GREAT WESTERN TRIP!

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Nov 20, 2012
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Quebec, Canada
#1
PART 1:

Good day

I would like to take this opportunity to thanks our fellow riders who have provided us with great info, numerous ride reports which have contributed in making our journey most unforgettable!!!

Our adventure was divided in 3 major steps as follow:

1. my ride solo to reach Vegas from Quebec using as much back roads as possible from Wyoming;
2. ride with the woman of my life from Vegas to Denver; and
3. my ride solo from Denver back to Quebec via portions of the COBDR.

+- 10,000 miles in 40 days!

The following are some of our pictures with comments below each one...



Green: my ride solo to Vegas (26 May - 05 June);
Red: meet and ride with Nancy from Vegas to Denver (05 June - 22 June); and
Bleu: my ride solo to get back home from Denver (23 June - 10 July).



Crossing of the Mississippi River at the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin at the town of Wapasha. Here, a statue of the Chief Sioux Wapasha !!



Crossing some portions of the Nebraska National Forest!!



I arrived in Douglas, Wyoming after 3 days of riding from Quebec. Here you can see Laramie Peak (10,276 feet) which was named after Jacques La Ramee, a french Canadian trapper, established in this area around 1820, who was found mysteriously dead in the river which was also named after him!



Great back roads riding all around Laramie Peak....did not see nobody in over 100 miles going south towards Colorado....



Unbelievable riding in the Wyoming high plains ... fresh and crispy air...the only challenge is to try to keep a safe speed...



Arriving at Elk Mountain (7,264 feet) in south Wyoming... still lots of snow at the end of May....



I tried to cross the Medicine Bow National Forest to reach hwy 130 with no success....still too much snow....I had to turn around and made it via Saratoga....



From Saratoga I took hwy 130 and reached Snowy Pass à 10,847 feet...



After reaching the town of Centennial, I took Fox Creek Road to reach northern Colorado ...



After spending the night in Walden, Colorado, I rode the Rabbit Ears Pass (9,426 feet) to reach Steamboat Springs before heading towards Utah...



I took the time to visit the Dinosaur National Monument and Canyon located along the border between Utah and Wyoming... the Canyon offers all kinds of dirt roads and the sceneries are simply breathtaking....



The Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, many fossils and bones of Dinosaurs were found and some are exhibited in the museum ... After the many discoveries the site was named national monument in 1915 ... I took the opportunity to buy an annual card valid for one year and accept in all national parks and monuments. The card costs $ 90.00USD and is good for 2 x people ... great deal if you are planning to access most of the national parks and monuments..



Magnificent view of the quarry .....



After spending the night in Vernal, Utah, I traveled back to Wyoming via Manila to bypass the Uinta mountain range which was still full of snow .... back in the high plains of Wyoming was a delight ... gravel roads as far as you can see .....



Monuments in the middle of nowhere near Piedmonts .... enormous kilns used to make charcoal for houses heating during the long months of winter ...



Nice view of the Uinta mountain range that I will cross by taking via hwy 150 ...



The crossing of the Bald Mountain Pass (10,715 feet) with the mountain of the same name in the background (11,948 feet) allowed me to go back into Utah ..... this high mountain is one of the most climbed in its category because of its shape which makes the climb easier ......



After the Bold Pass descent, I took the forest roads of the UBDR but I had to make a detour in the area north of the Mill Hollow Reservoir because of the snow ... then resume UTBDR and ride the magnificent Timber Canyon Road to Soldier Summit.



Landscape along the north entrance of Timber Canyon Road .....
 
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#2
PART 2




After a well deserved break at Soldier Summit .... I took the nice Skyline Drive which is part of the Great Western Trail which skirts the tops of the mountains between 5,000-10,000 feet. I spent the night in Manti after another long but unforgettable day..........



The small and friendly town of Manti was founded in 1849 in one of the high valleys of Utah with rich soil is favorable to agriculture. The magnificent temple was completed in 1893 after more than 40 years of construction by the Mormons. The statue depicts Chief Wakara asking for help from the pioneers to help his people cultivate the land. Symbol of mutual aid between first nations and pioneers after several bloody conflicts ...



The Old Spanish Trail at Fish Lake Cut Off in the center of Utah. The Old Spanish Trail was a trade route that covered nearly 600 miles or 1,000 km and connected the various settlements between Los Angeles in California and Sante Fe in New Mexico, passing through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. I crossed this famous trail several times during the trip ...



I tried to cross from Koosharem to Monroe by Indian Peak (9,790 feet) and Monroe Peak (11,227 feet) but had to turn around almost to the top due to the snow ....



I eventually took Route 143 to Cedar Breaks National Monument, which you can see on the photo. Later on I took the Right Hand Canyon Road and Kolob Road, which are similar to those of Skyline Drive and led to the banks of the Zion Canyon...



