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Map Colorado Motorcycle Trip 2021

13 days
6350 km / 3969 miles

Map Colorado Motorcycle Trip 2021

This Colorado motorcycle trip in September of 2021 was panned as a 3-week trip together with my wife Jayne. Because of medical issues with our dog I was going to cancel the trip, but my wife insisted that I go alone. So I did ride alone, but cut it down to 2 weeks.
I didn't have a exact route planned and looked at the map each night and picked a road towards the next planned point..

I rode from Portland, Oregon east on Interstate 84 through Oregon and Idaho, until I finally left the Interstate and took smaller backroads to Fossil Butte National Monument, Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur NM, Colorado NM, Mesa Verde NP, Million Dollar Highway, Grand Mesa, Independence Pass, Rocky Mountain NP. Then again Interstates to Bonneville Salt Flats on the way home.
I hate to ride Interstates but for a long trip in a relatively short amount of time I didn't have a choice. Sometimes you just have to cover some ground.

I have to admit that I was a little worried about how my 21 year old, carbureted Honda XRV750 Africa Twin with over 93,000 miles (150,000 km) on the clock would perform on all the 10,000+ feet (3,000+ m) passes. It turns out, really not too bad. Yes, it lost a little power in the altitude, but much less than I had feared, even loaded down. It's just a great bike!

Images on the left show the entire route (upper image) and the Colorado route in  (lower image).
  


The best time for such a trip is probably early September. I still had temperatures in the high 90's, but also around freezing at night at elevations of around 10.000 feet. If you go in Spring you will likely encounter snow and ice on the high mountain passes. The passes may even still be closed.

The road conditions are generally good. Some of the small side rods were pot holed, but it wasn't too bad.

In terms of safety wild animals and wildfires are probably the greatest thread (besides other drivers). Not only bears can be dangerous, but mountain lions and even raccoons can be dangerous. I always leave my food in locked aluminum panniers when camping. In regards to wildfires it is advisable to ask at ranger stations about current conditions and expected fire direction. There are also many phone apps out there to show wildfires, but cell coverage in the middle of nowhere is spotty at best.
Some people in the remote areas want to stay away from other people and may be armed. If you respect "No Trespassing" signs you should be okay.
Smokey Interstate 84 and Columbia Gorge
As usual lately in August and September, I started the trip in lots of wildfire smoke from up and down the west cost. I was worried that the smoke could potentially ruin the trip by fogging up all views.
 
The first night I spent at Anthony Lakes, Oregon, near Baker City. Nice campground and beautiful ride from the Interstate to get there. It's high up and therefore gets cold at night.
Anthony Lakes, Oregon
Gysir of Soda Springs, Idaho
Lots more Interstate until I finally hit Hwy 30 at McCammon, Idaho.
The first real sightseeing stop was at the Gysir of Soda Springs, Idaho.
Gysir of Soda Springs, Idaho
Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming
I continued on Hwy 30 and stopped at the Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming.
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Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming
Gravel road in Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming
Besides the obvious fossils at the visitor center, Fossil Butte has a very nice dirt and gravel road to offer. Some riders may find the loose gravel in the switchbacks challenging. The road leads up to the top of the hill, from where one has a nice view over the area.
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Gravel road in Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming

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