Monday, June 14, 2004
Edwards to Gunnison, Colorado
Jonathan and I started our Continental Divide trip at 9 am departing Edwards for Frisco via I-70. We then rode Hwy 9 to Breckenridge where we topped off our tanks before starting up the Boreas Pass Road. The blacktop surface turned into an unimproved road after a short while and we had our first experience at riding on a dusty, rough gravel road. Twice during the first several hours I drifted into the loose sand and nearly lost control of my motorcycle. Luckily I had enough arm strength to keep the handlebars locked in position and managed to hang onto the bike. Jonathan, behind me on his KLR, had no such problems
Boreas Pass was quite beautiful. Looking to the North you could see snow capped mountains and to the South was the vast brown expanse of the South Park Basin. We paused for the first of many photos we would take during our trip.
As beautiful as Boreas was, South Park was stark. In a very short time we descended into a treeless landscape consisting of rolling hills and a few ranches. We only saw two cars during our dusty ride through the area. At one point we saw a sign that said there would be no more road signs for the next 20 miles. They weren’t kidding. There were not any signs saying which roads were which so several times I thought we were lost only to be proven wrong.
After leaving South Park we rode into Salida and stopped for a break in a lovely park next to the Arkansas River. Unfortunately a leaky gas cap on our reserve fuel tank in my top trunk had allowed gas to contaminate our picnic lunch. I think we only ate the apples but could still taste Shell 87octane the rest of the day.
SW of the Mears Junction we started up a gravel road to Marshall Pass. However after a short distance we saw black skies and frequent lightning in front of us so we backtracked and took US 50 over Monarch Pass to Gunnison where we spent the night in a Super 8 Motel. I found one of my hard bag support brackets had vibrated off during the day so I swapped a part from the top case bracket.
We ate at the Blue Iguana Mexican restaurant and then walked around Gunnison to see the downtown sights.
Overall I am very happy with the way the motorcycles performed. We were a little overdresses as we got quite hot in the afternoon. Perhaps we will take out our riding suits liners tomorrow.