Friday, July 31, 2009

I've been riding for 10 years & 132,768 miles

I guess a little celebration is in order. This month marks 10 years of
motorcycling for me. OK, actually it’s more than that. I started riding in
May of 1992 when I purchased my first motorcycle, but since I only rode
the Suzuki GN125 one season and then didn’t ride until July of 1999 until I purchased the Suzuki GS500, I have always been counting my motorcycling years starting with 1999.

The number 132,768 represents the total number of miles I’ve put on my 7 motorcycles I’ve owned since July 1999. Below is guesstamate of how the miles were spread out over the 10 years and my riding highlights and lowlights.

1999 - 2,400 miles
  • Purchased new 1989 Suzuki GS500
  • After 7 years of not riding, I re-learned how to ride a motorcycle

2000 - 2,600 miles
  • Sold the Suzuki
  • Purchased new 2000 Honda CBR 600F4

2001 - 10,000 miles
  • Discovered sport-touring
  • Towed the F4 to Pennsylvania for a sport bike motorcycle meet
  • First multi-day motorcycle trip - 4 day tour of Kentucky
  • An overnight ride to Minnesotta

2002 - 17,000 miles
  • Sold the Honda F4
  • Purchased new 2002 Honda CBR 600F4i
  • Did 5 tracks days with the F4i that season
  • Had my first motorcycle (and so far the only) accident on a motorcycle - I only suffered some bruises and the bike some cosmetic damage - a car didn't see me and pulled in to my lane forcing me to the curb where my bike fell over at 5MPH on the sidewalk when the front wheel hit the curb
  • Multi-day ride on the F4i to Missouri for a sport bike motorcycle meet
  • Towed the F4i to Pennsylvania for a sport bike motorcycle meet
  • Multi-day ride on the F4i to Tennessee
  • Towed the bike to Tennessee/North Carolina to ride Deal’s Gap
  • Organized a two day overnight ride to Minnesota called the “Flat 4 tour” which introduced riders to sport-touring. I continued to organize and lead this ride twice a year for the next 7 years until I moved to Colorado in 2008 and handed off the ride to another sport-touring enthusiast

2003 - 8,000 miles
  • Started a new job and had very little vacation that year
  • A multi-day ride on the F4i: Northern Wisconsin and Northern Minnesota
  • A multi-day ride on the F4i: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Upper Peninsula Michigan
  • Purchased new 2002 Honda CBR 954RR
  • I now owned two bikes the F4i and the 954RR
  • Towed the 954RR to ride Texas Hill Country over Christmas break

2004 - 17,000 miles
  • Multi-day ride on the F4i: Tennessee and North Carolina - Deals Gap and Blue Ride Parkway
  • Multi-day ride on the F4i: Indiana and Kentucky
  • Multi-day ride on the 954RR: Colorado and Utah
  • Towed the 954RR to Mississippi: Tour of Louisiana over Thanksgiving
  • Towed the 954RR to Texas: Tour of Texas Hill Country and SW Texas over Christmas break

2005 - 30,000 miles
  • Multi-day ride on the 954RR: Tour of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York
  • Multi-day ride on the 954RR: Tour of West Virginia
  • Towed the 954RR to Arizona: Tour of Arizona, Southern California and Nevada
  • Unofficial Iron Butt ride on the 954RR: North Dakota (1,021 miles in 21 hours)
  • Sold the F4i
  • Purchased new 2005 Ducati ST3
  • I was still a two bike owner: 954RR and ST3
  • A two day overnight ride to Pennsylvania
  • Femmoto: Rode Buell motorcycles at the Las Vegas Speedway at a womans moto event
  • Rode a borrowed bike for a few days in Southern California over Christmas break
  • This was my biggest millage year - 30,000 miles

