Winging it for 5 days through Utah and Colorado

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Day 2: Miramonte Reservoir, CO

Around 7 AM, we woke up to some small raindrops tapping on our tents to get up and seize the day. Although it was slightly rainy and overcast, the view from my tent was great.
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Time to make some coffee.
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 Simple Camp Coffee

1) Boil water using mini stove or JetBoil

2) Add Instant pack of Folgers Coffee Crystals to boiling water and stir

3) Enjoy! 

 

Anyone want some coffee, apple juice or breakfast salsa? haha just kidding. Salsa for breakfast would be ridiculous.
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Excellent place to enjoy the morning.
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Our camp.
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Ah hell, why not? If the coffee doesn’t get me going a sip of juice will!
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I found out this was the best way to get my morning exercise plus get all the air out of my duffle in order to strap it down.

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When we realized we only killed 6 beers between the two of us the night before, an 18pk was a dumb idea. We offered it to a camp neighbor but he declined as he gave up drinking years ago. He decided to hang around a bit after our offer and so we chatted it up a bit with the old man. He was from Norwood, a town not far from where we bought our food supplies. He asked where we were from. When we said Vegas he asked wtf we were doing way out there. He was a nice guy though and offered us some advice for our trip. “Stay away from the muddy clay and rocks in the rain- they get very slick. Also keep a good watch out for bears as they will lead you right into their refrigerator”. haha thanks dude.
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The sun finally came out and the rain stopped. Awesome!
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Making our way down to Groundhog Lake.
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Groundhog Lake was nice, but we were glad we didn’t make it all the way down there the night before. There were quite a few people with big RVs camped on the lake. It seemed mush less remote than our little spot we found.

Leaving Groundhog.
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As we rode near Black Mesa, just west of Dunton, the mountain scenery was amazing.
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The roads were so smooth, just flawless. It allowed us to enjoy the scenery.
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Another stretch of Aspen forest.
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From there we hopped on hwy 145 for a little bit and headed northeast.
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Trout Lake

 

Trout Lake was a “must-stop and see”.

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Couple of sexy KTMs right there!
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I bet they have a good view of the lake. No shortage of windows in this lake house!
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Ophir Pass, CO

 

After passing through the small town of Ophir, population 159, we headed up Ophir Pass.
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We spotted some traffic going up so we thought it would be wise to wait until they got ahead since there really was no room to pass.
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All clear except for a Toyota I managed to pass. (See video later in this post)
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Approaching the peak of the pass.
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All good. We made it with no issues. Piece o cake.
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Going down the other side was gorgeous, bright green valleys with little waterfalls coming down the mountainsides.

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The Battery Incident

 

At this point, literally right after I took that last picture ^, our flawless perfect day would turn into quite the adventure.

When I stopped to take that pic, I just flipped my kill switch like I always do to grab a photo. With the kill switch off…the ignition, headlight etc always remain on. No big deal though since I was restarting the bike in just a few seconds. I flipped the kill switch back on and hit the start switch and all I got was a quick F U from the starter and the dash went blank. After 20-30 minutes of dismantling all kinds of stuff looking for a short, we came to the conclusion the battery had a shorted cell and failed on me. I was really kicking myself at this point because I have a general rule of replacing MC batteries after 2 years whether they are good or not. No big deal though. We had 2 lithium micro-start jumper packs. We jumped it, it started, then it backfired and died as soon as we took it off. A few Jeepers stpopped and asked us if we needed help. We declined, thanked them and said we would figure it out though.

Since we were at 11,000+ feet, I planned to coast the bike down the mountain until we hit highway and then have Brice tow me into Silverton. I proceeded down the mountain road and thought I would give it a try to bump start it. I clicked it into 4th gear, let the clutch out and walla…it started! And stayed running! I jammed down the road, hit the highway and made it all the way into Silverton.

