Colorado vacation next week


Philip

Administrator
Staff member
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Greeting friends and fellow Alta owners!

Me and my new Brazilian wife are going to take a 10-day Colorado vacation in my moto-camper-van next week!

We will have about 5-6 days to spend in Colorado. We still have no idea where we will be spending our days or stopping for the nights. We wil be searching for campgrounds and similar rest stops.

@DonCox and I built a 1500W e-bicycle for my wife using kits and parts from Amazon and eBay I glanced at the Colorado e-bike rules, and slow e-bikes appear to be allowed everywhere. I think we will bring her e-bike and my mountain bike, and leave the Altas at home, unfortunately. We can't ride dirt bikes trails together just yet anyway, the Alta is too big for her right now, so she would need a small Sur-Ron. I will train her on an e-bike first. It has a twist throttle and is already plenty scary for a novice.

A friend suggested this route:

15866.jpeg

The sightseeing places that my friend recommended are:

- Red Rocks Amphitheater: Beautiful and free to check out, could also go to a concert there.
- Pear Street Mall in Boulder.
- Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Pikes Peak!
Mountains:
- I-70 to hwy-91 to Leadville, drive Independence Pass into to Aspen.
- The town of Ouray, at the base of the Million Dollar Highway.

What else should we see/do in these 5-6 days?
 

Trialsman

Well-known member
Location
Pittsburgh
Have fun, it is beautiful country. We will be in the San Juans early in July. For riding you could stop at Rampart Range. When in Castlerock, heading to Colorado Springs, it will be just up in the front range. Easy parking and nice easy trails for both to get used to. In Ouray/Silverton area many scenic passes like Imogene, Ophir, Corkscrew, Engineer, and others. Last Dollar is a nice back road out of Telluride. Up above Gunnison in Crested Butte lots of trails up Cement Creek Rd and over the mountain to Taylor Reservoir. Sadly, I will not be taking the Alta but the Berg 570 so I can cover longer stretches. Enjoy! When in Ouray stop at the Outlaw steakhouse.
 

Trialsman

Well-known member
Location
Pittsburgh
When driving up 550 through Silverton go through town and up to Animas Forks ghost town. The Durango/Silverton Railway train will hopefully be there when you are as it ends just off main street. There are many hot spring areas like Pagosa Springs and Ouray you might find relaxing.
 

DonCox

Well-known member
I hope you have a great vacation. The flowers in Vail are supposed to be beautiful in the summer, (I've only been there in the winter}, but I don't think you will be passing thru there. Colorado is beautiful country. I hope your lovely wife enjoys the E-bike. She'll make you work on the uphills...
 

enjoythesilenc

Well-known member
Location
virginia
I see three flaws here.

I wouldnt bother with the Boulder stop. I would avoid the 1-25 routes shown, plenty of back roads from Denver to Pikes peak to sand dunes.

Lastly, Don't even consider not bringing the ALta. Fit it anywhere you possible can in your rig. You can ride it while your wife sleeps in. Put some passenger pegs on it and you can get to some incredible spots at spur of the moment. You can ride it to fetch last minute rations, etc. You are not thinking clearly, please reconsider:)
 

Philip

Administrator
Staff member
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Lastly, Don't even consider not bringing the ALta. Fit it anywhere you possible can in your rig. You can ride it while your wife sleeps in. Put some passenger pegs on it and you can get to some incredible spots at spur of the moment. You can ride it to fetch last minute rations, etc. You are not thinking clearly, please reconsider:)
LOL! It is possible to bring one Alta. It would reduce the living area inside the van on this 10-day trip though. How many times do you actually think we would be able to use it, legally? It has no plates, so it would work only for some off-road riding two-up. I do not think I would ride alone much, we would rather take two bicycles. Grocery getting would have to be done with the van or on bicycles.
 

Philip

Administrator
Staff member
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
I think I will have to plan a Colorado motorcycle vacation for another time. There is a lot more prep work involved in this to do it properly (research trails, charging, proper tires, a Sur-Ron for the wife, protection gear, a generator, pressure washer, etc.)

This time, I would also have do some work-from-home, so it is not really a full-time vacation. I would just like to explore the state in a leisurely manner. Enjoy it now and get ideas for future trips!
 

privateer703

AOF Addict
Location
Altoona, PA
I find it hard to believe there aren't legal off-road trails for the Alta, but I've never been there to ride. I've only been there for rock climbing and snowboarding. But I do have a suggestion. If you go through Rocky Mountain National Park, there is a town at the start of one of the roads through the park, Estes Park. I highly recommend the Estes Park Brewery, followed by the Estes Park Aerial Tramway.
 

