Colorado Escape 2020

Yeeha and I, decided at the last minute to escape to Gunnison Colorado for a few days of cooler temps, camping and getting away from it all.

One night I was sitting on the couch, contemplating where I wanted to go on a much needed vacation. I knew that Jamie would not be able to take the entire week off as she was back teaching face to face. I shot a quick note out on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to join me in NC/TN area. Yeeha sent me a note with the idea that we go to Colorado and do some camping. It took about 3 seconds for me to agree that was a great idea.

The wheels were set in motion. Jamie and I would attend the MSTA rally in Theodosia Missouri on a 3 day weekend. I would load up the jeep and the trailer, Jamie would jump in her Subaru and we would spend that weekend camping and enjoying the roads in the Ozarks. It was a fun rally, with some great folks. You can read all about it here. You can also see the video on our YouTube Channel.

When Sunday Rolled around Jamie and I picked up camp, got the vehicles loaded and headed off to breakfast. After that Jamie headed back to North West Arkansas and I hit the road for the 15 hour journey to Colorado.

I drove for a good 12 hours before deciding that I would try and get a few hours sleep at Hotel Jeep. As you can imagine, mu 6’2 frame did not get very comfortable in the front seat of the jeep. I did however get in 4-5 hours of sleep before getting up and finishing the juant into Gunnison. Nothing beats that feeling of fresh mountain air and the majestic sight of snow capped mountains. It always make me smile. I was meeting Yeeha at the Gunnison KOA around 2pm. Yeeha recommended the KOA and I have to say that it was a nice facility. We were also lucky to get a spot as most camp sites were booked up. I guess we were not the only people that thought escaping to the mountains of Colorado was a good idea.

We got the bikes unloaded and the tents set up. We enjoyed a nice meal at the campsite. The jeep is set up for these types of adventures so it was easy to cook on site. We had not seen each other for almost a year so it was great catching up. We sat by the “campfire in a can”, that Yeeha brought along and DAMN it was a great idea. There was a burn ban in Colorado, but this little propane driven campfire was perfect. Great idea Yeeha! We called it a night. Tomorrow we would ride the Black Canyon of Gunnison along with a few other great roads. Life is good!

We wanted to try and avoid eating in too many restaurants, so we could practice social distancing. This worked out so well. We only had two lunches outside of the camp ground. The rest of the meals we enjoyed at the campsite. I hope Yeeha liked the cooking.

We woke up Tuesday morning to temps in the low 30’s. It was chilly but we both slept very well. One advantage of staying at the KOA in Gunnison was the options to have electric. Yeeha had an electric blanket and I had my trusty Coleman Little buddy heater so we were good and toasty. I guess you could say we were glamping. My full sized air mattress also made sleeping very nice.

Today we would ride the Black Canyon of the Gunnison before heading up to Redstone via CO133. This beautiful road flows right along the river with great mountain views. We ate in Redstone at Propaganda Pies. It was a great day of riding. One thing that I have noticed on these trips is, if Jamie does not come along we do not get a lot of pictures. She is always taking shots while we ride, so I apologize for the lack of pictures. We got back in plenty of time to fire up the grill, have a couple of adult beverages and enjoy the cool evening.

photo credit to Yeeha
Photo credit to Yeeha

We woke up Wednesday morning and it was COLD. The temps were down again in the low 30’s but it seemed colder this morning. It was toasty in the tent, but the minute you left that warm area … BAM that cold hit you. Now of course I had to get up a couple of times during the night to use the damn bathroom, so I got to feel the chill a couple of times in the night. I felt really bad for these two guys that had rode in the night before. One was from Angel Fire NM and the other from Dallas. They asked us if the weather was cold at night. We told them the situation, they did not feel it would be that big of a deal. When Yeeha went to the restroom this morning, one of them was in there with all his gear on using the hand dryer to stay warm. It was cold folks.