 

Silverton, CO

 

Once in Silverton we spotted an ATV/ MC rental shop. The guys were super friendly and willing to help us any way they could. He brought out a battery about half the size of mine but if started my bike I didn’t care. I installed it and it didn’t even kinda work. We offered him $10 for his troubles and he happily declined. He said don’t worry about it. Super nice people over there at Middleton Motorsports.
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My next option was to see if any place in Durango had a battery. I called Handlebars Motorsports and they had one! $180, but they had one. Hell, I would have paid $500 at this point to salvage our trip. The only problem was Durango was about an hour away. We topped off our fuel and went for it. The bike still needed to be jumped but it was running on it’s own. We jammed out of town and went up the windy mountain road. About 10 miles out of town my dash started wigging out, then it started backfiring and losing power and finally it died…..right here.
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MacGyver Time

 

We decided it was time to get creative. We hacked off the jumper cable clamps from the jumper pack leads and wired them directly to my battery since that is the only way it would stay running. I just held it against the bike with my leg. I hopped back on the bike and unfortunately the same thing happened about another 10 miles down the road. At this point we were about 32 miles fro Durango still. The first jumper pack ran out of voltage. If you are familiar with lithium or li-po battery packs, they can get dangerous when they are forced down to a certain voltage. When we took the first jumper off the bike, we noticed it was swollen as hell! Yikes. We were pretty worried that thing was gonna blow up. Remember where I was holding it? Not having much other option, we plugged the 2nd jumper in, tucked it under my side panel this time in an attempt to save my junk if it exploded.
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As soon as it started Brice said “go, go go, I’ll find you in Durango”. Off I went, passing cars on a windy, mountain switchback road and bringing my bike to 7,000+ rpms in 6th gear. I had no idea how fast I was going because my dash fried in the process. It said I was going 350+ km/h. It had to be 100+ on the straightaways. In addition to that, my temp light was on, the temp gauge read full hot and was flashing. Something happened during all of this and destroyed my cluster. Oh well. I just needed the bike to run! I started getting pretty close to Durango and it began raining. Perfect. Traffic was nuts in Durango due to a Harley event plus it being a holiday weekend. I literally hit every red light as I made my way across town to the MC shop. I sat there at each light praying the bike would stay running.

 

Durango, CO

 

I made it!
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The rain even subsided a little bit.
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Oh nevermind. As soon as I got all the electronics exposed, the rain returned. Awesome.
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Ok battery problem….SOLVED. My dash is still damaged from whatever voltage spike or whatever happened, but who cares. Time to find Brice! I called and texted him but got no response. I figured he was on the bike. It started pouring rain again. I stopped in the parking lot of a Hampton Inn under their canopy and waited for Brice’s call. I saw he tried calling me. Now we’re playing phone tag. I saw and waited a few minutes and noticed Brice go riding by back towards Silverton (obviously looking for me). I ran after him and chased him down on my bike.

Now soaked (only piece of gear that we had was sorta waterproof was our jackets), we decided to get some grub and dry off. It was probably 3 or 4 pm now and we hadn’t eaten all day. In all the chaos, I remembered passing a BBQ joint getting into town because the smell caught my attention. It smelled amazing.

So we stopped for a while, ate, had some beers and discussed our plan.

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Brice ringing the water out of his gloves.
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The rain finally slowed.
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We decided since it was so late in the day to get back to Silverton, the rain was unpredictable, and we were cold and soaking wet we would see if we could grab a hotel for the night back at that Hampton Inn.
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They had a room and with 2 separate beds! lol SOLD.

We made a huge puddle of water in their lobby checking in. The ladies were super nice and sympathetic to our situation. She told us to grab some complimentary hot coffee and we did.
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We unloaded all of our luggage from the bikes. A family of 5 unloading their car at the same time had less luggage than us. haha
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Our cart of luggage had us laughing all the way to the room.
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We turned the heat on and dried out our gear.
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As much as we wanted to camp near Silverton that night, we were happy to dry off here.
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After showering and grabbing some more coffee downstairs, we got back to the room and it was boiling up there because of our heater being turned on! LOL The AC didn’t do much to cool things off so I had to do some work on the window to get it to open more than 4 inches. Good thing we had tools!
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I found out they had blow driers so we opted for that method which was much more effective.
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Our gear was dry and we weren’t tired so we decided to head downtown to check it out.
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The Balcony Bar was hopping. There were lots of people dressed like pirates but we weren’t judging.
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That’s a wrap for one very long day 2.

Day 2 video highlights

Day 2 video highlights up until Ophir Pass and a little bit of riding with the “bomb” jump pack next to my leg into Durango.

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Follow Pete:

Do more with less! That is my motto lately. I love getting outdoors and exploring new places, usually on my KTM motorcycle. My wife, Anna, and I recently bought and built out a Sprinter van to do more of the things we love. Traveling and seeing new places is always at the top of our to-do list.

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