Tour De’Colorado: 2 Up

What do you get when you add 2 weeks time, one beautiful wife, a whole shebang of camping gear, and a big blue motorcycle? The trip of a lifetime is what! And what better setting to place such a trip than gorgeous Colorado!

This trip took place in the first bit of August 2017. “It’ll be boiling hot!” “You’ll get soaked!” “You’ll ruin your backside!” Naysayers aside, we were hot, we were cold, we were wet, and we were tired, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world!

What better start to a Colorado adventure than the quaint little town of Telluride? There is some seriously surreal property in Telly, and as Ferris said, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” Well, we can dream.

As they say, “With a van, you can!”  Never mind who “they” are. You’re looking at 21 feet of American Made glory right there. Fits a Tenere pretty darn well!

Jumping off: Day 1

Layered up, rain gear on, and everything strapped down, we head off into the rainy morning on day 1. Ahead lies Gateway Canyon, John Brown Canyon, a startled black bear, and Moab, Utah. Bonus points if you can find the ‘hanging flume’. Of course, we had to say hi to the horse version of Fabio on our way to seeing some very old footprints.

Turns out, Moab is hot in August. Leaving Castle Valley and heading to City Market to fuel up both the bike and ourselves had us very much looking forward to a dip in the river. All the recent rainfall had the Colorado brown and full. It was still mighty fine!


Getting out of Dodge: Day 2

The new morning had us going up to the 70 and into Grand Junction. A word to the wise, avoid the 70. It’s friggin’ boring. Long, straight, flat. But, it gets you access to Colorado National Monument, which is almost cool enough to redeem that abysmal road. Almost.

Up next: Grand Mesa. Everything between Grand Junction and Cedarville is pure bliss. If you’re in the area, don’t miss Grand Mesa. Skiing? Check. Trails? Check. OHV? Check. Fishing? Check. Boating? Check. Freshly repaved roads? Ohhh, buddy. This place has it all. Don’t forget to stop and get your hard cider in Cedarville either!

To finish off the day, we dodged a bugger of a storm cell to scoot through Montrose and down into Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This is one of those places that you’d never see if you were just driving through. You have to make an effort to get here, and go specifically out of your way, but when you do, you are rewarded with a special treat. East portal campground is well worth the harrowing drive to get to. The roads are seriously steep.  

Hot, wet, left and right: Day 3

Twisty roads, hot springs, and the best camp spot of the trip. The 92 heading north from Gunnison is pure bliss. Epic views and unending twisties leaving you ready for more. That said, the 133 is one of my favorite paved roads of the trip; fast, flowy, gorgeous. Them Colorado engineers really know how to put a road in.  Don’t forget to play tourist and see the coke ovens on your way into Redstone.

We enjoyed soaking in the hot springs and seeing the mountaintop amusement park in Glenwood Springs. We then hit up the local grocery where I learned my headlights had both burnt out. At 7:30. As the sun is setting in an unfamiliar town where we don’t have a camp planned. Crud! AutoZone to the rescue, and much thanks to Mother Yamaha for using standard H4 bulbs. Crisis averted. Now where to sleep? KOA’s full, hotels are $$$, and national forest is far enough to be finding camp in the dark. Well, we put our newly minted headlights to task, and found a viable spot up Avalanche Creek Rd. Luckily, no snow this time of year.

Of course, the entry fee is a nighttime water crossing on a 800lb motorcycle! Talk about fun! Hah. Set up camp, cook dinner, everything in the bear bag, hit the sack. We awoke to the best spot of the trip. Towering mountain ridges closed our view on either side, lush alpine streams serenaded us, and morning sun filtered through the trees.  Can’t we stay another night?! The water crossing was much less eventful in the daylight.

Pizza, Crusty Butt, Cheap Cups: Day 4

Next stop, Crested Butte by way of Forest Rd 12.  This one’s a stunner guys. Of course, the camera was charging, so you’ll have to take my word for it.  If you’re in the area, make it a point to drive this road. Then you can try the Elizabeth Anne pizza in Crested Butte.  

Onward and outward. Coming up, Tin Cup. It’s a weird little historic town up in the sticks. Pretty cool place, just don’t count on a great hamburger while you’re there. We ended up camping right next to a ‘fixer upper’ right out of town. I counted four tailing piles, but I didn’t want to push my luck climbing around old mine shafts. We found some appetizers and washed ourselves down in Slaughterhouse Gulch. Nasty name for a picturesque book.