2006 - 10,000 miles
  • Purchased used 2000 Ducati 900SS
  • Purchased new 2006 Yamaha XT225
  • I now owned 4 motorcycles (954RR, ST3, 900SS and XT225)
  • Two day overnight ride to Pennsylvania
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: Tour of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado
  • The above ride was my first multi-day moto-camping tour
  • Rode a borrowed bike in Alaska for a few days
  • Towed the XT225 to ride dirt in Southwest Texas and camp over Christmas break
  • The above way my first off road ride

2007 - 13,000 miles
  • Towed the XT225 to ride dirt in Louisiana and camp
  • Towed the XT225 to ride dirt in Mississippi and camp
  • Towed the XT225 to Kentucky and did a multi-day adventure tour (dirt and pavement) through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee
  • Towed the XT225 to Upper Peninsula Michigan to ride dirt and camp
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: Tour of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio with camping
  • Rode the whole Blue Ridge Parkway on the above trip
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: Arkansas
  • Sold the Ducati 900SS (I was down to three bikes: 954RR, ST3 and XT225)
  • Towed the XT225 to Iowa to ride dirt and camp
  • Towed the XT225 to ride dirt and camp in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida over Christmas break (unfortunately the bike stayed on the trailer in Florida, there was just too much rain to ride)

2008 - 15,000 miles
  • Towed the XT225 to Southern Illinois to ride dirt and camp
  • Rode the ST3 to Southern Illinois and camped
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: Tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: Tour of Missouri and Arkansas with camping
  • Got laid off from work - spent 50 days riding the 954RR: Tour of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming (wanted to ride the ST3 but there was something wrong with it)
  • The above ride is so far my longest ride
  • I finally got published! Two articles in the (Honda Sport Touring Association) STAReveiw Magazine
  • Moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in October

2009 - 7,700 miles ...and counting
  • First overnight camping ride on the XT225: Northern Colorado
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: 7 days through Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona with camping
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: 13 days through Colorado and Utah with camping
  • Multi-day ride on the ST3: 3 days through Colorado with camping

September 2001 - The bike (2000 Honda CBR 600F4) and the ride (Kentucky) that started my sport-touring addiction

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lily Mountain Summit 9,786'

It’s the middle of summer but between motorcycle riding and maintenance, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get a good hike in. With the tires on the ST3 all warn out, the tires on the 954RR pretty much gone too and having just done a dirt ride, today was definitely a good day to go hiking.

The beginning of the Lily Mountain Trail

Looking down at highway 7 (left), near the summit a sign for the trail (right)

The trail, this is still close to the trailhead

Since I haven’t hiked much lately I wanted to do an easy hike. I especially like hiking to the top of mountains, because of all the amazing views at the top. Lily Mountain Trail was a short trail that climbed to the top of a small mountain by Colorado standards - it was perfect!

I think that is the Fish Creek Road down there

Some cool dirt road with many switch backs

Getting closer to the summit now

A neat rock formation

According to the internet the trail is just 1.7 miles from the trailhead to the summit of Lily Mountain. According to the sign at the trailhead, it is 2 miles. The Lily Mountain trailhead is located along highway 7 just south of Estes Park. The trailhead doesn’t have a parking lot, parking is allowed on the side of the road.

The trail got rocky at times (left), the scramble to the summit (right)

On top of Lily Mountain

This rock is pretty much most of the summit

Great scenery from the top of Lily Mountain

The beginning of the trail travels up and down. The last mile is a steady climb and to reach the summit requires a bit of scrambling over some large rocks. I haven’t been to the top of too many summits, but this one so far was the smallest summit - area wise.

I hung out on top for a bit, just taking in the scenery and enjoying the sunshine. It was a beautiful afternoon, with no clouds, no threat of lightening. The hike down was a lot quicker than the hike up.

The trailhead for Lily Mountain is just north of Lily Lake Trailhead

Lily Mountain Trail

Difficulty: easy/intermediate

Total miles: 4

Summit elevation: 9,786 feet

Trailhead elevation: 8,780 feet

Net elevation gain: 1,006 feet

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crown Point Road, Colorado

Crown Point Road is located in the Roosevelt National Forest west of Fort Collins. It travels west from Pingree Park Road and dead ends at the Zimmerman trailhead. Just a bit west of Crown Point is Cameron Pass and to the south is Rocky Mountain National Park. The Mummy Range is clearly visible form parts of the road. Crown Point Road is a wide dirt road, it steadily climbs in elevation reaching approximately 10,500 feet at the end.

