(...he proclaimed on that dreary afternoon)
Maybe this is bad judgment, or maybe it's a healthy departure from my comfort zone. I've decided that I spend too much of my life in the familiarity of flatness. I want to climb mountains - big ones. Actual, literal mountains. Like this one:
At this point I would love nothing more than to post up dozens of pictures of Colorado for you and I to gaze at - however, virtually all of them are copyrighted and I'm no thief. Don't worry - I plan on taking my A6000, a DJI Mavic Pro drone and a few GoPro cameras so I'll have plenty of media to post once I get there.
Colorado is a big state though, so we have to narrow down what we wish to see most. My head spins with the possibilities available to Coloradans. Beyond Pikes Peak, you've got Rocky Mountains National Park, the Rio Grande National Forest, the Alpine Loop, Aspen, Gunnison...all of these are surrounded by largely untouched public land and campgrounds a'plenty.
We can't be too hasty, however. Aside from most of Colorado currently being under varying feet of snow, work and personal commitments have me booked until Summer 2017 at the earliest. If I'm going to survive a trip up a fourteener, I also have some catch-up to do in the physical fitness department. All this in mind, I'm going to aim for week or so in late July, as that's when the most intense mountain passes open.
I'm told you can explore a lot of Colorado in a beige 2WD sedan, and even more in a rented Jeep. But to get to the most rugged areas you need something a little more stupider. Thankfully, I've been preparing for a while now:
The 690 and I have only covered around 3,000mi together so far, mostly offroad and in the neglected wrinkles of Gulf Coast backcountry. While I was based in the US I fitted all the essential upgrades for safety, protection, capacity and performance. But when I was sent to the Netherlands, the cost of shipping and importing the 690 would have been prohibitive - instead, I stored it in Texas.
So I need someone to yank the 690 off the trickle charger, trailer it up to Colorado and help me sweep away the cobwebs. Thankfully, a willing individual exists and his name is Dad. He and I ducked out of a few Christmas traditions a bit early this year, to do some bike prep on the WR450F he'll be riding.
Oil, air filters, extended range fuel tank, tires, suspension, luggage racks, ECU tuning, street-legal lighting and registration...it was all on the table. We even managed to sneak out for a "dry run". Although our tool and camping gear wasn't finalized, we stuffed our bags full of extra water to simulate heavier loads. The bikes performed beautifully at Sam Houston National Forest's sandy, forgiving trails.
We have yet to see how they'll hold up at 14,000ft...
I've started up a thread on ADVrider (daydreamer's paradise) for folks to offer up suggestions on what we should take, where we should go and what we should be aware of before heading off into the wilderness.
Dad and I have done this kind of thing before - in 2013, we met up for some short-range dual-sporting around New Jersey:
Back then we used our cars as a "base camp", always returning at the end of the day to refuel, repair and sleep. This meant we could avoid weighing down our lightweight dual-sports with heavy tools and bulky camping gear.
In 2017, however, we're being a little more ambitious. For Colorado, we're going to venture farther from civilization, and we plan on spending at least a night or two camping in remote places, solely with equipment we carry on the motorcycles. You have no idea how exciting this is to me...
More scheming to follow!