I finally arrived in St George after another big day and decided to spend a full day of rest ... cleaning the motorcycle, washing clothes among other things before meeting with Nancy in Las Vegas the day after..



Met with Nancy my sweet half who flew from Quebec in Las Vegas on June 05. We spent the next 3 days doing small expeditions, gambling a bit and took it easy around Vegas...



Nancy with 2 x police officers on DRZs ..... I like their lighting system on the handlebars ...our son has the same bike .......



We visited Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston which are very close to Vegas ... well worth the visits. We went there early in the morning to avoid the crowd and hot temperature and back to the hotel early in the afternoon and enjoyed the pool ...



The next morning we went to Hoover Dame (1931-1936) which is on the border between Nevada and Arizona .... we were stopped right in the middle of the dam crossing without helmets .... good for a warning from a friendly police officer .... the helmet is not compulsory in Arizona but it is in Nevada .... We took this photo crossing the bridge on foot ...



We left Las Vegas for our 14 days road journey to Denver .... first stop .. Zion Canyon ....the colors throughout the canyon crossing are simply incredible .. an amazing experience ...we took hundred of pictures ...



No matter your destination after Zion Canyon ... do not miss the tunnel and road 9 to Mt Carmel Junction ... We stayed in Kanab for 2 days to visit some of the surrounding area.



The small town of Kanab is a good little town to stay and we took the opportunity to visit the small western museum where several old films were shot in the vicinity ...



From Kanab, we went to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which is less crowded. I will never forget the reaction of Nancy arriving at Point Imperial at 8,803 feet ... she was paralyzed in front of this greatness...



We went all the way to Cap Royal!



Another nice view from Cap Royal!



Here in direction of Bryce Canyon on the famous hwy 12 which you must discover from the beginning to the end!



We rode Bryce Canyon all the way up to `Rainbow Point` which is 9,100 feet high ....



After spending the night in Cannonville we continued on the famous hwy 12 to Boulder before taking the Burr Trail .... here red rock canyon ... worth the detour ...



Nancy along the Burr Trail .... which was named in honor of John Burr who developed a trail to move his cattle between the summer and winter pastures .....
 
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#3
PART 3




The famous descent of the Burr Trail and switchback ....



Nancy down the Burr Trail switchback in front of another impressive cliff ..... we really have to go back up ??



Short pose in one of the saloon with John Wayne .....



We spent the night at the Broken Spur in Torrey before heading to Capitol Reef National Park the next day ... another magical place ....



Other beautiful scenery along Capitol Reef ..



Other notable landscapes near Hite on hwy 95 and the Colorado River ....



We took the time to stop and make the loop of the National Bridges National Monuments ....



A very awaited moment is our arrival of the Moki Dugway ... we stopped at the first switchback where there was a small parking area and we walked a small path which brought us on top of another impressive cliff for another amazing view ... in the distance on one side you could see `Monument Valley`!



.. and on the other side ... Valley of the gods .... Nancy did not want to go too close to this impressive cliff and with good reasons but the view was simply amazing ... The Moki Dugway was built in 1958 by a mining company (Texas Zinc) to transport urranium between the mine and Mexican Hat .... this section was then integrated into hwy 261 ...



We really enjoyed our ride through Valley of the gods, practically nobody and free to go wherever we want while staying on the trails ... Our experience at Monument Valley on the Navajo Reserve was disappointing due to the number of tourists and the fact that we could not do the ride with our motorcycle ... but O.K. by car ??



We were lucky to have dry trails in spite of the rains in the high plains .. it was like being in a dream ....



We arrived at Mexican Hat and we quickly understood the meaning of the name of the village where we spent the night..



Short stop at Elephant Butte just before Moab .....



Before arriving in Moab we decided to borrow La Sal Loop Road and make a detour into the Castle Valley that you can see here .... an incredible road in the mountains with some snow behind us and the the desert in front of us ......simply unbelievable..



We spent 2 x days in Moab and visit parts of Arches Canyon .....



Balanced Rock in Arches Canyon ...



One afternoon I took the opportunity to go riding solo at Canyonlands and the famous Shafer Trail and returning to Moab by the Potash Road .... conditions were perfect .... here view of Shafer Trail from the top of the cliff...



The Shafer Trail switchback .....



The prudence is key during the descent or the climb..



The Shafer Trail's cliff in the background .....
 
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#4
PART 4




The Podash Road is just as fun and impressive .. here you can see the Colorado River.... another huge cliff..



I meet several French people in jeeps .. I got a nice cold beer from one of them ...



We left Moab to reach the Colorado via hwy 90 .... very impressive to see the Mountains of La Sal with these green fields while just on the other side was the Moab desert ... quite the contrast in a short distance .....



We crossed western Colorado to reach Telluride ... here Mt Wilson and Wilson Peak (14,023 feet).



Yellow Mountain North near Ophir Pass... we are the 16 June ...