The beginning of Crown Point Road at Pingree Park Road (CR-63E)

Lots of curves on Crown Point Road

Beautiful mountain scenery

Most of Crown Point Road is dirt, with some gravel sections

Zimmerman Trailhead is located at the end of Crown Point Road

The hiking trail

Elevation 10,616 feet

The complete ride report from Crown Point Road and the other roads I rode that day is here.

Monument Gulch Road, Colorado

Monument Gulch Road is a four mile long 4x4 dirt road located west of Fort Collins. It connects Buckhorn Road with Pingree Park Road.

Monument Gulch Road is 4 miles long

The sign for Monument Gulch Road at Buckhorn Road

The beginning of Monument Gulch Road at Buckhorn Road

If you’re heading northwest to Pingree Park Road from Buckhorn Road you can use Monument Gulch Road as a short cut. From Buckhorn Road, Monument Gulch first climbs for a bit but after that it descends all the way to Pingree Park Road.

The XT225 is a good bike for this road

Monument Gulch gets a bit bumpy at times

There are some smooth and level sections on Monument Gulch Road as well

Lots of Aspen trees here

Riding out of the forest in to a clearing on Monument Gulch

A fork in the road - lots of other forest roads here

Heading down all the way to Pingree Park Road on Monument Gulch

Some neat looking rocks formations

A large hole in the road

More Monument Gulch Road

The complete ride report from Monument Gulch Road and the other roads I rode that day is here.

Monument Gulch, Crown Point & Pennock Pass

The XT225 hasn’t had a workout in a while, so CJ and I decided to head out and ride some dirt roads today. The goal was to ride all of Crown Point Road, since two months ago I didn’t get to ride all of it because it was raining, which made it pretty cold at higher elevations.

This was going to be an interesting ride since CJ doesn’t get to ride much on the dirt roads, he’s more of a single track rider - the more technical the better. Where I prefer non-technical dirt roads.

Today seemed like a nice day, it was a bit overcast but the temps were very pleasant in the low 70’s. Unfortunately as headed in to the mountains we encountered darker clouds, drizzle and much cooler temps. We rode the curvy but paved Stove Prairie Road. Then turned off on Buckhorn Road - the first dirt road of the day. From Buckhorn we took Monument Gulch Road. I have never been on this road before, but I’ve read ride reports about it and it was on my list of roads to ride.

Chasing CJ on Buckhorn Road

This is Buckhorn Road (44H) at Monument Gulch Road

Buckhorn Road made be very twisty, but it’s a wide dirt and gravel road with only one section that is a little rocky and bumpy. Cars have no problem driving on Buckhorn and I have taken my Acura RSX-S on it before. Monument Gulch on the other hand is more of a 4X4 road. From Buckhorn Road, Monument Gulch Road climbs for a bit, but then it’s downhill all the way to Pingree Park Road.

Just a few minutes of riding Monument Gulch and I was already getting myself in to the trouble. Riding the up hill section, rode over a huge wet rock, not sure what happened next but I almost ended up dumping the bike. After I got that over and done with early on, the rest of the ride on Monument Gulch went without any more incidents, although the road required my full concentration since there were lots of sections with rocks, tree roots, puddles and large holes. Monument Gulch Road is only 4 miles long but at the pace I was riding it, it took me about 40 minutes to get through it. At one point CJ turned around and rode pretty much half of it back to make sure I was still back there.

CJ on Monument Gulch Road

This was after I "almost" dropped my bike

CJ had a lot of time to kill waiting for me, so he took a bunch of cool pictures of me riding

I just love that "S" curve sign, this is on Pingree Park Road

Monument Gulch Road dropped us off on Pingree Park Road, which is another wide dirt and gravel road where regular cars can drive on with no problem. We took Pingree Park Road north for a bit before turning on to Crown Point Road. Then we rode Crown Point all the way to end. This road is 18 miles long and at the end there is a parking lot and a trailhead.

