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July 4 SLC to Denver


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Went for a wee ride this weekend. Left Salt Lake Tuesday morning, and got back this morning, Sunday. Took I-80 to Green River, WY and then ran down the west side of Flaming Gorge to Manilla (WY-530).




Had wanted to leave I-80 at Ft. Bridger (WY-414), but were advised that the road was all torn up for construction, and involved riding in heavily rutted dirt for many miles. So we braved 50 extra miles of slab instead.


Starting at Manilla, Flaming Gorge was beautiful. Here is a panorama overlooking Sheep Creek as it enters the reservoir.


Panorama 1 (359 kB)


We met a fellow on a K-bike with over a 100,000 miles on it. He had covered it with stickers from al his destinations and it was sight (no pic, sorry).


More pics from Flaming Gorge:


Some Harley riders liked the road



Cute little guy





Leaving the Flaming gorge area and heading into Vernal, UT, over the East flank of the Uintas we encountered some great motorcycle road. The sign read something like “Switchback ahead, 9 more to go”. Although the area is very scenic, we didn’t get any pictures, we were riding!


Spent the night in Vernal, UT. We had a bad dinner at the 7 11 Ranch Restaurant. We usually tip 20%, but I felt generous leaving a dollar after the service in this place. In the morning, after great coffee and fresh baked bagels (sorry, didn’t get the name, across the street from the 7 11 Ranch), we easily beat the 9:30 am road closure for the 4th of July Parade in Vernal. We headed East out US-40


Panorama 2 (199 kB)



to CO-14, and proceeded up the Michigan Creek Valley


Panorama 3 (182 kB)


to Cameron Pass and through the Cache La Poudre Valley.


Spent the night in very well maintained rustic cabin. We had electricity, a shared shower, and a shared outhouse. As you can see though, rustic had it’s charms and the people were very friendly. They have some modern cabins too, but they were not available.







Nice stove, they use it for heat in the winter, for real




The bikes outside the cabin




We drove 25 miles back over Cameron Pass for dinner at The Drifter’s Cookhouse.







I had a great chicken fried steak, and Sharon (Bullett) had a fajita burrito that she enjoyed. Then back through some fairly heavy thunderstorm activity to reach the cabin at dusk. The plan had been to photograph on this return leg, with the sun low in the west hitting the peaks as we drove into them, we got some pics, but the storms definitely limited shooting.
















We pulled back up to the cabins with the last of the light




In the morning we ran down the Cache La Poudre Valley to I-25. If you’ve never run the Cache, let me say, in my opinion it is a very fine motorcycle road. It is also spectacular for the scenery. On the other hand, breakfast and modern facilities can be somewhat rare before 8 in the morning and we were starved. So although we had a great ride, no pics of the lower valley. After a bite to eat, we ran down I-25 to CO-34 and headed up Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. We stopped for a cold drink and called Sharon’s sister (Karen) to let her know we’d be arriving at her place in Boulder in an hour. Turned out Karen was in Estes Park, right across the street, with their mom, sitting down to eat. We headed over and had lunch. Later rode up to the Long’s Peak Trailhead and Lily Lake with Karen and Mom. Here’s some pics from Long’s Peak Trailhead and at Lily Lake:




I forget what Karen was going on about… I’m doing what I do best…






There was lots of wildlife…




See the ducks on the log…












Somehow they got me up…





Then we took CO-7 and CO-72 to Nederland for another truly superb ride, and headed down Boulder Canyon. I practiced pulling out of turns and braking on the curves. That RT sure can stop!!!!!


Boulder Canyon was spectacular, but traffic was heavy, and we were moving too slow to have much fun.


We spent Friday morning and mid-afternoon looking at Suomy helmets which we were actually able to find at BMW Ducati of Northern Colorado, and at Foothills BMW (haven’t found any in Salt Lake). The people at BMW Ducati had never seen a Sand Beige RT, and had to ogle my bike a bit. There were also a few Suomys at Sun, but they are discontinuing them. We found the Suomys to be built very much like Arai’s. They are light and pretty. But neither of us found the exact the model/size we were thinking of, so no decisions on those yet.


Friday afternoon we pulled into our hotel at the Inn at Cherry Creek, showered, and headed out into the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. A margarita stand was a 100 yards from the hotel door, so things started out right, indeed. We knew we were not in Utah anymore when we discovered we could just walk around with our drinks. At 8:00 we met my high school friend and her family for a very nice dinner and a superb 2004 D’Ahrenberg McLaren Vale (why am I thinking of CanAm racing) Syrah at “250 Steele”.


Then Saturday morning a bit more festival: great ribs from “Mikes”, local made brats, dahl with rice, my mother’s wedding present. We hit the road at noon. We ran out the 6th Ave. Expressway to I-70. Terrible traffic on I-70 coming out of Denver due to a double wide pre-built house on the road all the way to Idaho Springs. Once we cleared that we had a nice ride to Glenwood Springs.


Had forgotten how nice Glenwood Canyon is. This spectacular run is not only scenic, and twisty, but I think the road itself is world class. We were running hard, so no pics, but this road is really something to appreciate with cantilevered decks, elevated sections, and tunnels.


We had planned to drop from Glenwood through Paonia and Delta, and then run back up through Grand Junction and Rangely to US-40. But it was over 100 F, and there were thunderstorms building, and home was calling, so we ran straight on I-70 to Grand Junction. The BC’s said we topped out at 104 F during that run, although we were skirting a massive 60 mile storm the whole way. Caught several hard squalls and fought buffeting winds all the way. In Grand Junction we cooled down at a C-store, chugged Gatorade, and then decided the unlimited salad at Olive Garden was sounding good.


After a nice break we ran back into the 100 F weather down to Green River, UT and stopped at Sleepy Hollow Motel for the night. First time we ever had a comfortable bed or an immaculate room in Green River, so that was a plus! We had started encountering haze from distant wildfires at Grand Junction, our throats and eyes were burning by the time we got to Green River. Visibility was maybe three to five miles. Between fighting thunderstorms, heat, and smoke, we were done for. A cold drink, shower, and bed, in that order!


Started out early this morning and made home via US-6 and I-15 this morning around 11:00.


This was our second ever real tour, and the first on the beemers, so we were thrilled to be out on the road, catching great scenery, running so many twisties, and getting a few decent pics, but we were ready to be home, and home we were. The bikes ran great, and all the load stayed put. No mishaps!


1411 miles, 53.1 mpg measured, 53.78 average of BC readings taken and reset at each fuel stop (similar differences on BC vs. measured on a tank to tank basis, but I think within 1 mpg is pretty much right on).


Bullet’s bike with it’s Cee Bailey Sumdome ran about 2.5 mpg lower. In the past they ran the same, so we’re pretty sure it’s the Sumdome, but she loves it never the less and would never go back to the stock windshield. My bike has 3514 miles on it now. Run in service was at 700 miles, and I’m still showing just under half on the oil sight glass. Bullet’s bike is running a nearly full sight glass. We ran at 36F/42R (psi). After all that I’ve read in Hexheads, I’m really thrilled that we’re not burning more oil. So, had a great inaugural tour on the RT’s and are glad to be home!

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Thanks for sharing your ride tale. Except for Boulder Canyon (which is busy with tourists on a daily basis) the rest of the route you chose provides some interesting scenery. Glad you enjoyed some of our beautiful state as we have enjoyed yours!


Mike O

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Excellent tale. Now let's schedule a Ride to Eat, Utah Style.


This doesn't mean going to Chuck-a-rama and eating green jello. thumbsup.gif

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