The Rockies

After a shot of cowboy culture in Cody we rode south through the prairie. We went what felt like forever through this desolate and dry landscape and decided to head west for the Sinks Canyon mountains to find a place to camp.

View over the prairie from Sinks Canyon State park mountains over the prairie.

Always happy when the sun is shining!

Camping at beautiful Frye Lake in the Sinks Canyon State park mountains.

I prefer cooking breakfast over the fire rather than using the cooking device. It helps keeping the bugs away, and while you pack your stuff down, there’s always a bit of trash that you can burn on the fire.

Doing the dishes in Frye Lake

Beauty all over.

From the mountain we headed back into the prairie towards Eden and the Great Divide Basin.

Pronghorn deer all over the place.

Awesome sandy dirt roads in the Great Divide Basin that just goes on forever.

Since our maps were not detailed enough we kept getting lost and at the first sign towards the highway we chickened out and went in that direction out of the basin. When we hit highway 80 we realized we had only cut a little corner through the basin. We could easily have spend 2 days in there and seen nothing but prairie dogs.

Mike and Ike – a new healthy petrol station habit!

 

In Rawlins we ran into a family of four riding their 73 Moto Guzzi with sidecar and 73 BMW: Verena, Christian, Frederic (10) and Emily (8).

They were returning home to Colorado from a motorcycle vacation when they had some mechanical problems with the Moto Guzzi. Christian was working on it, as we pulled up besides them. We helped pushing the bike and it got started again.

Christian working on the Moto Guzzi in Rawlins.

Verena and Christian are originally from Switzerland.

We immediately fell for this sympathetic family and asked if we could tag along with them and camp together for the night. So we took of 4 bikes and 6 people towards Saratoga Lake.

Camping and cooking at Saratoga Lake.

Verena & Christian had been traveling on a motorcycle since they were young. In 1989 they came to North America from Switzerland with a plan to travel 2 months. They experienced that their savings took them much further than planned and they ended up with a 2 year journey through the USA incl. Alaska, Canada and central America.

Coolest kids ever: Freddy and Emily.

We really enjoyed hanging out with the Schmid family and they invited us to come and stay with them in Florence Colorado, when we got further south.

The next morning we said goodbye and agreed to meet again and we headed south towards Medicin Bow National Forest.

Lars taking a rest at Lake Marie.

In Laramie we spend the entire afternoon calling dealers to get some new tires. We headed out of there into the prairie, just in time for a vicious afternoon thunderstorm – not the time to be in the middle of a no where. We could see an enormous black thunderstorm coming towards us and at some point we literally got blown of the road. To our luck there was 2 small houses just there, where we could seek shelter.

A combination of a clear blue sky to the north, sunset and the vicious storm cloud to the south made this incredible sight. No way we were going to ride into this monster!

Now we know what’s at the end of the rainbow!

We ended up being so delayed by the storm that we had to ride in the dark through prairie over the state border to Colorado. We normally never do that, since there’s so much deer. Finally we made it to Pudre Canyon in Colorado and found a place to camp.

Camping at Pudre Canyon.

Early next morning heading for Denver, we met Melinda, Vince and Mike at a petrol station. They were taking their shiny Buells and Ducati for a fast ride in the canyon.

They invited us to come and stay with them in Longmont outside Denver the same evening. Meanwhile we drove to Performance Cycles in Denver to get some new shoes for Lars’ bike. Good store and serious people.

The multiple purpose ammo boxes serve a panniers, bear proof food containers, lifts for the bikes and camping chairs. $ 15 a piece – best buy ever!

I killed the waiting time cleaning my chain and air filter.

We spend the night at Melinda and Vince’s house and had a laugh listening to their crazy stories. Melinda is a former competitive slalom skier and and Vince is a former motorcycle racer. They have been riding their motorcycles together for many years and always ride side by side – no matter the curves or speed – and these guys do make their Buells work hard.

Breakfast in Longmont in very good company

Even the bikes had fine company.

Mike joined us as we headed for the Rocky mountain National park.

In Estes park we went by the beautiful old Stanley hotel – which inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Stephen King never liked Stanley Kubricks version of the movie and later made a TV series in this hotel.

We headed for the Old Fall River dirt road to the top of Milner Pass that crosses over the continental divide. A very step dirt road with numerous hairpins and stunning views. Mike and his Ducati handled the dirt road very well.

Elk resting in the sun near the pass.

 

Chubby Mrs. Marmot was totally indifferent to the photographer.

Elk mommy in Rocky Mountains Nat. Park.

Baby elk. – Isn’t he cute!?

