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Colorado Motorcycle Rides

Follow the Rivers: Tracing the Headwaters of the Colorado River

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Having just retired from a wildfire management position with the Forest Service the previous year, and thus off the hook for working fire pre-suppression all summer long, I took the opportunity to ride up into the high Rockies in June, following the great rivers—the Colorado and its tributaries—all the way to their origin. Departing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, I rode ...

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Southwestern Motorcycle Adventure: Las Vegas to Denver

Riding the Unaweep-Tebeguache Scenic Byway where we later dodged a herd of elk.

Wild temperature swings of up to 60 degrees in a single day, remote campgrounds and a plan—or at least six versions of it, because you know, a guy needs options! Welcome to adventure motorcycling. Not for the faint of heart, but full of sights and experiences that will burn into your memory. My friends Chris Shepherd and John Carlson share ...

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Crossing Colorado

Crossing Colorado’s Great Plains heading west, the front range of the Rockies begins to appear about 50 miles away, and slowly gets taller and taller. (Photos: Clement Salvadori)

I was loafing along the two-lane U.S. Route 6 on the BMW R 1200 RT as the road crossed the low rolling hills of the Great Plains, when suddenly a sign popped up: WELCOME TO COLORFUL COLORADO, back dropped by a half-dozen grain bins. These big, corrugated contraptions are not terribly aesthetic, but practical, since they’re relatively inexpensive and keep ...

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Chasing Dinosaurs in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming

U.S. Route 40 west of Dinosaur, Colorado.

When the dinosaurs roamed the earth, they were tiny and titanic, terrifying and titillating, fleet footed and even flabby. Sounds like me at various ages. My map says the Dinosaur National Monument is way, way up in northeastern Colorado. Next to the town of Dinosaur! And next to nothing else, on a road to nowhere. Excellent, let’s go chase some ...

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A Fiery Lap — Pleasant Detours in Colorado

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I’m barreling along a tiny Colorado highway on a sparkling sunny June afternoon with Asleep at the Wheel’s country music in my ears and a shiny new Moto Guzzi in full song. I turn north and there, over the corrugated peaks of the San Juan Mountains, is an apocalyptic plume of black smoke. Not again. But this was par for ...

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Searching for Colorado Roots in the Rockies

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As children, we heard many of Grandma Louise’s stories about Colorado. She was born in a log cabin a few miles outside of Creede, to a mother who had been born in Leadville and spent part of her childhood in Cripple Creek. This family history at high altitudes caught my imagination when, a couple years ago, I started looking for ...

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Climbing the Pikes Peak Highway

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The year was 1806. After traversing the flat plains of what is now eastern Colorado, Zebulon Pike saw a smudge on the horizon. The next day the smudge became a bump. By the third or fourth day, Pike realized he had a mountain to climb. I had the same feeling as I cruised westward on State Route 24, headed for ...

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Motorcycle Travel Through the Rocky Mountains

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The high mountain passes of the Rocky Mountains are an incomparable motorcycle touring experience, ringing with the legacy of tens of thousands of gold prospectors who fearlessly blazed trails across them in search of riches. In 1858, the discovery of gold near Pikes Peak triggered the biggest gold rush in history, as more than a hundred-thousand prospectors scoured the Rocky ...

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Colorado Chasms: Riding the other Canyonlands

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(This Favorite Ride was published in the June 2012 issue of Rider Magazine.) Story and photos by Kathleen Kemsley Colorado is best known for its lofty peaks, and rightly so. Those reaching at least 14,000 feet in elevation, known as Fourteeners, number 53 in this not-flat state. A lesser-known side of Colorado is its canyonlands. On the west slope of ...

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High Adventure in Colorado and Utah

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[This High Adventure in Colorado and Utah was originally published in the September 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Few regions in the United States have more low-traffic miles of wonderful twisty roads and stunning natural beauty than western Colorado and southern Utah. The goal this time is to link great motorcycle roads between Gypsum, Colorado, and Torrey, Utah, with decent ...

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