Monday, October 7, 2013

Guys' Weekend in Taos, Sept 27-29

John came to me about 6 weeks ago asking if we could go out to Utah and Arizona, since he'd never been in either state on his bike. Sure! September 27-29 was our next free weekend. Usually that weekend Karla and I do our fall loop, and for the last 4 or 5 years the weather has been good. Cold at altitude, but dry. So, I figured we would be dandy. John caught wind our friend Ditch (Pete) was looking for a trip, so invited him along too. A snowstorm in the high country was forecast for the day we left, so a change of plans was in order. Trip was still on, but we headed south to Taos, New Mexico as there was no safe way to get west to our intended destination of Moab.

We knew the only iffy weather would be Friday, figured just get it over with! We all met up at a gas station in Castle Rock, and to no one's surprise it was coldish, foggy, misty and a little rainy here and there. Having checked the weather reports, we figured as soon as we got south of Monument it'd be smooth sailing, with maybe some wind way down near Pueblo. Saddle up gentlemen!

285 was getting snow and we left late morning, so we boogied down 25. Not exactly a lot to take pictures of so....

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Ditch really enjoyed his phone interview at our gas/lunch stop.

Holy wind batman between Pueblo and Walsenburg! The worst, or close to the worst, cross wind I've experienced. We stopped in Walsenburg to fill the tanks, those Sabres the guys were riding get REALLY thirsty in the wind. It was time suit up again, we were turning west to head over La Veta pass which looked almost completely socked in! Into the wind and into the clouds.... Had a pow wow after looking at the weather, go the long way and no guarantee on dry, or go the short way and get wet. Wet we go!

Ditch somehow managed to squeeze his massive head into his hoodie... I will make no further comment as my family reads this blog...

John? Well. John still won't wear a full face. He just says he's fine. Mhm!

Me? Well no picture but I was a dumbass and didn't put my rain jacket on cause I was worried I was holding everyone up. Duh.

Taking our time suiting up actually proved to be the right call, La Veta pass was just wet but wasn't raining. The wind started to calm down on the other side, but it was clear we were running right INTO the storm, which was moving away from us. The worst setup! We stopped in San Luis, just over an hour from Taos. Been riding in light, cold (low 40s) rain for a little bit, figured we'd stop to warm up. Nothing to do at this point but soldier on! I threw my raincoat on and was warm and mostly dry the rest of the way to Taos, it didn't stop raining! Thanks to my gear, I was able to actually enjoy the ride and the views of the mountains and fog, it was pretty awesome. Not sure John or Ditch felt the same way, but they didn't complain. It was clear we weren't camping that night, so a quick meeting at the first gas station in Taos and we found ourselves a hotel. Good call!!

Ditch had brought his propane stove, which was great, cause my multifuel is too smoky to use indoors.

Lets just discuss our dinner choices here...


Mine (also a Mountain House frozen dinner):

And... Wait for it... Ditch the [insert explative]'s dinner:

Yeah.... Atleast there was booze and it was dry and warm and a place for our gear to drip. The weather might have taken a bit of a toll...

I was not spared, but I did have a comfy camping chair. Hell if I was sitting between those two soaking wet rats.

Time for some sleep. Morning was supposed to dawn sunny, cold and perfectly dry. We had a campsite to find and some riding to do!

All I gotta say is, thank god for earplugs. I think I shared a room with two pieces of large, running farm equipment (one of them might have been me!!! lol).

VICTORY! What a beautiful day.

John's bike was dirty. Can't have that.

First we headed out on 64 to a couple of National Forest campgrounds. They were all closed!! Grrr, they didn't note any seasonal, temporary or permanent closures on their website. *grumble. Thankfully they were only about 15 minutes out of town, so no biggie. Turned around, stopped to ask a pair of cops along the side of the road if they knew where some NF campgrounds were actually open. I was rather distracted chatting with the female officer, Ditch noted later her male companion was exhibiting some rather, ahem, personal body language. Hehe, we wondered later what they actually met up for. Anyways, back on topic, she said to head up towards the ski area, she saw campers up there a few weeks back. Not sure that pleased the guys, up means colder, but hopefully we could find something without getting too high.

We did! Just a pullout down below the road next to the creek, not even a mile up the canyon.

Ditch evidently planned to host a brothel...

John got as close to the fire ring as possible (and in the sun).

Me? Get me the hell away from those farming implements!! The stream was nice and high and loud, thank god.

What shall we do next? (no family, those are not cigars, they're beef sticks...)

How about watch John try and operate his new(ish) camera without his glasses on?

Enough lolligagging, lets ride!

Took them up to the Vietnam Memorial near Angel Fire. Powerful place.

Managed to round them together for a group pic with minimal grumbling.

Stopped back in Taos to gas up and pick up a few things. No firewood though!! We were told to head up to Arroyo Seco (tiny little place on the way to the ski area) and we would find wood there. Check, up we go.

Found the firewood guy!

Think skinny thoughts... Think skinny thoughts... No other comment, family blog! ;)

Up to the campsite, about 4 minutes away, whew.

Don't worry John, Ditch and I got the wood unloaded!

It's alright, John got us a nice fire going. While Ditch made some sort of strange "tornado firepit" or something. Weird thing. Supposed to make a hot enough fire to boil water using very little wood. We tried it, I don't think John or I was convinced.

There goes the sun!

Ninja guarding the gate

Ah, yes.

Why use a cooler full of ice when you can redneck something?

Coal cooked dinner and, well, plenty of beverage made for a fun night. Most of which well never, ever, ever be shared! Now, why John decided to come out the next morning in 30 degrees wearing shorts I will never understand... "My legs weren't cold," he says. Duh, that's cause they were numb!!

The bummer about weekend trips is they're flat out never long enough. Gotta pack up and head out. Once John jumped Ditch's bike...

Late start meant we just boogied straight up 285 home. 

Do you think they're giving me a hint?

Warming ourselves in the sun at lunch in Alamosa.

All went according to plan until we got close to Kenosha Pass...

Hmmm... This isn't construction... Atleast it had a view.

Backed up quickly, and we were still 11 miles from the pass!

Seemed the general consensus from talking with folks who had friends farther up the line, and even one person called the State Patrol, Kenosha Pass was closed due to an accident with an unknown reopening time. Well, guess we better turn around then! Ended up hopping on 9 over to Breckenridge. Hooser Pass was a bit slippy, but we made it through. Snow up there and at the tunnel on 70. No pictures, we were doing our best to get through the tunnel and loose some altitude before dark (and a higher risk of ice). Of course then hit a long line of stop and go traffic at the Idaho Springs construction (no way around that unfortunately), but hey, I was with my best friends so we made the best of it. Got home over 4 hours later than if we hadn't hit the road closure! All in a good day. ;) 


  1. Great time great ride. It was a bit chilly but MY LEGS WERE NOT COLD! LOL One of the fantastic things about riding with Pete and Ash is that we are all able to just adjust and adapt to what ever it thrown at us. Weather, closed campgrounds, no firewood, accident delays and traffic.
    I had a blast!