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Pictures & race video below message, if windy trip reports bore you:

Thursday 08-21-03 evening start:

Our 1800 mile round trip to the Copper Mountain Ski resort races last Sunday started Thursday at 3:30PM Phoenix time, where I met Kevin, John & Mike at their workplace. Briefly, the route Thursday of approximately
280 miles was as follows: North on I-17 to I-60E to 101N to 202E to 87N then 90 miles up the mega-4 lane sweepers of 87 at 85 to 110MPH.

Our 1st gas stop was in Payson with rain threatening then East on 260 wherein we were drenched in an afternoon Arizona Monsoon Thunderstorm.
Near the town of Overguard, rain behind us, we picked up the desolate highway 377 North toward Holbrook and I-40 Junction. 377 is ~40 miles of nothing but high desert chaparral with almost zero traffic so minimum speeds were about 100 with spurts to 150, mostly by Mike Stein.

At Holbrook we gassed up for the final Thursday evening leg to Gallup New Mexico, some 95 miles due East. Mike and I swapped bikes during this leg and I got my 1st ride on the RC-51 torture rack. In the darkness, we sped towards Gallup, dodging 18-wheelers at 95-105 all the way. Bear in mind we hadn't seen any LEO, save a locals through Payson Az. We arrived in Gallup around 9:00PM, where John had made reservations at a Motel 6, as I recall. We unloaded, went back out for dinner at a Denny's with horrible service but waiter knocked 10% off out bill after nearly an hour wait. Before turning in for the evening we had a visit from a young girl who bummed a light off me and expressed affection for our motorcycles. Turns out she was attending a funeral for a relative in Gallup. When I started digging in my gear for extra matches, Kevin made some comment about me going for my Viagra. I tried to set her up with John but I think she was really just bored and looking for some conversation.

Friday morning 08-22-03 5:00AM

Wake up at 5:00AM, shower, coffee, gear up and headed up NM highway 666 toward Cortez colorado before 6:00AM. More boring high-speed riding with Western NM Mesa's, the only scenery. On past Ship Rock NM, then our 1st Friday stop in Cortez Colorado for gas and breakfast. (Photo link below)

http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-1.jpg

After breakfast our route took us East on highway 160 towards Durango, with less arid scenery & the distant high mountains seemed to beckon us onward. From Durango our route took us North up highway 550 through green valleys and mountain passes, to our next gas stop in mountainous Silverton Co nestled, like some photo of the alps, far down in valley between high mountains. On the way in we'd traversed these awesome, downhill, squared off, switchbacks where Mike on the RC-51 checked out on the group for about ten miles. (see photo links below)

http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-4.jpg
http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-3.jpg



Our next stop was Ouray. We did a light lunch at a quaint hippie style coffee shop. The proprietor took a shine to Kevin but he being the only married man on the trip, she'd have to wait for the next group of grifter bikers to pass through town. Ouray is an old mining town jammed between mountain passes and as we left town, we saw a park and natural hot springs. (see photos below + Kevin's way below )

http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-5.jpg
http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-6.jpg

The road from Ouray was quite twisty with one of those mountain tunnels. I recall leading and passing about 10 Harley's and a logging truck in one fell swoop and Mike directly behind me later stated he had
to cut in on the lead Harley with no space to get around the logging truck. Down in the valley leading to Portland, then Ridgeway the weather turned to #### and we had our second encounter with RAIN. Kevin, dawned his tight fitting, clear plastic rain pants & the rest of us put plastic covers on our soft luggage then trudged over the treacherous Monitor pass in driving rain but still passing everything else up the mountain.

We gassed up again in Montrose, a good-sized town, then turned East on highway 50 towards Gunnison Colorado. Highway 50 twists around a large lake for roughly 60 miles of ultra high-speed sweepers, with over a mile visibility at any given time, John and Mike were doing as high as 130 in this section. We passed through Gunnison in the afternoon and pressed on through, on and off, rain to Salida Co where we stopped for gas had dinner at a local Pizza Hut. Kevin's see through, rain pants were toast at this point so he stopped at a Wal-Mart for a more permanent solution.

From Salida we turned North on 24 through Bena Vista to Leadville, gassed up for the last time and hit the junction '91' to the Copper Mountain ski resort where the Cyclefest Super-Motard races were held. We checked in, parked our bikes and took the gear up to the room, stripped down, then headed down to the spa to loosen up our sore muscles.