Trout Lake along hwy 145 between Telluride and Cortez.



Dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Dolores ......



We spent the night in Mancos before heading to Mesa Verde National Park very early in the morning...



Square Tower House! A whole experience in the past that you can live in Mesa Verde where you can visit most of the different sites and sights while following the journey at your leisure. The museum has an impressive collection of objects and pottery. On the other hand you have to get tickets in advance to visit some of the major sites on site that are only made with a guide ...

More than 4,400 sites were listed and occupied by the Anasazi Indians who built buildings under the cliffs of the canyon. Each village had its own functions which could be either agricultural, craft or religious. Some of these buildings date back more than 1,400 years and were inhabited for over 700 years. They were gradually abandoned because of prolonged droughts among others reasons....



The famous Cliff Palace with guided tour only.



Molas Pass (10, 910 feet) on the famous 550 (Million Dollar Hwy) road south of Silverton ...



Red Mountain No 3 along Route 550 between Silverton and Ouray ... still snow in some of the trails on this 17 June...



One of our many favorites was the Black Canyon hwy 92 ...



Independence Pass (12,095 feet) between Aspen and Twin Lakes..



Clinton Gulch Dam between Leadville and hwy 70. The town of Leadville is more than 10,200 feet high....



Along the famous Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park .... it's at the foot of these mountains that the Colorado River begins ..



The Trail Ridge Road is simply amazing, here the climb to Milner Pass (10,759 feet) before the road skirts the top of the mountains before descending towards Estes Park where we have spent the night.,



On our last day, we made our way to the summit of Mount Evans which is the highest paved road in North America ... We saw some rams, elk and rocky mountain goats in the wild.....



Last picture taken with Nancy before she went back home from Denver ... it was an amazing adventure that we had the chance to live and share together.... memories for life !!!



Nancy took the plane in Denver on June 22. Shortly after her departure. I had my tires replaced at Apex Sports in Colorado Springs .... Afterwards I rode to the top of Pikes Peak......
 
Joined
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#5
PART 5




After Pikes Peak, I took the 67 to Goldfield to make the Gold Belt Tour thru others magnificent canyons ...



I rode the Phantom Canyon Road and spend the night in Canonville ...



The next morning I rode the Marshall Pass (10,842 feet) between Mears Juntion and Sargents to reach the COBDR .....



The COBDR between Leadville and Lake City .... basically alone under good conditions early in the season ...



I arrived in Lake City early in the afternoon under some rain and wet snow. The conditions did not look too good going West and after talking with some local folks I decided not to attempt the COBDR section to Ouray on this 23 June .... I decided to play it safe especially being alone and early in the season ... I took the direction of Gunnison where I have spent the night. Here you can see Crystal Peaks (13,859 feet) near Lake City.



I like to leave early in the morning because the colors are simply amazing .... here the climb to Cottonwood Pass (12,126 feet) before arriving in Bueno Vista.



Weston Pass (11,921 feet) between Bueno Vista and Leadville ..



I was not able to do the section between Leadville and Eagle because Hagerman Pass (11,925 feet) was still closed due to snow ... so I made a detour from the north to make the Muddy Pass (8,772 feet) which was a nice challenge ......



On the other side of Muddy Pass ... beautiful plains up to hwy 131 ...



More famous red hills along the Colorado River between Dotsero and McCoy ...



The last mountains of northern Colorado along the COBDR ...



Alcova dam south of Casper, Wyoming .........



Back on the dirt roads of the high plains of Wyoming ....



..and encountered many antelopes....



Small stop at Sturgis in South Dakota to compare my Tenere to their famous steel sculpture .... for once my ST looks lighter and smaller...



I enjoyed spending the night in the small town of Mobridge in South Dakota along the Missouri which is the longest river in the US...



Fields of wild daisy in Minnesota ....well ...time to get back home......



I arrived in Ontario, Canada by Fort Frances, Thunder Bay and Wawa ...here old Woman Bay along Lake Superior near Wawa ...



Oh well! Oh well! A pleasant surprise .... met with my cousin Ann911 and her husband Bill911 on the shores of Lake Superior. We rode together for 2 days to my own town in Northern Quebec ...



We are truly lucky and privileged to have experienced such an adventure and to taste a tiny part of the American Southwest ... it would take a life just to discover a part of Utah or Colorado .... .

Cheers!!!!
 

EricV

Rumbux Importer - Riding, farkling, riding...
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#14
I've been very nearly all of those places myself. You have a wonderful eye for photo composition. So glad you enjoyed your epic trip. Thanks for sharing the pictures and your experience, it was a fun walk down memory lane.
 

bnschroder

2014 Super Tenere ES
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#16
I love these fly & rides your wife is doing to meet up with you. I need to get mine to do the same but right now she isn't getting on the bike at all ("not until the kids are at college").
 
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