Day 3  July 9th, 2001

        We were always up by 6AM ready to ride and take care of the morning necessary things like brush your teeth, go to the potty, oil your chain, eat breakfast, start our GPS's and oh yes!!!!!!

   Pullstart Don's Honda!!!!!

     Don I told you, you would be on the web :). We would be packing a little heavier today as we weren't planning on coming back to the campsite for 2 or 3 days. This is something we were really wanting to do-travel on our bikes and not just ride around in a small area.

       We went North on Hwy. 9  about 6 miles, then West on County Rd. 12 which is the road to Mosquito Pass. On the way we stopped and read a sign that said “Pass Closed”.   Well this was going to mess up everything, as we had planned on going over the pass and continuing on. We decided to go on up and check it out and take some pictures-----little did I know what was in store for us.
      I hadn’t been over mosquito before (Don and Kenny had) and was really looking forward to it-----but according to the sign, this wasn’t going to be the day. On the way up we had some great riding and passed several neat old gold mines which deserved a look at.
      Well, sure enough, we ran in to a huge snow drift over the pass road and new we had to go back---or so I thought. Kenny had a gleam in his eye---------he wanted to pull and push the bikes thru this snow drift to get thru. I looked at him in amazement and didn’t say anything-------but yes, he was serious. I thought------avalanche------get buried in the snow------slide down the drift and crash into some big rocks at the bottom-------lose my bike----get killed-----etc. etc. Here we go.
      Here is "The Man" Kenny checking out the snow drift. I hinted to him I didn’t think it was a good idea at all, but all of a sudden we were tying a rope on to his DR650 and pulling and pushing his bike across the drift. It really was pretty easy except for the altitude. After getting the bike across we all three laid on the ground heaving and panting for five minutes. Kenny walked beside his bike and gave it very little throttle so it wouldn’t bury itself in the snow. We didn’t know how deep the snow was---or even if the road was under where we were going across----pretty scary !!!!
       Here we are not trying to start Don's bike believe it or not--it started on it's own. But we are tying the rope on this time so we could drag his bike across the drift. I love this picture. There was no way you could have rode across this as you would have just dug you rear wheel in the deep snow and buried yourself. We dup down trying to find just how deep it was but never hit bottom.
           Kenny went on up to the pass and confirmed that there was no other snow blockages on the West side of the pass so we then drug the other 2 bikes across. What an accomplishment-------Kenny was the man!!!!!  We were so proud-------we were the first ones across Mosquito Pass in 2001 J.  There was no way a jeep could have come across------he would have sunk in the snow over toppled down the mountain for sure !!!!  So here he is in all his glory--and he didn't need no stinkin' GPS to get him across !!!

        We went up to the pass summit (elevation 13,185 ft.) and took our pictures and read about Father Dyer who use to carry mail over the pass. Mosquito pass has the distinction of be the highest pass road---it's not the highest pass but by definition, the highest pass road.



       So now it was down the mountain to Leadville, the highest city in the world. What a distiction, there were a ba-zillion old gold mines in this area.We could see the town down in the valley during our descent. It was a lovely little old gold mining town and we went downtown and had a sandwich. A woman trying to cross the street right in front of us got hit hard by a car----she never moved after the hit-----we wished her well.
        Don gassed up and we headed West out of Leadville around the southern edge of Turquoise Lake, on Turquoise Lake Rd. which took us up to the summit of Hagerman Pass. Obviously they had run a snowplow thru the snowdrift here as there was a straight cut right thru the 8ft. deep snow drift. This was definitely a 4-wheel drive road as the ascent was pretty rough---just what we liked. When I say 4-wheel drive road I mean it is not practical or feasible to drive your home station wagon on this road.
    And here is yours truly at Hagerman Pass summit. The Suzuki was getting excellent fuel economy as you can see. It was nice riding in the snow. We didn't mind riding in the cool temperatures at all as we had called home an it was 108°. Probably a cool 51° here!!!! I had fastened a bag to my rear tailrack which was off my mountain bike. It worked out really well and I never lost it. I thought I would sometimes riding over some of the huge rocks we did sometimes.

        Our bikes were doing great. Kenny had fastened the Honda pull rope permanently to the back of his Suzuki, as it was needed more and more often. Kenny graciously helped Don anytime it was necessary---me—well-----I—uh---well----was always there to get the picture J, all the while hoping my electric starter would never fail---knowing Don would jump on me like stink on shit telling me the virtues of a simple machine and you don’t need a 60 gig hard drive and 256 MB of ram or a 1 gig processor to start a motorcycle !!!! Next year I will be certain to have installed the optional kickstarter on my bike----just in case. My DRZ400 we all thought was probably the superior machine when the rough got going----but Don’s XL and Kenny’s DR650 were always there, and they seemed to be riding with the same ease that I was.

        Just past the pass, we spied Ivanhoe Lake down on our left. I had heard about some kind of cool tunnels at the lake somewhere, but we kind of passed the lake and would maybe check this out the next time we came thru. We also came across this old Ford 4-wheel drive pickup that had crashed into the mountain side of the shelf road we were on. We tried to figure out what happened----we thought maybe his brakes gave out or he was sliding on ice or snow and decided to crash into this huge rock on the mountain side of the shelf road, rather then plummet to his death off the edge of the road. The truck took a hard frontal hit and was smashed in badly.

          We had planned on taking a side detour North to Crooked Creek Pass and possibly see the Fulford Cave in Fulford, but missed the turnoff, which was probably good as we probably didn’t have enough daylight to go there and still get off this mountain before dusk. So I think we continued toward Bartzel on Frying Pan road passing the Ruedi reservoir on the way.

                We finally hit some curvy black top running along the Frying Pan River and I wished I was on my Ducati 900SS/SP. Well this ole man still has a little road racer in him and soon I was pushing the envelope around curves, passing everything in sight having a great old time. I stopped under some shade just at the edge of Basalt and waited about 15 minutes for Ken and Don to catch up. They were doing the scenic thing I guess !!!!! It’s hard for me in Colorado-----do I look at the scenery---or do I let the DRZ rip ??????? It was a reacurring problem for me the whole trip. I enjoyed both immensely. I vowed never to bring a 250 4-stroke out here ever again as I had in the past, just not enough power.

                Looking at the map we had know idea of what kind of town Basalt would be---or even if they would have a gas station or a place to stay. We were out on a limb and needed a place to stay. Well Basalt had grown into another one of those Aspen type places---but much smaller. So we paid 4 times what a room was worth and were happy campers to have a shower and comfortable bed. There were no air conditioners in this nice Motel-----didn’t ever need it !!!!

                This day was one of the best-----especially after the fact we “Opened” mosquito pass !!! And Kenny “The Man” had prodded us across that huge snow drift. Kenny---“we are not worthy”.

 Click below to move on to Day 4

Day 4    Pearl, Taylor, Cottonwood and Trout Mountain Passes. Pearl Pass---the toughest pass we ever attempted.