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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for input from those that live & ride in Colorado, or from those that have done it often.

My GF and I are planning a nice trip in August that will take us from AZ into NM, CO and UT. Most of the riding will be in CO.

I have the route mapped out already, but my questions are about one small section of the route: Trail Ridge Road.
We plan to be in Estes Park on the second night and head out onto US34 the following morning. That day will end with us at Arches or Moab.

So, I've done my homework and it looks like Trail Ridge is usually open by the end of June (and closed by the end of October).
What's the snowpack like this year?
We have the ability to go in either August or September - is one better than the other?

We're leaning toward August because we are riding with a group to Durango in September already, and plan to ride Million Dollar Highway and Black Canyon of the Gunnison then.

This is pretty much the route (minimal interstate):

 

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Good route. But from Durango go up 550, The Million Dollar Hiway to Montrose and 50. Take 50 east. You won't regret 550. Beautiful!. Around Monticello there is a place called Hole in the Rock. Unusual and interesting stop. Headed that way the end of the month. Be safe!!
 

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In another thread, Andyman suggested to me, riding a section of highway north of Moab.

"PittsDriver, Cisco is just west of the Colorado state line on I-70. Utah hwy 128 is a 2 lane that runs along the Colorado River and all of the amazing Moab-esque geology is in view. Beats the dogshit out of 191. In fact, 128 is on my list of top 5 American Roads.

Ride it and you'll repeat it!"

It sounds interesting and I'm going to give it a try. I've flown over that area and from the air it looks like a good suggeston. Just passing it on.

RT
 

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Pargenz, I've planned a ride to Colorado also for August. I've done a lot of research and got a lot of good information from a guy that lives and rides there. In fact he wrote a book called, "Motorcycling Colorado" by Steve Farson. Anyway using the information he gave me and including the destinations I wanted to hit, I made the below ride plan. When you bring up the plan, click on "View or Edit Ride Plan" button to zoom in for more detail. This may give you some ideas and routes to include.

http://rideplanner.harley-davidson.com/rideplanner/road.jsp?roadId=453742&locale=en_US

And btw, route 128 to Moab from I-70 is great!!!
 

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I live near RMNP in Steamboat Springs. There is no snow pack this year. Trailridge usually opens Memorial Day. When heading towards Boulder, take 72 off 93 up to 119 and into Estes, sweet ride in itself. It will be hot as hell anywhere near Moab, but coming from AZ I'm sure your used to that. Be prepared for heavy traffic and thunder storms in RMNP. I would try and go over Trairidge at sunset to minimize traffic, and stay in Granby. If you have any questions feel free call Rob at 970-870-8584.
 

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Are you going up to Durango or to Moab first? I see 2 areas you're going to skirt but miss on your planned route. I highly recommend riding up and over Grand Mesa (Colorado hwy 65). It peels off of I-70 a few miles east east of Grand Junction and connects with 50 at Delta. As long as it's not raining that day, you'll love that ride. Largest flat top mountain in N America and you'll make decent time.

Also, as Pitts said, when you go to Moab instead of taking 191 south from I-70, take 128 from Cisco on down. I've never ridden it south to north, may not be as spectacular but north to south it's one damn fine stretch of scenic road. It ends at Arches NP. 191 between 70 and Moab is very unspectacular in comparison. And a LOT heavier traffic.

In your August trip be sure to ride Colo 92 along the Black Canyon's eastern rim. There are pulloffs along that road you can look down into the canyon and if you're lucky you'll see eagles soaring hundreds of feet below you.

I'm riding all of the above mentioned roads on my trip to Yosemite in late May/ early June. Could ride them every year and be contented.
 

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Definitely take 128 down to Moab!! A bit of trivia: Cisco is the location of the final crash scene from the movie Vanishing Point.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good route. But from Durango go up 550, The Million Dollar Hiway to Montrose and 50. Take 50 east. You won't regret 550. Beautiful!. Around Monticello there is a place called Hole in the Rock. Unusual and interesting stop. Headed that way the end of the month. Be safe!!
Thanks for the suggestion Joe. I'll be back in Durango in September and plan on riding 550 then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for the suggestions! This place rocks!!
We like to keep our interstate riding to a minimum and you have assisted with that.

Our trip is now a tad over 1,800 clicks.

It looks like this:

Day One
From home up thru Salt River Canyon to Show Low. US-191 to AZ61/NM-53 to NM-602 thru Gallup. US-491 to Shiprock, US-64 to Farmington to NM170/CO-140 to US-160 into Durango.

