Day 4   Tuesday July 10th, 2001

Pearl, Taylor, Cottonwood and Trout Passes

      After breakfast we saddled up and rope started the Honda and made a bee-line Southeast to Aspen. Here we were to attempt (I said attempt) Pearl Pass. We had no idea how tough this would be. We finally made it thru all the congestion of Aspen and headed out a lonely 2 lane blacktop towards the very very rough Pearl Pass road. There were some amazing bicyclists on this road----if we stopped to pee very long they would pass us up---most weren’t very friendly—or so it seemed. This road climbed and climbed and finally turn off on an extremely rough jeep road or trail if you will that climbed to Pearl Pass. We didn’t know we weren’t going to get to Pearl Pass!!!!
         None of us had been over Pearl Pass but Kenny thought he heard it was a tough on. On the way up we crossed a beautiful stream with waterfalls over a wooden bridge---and seem some beautiful hideaway cabins out in the wilderness.
      Then we hit the notorious Rocky Mountain rocks. It was steep, with a trail of nothing but huge boulders and a 6 inch deep stream of water running down the trail in one spot, to make matters worse.
         I had the most trouble in one particularly bad spot and got stuck in between some rocks and had to restart my bike several times and with a little push from Don—made it thru. It was nasty.        I took off and disappeared from their sight around a switchback and continued up toward the pass. I stopped and waited for them to catch up and they said they had gotten thru the bad part unscathed. We were getting really wore out and hoped there wouldn’t be any more of the brutal terrain.
      There wasn’t --------except for several impassable snow drifts. I rode across one that was about 125ft. across but found much worse stuff up ahead, so we made the decision to go back down and go over Taylor Pass to the East which we had all been over and were familiar with.

            Going down the rocks was just as bad as going up. We were squeezing our handlebars so tight to hang on that Don said he had squeezed the hole shut in his handlebars !!!! It was a great ride up tho it was tough and we all vowed to try it again someday---maybe from the other side.

     Kenny took over the lead and new the way by heart up to Taylor Pass. I had been on top of Taylor Pass from the South, but had never approached it from the North---what a beautiful ride. And the beautiful Taylor Lake right below the pass-----awesome !!!!!!

       We had all been using the word “awesome” so much we were all sick of it and made a rule. “Anybody who says “awesome” has to pay the other two guys 5 bucks each !!!!!!!!! We were all broke before the day was over J   “Awesome” !!!!!!

                We went down the pass and on South into the Taylor Park area and had an “awesome” I mean superb lunch at the Nugget café. We all had ridden extensively in this area and were just passing thru this time and headed over Cottonwood Pass to Bueana Vista where I had an “awe**&^%%” route planned out for us over 7 mile creek road.  Why did they call it 7, when it is actually 11 ???????


       Right as we turned East just North of Buena Vista we came upon maybe the most “awes*(%$” thing maybe on our trip. We were riding on an old railroad bed again and went thru 4 tunnels right in a row. They all 4 were only about ¼ mile of riding total----so they were very close together. Two were only separated by maybe 20ft.
     We just wanted to ride back and forth thru these tunnels as we just couldn't believe how close they were together. I had read about these tunnels on a jeep website and was so glad we took the time to find them--or stumble upon them as it kind of was. After they abandoned this railroad they built a new right next to it out of the rocks---why didn't they do that in the first place ??????
       Just South of the tunnels we rode East thru the most amazing area. Now it seemed as we were in New Mexico, less the cactus. Big round red rock cliffs and a mind boggling maze of neat broad sliding sanday trails thru this area. We felt like 3 blind mice in this maze---running around in never ending circles in the “Twilight Zone” never to find our way out. But-------looky !!! My little GPS just kept telling me to go this way and that way, ever so perfectly. I was even doubting  (never, ever, ever doubt your GPS) its data. This was a very very beautiful area (I didn’t say “awesome”) and I am always amazed at the differences in the terrain that are around every curve in Colorado.
         Don't ever tell a guy with a GPS which way is North !!!!!

       We came out of this area right at Trout Creek Pass on hwy. 24 and headed North then hit hwy. 285 and speeded up to highway speeds toward Fairplay. All the way to Fairplay there was these terrible looking black clouds with a wall of water coming out of them. We new we were going to get drowned before we got to Fairplay. It was thundering and lightning something fierce. And me and Kenny were trying to stay away from Don-----as lightning seemed to be attracted to him. We pressed on---and I kept waiting for Don to pull over and put on rain gear but he never did. The distances fooled us and we never got a drop. After getting back to our campsite we buttoned things up as it was looking even worse. Never got a drop. You can’t guess Colorado weather.

                I think we had spent 12 hrs. on the bikes that day---and what a day it was. The little skinny motocross seat on my DRZ wasn’t bothering me at all. As long as I didn’t sit on Kenny’s comfy seat I would be alright J.

                I was so much enjoying the past few days with my good friends. Don was getting used to my impromptu gas expulsions it seemed---- and I new soon he would be joining in with me. Then when he tried that at home he would be in big  trouble------my wife is used to it !!!!!! Heck we were almost getting used to each others snoring---what are buddies for anyway !!!

Click below for Day 5.

Day 5   Monarch, Old Monarch, Original Monarch, Boreas, and Waunita Passes.