You Take the High Road, I’ll Take the Adventure Bike: Day 5

The next morning we would tackle the only pass road of the trip. I know, I know. I came to Colorado on an adventure bike and didn’t ride the passes?! Well, been there done that, and I’m a firm believer in ‘horses for courses”. In other words, muscling an 800lb pseudo streetbike two up through a scree field-turned-road isn’t my idea of fun. Hey, she’s light on her feet for a fat girl… we’ll come back on the dirtbikes and rip it up right proper.

We would then pass over Monarch pass, where we got our first real opportunity to don our rain gear in earnest! Rain, then hail, then BIG hail! At least it felt big. Had to pull over and wait that one out on order from the spousal unit. That storm would chase us all the way into Colorado Springs, where it decided it liked us and wanted to ruin our views for the next couple days. But not before regaling us with stories of hurricane force winds whilst traversing HWY 24. That’s another one you can skip, especially on a bike. My neck still hurts.

We’re both starting to get pretty ripe. That means it’s laundry day. We’ll be in Colorado Springs for a couple nights, so might as well hit the coin-op. I packed just enough, which means I bum one of wife’s extras. Hey, I know what I’m about. Over the next 36 hours, we enjoy some excellent food, burn up some amazing roads, and laugh at some incredibly cold mountain bike tourists. It was 28 degrees and wet at the top of Pike’s Peak, but at least the fog broke and awarded us the epic view we were suffering for. I tell ya, Pike’s Peak is a helluva thing with 30ft visibility.  

Bajaworx Enduro Windshield

While reading the internet one day, I came across a post from Bajaworx seeking testers for an Enduro bike windshield.  Bajaworx was looking for folks to give their product some real world testing, and to put it through the ringer to see how performed and held up to months of riding.  I promptly replied to the post, and a few days later I received a neat, tidy package in the mail.  Like the proverbial porridge, the box was not too big, not too small, but just right.  Maybe it’s just me, but it really irks me when I get a pair of gloves shipped in a box you could live out of.  No, Amazon, I did not like your packaging.

Tear open the box from Bajaworx however, and you get a carefully and correctly wrapped shield, complete with a bag of hardware taped in place (nice!) and a clear set of installation and care directions.   The shield comes out clean and free from blemishes, and they even used high quality Makrolon polycarbonate in its construction.   These guys obviously care about what they make and sell.

Start the installation by removing the headlight mask on your bike to install the shield.  You’ll have to punch a few holes in the stock mask, but luckily this part is only about 20 bucks if you need to “rework” it for any reason.  Removing the headlight assembly is as simple as disconnecting the wiring, removing the brake hose guide, and pulling the two rubber mounting straps.

Here’s my first gripe: I’m a klutz and I want a template, darn it!  I’m also borderline OCD, so I needed to get the windshield installed perfectly straight.  Out come the calipers and the sharpie so that I can scribe some lines of reasonable accuracy.  A paper template that I can lay over the bike’s headlight mask and mark out the drill holes would be a welcome addition to the installation instructions.

One of the more refined features that are included with the Bajaworx windshield are the stiffening brackets that help reduce movement of the windshield while under wind load.  Sadly, they stopped short of the mark on my particular bike, so I wasn’t able to use them.  It should be noted that I installed the windshield on a model year this was NOT designed for, so that’s no fault to Bajaworx.

Yet again, Bajaworx’s attention to detail surprises me – in this case the appropriate hardware comes pre-assembled; no digging through a bag of hardware looking for the “#4:  6mm screw – 30mm”, or some such nonsense.  Just select a long or short screw, and assemble one at a time being careful not to overtighten.  Depending on what handguards and other handlebar accessories you have on your particular bike, you may have to spend some time tinkering and adjusting to incorporate this windshield onto your bike so that vibration and rubbing won’t cause part A to eat part B.

Over the last several months I’ve taken the Bajaworx windshield down many miles of singletrack, climbed mountains, and gobbled up hundreds of miles at full chat.  I’ve taken the windshield into some properly hairy scenarios, and I never noticed it; with one exception.  I bottomed out hard in a G-out and let myself get pulled too far forward over the bars.  My chest kissed the top of the shield, but that’s all.  No harm, no foul.  Otherwise, it’s utterly imperceptible until you get up in speed.

Once you’re looking to cover some miles, you will notice well, nothing – and that’s the point.  The shield takes all that wind pressure that would normally be pushing you over backwards and diverts it around you.  When sitting, you will have practically no wind from the neck down.  Unlike other products, this piece accomplishes this in such a way as to maintain smooth, laminar airflow across your helmet.  This means that while your head is still in the wind, it’s not bobbling around and creating a roar.  There’s some noise for sure, but it’s all quite tolerable.

