Colorado & Utah Tour 2019

Day 1 - Colorado Motorcycle Adventures Denver to Gunnison

After a direct flight from Frankfurt with Lufthansa, arrived in Denver and the next morning a short taxi ride to Colorado Adventure Motorcycles for bike pick up. They had 2 GS' waiting for us both 2018 models but clearly had already seen quite a bit of heavy on and off road use. Anyway, we packed up and headed west along I 470 and then after 20km we headed south west and towards Gunnison along the 285. Straight into the pine hills and great winding roads.  

Through small towns one called Grant and then over onto the famous highway 50 and over the Monarch pass at 11,000 ft. winding down on into Gunnison for our first overnight stop. Gunnison is a small town with quaint boutique shops and surprisingly a University. Can highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express and a steak at the ''Ol miners''!

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Day 2 - Gunnison to Durango

Day 2 and after a coffee stop at the local coffee

shop we headed west along the highway 50. A worthwhile detour onto the 92 takes you along some very narrow gorges and winds. Suggest to travel as far as Pine Ridge which is about 35 km up the 92 but is well worth while. Views are spectacular. Returning to the 50 and onward to Montrose. Thunderstorms were in the area so we stopped in Montrose to wait for them to clear. 

From Montrose its onto the famous highway 550 or the ''million dollar highway'' and I can fully  understand why they call it this. Spectacular scenery and roads. Into the San Juan National forest and over the pass at over 11,000 ft. A stop at the top with view back down the valley and of the high peaks. We did get caught in a rain shower along some pretty hairy roads but the roads are all in excellent condition and the bikes coped well. Arrival Durango and the sun had come out. Overnight was in the Double Tree hotel. Durango itself is quite a sizable town with lots of choices for food and lodging. 

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Day 3 -  Durango to Monument Valley 

Early start from Durango and the weather was great. West along the 160 through some pretty barren landscapes onto the the 495 and then back onto the 160 heading west. The roads are fantastic. Riding along the river basin with great roads and very little traffic. At the 160 / 41 head north east across the State border into Utah. The road numbering gets a bit complicated as you cross state lines but follow the road to Bluff. . Here you get the first impressions of the spectacular scenery to come. Heading south west onto the ancient valley floor and soon in the distance appear the ''Monuments''.

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Its easy to be overwhelmed by it all and stop along the way but best just to ride onto until you get to the Navajo reservation and then you can really appreciate what you are in amoungst. Recommend to stop at Mexican Hat which is a strange rock formation worth seeing. Arrival into the park note it is not a State Park but part of the Navajo Nation reservation and so is run by the native Americans. We were lucky to be able to stay at The View Hotel. the picture below will explain why. Sitting on our room balcony watching the sun set over the monuments is an amazing experience!  

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Day 4 -  Monument Valley to Moab. 

After Monument Valley there is little higher expectations of what's to come but anyway off north towards Moab we headed. Following the 163 north turn off the road onto a smaller road onto the 261. The warning signs are clearly marked; tarmac ends in 8 miles. We travelled on and saw what was ahead! The road is very windy, extremely steep in parts as it traverses the steep cliffs  and indeed metaled with remnants of tarmac in the bends. We stopped a 4x4 coming down who advised it was tricky but not impossible. We also were passed by a group of 30 Harley riders from Eagle Riders who headed up the pass. We followed and although tricky was not difficult. I highly recommend not getting cold feet and turning back but to plough on up the pass. The switch backs are really tight and the road absolutely incredible. Once you get the top, stop for a look back at where you have come from. Incredible! The pictures don't do it justice. After the pass the roads widen out into beautiful black tarmac. Road is quite straight towards Moab and we passed through the thundershowers again before reaching Moab early afternoon.

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Day 5 - Moab Parks Tour

Day 5 was the opportunity to explore the famous Arches National Park and the Dead Horse Canyon view. Start early as you really will need the time especially in the Arches park as there is so much to see. Take time to stop at the view points and enjoy. The pictures below will give you an idea of what to see!

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Day 6 - Moab to Grand Junction.

After the spectacular sights of Moab it was back down the 191 to the junction with the 46. This road heads south east then switches back north west. Road is amazing especially after Naturita. Desolate and in parts about 30 miles in a straight line. Be aware, there are no filling stations until Naturita and we were almost caught short with only 20 miles in the tank!. After Naturita the roads climb along the high sided valley of the Colorado river and then down towards Grand Junction. Stop and enjoy the total peace and tranquility and also look out for the old road with its abandoned bridges crisis crossing the canyon and river basin. 

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Eagle Riders Tour Group passing on the way South towards Monument Valley

Day 7 - Grand Junction to Aspen

Leaving Grand Junction and a short freeway hop to the 92 heading East. Then onto the 133 and finally 82 to Aspen. The 133 is a great road to ride with brilliant bends and terrific road surface. Here its worth stopping occasionally to admire the views. There is a bit of traffic but roads are big enough for easy and safe overtaking. Once you hit the 82 it becomes quite a big highway taking you into Aspen. Aspen itself is an amazing manicured little ski town. House prices are the highest in USA with a 6 bed house costing around 50 million US!

Be careful even in summer you might run into a Hollywood ''A'' lister in one of the high end eateries but then who really cares! Aspen is worth exploring and finding a bar to enjoy a few drinks but beware its about double what it costs elsewhere in the US!

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Day 8 - Aspen to Denver

Last day of the tour. Leaving Aspen around 9 am, heading west over the Independence pass. This is quite a road to ride. Very windy and in places extremely narrow so be careful. Once you get to the top,  stop and take in the views. This pass is the highest in USA  and it will make you short of breath - literally !  Temperatures at the top were around 5 degrees centigrade. After the pass the road widens and heads east towards Denver. Unfortunately like in any big US city once you get close its difficult to avoid the freeways. As we were in a hurry to get our bikes dropped off and flights to catch we took the I70 back to our drop point. All in all an extremely successful tour!

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