making my way down to Animas Forks, an historic mining town, long since vacated. The TAT continues to California Pass, but like most TAT riders I would descend to Silverton.

Animas Forks

Descending to Silverton

Breakfast stop. Long ago I spent two summers working in the woods around here, and have many funny stories centered around this town.


Up to Ophir Pass

Oh-oh, looks steep down there.

Parts of the descent of Ophir Pass were the toughs parts of the trip, so far. The problem was, I hadn't learned of the tremendous advantages of turning off the ABS when going down steep and loose rocks and dirt. I didn't drop the bike, but had to sometimes inch my way down. Next time I'll know, and that's what this trip is all about - learning from my experience and that of others.

There was another sign that read: "Drive slow and visit our town. Drive fast and visit our mayor."

Looking back up to Ophir Pass.

This part of the ride was especially nice. In fact I enjoyed all so far.

In another ride report I mentioned that I don't drink the water in the Rocky Mountains without treating it. This is why. They are everywhere in the National Forests.

I traveled a mile down Dunton road to the non-town of Dunton, to see if they might have a store. Nope! Then I backtracked to the route and carried on, up into the hills. This next stretch started out fine, but became more rocky by the mile. This went on for 2.5 hours, and was unbelievable. Then the route descended back to Dunton road much further along. I found out later that most TAT riders skip this section (called the Willow Divide) and ride Dunton road. I was glad to have ridden the divide - but next time I, too, will stick with the road. (Also, in mid summer some riders have reported many blow-downs up there.)

My track-log along the Willow Divide. In Google Earth, view from 12 mi high.

Disillusioned with the road of rocks, I followed the pavement 16 miles SW to Dolores, CO, and spent the night.

The story has 8 pages. This is page 6.
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