Last but not least is durability.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I did not get the opportunity to crash test this shield, so I cannot speak to its performance in that arena.  I would posit that this shield is the least of your worries in a crash, and that because the headlight assembly is essentially rubber mounted, it would likely survive any encounter with the earth.  One area of improvement I would suggest is the brake line routing.  The brake hose on my bike would rub constantly on the two ridges on the back of the shield, quickly developing a ‘smeared’ section.  It’s a non-issue since the shield in nowhere near your sight line, but it’s kinda ugly nonetheless.  Granted, it’s still the best looking plastic on my bike, so who’s to argue?

All said, this is a well thought out, well made, and made in USA product that can provide some real world relief on those long stretches at speed.  Whether you’re headed to Dead Horse, or you’re in search of some fish tacos and a cold cerveza, the Bajaworx enduro shield is a welcome riding partner and will see you through a day of riding with noticeably less fatigue.  Check them out at

 Full Disclosure: Bajaworx generously contributed this Enduro Windshield for review at no cost to the author or American Adventurist.



Sometimes it pays to answer the unknown caller. Mostly, it’s underpaid and overworked solicitors telling you that you’ve won a free cruise. Ya, sure buddy. Sometimes, it’s a guy named Deuce.

“You wanna ride the AZBDR in April?”

And like that, tentative plans were sketched in. It would be a dicey operation, what with the possibility of heavy snow late into May, but we were gunna ride something darn it!

I have the luxury of choosing between my adventure beast, the Super Tenere, and my Austrian mistress, Katya the KTM 450 xc-w. After reading some horror stories about the massive washouts on Cherry Creek Road I opted for the latter, and with 2 months to go, set about getting my high strung singletrack slayer as comfortable as possible while loaded up with gear and buzzing down the 2-lane. Enter Primary Drive, a Rocky Mountain ATV/MC house brand, and their cheap (but good!) gearing. The 13 becomes a 15 and the 52 becomes a 48. An oil change, an air filter, and a couple turns of preload later the bike is good to go!

Okay, so how do I make that stuff fit on a bike designed to carry nothing? Enter the Giant Loop Mojave (a 35 liter drybag) and some creativity. I am not leaving my water shoes!

We had decided to leave from my house come D-day, and up rolled some other rag-tags I’d collected for this adventure, Adam and Julien. This would be my first time meeting them, let alone riding with them…what have I gotten myself into? Well, cant back out now, sometimes you’ve gotta roll with it. And roll we did, onward and outward, off into the sunset of adventure! Or in this case Forest Road 240 in the Coconino National Forrest, affectionately known as ‘the Coke’ in the USFS circles. Eventually we popped out on the ‘dual’ part of our sport; tarmac. We would cruise on this until I began to regret my decision bringing the little bike…but it sure beats a day in the office!

Scrubbing some elevation off rewarded us not only with increased temperatures, but a great pastel of wildflowers interspersed among the Saguaro. Fun fact: a Saguaro (say it with me now—seh-wahr-oh) won’t sprout it’s first ‘arm’ until 75 years old. Sometimes, they will become ‘crested’ or ‘cauliflower.’

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We still needed to get to the other side of that lake, where we were meeting up with the California boys, Deuce and Howard. Supposedly, anyway. Best laid plans of mice and men…

Soon enough, we’re scoping out sites, setting up camp, and enjoying a roaring campfire on the river’s edge. Stories were swapped, lies were told, and totems were christened. Totems named grandpa. Sometimes you’ve gotta roll with it. Time to tuck in the bikes and let the river lull us to sleep under a stunning blanket of stars.

Day Two. Why haven’t Deuce and Howard called us? Where are they? They were supposed to be meeting us here by now….oh well, we’ve got high temps and cool water, riding can wait! Finally, after a getting a fair way towards sunburned, we made contact and met some new friends. Howard and Deuce had officially arrived.

Deuce: “There’s water in Arizona?!”

Yeah, man, there’s water…we’ll be seeing more of that later. But first, the long, hot rocky Cherry Creek Road. It’s amazing to think that on the opposite side of those mountains is the I-17 and all its insanity. Road rage, truck fires, fifth wheels and road ‘gators. Not over here, though. There’s only stunning vistas, overshadowing cliffs, and some really old houses.

Without further ado, Arizona was throwing more curve balls at us, and just in time. It was HOT!

A short roll later we would come to the most dreaded of dreads. The purest of all evils, and the mother of pain. We would come to ‘the washout.’ I hear it swallowed a guy on a Honda. I’m really, really, totally, glad I left the 600lb blue PIG at home!