Taking a break on Crown Point Road

There are many forest roads to ride here, I wonder where 139A goes?

Way up high on Crown Point Road with mountains in the background

Crown Point Road

Some great scenery on Crown Point Road

I really like Crown Point Road, it’s possibly one of my favorite dirt roads out here. What I really like about it is that there isn’t a lot of traffic on this road and the views are just amazing. When you ride Crown Point Road you really feel like you’ve gone to some remote area. Pingree Park Road and Buckhorn Road have quite a bit of traffic on them and the views are not nearly as spectacular as on Crown Point Road. But I have to emphasize that Crown Point Road is just a dirt road, regular cars can travel on it, most people that ride dirt would probably find it boring.

At the end of Crown Point Road we run in to another dual-sport rider

We decided to take a break at the end of Crown Point Road. There was also another rider there on a KLR. We talked to him for a bit before he headed for a hike. It was 3:30PM already so after eating an energy bar we started to head back.

When we got to Pingree Park Road I told CJ that I didn’t really want to ride Monument Gulch Road back, I wanted to take an easier route back. It was getting late, the sky was getting dark and at my slow pace Monument Gulch Road would take forever. Not to mention I was getting a bit tired.

Buckhorn Road, coming down from Pennock Pass - I couldn't get a good picture to capture the switchbacks, but you can see the road continuing below

I wanted to take Buckhorn Road instead. I have never been to the end of Buckhorn Road where Pennock Pass is located. CJ had no issues with which road to ride, he was concerned about how much gas he had left. He had already used the extra gas he brought. Monument Gulch Road was a short cut to Buckhorn Road. From Pingree Park Road to Buckhorn was just 4 miles via Monument Gulch Road, but if we took Buckhorn back from Pingree Park Road, that would be 9.5 miles.

Monument Gulch Road as a short cut vs Pingree Park Road (CR-63E) to Buckhorn Road (CR-44H)

There was another option of course. For CJ to ride Monument Gulch back and for me to take Buckhorn back. We could meet up where the two roads junction. After thinking about it some more, we really didn’t think an extra 5.5 miles would make that much of a difference. Monument Gulch might have been shorter but it was mostly uphill. We decided on Buckhorn and to conserve gas we coasted down from Pennock Pass with the engines turned off. Not sure how many miles we saved doing that. The road eventually leveled off and we had to start the engines back up. I think we night have saved 2 miles worth of gas.

The KDX out of gas

On Buckhorn Road we again ran in to the rider on the KLR who ended up riding with us for a bit. By the time the three of us hit Stove Prairie Road the drizzle was quickly turning in to steady rain. CJ was trying to conserve gas so I rode up ahead and at one point I had to pull over and wait for the other bikes since I didn’t see them anymore. But a few minutes later there they were. The second time I pulled over for the same reason, but there was only one bike. It was the guy on the KLR. He pulled over to tell me CJ ran out of gas, then kept going. I turned around and headed back to where CJ’s bike ran out of gas. Taking a short cut to save the 5.5 miles wouldn’t have helped, we were at least 12-14 miles to the nearest gas station. I still had gas in my tank but unfortunately CJ’s bike is a two stroke and he needed an oil and gas mixture. He made a few phone calls and found someone that was at home and willing to bring him some premixed oil and gas.

Ben comes to the rescue, and not only brings CJ some premixed oil and gas for his two stroke but also brings gas to top off my bike

About half an hour later Ben showed up. Not only did he bring CJ some oil and gas but he brought another can of gasoline and topped off my tank to make sure I had enough to get back into town. That was really cool of him. The uncool part was, that we had to finish the ride in the rain.

My 148 mile route: Stove Prairie, Buckhorn, Monument Gulch, Pingree Park and Crown Point Roads