Friday, July 1, 2016

RockSTOC II, 6.23-26

Our second annual motorcycle gathering we host, RockSTOC, is in the books! Based out of the KOA in Ouray, CO, I estimate we had about 40 attendees. Event went nice and smooth, with riders traveling from all over country to attend. This year our local friends John and Dan joined us, along with Todd and Jeff from Washington, DC and Philadelphia.

Here's a link to our SPOT so you can see where we road over the course of last weekend!

Here's a picture from the campground our friend Todd took:

Right, photo time! Friday we spent riding with our cruiser friends John and Dan. Beautiful day, dodged the afternoon storms and really enjoyed ourselves.

We would visit the mines across the valley the following day. Rough dirt roads, not something our friends' street bikes would handle gracefully. ;)

John, on his first trip with his VTX1800!

Dan, on his rather modified Sabre 1100


Karla, Derby and I

Had a visitor at the campsite! Lots of these little guys hanging out.

Saturday evening

Saturday morning we were up earlier, had a big day planned. Todd and Jeff joined us for a day of pavement and dirt. Exploring mines and high elevation passes was on the menu!

Derby sunning to get her day started

Jeff, me and Karla

Remember those mines from Friday? First stop was the Yankee Girl Mine, the mine that really started the rush to the Ouray area! This was the most profitable silver (and gold) mine of the region and even the country during that time period. It was a vertical shaft, really unusual for a silver mine, and must I say petrifying! It was built in 1882 and it's vertical shaft was over 1,000 feet deep. *gulp.

Here you can see our KLRs, Todd's BMW Sertao and Jeff's Yamaha Super Tenere (the big blue one)

The boys and Karla enjoying the view


Back on the pavement for some fantastic twisty roads and great views, turned off at the Purgatory ski resort (north of Durango) to attempt Bolam Pass. It goes from 8,000 to 11,433 feet. I'd heard the previous weekend there was still 2 feet of snow at the crest, so we packed a shovel, tow rope and some extra determination!  Road starts out very nice and graded (and dusty). Lots of folks camping, even some sizable RVs, as the road loops behind the backside of Purgatory. Fun to see, I grew up skiing there! Our first obstacle was crossing Hermosa Creek. Not very deep, but very wide this time of year with all the runoff. Jeff dropped his massive Super Tenere for the first time attempting the crossing. The creek bottom was all loose rock, bouncing the bikes all over the place. His bike is just a bit too big and heavy, with street oriented tires instead of the meatier dual sport tires the rest of us were running. He bounced up out of the water in good spirits, no damage to him or his bike. Jeff's excellent attitude and perseverance continued throughout the day, I am seriously impressed with him! There's absolutely no way I would've handled things as well.

While not caught on video, we all had a good laugh afterwards at Karla's baywatch impression as she rushed into the water after me to help Jeff out. LOL!!

I had so much fun I opted to do the crossing again. Pardon the bouncy video, we're working on our recording skills!

Did you see Todd chasing after me? He was videoing!! LOL!!

Climb, climb climb!! We had over 3,000 feet of elevation to conquer! The trail stayed a car width wide, but got rougher with some tricky spots and plenty of switchbacks. Jeff mostly kept his bike upright, but with Todd, Karla and I ready to help we kept the whole group moving. Here's the largest of a few creek crossing we encountered, you can see Jeff learns quickly! He totally rocked this. Admittedly Karla and I probably didn't help, even though we tried! (Apologize for the link, it's from Todd's phone on facebook)

Up, up, up! Karla had her first and only drop up a particularly loose section. She was totally fine! Afterwards Todd commented he couldn't believe I took so long to go help her pick up her bike. We had a good laugh and reminded him we have the helmet communications, so I knew she was fine and told her to hold on until I took a picture. LOL!!

Jeff also went down in about the same place. You can see his front tire bounce of an angled, embedded rock. Definitely a difficult bit with a bike like the Super Tenere! He hyperextended his ankle, one that he broke on another offroad ride last year. Without a single complaint though Jeff continued the ride!

Here's the last switchback before the Graysilll Mines

These mines were in use from 1945-1963, they mined Vanadium (alloy for hardening steel) and Uranium (some of which was used in the development of the first atomic bomb).

Todd and Jeff

Karla, Derby and I

Quite a view from up here, and we still weren't quite to the crest. Probably around 11,200' at this point.

If a Super Tenere falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it actually fall? Yeah.... Todd, Karla and I were taking pictures, turn around and Jeff's bike is on the ground again. Didn't hear a thing. LOL! Poor guy. We helped him get it back up, after taking pictures of course.

A little bit more up and we were there!! 11.433 feet!


We love our new bikes! Couldn't believe the ease at which they carried our butts up here.

Way to go Jeff! He can be proud of this one. (Missed getting a picture of Todd, he parked farther away)

Yep, snow up there! The weekend prior I had reports the crest still had 2'!

Here is some of Jeff's GoPro video from the ride

Down down down... Stopped for a break once the trail went to a smooth dirt road. Todd thought to get a group photo! Duh.

I like this one better *wink

Derby was happy to be back in her regular bag, pretty sure she slept the whole way back to Ouray!

Back on the easy dirt to pavement

Had a great final evening around the campfire, and a lazy morning slowly packing and getting moving. As usual for a ST-Owners event (the forum we set this up through), most folks were already gone by 5:30am. We enjoyed our ride home, beautiful weather punctuated by some fantastic burgers at a hole in the wall in Gunnison. Yum.

Realized I only took one picture of our loaded bikes! A bit more loaded on the way home, we took back everyone's beer they didn't drink plus the Yuengling Jeff brought. Incredible that a bike that bounced and swam it's way to 11,400' the day before can haul all this home without missing a beat.

I'll finish up with this one... Derby and her motorcycle. (You can see the backpack she rides in offroad sitting on top of her regular black carrier)

Hope everyone enjoyed! Full photo album here.