Day Two
From Durango US-160 thru Pagosa Springs to US-285 to CO-470 to US-6 (Clear Creek Canyon Rd) to CO-119 to CO-72 thru Nederland to CO-7 and into Estes Park.

Day Three
US-34 to Granby, US-40 to CO-1 to CO-131 to I-70 into Glenwood Springs.
Then CO-82 thru Carbondale to CO-133 thru Hotchkiss. CO-92 to CO-65 to I-70 thru Grand Junction to 128 down into Moab.

Day Four
US-191 back into AZ. I-40 to Holbrook, AZ-77 to AZ-377 to AZ-277 to AZ-260 thru White Mountains to AZ-87 and home.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. I've modified the route to eliminate the Utah portion and spend more time in Colorado - including CO-92 thru Black Canyon & CO-145 by Telluride.

Between now and that trip I have more rides planned: state HOG rally, Bun Burner IBA ride, and a ride from AZ to OH to visit family & friends.
 

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Traffic in RMNP can be bad on certian days. Plan to get through the park early or late in the day. Temps will be cold on the top so bring along an extra layer or two. If you have any questions send me a PM and we can exchange numbers. I live in Denver and ride these hills every weekend.
 

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Another good ride near RMNP is Poudre Pass along the Poudre (pronounced "pooter") River. It goes over Mount Jackson (12+k feet) and Walden near the Wyoming state line. Then it loops south, west and north again to Stemboat Springs.

From Estes Park stay on 34 to Loveland, then north on 287 just past Ft Collins. West on 14. Very scenic road.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Traffic in RMNP can be bad on certian days. Plan to get through the park early or late in the day. Temps will be cold on the top so bring along an extra layer or two. If you have any questions send me a PM and we can exchange numbers. I live in Denver and ride these hills every weekend.
Thanks... I'll do that when it gets closer.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Another good ride near RMNP is Poudre Pass along the Poudre (pronounced "pooter") River. It goes over Mount Jackson (12+k feet) and Walden near the Wyoming state line. Then it loops south, west and north again to Stemboat Springs.

From Estes Park stay on 34 to Loveland, then north on 287 just past Ft Collins. West on 14. Very scenic road.
Oh yeah. Colorado = too many roads, not enough time!

We will make another trip up to Durango in Sep also.
 

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I know you said you were coming back to durango at a later date. Trail ridge is cool. Poudre canyon is nice, black canyon is a great ride. no matter what make sure you spend the night in Ouray and ride south over the million dollar highway to durango. I haven't been everywhere but i would put that slab up against any as the best motorcycle road in america.
 

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While im at it.
Your return trip starting south out of RMNP to Cortez is going to be a long day in the saddle. By that I mean some of those roads only have a 35mph posted speed limit. McLure pass and the Black Canyon are actually pretty slow going. BC is posted 30 or 35 for what seems like 20 miles or so. Just a heads up there.

On that same stretch, your turn on to hwy 62 at Ridgeway. If its lunch time a stop at the True Grit Cafe in Ridgeway would be in order. They filmed parts of the movie right in the city park across the street from the cafe. Theres a painted exterior wall in the movie thats still visible in the cafe today. Food is average but its cool to at least say.... been there done that!

The run up the Dallas Divide from there is pretty cool. Heres a pullout on the road looking over some of Ralf Lauren's ranch and up the side of the San Juan Mountains.

Its then a nice bit of road up Lizardhead pass on hwy 145. Stunning scenery but the back side thru Stoner and Dolores down to Cortez is kinda Blaaaa........... It is part of the Scenic Skyway but if given the chance I wouldnt trade it for 550

You will also love Wolf Creek Pass hwy 160 from Pagosa to South Fork.

Next time your in Colorado 149 from South Fork thru Lake City on to Gunnison is a grand ride also. Sometimes the wife and I do a round trip to Lake City for lunch. The Alfred Packer site is about a mile south of Lake City to the south of town. Pretty cool and makes your skin crawl a bit at the same time.

Theres more but I'll leave it at that for now. Enjoy your trip

Edited to add pic and tell you don't miss breakfast at the Durango Dinner.
 

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Day Three
US-34 to Granby, US-40 to CO-1 to CO-131 to I-70 into Glenwood Springs.
Then CO-82 thru Carbondale to CO-133 thru Hotchkiss. CO-92 to CO-65 to I-70 thru Grand Junction to 128 down into Moab.
.......... day 3 looks epic !
....... really long, but truely epic travelin' !
 
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