700 Miles, 2 Wheels, and Lots of Sand -- Many Photos

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Sep 21, 2012
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212
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Northern Colorado
Since I had a long 4th of July weekend, I decided to pack one of my bikes up and head out for an adventure. I chose my DR650 because I knew I'd be doing a lot of dirt riding.

Here she is all packed and ready to go. My photography backpack made for a nice backrest, and it was easy access to my camera for photos along the way (don't make fun of the beaded seat, it makes long miles more endurable :biggrin:


5-July-2013-1 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


About 100 miles of riding later, after riding up 285, here's what waits on the other side of Kenosha Pass.

Riding down into South Park Basin (yes, South Park is real :p)


5-July-2013-3 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


A couple of passes later, this is the view you get as you drop down into the little town of Buena Vista, Colorado. The Sawatch Mountain Range to the west is incredible.


5-July-2013-4 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


Many miles later, riding down the flat, dry and hot San Luis Valley, I finally arrive at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.


5-July-2013-5 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


I set up my camp, get out of my riding gear, and head out into the dunes. This is a very strange place, it can be absolutely still and silent, and at other times, the wind can be brutal, sandblasting you until any exposed skin is abraded raw. Luckily, the wind didn't show up during my short stay. The weather on the other hand wasn't the greatest (very overcast) and the smoke from fires down in New Mexico and Southern Colorado filled the skies.


5-July-2013-6 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The sunsets here can be otherworldly at times


5-July-2013-2 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


That evening, I planned on staying up to try my had at some astrophotography. But, the clouds moved in and didn't clear off, after midnight, I tried a couple of shots, then called it a night.


5-July-2013-7 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The next morning, I got up before sunup and headed out into the dunes once more. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for photo oportunities, besides, during the heat of the day, that sand can get to 150 degrees.


5-July-2013-8 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


5-July-2013-9 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


5-July-2013-10 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr
 
Joined
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Northern Colorado
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Later that day, I'd had enough of the sand and wanted to get into some high country, so I packed camp back up on my bike and headed up to Cottonwood Pass. The road is nice asphalt on the east side, and maintained dirt on the west. The west side of the pass descends down into Taylor Park, a heaven on earth for outdoors people. Hunting, fishing, camping, miles and miles of off road trails and a lot of old Colorado history is down there, ringed by 14,000 ft peaks.

The east side of the pass


5-July-2013-12 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The west side of the pass, looking down into Taylor Park.


5-July-2013-11 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


I didn't get but one (bad) photos down in the park itself, I was tired from the days ride and hiking the dunes. I set up camp, ate some food and lazed around.


5-July-2013-13 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr


The next morning, I rode some trails, visited the old mining town of Tin Cup (really kicking myself that I didn't get any photos there), then broke camp and headed home. 700 miles all told, I need to do something about that dirtbike seat, near split me in two in that many miles :redface:

Thanks for the look.
 
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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Nicely done, love the travelogue style. When I was a kid growing up in Alamosa, the Sand Dunes was just another one of those nat'l monuments that no one outside of the SLV had been to or heard of and now it's a nat'l park and preserve and rightfully so.

If you travel that stretch of 285 much (or 50 between Gunnison and Montrose), keep an eye out for exotic sports cars. I had heard that Ralph Lauren likes to drive his supercars around that part of the state and last month I saw him driving some bright yellow supercar along the Gunnison river.

Sean
 
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TX originally from Louisiana
WOW, this is in CO?! What an awesome way to see the country! Sadly we lost our beloved Valkyrie when a man hit my hubby on his way to work almost 3 yrs ago. After nearly losing him, I made up my mind that I didn't care if I ever got on a bike again. I miss it, it was fun, so don't stop showing some more of your trip = every photo is breathtaking!
 
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212
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Northern Colorado
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Nicely done, love the travelogue style. When I was a kid growing up in Alamosa, the Sand Dunes was just another one of those nat'l monuments that no one outside of the SLV had been to or heard of and now it's a nat'l park and preserve and rightfully so.

If you travel that stretch of 285 much (or 50 between Gunnison and Montrose), keep an eye out for exotic sports cars. I had heard that Ralph Lauren likes to drive his supercars around that part of the state and last month I saw him driving some bright yellow supercar along the Gunnison river.

Sean
Thanks, I still think it is little-known, most of the visitors seem local, although there were a few out of staters there.

Funny you should mention sports cars. On my way up to Buena Vista on the second day, there was a line of identical new Porschs coming down 285 and turning onto 50.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
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212
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Northern Colorado
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Now that would have been a real fun trip..!!!. Love the photos and the commentary, well done.
Thank you, and yes, it was a lot of fun! Nothing is better to me than to hop on a bike with a bedroll and a camera and go exploring.

It is the most enjoyable thing I can think of to do on a weekend.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
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212
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Northern Colorado
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Thanks for the trip Andrew ….
great shots , beautiful country and wonderful storytelling …
wish I could have joined you on my Suzuki 800 as I've never really visited Colorado …

ron
Thank you. Is that a DR800 you have? If so I WANT ONE! Too bad they don't make them any more.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
212
Location
Northern Colorado
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  • #19
WOW, this is in CO?! What an awesome way to see the country! Sadly we lost our beloved Valkyrie when a man hit my hubby on his way to work almost 3 yrs ago. After nearly losing him, I made up my mind that I didn't care if I ever got on a bike again. I miss it, it was fun, so don't stop showing some more of your trip = every photo is breathtaking!
Yeah, this is just a very small portion of what Colorado has to offer. You can spend I lifetime in just this state and still not see everything. Many areas are so remote you have to use horses to explore them as there are no roads or even trails.

Sorry to hear about your husband. I am thankful that I haven't experienced anything serious yet, but have had a couple of close calls. You really got to watch out for the cagers when riding as you are pretty much invisible to them!
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
212
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Northern Colorado
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Excellent series, photography and commentary, really got the sense of your trip...!

Thanks so much for taking us along, Andrew...! :cool:
Thank you. That is what photography is all about to me. I hope to have the viewer feel like they are really there, part of the landscape, instead of looking at a screen or a print, if only just for a few minutes.
 

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