We took our time, ate a good breakfast and then hit 114 over to 149 and up into Creede. We had such a great morning of riding. No hurry, great (if not hazy) views. The wildfires from CA were drifting over into Colorado and sure made the sky a nice color of brown. It was still a nice view, just not as nice as it could have been. We enjoyed some colors on the way up to Smugollian Pass. We probably missed all of the color by 10-14 days. Having heated gear was nice on this little stretch.

We stopped in Creede for a quick rest as I wanted to stop in and get Jamie a new shirt. We looked around town and picked up some merchandise. We decided it was time to hit the road… Yes folks it is called foreshadowing haha.

As we loaded up and got our gear on, I remember thinking how perfect the day was. The temps were great, the company awesome and the roads were amazing. Yeeha took off and I was starting to follow. As I went to merge onto the main street, I noticed a truck coming down the road. I pulled in the clutch and was going to wait until he went by. Everything was going well until I went to put my right foot down. I hit some loose sand, my foot slid out from under me and since we were backed in an off camber spot, the bike started leaning to the right. At this time I was not moving, but the bike was. The weight took over and the next thing I knew I was on the ground, as was the Big Versys. A couple of nice gentlemen helped me pick up the bike. I was fine except for my broken pride. The bike however had some cosmetic damage. The biggest issue was the right Pannier and the right panel over the cornering lights. The hand guard took a little scuffing as well. It had been years since I dropped a bike. The Versys started right up and I was able to continue on the journey. I was upset with myself but realized it could have been much worse. If you want to read about the cost of repair, see this post.

We made our way up 149 to Lake city and stopped for lunch. We ate at the Lake City cafe. The place was very busy and the biggest disappointment was they were out of almost all the menu. It was basically take what they had left. It was decent, but we both agreed we should have eaten in Creede. We finished up the day taking our time back into Gunnison. All and all it was a great riding day, even with the little mishap.

We finished up the evening, having dinner at the campsite while enjoying a fire and some adult beverages. Tomorrow we are changing pace and taking the jeep out. Yeeha does not do much of the off road thing, so I picked out a little route that would take us up to 11,ooo feet with the great views. Nothing too technical, but should be fun.

We woke up to another chilly morning. We were in no hurry and it was nice not having to get into riding gear. Today we would do a little exploring in the jeep of the Paradise Divide above Crested Butte Colorado. We made a quick stop at Micky D’s drive thru and then we went to the trail head and had breakfast.

We did a large loop around the area. We made it to over 11,ooo feet. The roads were pretty easy, but the views were amazing. We did do FS811 and that was a little more exciting as it was very rocky. We saw a number of Subaru’s making it up. I want to come back in the future and do some dispersed camping. There were many scenic areas to camp. It was great spending some time with Yeeha, telling stories and enjoying the amazing views that Colorado always seem to offer.

We spent the entire day out exploring. We were in no rush and we just enjoyed what the day had to offer. Jamie and I think we have found the perfect combination when it comes to adventure touring. We load up the Jeep, bring the bike and spend the week, riding and jeeping while setting up a basecamp. It works well for us and allows us to enjoy all of our favorite hobbies.

It was a tad dusty on the trail.

We got back to camp in time to load up the bikes for the trip home and to enjoy another evening in camp. I have to say the evenings were amazing! the temps were cool, but the fire was good and we really enjoyed cooking at the site. We loaded most of the gear up before heading to bed, so that we could get a decent start heading home tomorrow morning. We were sad that the trip was coming to and end, but we were very happy we decided to escape for a few days.

We got up, finished putting our gear away and breaking down the tents. We said our goodbyes and hit the road. I decided to roll all of the way home (15 hours) and arrived to the house around 1AM. It was good to be home in my nice comfy bed, with Jamie by my side. I will admit that I was longing for more time in Colorado. It is still one of my favorite places on the planet. I want to thank Yeeha for joining me and making this trip a great one. Until next time my friend ride safe. I will be doing a video on the trip so stay tuned for that. If you want to see all of the pictures go here: Motorcycle picturesJeep Pictures.

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