From The Nat. park we headed south to Fraser and camp in the mountains at Elk Creek, in Shoshone Nat. forest. Elevation: 2600 m / 8530 feet – in other words frickin cold! Do you see the Hummingbird in the middle of the picture?

Cooking breakfast in a nice warm place in the sun.

I am as always busy picking berries.

From there we went south to Mt. Evans (4.348 m / 14.265 feet) the legendary highest paved road in North America. You go through beautiful green forest, sections with ancient twisted trees, and windblown rocks, snow and ice above the tree line where the mountain goats amazingly manage to feed on the scarce vegetation.

Mountain goats carry an extremely thick fur and prefer the cold.

Still young but on the top of the world!

You can almost see the end of the world from Mt. Evans

Stunning view over Chicago Lakes on Mt. Evans

Ancient twisted mountain threes.

The elusive Jackalope.

Hummingbirds all over the mountains.

From the pass we headed for a town to do some grocery shopping – but shopping in the US is hard – what cereal to choose? If what you’re looking for is kids with weight, concentration and learning problems…..take them both!

And don’t forget calcium – we all need calcium! But which is the healthier cheese? Isn’t it awesome how modern technology is able to transform perfectly normal and healthy food into something with absolutely no nutrition value what so ever.

After this awesome shopping experience we headed up towards Guanella Pass to camp. With the sun going down we saw a lot of deer beside the road.

We found a spot at 3300 meters elevation and it was pretty cold.

Getting warm by the campfire.

Hard to get out of the sack in the morning! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Icy beauty.

We got out of there and found a sunny spot at the Guanella pass trail head to eat breakfast.

From Guanella pass we headed down to the South Park plains toward Como and Boreas Pass.

Large herds of pronghorn deer where ever we looked, in South Park.

Boreas pass, formerly a railway to the gold mines is a beautiful dirt road that leads over the pass to Breckenridge

Beautiful red rocks.

Breckenridge is a nice little posh ski town with a Starbucks cafe – yay – that means good coffee and wifi. I think second to gas, coffee is the biggest post on our travel budget. We just love a break and a good cup of coffee.

Our good friend Annette Birkmann had sent an email that we had to go and visit her friends Chris & Erin in Denver. We got hold of them and found out that they were just 50 miles North of us in Winter Park. We decided to head back north to visit them.

Having another coffee break in one of the numerous old mining towns of the Rocky Mountain. Like many of these towns, the populations shrinked when the mines were mined out. Georgetown once had a population of 10.000 and is today down to 1.000.

Georgetown had a cute little store filled with touristy stuff from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. We had to pay them a visit of course and had a long chat with the sweet couple in the store.

Arriving in Winter Park, we got a warm welcome by Erin & Chris and their two friends Leslie & Ron. They are all very social and outgoing and love to share their travel experiences and we had a blast.

Erin & Chris traveled on motorcycles round the world in 1999-2003 and earned a Guinness World Record for it, in 2008 they travelled through Patagonia and in 2009 and 2010 they traveled twice in Africa. They are very experienced adventure riders and we recognized them from the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle adventure DVDs.

Peter and Barbara came over for dinner. Paul is a hardcore motorcyclist as well and Barb as super dedicated triathlete.

I was generally demoralized by the fact that I have quite severe sciatic nerve pain in my right leg. I have had an ongoing and increasing problem since the third week of our travels and I had come to a point where I was no longer enjoying the ride. It caused numbness and a burning sensation in the leg and a tingling sensation up the back. Sleeping was a problem, so I wouldn’t get proper rest either.

Because of this problem, we appreciated Paul and Barb’s invitation to come and stay with them in Denver. From there, I would try to find a solution to my seat and find a medical center.

Paul and I at his place in Denver. They were wonderful hosts. They took really good care of us, but would let us mind our business and do what we had to do while we were there.

Barb, Paul and their beautiful dogs Kacey & Mojo.

I went to see a doctor and had one of those awesome butt shots with an anti inflammatory drug + some pills. The diagnose was a sciatic nerve inflammation.

I decided to go for an airhawk seat cushion. I considered this product earlier on the trip but didn’t like the wobbly feeling or the material. It’s expensive ($100) but the fabric is thin and not waterproof. The straps look more like bra straps and will not last more than a few weeks. But since I was pretty desperate I decided to test it out at least. I would do a few adjustments to the cushion to make it last longer.

Leaving Paul and Barb and Denver, we had to go and visit the recently opened IKEA store in Denver. It’s enormous!

Heading South we made it to Florence and found the dirt road taking us to Verena & Christian Schmid’s farm.

The dogs Pushkin, Wally, Hunter and Clifford gave us a warm welcome at Capra Una Farm.