Saturday 08-23-03:

Up at around 8:00AM and had a huge breakfast in one of the Lodge mall restaurants. This place has to be seen to believe.
(See photo links below & Kevin better shots below)

http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-7.jpg
http://members.cox.net/bigrex/Copper-8.jpg

After breakfast we toured the bike and accessory vendors after which we set off up the 70 Freeway to highway 24, just past Vail Co. Highway 24 is a pristine twisty that goes over a mountain pass (tight twisties) then opens up into faster & faster sweepers as you approach Leadville. After a brief gas stop in Leadville we headed back to Copper Mountain for the Saturday qualifying races.

Saturday evening we ate Chinese in the Ski Mall, hit some Bars, including: Pravda (dead) and Endo (more lively) then back to the room, had a couple of mixed drinks and turned in for the evening.


Sunday: 08-24-03 7:00AM

Alarm at 7:00AM, showered, dressed, had a continental breakfast, hit the vendors, then mounted the bikes again to meet with Troy the Troll and 9:00 for a repeat ride down 24. We nearly missed Troy but when Kevin yelled his name he turned around. Back up the I-70 10,000 foot Freeway, past Vail to highway 24 once again. Kevin, Troy, me, Mike then John passing scores of cars. Later, Mike blew past the lot of us on the RC and checked out. In Leadville we turned around and did a partial loop to near the top of the pass again and on the way back down came upon a bike accident, probably fatal (new Tuono, panicked, locked um up & hit the guard rail). On the second loop, we saw a cop on the way uphill but soon enough not to draw any of his wrath. We also stopped for gas in a small town, in route (Me on Troy's SV with reserve light blinking). Troy's got the 'Baby Zook' set up real nice, suspension, brakes and fly-screen. Like old friends we were with the SV's effortless turn-in, when compared to the relatively portly Sprint. As Troy's already stated, we all were down on power at 10,000 feet but his baby zook suffered the most.

As a side note: None of us, not even Mike, were running at anywhere near track pace but my impression in following Troy for a time is that he's every bit the accomplished rider he portrays himself to be in this forum.


Back in Leadville about noon, Troy had to part company and head back to Denver without my lunch invite. I whole-heartedly appreciated Troy meeting and riding with the Phoenix crew and think my sentiments are mirrored by the other fellows in our group. It's one thing to talk rash in AMS but few here have actually met with, rode with, out of staters and shot the #### face to face as Troy, Larry Xlax, Holly, Andrew, Brutus and a few others here have done. 'Listening Dan Carter'?

Post lunch, back to Copper Mountain for the Sunday Motard finals.
(See Kevin's comments, photos for race details)

Post race, we packed our bikes up and headed back down 91, 50, 550 to Montrose with only a light rain and a multi-deer spotting wisely kept us from riding on into the night. The motel (Best Western) let all the bikers park near the entrance (nice touch) and had an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and continental breakfast, the next morning. BTW, all four bikes were always chained and wheel locked together at every overnight stop.

Monday: 08-25-03 5:00AM

Up, coffee and breakfast then back our original route until we got over Monitor pass (this time no rain and awesome twisties similar to Salt River Canyon but much longer). At Ridgeway, we jogged West on 62 to Placerville then down the alternate highway 145 through some of the most gorgeous mountain valleys I've even seen. Speeds through these sweepers were 90-to 120 in the more open sections.

We stopped in Dolores for gas and then through Cortez. The leg back down 666 to 4-corners, Shiprock and Gallup was boring but went fast. We stopped about 10 miles outside of Gallup for gas then ate lunch at Arby's in Gallup. Then the long 150 mile I-40 Freeway run averaging 90 to Winslow Arizona for a 15 minute gas stop. Alternate from the trip up was 87 to Payson, half flat prairie at 110+ for 45 miles then forest and twisties into Payson, about half in light rain. Last gas in Payson before the 90 miles of HS 4 lane sweepers back to the PHX metro. It rained and stayed cool until we got to around 4-peaks, about 35 miles from town. Back in the valley just as the rush hour traffic was beginning to get heavy and I waved farewell to my 4 1/2 day riding companions as I exited the 101 south Freeway in Chandler AZ.

Thanks, John, Kevin and Mike for one hell of a 1800 mile summer 2003 adventure. The ride was crazy fast most the time but the bikes all ran flawlessly, no tickets and these fellas were great company, excellent riding companions and Kevin and Mike had me in stitches with their banter, most the time we weren't riding.

(Kevin's awesome trip photo link below)

http://www.tank69.com/images/cyclefest/

(race video link below)

http://extexltd.com/bigrex/mov00113.mpg
 

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Links no work for me...AWSOME write up!!! I'm jealous!

J
 
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