Telluride to Telluride: Todd and Clint's excellent Adventure

Telluride to Telluride: Todd and Clint's excellent Adventure


Late Summer in the mountains. After weeks of rain any time of the day, we've got a forecast of brilliant sunny weather for a few days. What to do?

The answer for my friend Todd Hoffman and me: a motorcycle guy trip. First we thought we'd head for the Utah desert, but it looked like it might be a bit warm, so we elected to stay in the high country. Mostly familiar, but always changing and the roads were made for riding bikes.

The destinations were easy, and the ways to get there, endless. We spent three nights on the road in Aspen, Denver and Gunnison. But the rides- not the shortest way to get to any of them. I met Todd at his place 3 miles up a gravel road outside of Ridgway. A gravel road is just a warm-up for my BMW F650GS. Todd was riding his recently rebuilt 1972 Norton Commando, a beautiful bike (I offered to be the baggage car with my new Caribou hard cases), especially if you're riding light.

We turned off Highway 50 at the dam on Blue Mesa Reservoir and rode one of the best motorcycle highways in Colorado along the north rim of the Gunnison River- curves and hills and almost no traffic! A biker's dream. After lunch in Crawford at Joe Cocker's old place, we had a great ride over McClure Pass to Aspen. We didn't exactly fit in with the glitz crowd, but the lady tending bar at the Hotel Jerome had time to talk to us during our post-ride beer, and again later when we stopped in after a nice outdoor sushi dinner.

The next day's highlight was the ride over Independence Pass, another biker must. I had acquired a GoPro point-of-view video camera in Aspen and we had some fun figuring out how to get some interesting videos. Lunch in Leadville caused a bit of a change of plan- local knowledge suggested Todd might not be too happy on the Norton on 30 miles of rough across Weston Pass, and it was a long way to backtrack to Buena Vista to go through South Park and Fairplay, so we decided to brave Saturday afternoon traffic on I-70. Not fun, including the not fun of many miles of grooved highway east of Idaho Springs, and a traffic flow that was determined to maintain it's 75 mph average. We were ready for a beer by the time we got to our house in Denver.

We had some of Marco's great pizza on Larimer Street, then heard a good set from a blues group at El Chapultepec before turning in for the night.

We met friends Ivar and Karen Zeile at Snooze the next morning, along with 4 year old Udo, one of my best friends in the world. Our departure was a bit delayed because my bike wouldn't start. We got it going with the help of some friends, and I made certain to gas up at a station with a good downhill run to jump start it.

Then came the rain, but we soldiered on, stopping in Gunnison for the night. We had decided that several miles of mud on Cottonwood Pass wouldn't be a good choice, which ruled out Crested Butte.

The next day I had to get the bike jumped again, but thought I could nurse it at least to Montrose. Wrong…

About 15 miles out of Gunnison, the bike just stopped running. Fuel injection needs a battery. It cost us a bit of time, but we did have cell phone coverage right where we were, Gunnison Motor Sports was open (it was Monday) and just happened to have the battery I needed, and the owner's Dad drove it out to us and waited until we got it in and the bike running. Hooray!

A stop for lunch in Montrose, a quick stop at Todd's house, then a beautiful ride in the sun over Hastings Mesa, and I was home. A successful buddy ride. Hooray for motorcycles!


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