Day eight and what a day. I got up before 5 and went to the local Internet cafe where being the first one there I inadvertently sat at the locals table. The owner came out and introduced himself and it turned out he was a Harley rider, so we had things to talk about. Bill came in later and we all chatted up the locals as we had breakfast sandwiches and a latte.
We went back to the motel where Bill and Dan were discussing the problem of Dan’s loose foot peg. A problem that was due to striped out bolts. We went to a local ATV dealer and he sent us to the local fixer upper guy located on a back road in Lake City. They concluded welding the foot peg on was the solution and after $20.00 changed hands we were off to attempt the 3rd leg of the COBDR trail.
This route was mostly secondary roads from Lake City until we crossed US 50 and got on 887 and then 763 to Pitkin. The roads became narrow with many elevation changes. The road also contained many large stones in their base that were protruding up and making the roads much rougher. After Pitkin we ended up in the town of Tin Cup where we stopped to discuss our route. Cottonwood pass, a normal part of the route, was closed for construction. Bill suggested taking 267, the Tin Cup pass road which we did.
This route started out with the normal stones and protruding rocks as we had seen coming to Tin Cup.
Once at Mirror Lake the road hugged the shore and we drove through a portion of the lake and the river feeding it on our way up. Starting at the lake the rocks got bigger, the road rougher and more difficult. We all were doing well until about a mile from the top Bill D dropped his bike and we all stopped to help. This happened a couple of more times and on the second to the last fall a rock took out the kick stand position switch. After we all worked on it Dan and Bill concocted a fix that eliminated the switch and we were off
. 100 yard later on a very difficult portion which included a rock ledge, the rivulet running down the road and rocks. Bill D stopped at the bottom to asses his line choice and then started up.
Part of the way up Bill D was going over a portion of the rock ledge and due to a combination of things the front of the bike jumped up and when the rear wheel hit the whole bike was in the air. It landed on the right side taking a direct hit of a rock on the cylinder valve cover guarding. It pushed the guarding into the valve cover punching a hole in it, cracking the leading edge where it sealed to the cylinder head distorting the cover so it wouldn’t seal. It also sheared off one of the valve cover bolts, located on the opposite side of the cover. Oil started leaking and Bill D’s bike was now out of commission.
The bike was parked in the middle of the trail. There was room for vehicles to pass on the other side so we packed it in and started to set up a camp for the night.
We all broke out our tents and sleeping bags in a small flat and grassy spot covered in cow manure. Each of us picked a spot and put up our tents. We were above the tree line at about 11,800’ and knew it would be a cold night.
My new tent went up very well considering I have only put it up one time and that was a test setup in the yard at home. Bill D’s tent went up well too. Bill and Dan were old hands at this and were starting to cook as we finished setting up our tents. Thanks to Dan and Bill we all had a hot meal and I provided some whiskey for all.
The sky was now completely cloud covered and it got completely dark. We heard thunder and then it started to hail and rain. We all took to our tents for the night and individually contemplated what our next move would be.
In the morning when we got up it was 30 degrees and the rain had frozen to our tents. Dan and Bill decided to continue on there way. Bill D attempted to take the broken cover off and decided to just put it back together, park the bike off the trail and find an extraction service to come and get it. We all helped reposition the bike and I rode it down to a spot out of the way of the trail traffic. Bill D and I waited until the sun came over the mountains and melted the ice on our tents, then we toweled them off as best we could and broke camp.
Bill and Dan loaded there bikes and with about a ½ mile to the pass summit started up the trail after we said our goodbye’s and parted ways. I loaded my bike and prepared to start over the top myself. Bill D was going to walk with a bag, his helmet, his camera and his camel Back filled with water to the top of the summit and catch a ride with an ATV or Jeep down to St. Elmo. When I got in contact with him later I found out he got a ride to the top and another ride down the other side to St. Elmo. He never had to walk. When Bill D got to St. Elmo he went to the General store, borrowed a sat. phone, contacted a company to extract his bike, then called to leave me a message while I was in Pitkin.
I made 2 attempts to head to the top and fell over both times. Bill D and I talked and decided he would still continue to St. Elmo and I would go back down to Tin Cup and take the long way around to meet him. Our plan was for me to get to Buena Vista, get a room, and either rent a car or unload my bike and come to St. Elmo to pick him up and we would work it out from there.
As I ascended the mountain back to Tin Cup my rear shock blew out and I was now riding a pogo stick. I changed my routing and as soon as I could, which was the town of Pitkin, I was going to stay on all paved roads as best I could. I drove toward Buena Vista with the back of my cycle pogosticking all the way due to the blown shock.
Bill D called me while I was in Pitkin and said he was going to ride up to the bike with the tow vehicle operator. Later on Bill D found out he was going to be able to be dropped off in Buena Vista by the driver and I would not have to come and get him in St. Elmo. I also called Pauline while I was in Pitkin and had her contact Mary to tell her that Bill D was alright and give her an update on what was going on.
When I got to Buena Vista I quickly reserved a room and unloaded my bike with the idea of going to St. Elmo and picking up Bill D. Before I left to pick up Bill D I got a voicemail saying the driver would drop him off at the motel. I texted all the information to Bill’s phone as to the name and location of the Motel and the room Number We affectionately call Bill D’s flip phone Flipper.
I then headed downtown to the Lariat Bar and Grill and started making calls and planed to work on the blog post. After trying to make a few calls from inside that failed, I moved outside to the sidewalk seating and started calling about getting my bike repaired and acquiring a rental car for both of us.
After getting as far with this as I could without discussing things with Bill D, I ordered a beer and started working on the blog. I’d been working about an hour when two people walking up from behind me were talkingp about riding with Rich. I turned around and there was Dan and Bill. They had just come into town and were after something to eat. They sat down with me and we discussed what had transpired today. I told them where things stood with Bill D and I as far as we knew concerning our bikes and they said they were continuing on with the COBDR tomorrow.
I went back to the motel and fell into a dead sleep. Bill D arrived at about 10pm and when he came into the room I was sound asleep with the remote in my hand. He took it away and I never woke up or heard a thing.
Tomorrow we will figure out where we are with the bikes and carry on. What a two days!