Staying with the Schmid’s at the Capra Una Farm was an amazing experience. They are warm, welcoming, outgoing and very interesting people. Their kids are the sweetest ever. We played with the dogs, played chess, shot potates from the potato canon, rode the horses up in the mountains, did motorcycle repairs, made a purse from sheepskin for Emily, braided hair, cooked pancakes, went for a company BBQ, went fishing and a whole lot more the 4 days we were there. It was awesome!

Putting new tires on with Freddy and Emily. Both kids were amazingly skilled and knew a lot about motorcycles – and many other things.

Verena & Christian had this legendary book on their bookshelf. It’s a book by the Danish couple Nina Rasmussen and Hjalte Tin. In 1980 they rode from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro with their 2 kids Nina and Emil. Nina was only 1 year old and sat in front of her mother. Emil sat behind his father.

Just like Verena & Christian they traveled at a time where you didn’t have Internet, Google earth, GPS or any of all the other convenient devices that makes traveling a whole lot easier today.

They have been traveling all over the world on motorcycles ever since. Lately Nina & Hjalte went round the world in an electric car – the first ever to do this. They also run a super cool expedition company Moto Mundo.

Christian helped me modify my side stand. It was too long and lacked a stump that I can kick to kick it back easily. He did the welding, but other than that he let me do most of the work myself, under guidance of course. Which was awesome.

Emily and Marocka

Verena taking us for a ride in the mountains behind the farm.

Easy for Lars to smile. He’s not carrying 200 pounds up the mountain in the burning sun! It was in fact Lars’ first time on a horse and he did really good. Luna was nice and calm and didn’t beat him up too hard.

Christian managed to fix his old dias slide machine and Verena found their dias pictures from the 70’es when they crossed the USA, Canada, Alaska and all the way down to Panama on a Suzuki GS 550.

 

 

The Schmids took us to the “Bishop’s Castle” in the Wet Mountains,  a crazy Tim Burton like structure, with scary winding staircases and crazy towers. Like something taken out of “Nightmare before Christmas”.

Verena & Christian are having a go at the Bunny bike.

Fishing at Lake Isabel, Colorado.

Freddy enjoys the fame and glory!

Lars and Christian.

Spending some days with the Schmids was great but as always we had to say our goodbyes and hit the road again.

We headed south-west towards Westcliffe in the Wet Mountains Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where we wanted to hit the Medano pass over the mountains to the Great Sand Dunes Nat. Park. Unfortunately the road was closed due to heavy rain and we had to go all the way south around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Great sand dunes Nat. Park.

Yummi!

The following day we crossed the San Luis Valley, a huge completely flat area of prairie or round irrigated farming fields. It’s a weird remote area, with little beauty to compensate for a tough farm life.

Seen from the sky, the irrigation circles in San Luis Valley are beautiful. (We didn’t fly over it. This is a picture from the net)

From here we headed west to South Fork and The Rio Grande River towards Lake city over the Slumgullion Pass.

 

In Lake City we met Angie & Paul on their Yamaha XT’s. They are on a 2 year trip around the world, and they do the US section on the Trans American Trail (TAT). Check out their web site.

Drinking beer with Brits is always a pleasure! Angie & Paul are super nice and we were very inspired by their dirt road stories.

Lake city is a cute little mining town with awesome old time shops.

Like this soda cafe.

Lars ran into the local artist and he set up an interview with the Grant, the editor of the towns newspaper: Lake City Silver World.

Heading for an awesome ride over Engineer pass to Ouray. It takes you through several old mining structures to an elevation of over 3.600 meters / 12.000 feet.

Deer on the Engineer pass.

Unfortunately we hit the pass on a day with thick clouds, rain and poor visibility, and missed the views from up here.

Snow on Engineer Pass.

 

Darn. Bike need a rest.  Engineer pass was the hardest riding we have done so far. Steep, rocky and slippery with poor visibility and it took us half a day and some body building to pass it.

 

Arriving in Ouray we were super tired and got ourselves a nice little hotel.

Ouray is beautiful located in the mountains.

From Ouray we took the Ophir over the San Juan Mountains pass to Telluride. A nice and easy dirt ride much different from the challenges the day before.

 

 

 

Can you see Lars? He’s the tiny black dot.

A nice break in Telluride and the last of the Rockies before we headed west towards Utah.

Our plan was to ride into the Uncompahgre Nat. Forest from Naturita, but the weather turned ugly again. We had rain in the morning, sun and heat in the afternoon, thunderstorms in the afternoon and freezing cold in the night.

It was a pretty angry storm cloud and a we found shelter next to at farmers barn. He came out and opened the barn, so we could push the bikes in there. Just as we were talking to him, there was a loud boom and we all jumped in the air.

A lightning stroke just 50 feet away from us and hit the telephone post!! You could feel the jolt in your body – scary!

