I was alone in Colorado and desperate to hit the trails. My guidebook had all the usual tourist crazy areas around Silverton and Ouray. This area is known as probably the best in the USA for outdoor motorcycle adventure. But I had my eye on getting to Summitville. Summitville is the site of Colorado’s worst eco mining disaster. The EPA even built a water processing plant on top of the 12k foot mountain. I wanted to go find it.
So down my road and west on 160 into Pagosa springs for gas and through to Wolf Pass. A breath-taking ride up and over the stunning mountain. The road is full of turns and hairpins and bike nirvana. It’s wide and easy to pass the huge dinosaur motor homes being towed by pick up trucks. I’m sure if the truck could communicate, it would be shouting at its owner ”Why would you leave your suburban mansion and tow a suburban mansion across the country to park it in a suburban trailer park, with all the same suburbanites, what the fuck?” then you realize there’s more of them than you.Maybe they are saying the same thing about me. “Bike looks like a bug, fucken wheels are not even the same size, and why the fuck is he dressed like a power ranger, whew thank our gracious God and his son Jesus we’ve gotten away from the neighborhood”.I wave at the state trooper always parked on the top, he’s not there to bust my balls, and he’s there to keep a keen eye on the overloaded vehicles descending the mountain. Get it wrong; the results are going to be ugly. For me the only concern is how much can I get away with on the Continental TKC80 knobblies, I just shoe horned on the bike that evening. Don’t dare try this yourself but I can tell you, they stick like glue. Honestly I rode the same manner I do with street tires on. Lets just say I was happy the trooper stayed on top the mountain.
For some reason I could not find the turn off to Forest road 330. I looked and looked. I checked the map, and from what I could conclude (at home) it was 8 mile’s west of South fork. I looked and looked to no avail. Although it never really showed where in South fork to measure from. Typical Andy, I had left the map at home, I had only my notes, and I must have fucked up somewhere as usual. Of I go, back over the pass, having a blast. Past my Buddy, and back down the other side. Past more dinosaurs. Dinner at the “Lost Cajun” in Pagosa and back home.
Stunner pass.Today I’m going to head down and start from the bottom end. The long way around. Typical me. If you don’t succeed try again, only make it more complicated. This time. Take map. It’s 88 miles to Chama from my home. A stunning ride that would leave motorcyclists drooling and smiling.Now guys and gals this ride back into Colorado (You are in NM briefly), and up 17 to La Manga and Cumbres pass .I’m not going to bother to try explain. I don’t have those fancy author journalist fancy adjectives. It would be like Gordon Ramsey saying,” yep bacons nice”. This road is why I ride bike.
I miss the road again. At Horca there is supposed to be a road. A sign. Something. I ride past searching. This is mad, turn around go back to Horca. Well the only other road there is FSR250, my road. And 100 yards up the road is the sign. WTF.The journey begins. First miles are wide washboard roads. Dinosaurs, tourists, fishermen and locals who don’t bother to stare, they know where the money comes from. Others, amazed, didn’t see shit in Roswell and here in the woods is a power ranger alien.Off I go, I don’t even know they’re there. The road gets bumpier, thinner, technical and the other humans are nowhere, perfect. The scenery is like from some “gone with the wind” movie. When I look, it’s amazing. For some reason my brain has goes to, I’m in Paris racing for Dakar (or Argentina or Brazil to China or wherever the fuck it is now). The Honda is brilliant and I’m shifting in manual with paddle shifters at my left hand. 2nd and 3rd in gravel mode (ABS on, it works perfectly) traction control on 2 for now. The TKC knobblies work well although those Dunlop trail max tires would have been fine to. Fuck it. Knobblies fits better in my Dakar fantasy. Switchbacks, gravel, sand, turns, stretches of long high-speed. I have found my new heaven. I’m blasting around. Bikes brilliant. I miss FSR330 again; funny thing is I know where I missed it. But no matter, Forest road 250 is great.I finally reach the flats at the Alamosa reservoir, the dirt road now opens up to what looks like a freeway on dirt. So wide 4 cars could pass, and for miles. I can’t resist myself. After a long stretch of scouting I return back a long ways. There’s no one around. Nothing I can see. I want triple digits on the dirt, just ‘coz.Mission accomplished the road spits me out all the way in Alamosa. 90 something miles of trail riding fun. Fill up the trusty Honda and its back to Wolf pass, past my pal, down to Pagosa and off to Bayfield. 130 more miles of riding bliss. Smiling all the way home.The total from that morning was exactly 301 miles. This was a perfect example of, it’s not the destination, it’s the ride.