Howard puts his big boy pants on and shows us all how it’s done. Well, shoot. I guess it wasn’t that hard after all. Anticipation is a…well, you know.

Some smooth sailing and greener pastures brought us into the party town of Young. Funny town, Young, there’s NO pavement connecting it to the outside world. But honestly, it’s better that way.

The sun was getting low and the hours long, and we had miles to go before we slept. Time to press on, our destination was our very own lakeside property. More lies were told this night as well. Like that my sleeping bag was survivable at 15°F. Bag + liner + thermal adv gear + fire and I was still cold. Brrrr. But it was all worth it to wake up to this view.

More riding. More views. Note to self: it’s easy to trip in moto boots. Deuce I’m talking to you, so watch your step on the cliffs! It’s probably for the best we were on a ‘scenic tour’ because this would not be the time I wanted to test my trials skills at speed.

By this point in the trail I’m pretty sure we had personally run over every, single, jarring, sharp, blasted rock in Northern AZ, and we were ready for a break. Only about 60 miles to cover before we’d reach Mt. Humphrey’s in the distance and get our break…rally, boys!

Soon, we were nearing the end of this leg of the journey. We would be parting ways after the Cinder hills. These hills are a rare moonscape that, while challenging, is truly a treat to ride through, provided you stay away from the whoops…

I took a chance on four strangers. People I had never met, had barely talked to, and had met through the seediest of ways—through the dark depths the internet ( We had one common interest and one common goal: we were going to ride motorcycles on as much dirt in Arizona as we could pack into a few days. Sometimes life is about stepping, nigh leaping, out of your comfort zone. I can now say I am much richer than when I started; richer in friends and richer in experiences, both things that money cannot buy. We saw country and wildlife that can be experienced no other way, and made lasting memories along the trail.

A Big Bike, A Small Dog, and a Long Dusty Road

Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes.  Here in Arizona, it usually involves the search for a secluded waterway where one can attain a reprieve from the baking sun and wash off the dust from the trail.

When most folks think of the deserts in Arizona they imagine a parched landscape full of cacti and broken dreams.  They’re right, but there is also a thriving ecology closely packed around a surprising number of lakes and rivers.   And when you live at 7,000 feet above sea level in Arizona, it snows the night before you leave for a trip to the desert.

What else can you do, but layer up, press on, and keep a vigilant eye on the forecast?  As so many of us today are corralled into set schedules and pre-planned vacations, sometimes simply pushing on is all you can do.  Despite the snowflakes falling outside, my wife and I packed our Super Ténéré for a weekend’s adventure to take the back [read: two-lane, twisty-windy, dirt road, and generally awesome] way to Alamo Lake, AZ.  There’s a saying in Flagstaff that “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” And this once again proved true as we jumped on a break in the snowstorm and pointed our bike South toward warmer weather, sun, and miles of twisty-windy two lane goodness.

Our route would take us on two lane roads from Jerome, through Prescott, and toward Bagdad (AZ!), and on toward the middle of nowhere, which as it happens, is near Nothing, AZ.  We were so busy enjoying this wonderful ribbon of tarmac, we missed our turn, and were ‘lost’, round 1.  After consulting the GPS, we found an alternate route; a 33 mile dirt road that was supposed to be a well maintained, smooth cruise.  Not so much. We were lost again, round 2.

Pretty soon, the washouts, sand, and several additional wrong turns had us re-thinking ourselves.  “Keep going. There’s a darn lake at the end of this.  How far have we gone?  Only Three miles! This is going to be a long afternoon…”

Perseverance won the day however, and before too long, we were cooking along in 5th gear on a wide, well-graded dirt highway.  Sometimes, all you need to fix the roads is to cross a county line.

As the miles ticked by, we started to get into the groove again.  Things were looking up, and we had plenty of daylight, plenty of fuel, and we hadn’t lost our mascot, Tortellini the turtle.  (Editor’s note:  Tortellini is known to fly out from his perch on the authors Ténéré from time to time.  This most commonly happens on rough roads or at high speeds. –Chad)  Before we knew it, we were looking for a campsite and changing into our swimsuits.  We had made it to Alamo Lake.

After a quick dip in the lake, some warm food, and making a campfire, we were watching another world-class Arizona sunset and reflecting on the day.

It seems like the farther I can get away from civilization, and the closer I can get to undeveloped wilderness, the more content I am.  The trivialities of life fade into the background as I soak in my surroundings.  I’m dusty, I’m hot, I’m exhausted and I’m away from everything that makes home so comfortable, yet I feel more content and more joyful than I do almost anywhere else.  After all, I’ve got my wife, my dog, and my motorcycle – what more could I ask for?