The road from Naturita to Bedrock.

 

We were hoping for fuel in Bedrock, but like many other places, downtown Bedrock was past struggling to survive.

“Hole in the rock” just south of Moab is a nice little tourist trap. The founder of the place was Danish, hence the “Herning” sign.

Moab, Utah is located in the dessert in the middle of a surreal landscape of green mountains, river cut canyons, red limestone pillars and arches, and the Colorado River. There’s a unique atmosphere in this place where everybody’s either into skydiving, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, off road dirt biking and much more. The number of Jeeps and dual sport bikes in this town is amazing. We planned to spend 2 days here doing some day trips.

We found a really nice forest camping spot at Jaycee Park near Potash, just North of Moab.

Arches Nat. Park, Utah is amazing.

 

Double Arches in Arches Nat. Park.

 

Arches Nat. Park.

Delicate Arch is amazing and well worth the hike.

Blue and red (and a bit of bright white 🙂

 

Angie and Paul were in town and we enjoyed hanging out with them again.

 

Amazing view from Pucker Pass road with the La Sal Mountains in the background

Pucker pass.

A short section of the Pucker pass turned out to be a bit difficult.

We took our bags off and tried to push the bikes up. But they were just too heavy.

We were getting a bit tired, when the Canadian Army Rescue Team turned up in the shape of these two well trained testosterone packed alpha males. Jack & Zack were out playing in their cool Jeep and gladly offered to help us get the bikes up.

4 x 4 for definitely an advantage here. Jack is having a blast!

Mathieu needed a bit of help getting down.

The prize for all the hard work was this amazing view back where we came from.

Heading for Dead Horse Point

Breathtaking views from Dead Horse Point over the Colorado River.

In the afternoon we headed south to Monticello heading for a camp ground in the Abajo Mountains.

Deer all over the place. We saw more than 100 this evening.

It’s always nice and pretty to see deer, but it’s scary at the same time – especially on a motorcycle.

Camping in the Abajo Mountain.

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses

  1. Vincent Jordan says:

    Lars and Bunny, absolutely awesome. I read your other post and understand what you are saying about meeting folks and just moving on. We will always remember you though and you are always welcome in our home. (Anyway, we still have a tire that belongs to you. :-)) Be well and be careful of any more critters.

  2. Henriette says:

    @ Sharon & Rodney

    Thanks for visiting our website and writing a comment, we really appreciate it.
    We have spend the time here fixing a lot of stuff that we wanted to fix for a while. Mending gear, ordering stuff, laminating copies of important docs and much more. Really nice to get all that done now. We hope to be going any time now ad unfortunately we will have to skip a lot of what we wanted to see here in Utah and head directly to Mexico since the clock is ticking.
    It was really nice meeting you guys. Hope you are having fun here.
    All the best from Lars & Henriette

  3. Henriette says:

    Thanks Kaisa. So glad you are following the blog. Who knows, it might turn into a book. How’s life in Finland? Have you been to Kattosaari this summer? I have been picking a lot of blueberries in the mountains and think of you guys every time. Miss you. Hugs. Henriette

  4. karin sundin says:

    the pict of Lars swallowing the rainbow!!!!! absolutely incredible : )
    is life on the road better than everyday life at home in Denmark-or just different? Take care-love the stories and pictures!

  5. Kaisa Spilling says:

    … just wondering if you’ll be making a book out of this material? great stuff!
    kaisa

  6. Stina Lindström says:

    Hi Lars and Henriette,
    Fantastic pictures and what a journey… Thanks for keeping us updated; it’s great to be able to follow you in this way.

    Enjoy – and safe trip!
    Stina

  7. Melinda Jordan says:

    Now I understand how you managed to stay in Colorado as long as your did! WOW! Honored to be a part of this incredible story. : )

    Keep riding hard and having fun!

    Melinda

  8. Mor/svigermor says:

    Hej I 2 🙂 Flotte billeder og fine beskrivelser – en fornøjelse at følge jeres rejse “over there”.
    Knus

  9. Erin Ratay says:

    Great to meet you both in Winter Park. Wish we could have spent more time together. Looks like you experienced the best parts of Colorado while you were here. Come back any time, and perhaps we’ll catch up with you in Denmark! – Erin

  10. Henrik says:

    SO cool stories, SO cool pictures – simply love it!!

    Hugs
    The Heming’s 🙂

  11. Rodney and Sharon says:

    Hi Henrietta and Lars,

    Good to meet you today at Rustic inn , Moab. (we have the Sherpa and BMW)

    Great website and photos.

    Hopefully you heal up soon and are back on the road agian.

    Cheers
    Rod and Sharon