Jon

Well-known member
Location
ColoRADo
Step 1: Bring your Alta
Step 2: Go here - Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX)

Anything highlighted in green (all year) or brown (summer only) is somewhere you can ride on any bike with an out of state OHV permit, and you can ride on any roads you want if you have a plate. CO is pretty chill about what counts as "street legal". OHV permits - Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Based on your route, the best dirt biking will be Rampart Range (Between Denver and Colorado Springs) and around Montrose (just after Ouray). Regardless of dirt biking, take rampart range road or Highway 67 instead of I-25... there is some dirt road but your van will be fine on it, and it's MUCH more beautiful that 25. Rampart is an amazing complex with 100's of miles of single track in small loops, so perfect to take the Alta out and recharge as needed. Worth a day if you can spare it. I'm in Denver so I don't know Montrose as well, but I know there are a shit ton of trails. Check out Highland Cycles on youtube for a sample of what is out there. For a non dirt bike thing, make sure to take an hour or two detour at Montrose and check out the East Portal of Black Canyon National Park. It's an amazing hidden gem, and you are driving right past it.

Otherwise, excellent route choices. That looks like a great trip! I'm planning something similar for an upcoming weekend :)

FYI: The Black Canyon -

PXL_20210605_154521939.jpg

Views from near Rampart Range road -
PXL_20210529_145709098.jpg
 

evh1

Well-known member
Location
Montgomery, AL
Greeting friends and fellow Alta owners!

Me and my new Brazilian wife are going to take a 10-day Colorado vacation in my moto-camper-van next week!

We will have about 5-6 days to spend in Colorado. We still have no idea where we will be spending our days or stopping for the nights. We wil be searching for campgrounds and similar rest stops.

@DonCox and I built a 1500W e-bicycle for my wife using kits and parts from Amazon and eBay I glanced at the Colorado e-bike rules, and slow e-bikes appear to be allowed everywhere. I think we will bring her e-bike and my mountain bike, and leave the Altas at home, unfortunately. We can't ride dirt bikes trails together just yet anyway, the Alta is too big for her right now, so she would need a small Sur-Ron. I will train her on an e-bike first. It has a twist throttle and is already plenty scary for a novice.

A friend suggested this route:

View attachment 7286

The sightseeing places that my friend recommended are:

- Red Rocks Amphitheater: Beautiful and free to check out, could also go to a concert there.
- Pear Street Mall in Boulder.
- Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Pikes Peak!
Mountains:
- I-70 to hwy-91 to Leadville, drive Independence Pass into to Aspen.
- The town of Ouray, at the base of the Million Dollar Highway.

What else should we see/do in these 5-6 days?
I just spent 2 weeks just west of your route by Durango. I would recommend pressing west another 46 miles to Cortez. Lovely town. Just 5 miles north of it is Dolores, hwy 145. A wonderfully run scenic smallish RV park where I stayed is The Views. Not a smashed together bunch of units but spaced out and clean and the owner is a super dude. All around there including close town of Dolores has a number of mtn bike trails. Cortez is just 5 miles back for a good choice of different dining if you’re not cooking. If you want to rent a RV trailer there to get out of a cramped van, I have the number of a couple with 2 RV trailers 26ft, rentable, that will come set them up pick them up and clean them if you want their contacts just ask. Great local couple and I will definitely be using them again in the future. You will be right off the Hwy 145 which goes from Dolores to Telluride the back way. Less traffic than Million Dollar Hwy, multiple trailheads for bike hike n moto along it and you hHAVE to hit Telluride for the people food and mtn fun. Then go around Imogene Pass by Hwy they Plantersville and Ridgeway to Ouray for a total different vibe…laid back n cool. Then go on north up M) Hwy to Montrose Aspen Cressted Butte whatever. I did this before elk hunting and spent 3 days on my Alta, Mtn bike n KTM 790. It heaven for off road Scenery and flowers …You will love it!
 

enjoythesilenc

Well-known member
Location
virginia
Trip report, por favor. hope you had a good time.

