2016 Fall Motorcycle Ride to Durango

Days 1-4: Motorcycle Ride to Durango

The first leg of our fall trek would be a motorcycle ride to Durango, CO. Two main goals were to visit the Colorado National Monument near Fruita/Grand Junction, CO and ride US-550 from Montrose to Durango, CO. We would also make other stops along the way to visit an old Navy buddy in Salt Lake City, and some of our favorite and new restaurants.

We started a day late. We’re all getting older and one of our group had to get an MRI on the original departure day. He didn’t even wait for the results. I guess when you get older you don’t let small things like health stop you from continuing with your life and search for fun.

All went well the first day. We stopped at one of our favorite cafes for breakfast: the North Powder Cafe in North Power, OR. Great service and food.

Our day ended in Mountain Home, ID where we spent the night at the Gem State RV/Campground (formerly a KOA). If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that Norm and I started camping here in 2005 and traditionally stop here and stayed in site #13 on our way east.

“I’m Pretty Sure”

Motorcycle Ride to Durango
Mollie’s Cafe, Snowville, UT

The next day, things didn’t go as planned. We stopped in Snowville for possible gas and lunch at Mollie’s Cafe (another favorite). The food was good and the waitress was friendly.

After lunch I had planned on gassing up, but noticed I had enough gas to get to Tremonton, UT another 33 miles. There’s nothing in between Snowville and Tremonton so I asked Tom if his Spyder also had enough gas. At first he said he didn’t think so then said he thought so. I suggested that if there was any doubt we could easily gas up. He responded with, “I’m sure.” He looked at his odometer again, and said, “Well, pretty sure.”

We all missed one important thing regarding our mileage. we had been traveling 80+ mph on I-84. So, a long story short, Tom ran out of gas 5 miles before Tremonton. That was fixed by Steve who rode to Tremonton, purchased a 2 gallon gas can, filled it with gas and got gas for his bike.

Last two Days of our Motorcycle Ride to Durango

We arrived in Salt Lake City and hooked up with Vic, one of my old Navy buddies. He came prepared with a cooler full of Bohemians which we enjoyed pool side at the motel. Later we had dinner at the Red Iguana 2 which is one of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City.

The Next morning we headed south on I-84 to Spanish Fork where we caught UT-6 to to Green River where we had lunch at the Tamarisk Restaurant. Good food and service again. We ended the day in Fruita, CO where we camped at the Colorado River State Park for the night.

It was another blue sky day the next morning. We packed and headed to the Colorado National Monument, about 2.1 miles from the campgrounds. The monument is an awesome experience. We hiked a few of the short trails and stopped at most of the overlooks in the park.

Motorcycle Ride to Durango
Balanced Rock Overlook: Book Cliffs in the distance, Balanced Rock right-center above road
Motorcycle Ride to Durango
Upper Ute Canyon Overlook

We exited the park at the east gate and stopped for lunch and gas in Grand Junction. The best part of the day was our ride on US-550 (The Million Dollar Highway) from Quray to Durango (see featured photo at top and photo gallery link below). We stopped for the night in Durango, camping at the Durango KOA.

Days 1-4 Photo Gallery


CGB: Day 26: Best Ride Today

The night before I was able to get into my tent and keep it dry so had a good night after all. The next morning I awoke to a cool-sunny day, showered and felt renewed and ready for the ride up US-84 to Pagosa Springs, then US-550 from Durango to Montrose, both “Red Ribbon” roads according to my Rand-McNally Atlas.

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On my way back from the showers I ran into this guy. Somehow he guessed I was a veteran and gave me a couple of souvenirs he makes for vets. We then walked to his trailer where I met his wife and he gave me a quick tour. Pretty cool. He’s done a lot of work on a basic U-Haul type trailer to make it comfortable for him and his wife. Check out the photo gallery for days 21-33 for more photos of his trailer and the souvenirs.

I’m usually doubtful about the “red ribbon” roads being “Best of the Road” for each state according to the Atlas as I have ridden them in several states with mixed results. I was, however optimistic about riding through the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

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It was a fun, scenic ride traveling through the Rockies. especially From Hermosa to Ridgeway, CO. We climbed through three mountain passes of 10,640 – 11,075 ft elevations in 96 miles.

When we pulled into Ouray, CO for gas after dropping out of the last pass, I told Norm I thought the ride from Santa Fe to Ouray was possibly the #1 cruising ride we had done in our years of riding together. He looked unconvinced and said, “Maybe in the top ten, but not the number one.” After a pause he conceded, “Maybe the number one ride today.”