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East coaster heading solo to Colorado Rockies next week. Advice?

jefla

New member
Hello -

First I must clarify/admit that I'm towing my R1250RT to Estes Park, Co. from DC and will ride for a week or two from there. (Yeah, I know.)

I'm looking for any advice or comments for a solo rider who's ridden a bunch in the east but has not ridden Rockies. I've been there a lot in cars, mtn bikes, and boots so I know some about big mountains, but never on a motorcycle. The pic is Skyline Drive / Blue Ridge Parkway. I plan to set up in Estes Park and ride from there. I'll spend a few days acclimatizing then head for Trail Ridge Road (Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park) and Mount Evans. My bike's in excellent shape w/ new rubber. It has heated seat and grips.

Hotels, bars, and food in Estes Park, Granby Idaho Springs? Rides or roads I should not miss? What're the chances of catching roadway snow on Trail Ridge Rd or Highway 5 during mid-August? If so, what would you do? Quite likely that I'll turn around. Is Pikes Peak paved all the way now? Can I beat timed entry at RMNP simply by getting there before 9 am - which I'd do anyhow?

What is the thing I'll wish I brought?

Thanks, Jef.

update

Thankfully, Millsaps's comment caused me to change my start point from Estes Park to Dillon/Silverthorne. There are many more day ride options from Dillon. Plus, it's higher at ~9,000 feet (v. ~7,500) so more acclimation will go on while I'm there and it's off I-70, which I'll be on from the east. I'll spend a few days around Dillon then off to Trail Ridge Rd to Estes Park, Peak to Peak to Idaho Springs and Mt Evans, then back to Dillon through Fairplay and up 9 or over to 24 and up through Leadville.

Thanks for cautions re acute mountain sickness (AMS). That would suck on a bike. I've got Acetazolamide, which is mighty effective at minimizing AMS. Jef
 

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Jef - Sounds like a fine trip to me. When I rode the Rockies I stayed a couple of days in the Denver area getting used to the altitude. I rode with friends up to 12,000 feet of altitude. One essential thing I learned was to make sure to stay hydrated.

I have an MOA friend from TX who rode the Rockies some. He had the bad experience of being overwhelmed with altitude sickness. He had to be driven in a car to a lower altitude and someone else brought his bike down. I think that was a rare event, but he told me how disoriented he was.

In any case, some pretty gorgeous riding is in your future!
 
I think Dillon would be a better location for 2-3 days, leave trailer in Dillon and move on to Gunnison. Best riding is south of I-70. You can easily do RMNP from Dillon. Visit Ouray, Silverton, and on to Gunnison. Pikes Peak is paved and you can visit Mt. Evans while in Dillon. Good luck and have a good visit. You could also visit Taos from Gunnison if you have enough days.
 
We just got back from a three week trip in Wyoming Utah and Colorado. Altitude sickness if real!

I just turned 64 and notice I am slowing down and not enjoying the heights like I used too. I was good to around 5,000 feet, but as I went higher I would notice I didn't feel well. We had a couple days where we were over 7,000 feet. We rode over a few passes that were over 11,000 feet. I never got bad enough to need to be rescued, but certainly felt a bit "off".

We visit our kids and went up Pikes Peak in their car. I am not sure I wanted to ride it. I couple years ago I would have. We were also pulling a Unigo trailer and if we would of had any problems that would have added to them. Fighting with the bike an trailer on a incline is no fun!

One thing about traveling in the elevations, be prepared for any temperatures. I have ridden in snow in July. I have ridden at 30F and five miles later in was 95F.

Also that area has a lot of traffic, a lot of people. Running two lane roads can eat up a bunch of time. I would not anticipate doing much more than 200 miles in a day with site seeing. That gets you 100 miles out, and 100 back, or plan to stay over night.

Sliverton and Ouray along with the Million Dollar highway is a good ride. Black Canyon of the Gunison is worth the stop if you like deep canyons.
 
Look for Hoosier Pass, Independence Pass, Guanella Pass, Cottonwoord Pass (west of Buena Vista), Berthoud Pass.

I would say that altitude sickness starts slowly from 10,000ft up.

12,000ft you may fell some 'lightness' in you brain because of less Oxygen gets into your lungs.

At 14,000ft and up you definitely will have problems (like on Pikes Peak and Mount Evans) if you're not adjusted to higher altitude.
 
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And there is Loveland Pass. Staying in the Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne area is a better stay than Estes Park for doing day tours.

All passes I mentioned are paved!
 
We like staying at several towns and doing day rides from the different locations.
The North Park Inn is good after running up 14, Poudre Canyon Rd. https://www.northparkinnandsuites.com/Accommodations.html
We stay on the ground floor of the 2 story building.
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A short walk to River Rock Cafe is a good place to eat.
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We usually stay at the Quality Inn in Gunnison 3 or 4 nights. Plenty of restaurants close by.
Looks like it changed to Wingate since last year. https://www.google.com/maps/place/W...9227873!16s/g/11k9j0w2lz?authuser=0&entry=ttu

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From here you can take Cottonwood Pass
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Black Canyon of Gunnison
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Slumgullion pass and North Clear Creek Falls on 149.
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114 SE of Gunnison is another good road.
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If it's not too hot we like to take 114 south of Gateway and stay at Naturita. Rimrock Hotel. http://therimrockhotel.com/

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We like the red rock area on this road.
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There's a overlook for the remains of the Hanging Flume. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Flume
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There's a good car museum in Gateway.
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Oops I forgot to reduce the museum picture.
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Hotels, bars, and food in Estes Park, Granby Idaho Springs? Rides or roads I should not miss? .

Several times after staying in Idaho Springs we took the Deckers Road on the way to Gunnison.
The road is between Pine and Deckers. Deckers sees a lot of bikes on weekends.

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Columbine Inn in Idaho Springs is nice but the owner is getting cranky and forgetful in his old age.
3/4 mile walk to Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub.
Here's room 21
Columbine Inn Rm 21.jpg

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Several times after staying in Idaho Springs we took the Deckers Road on the way to Gunnison.
The road is between Pine and Deckers. Deckers sees a lot of bikes on weekends.

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Columbine Inn in Idaho Springs is nice but the owner is getting cranky and forgetful in his old age.
3/4 mile walk to Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub.
Here's room 21
View attachment 92651

View attachment 92652

The little cafe at Deckers is good and the road makes a great photo opp. Then I started to say that we needed to get back to that area but slowly remembered we, the 4 of us, were there last year. CRS, I'm guessing. :whistle
 
The little cafe at Deckers is good and the road makes a great photo opp. Then I started to say that we needed to get back to that area but slowly remembered we, the 4 of us, were there last year. CRS, I'm guessing. :whistle

Here you are at Gunnison Quality Inn.
You should post your picture of the Deckers Road.

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