I'll be there in a month working the trails from denver to moab and back. everybody else has fire bikes but I dang sure aint leaving my Alta home this time. Any locals want to do some electric offroad activities? One blind spot I have is riding out of Grand Junction so chime in if you have advice for that area
 

Philip

Administrator
Staff member
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
I had a busy week. Had to prep the van, the bikes, and all my MX gear for the AJ Catanzaro class past Thursday. The class was great, a whole day of riding on my favorite local track. AJ borrowed my bike to shoot a short video, so maybe he will be posting it on YouTube soon...

The report is coming up next!
 

Philip

Administrator
Staff member
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Spoiler Alert! We were able to do only 1/2 of our initially planned Colorado itinerary. We severely underestimated the time that it would take us to prep the van, pack, drive to Colorado, and then drive from one place to another place inside Colorado. We needed about 2-3 weeks to do the original itinerary, but we only had 9 days. Nevertheless, the trip was still awesome!

Day 1 and 2:
The first two days we were driving to Colorado.

Day 3:
By mid-afternoon, we arrived at Rampant Range RIding Area, completely unprepared. We were tired, it was a bit late, very hot despite the altitude, and we had no off-line riding maps downloaded, which is a must-have there because most of the good places have no cell phone internet. Additionally, this riding area is best for motorized vehicles, not bicycles. For a minute or two I pondered regretting not bringing the Alta, but then realized that I wouldn't enjoy riding it alone anyway. The park rangers recommended bike trails a few yards down the road, but, as it turned out, we were not really prepared for that either. Anyway.... We decided to keep driving and stop for the night at a campground.

None of the campground locator and reservation apps showed all the campgrounds, or the actual availability, so our best bet for the rest of the trip was to look for first-come-first-serve campgrounds and try to get there before dark. We found Colorado Campground a few miles later. A very nice place, with a lake, and not far from the town of Woodland Park.

Day 4:
We drove up Pikes Peak, played in the snow, and had a picnic. There was construction there, so nothing at the top of the mountain was officially open, but that was okay. We hiked, breathed the mountain air, and built a great appetite for some hot coffee and sandwiches.

Day 5:
We had to do mountain biking. Colorado has motorcycle, hiking, and biking trails EVERYWHERE! But we needed to find an easy trail because my woman was a bit scared of steep and mountainous trails. I tried to find the easiest trail near Pueblo, but it turned out to be not nearly beginner-friendly. She got scared a few times, cried a little, and so we had to load the bikes back into the van and look for something that is really easy. We ended up biking on a "greenway" along the river that flows through Pueblo, which was quite easy for her on her e-bike, and enough of a workout for me on a regular pedal bike.

Day 6:
The next day we decided to sled/snowboard down the sand dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This park consists of about 30 sq. mi. of really tall sand dunes with a tiny creek at the foothills. We rented a sled and a snowboard at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis for a few bucks and headed there at about 11am. We didn't think it through very well, LOL! It was late June, the sun was high, the daytime temperatures were around 90F, and the sand on the sand dunes was super hot to walk on, even in sandals. We took all the water we could carry with us, climbed the dunes twice, clumsily slid down, and went home totally exhausted, dehydrated, and with sand all over our bodies, LOL! The "creek" at the bottom of the dunes was just ankle-deep, so it was not much of a relief from the heat and sand.

The month prior to that, we did a similar thing at the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Maranhao, Brazil, which was a blast! The sand dunes there are not nearly as tall, but the sand is white, and you get to plunge into pristinely clean blue freshwater lagoons at the end of each slide. Plus, the local tour guides bring you there on their Toyota 4x4 trucks right into the hills, along with drinks and food. It is as close to paradise on earth as I have ever been to, I highly recommend it, if you are ever in the Brazilian Northeast.

At the end of the day, we absolutely had to soak our butts in the natural hot springs. We drove to Pagosa Springs. First, we sat in hot and sulfury stinky puddles on the banks of a lively and cold river that flows through the town, then swam in the river, and then went to soak a bit more at a local hippie spot called Overlook Hot Springs. It was amazing, I highly recommend it!

Day 7 and 8:
We drove back. All the work that we have done wiring up the lithium batteries and installing the A/C really paid off when we had to sleep the last night at a rest stop in Missouri in a 90F heat. Also, installing a Thetford portable toilet in the van right before the trip was, according to my woman, the best thing that I have ever done in my entire life.

Day 9:
Unpack and relax.

The End!
 

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