The southern end of the road which leads to Guanella Pass is at at Grant, hence it's use as the starting point.
The Uralisti comprised myself, John and Cookie and Steffen and his son Nick. Steffen, with his low-slung Retro model with one-wheel drive would almost put Natasha and I to shame, more on that later.
We were joined on the ride to to Grant by Murph of wherethehellismurph.blogspot.com. He was riding his 2004 1150GS as US285, which takes one to Grant, was clear of snow and ice. He would leave his GS at Grant and would ride as monkey on my rig. I am glad he came along.
We all arrived shortly before 9:00AM and wandered about the parking area a bit. There was a pretty good turnout of expected dirt bikes and dualsport motorcycles along with our Urals. The most unusual vehicle I saw all day was this trike:
Someone had scrawled "Dung Beetle" on the dirty exterior of this trike.
Murph was not the only rider to bring his GS to this event, though we only saw one GS try and make it up to the pass. The rider of that GS had placed chains with tiedown straps of some kind. He would actually get pretty good traction on the road up, he in fact went about a mile further than we did.
Finally, we set off after most of the lighter dualsports and dirt bikes had scrambled first. The first 3-4 miles were nothing but packed dirt or pavement, with barely any snow on it. I was almost ready to apologize to Murph who was riding in the sidecar for the lack of snow.
However, we soon found enough snow to make even the hardiest of riders take pause. It was OK so long as one could maintain momentum and not stop in the soft stuff but there were bikes and riders stuck here and there and one could not go around them most of the time!
Everybody, when stopped, would gather about the stuck motorcycle of the moment and help extricate said vehicle, sending the rider on his way to the next spot of deeply rutted soft snow which was quite deep in places!
Slowly but surely, with much assistance given and rendered between us Uralisti and fellow riders on their smaller motorcycles, we gained altitude as the road climbed up the mountain. We "achieved our level of victory", as one passing rider put it, at around 9994 ft in altitude.
my reception committee at our high water mark
photo courtesy of Cookie and John
I'd gotten well and truly stuck about 150 ft short of where Steffen's Retro and John's GearUp had made it to, luckily, folks got me going and with determination and somewhat in control as I opened up the throttle, made it a few feet past the single-wheel drive Retro! Honor was preserved!
John and Cookie, gave it more than the "old college try" several times at one particularly wide and deeply rutted portion of snow-covered road and they eventually agreed on the "level of victory" already achieved.
We got our rigs turned around and started making our way slowly back down the mountain road. I was following Steffen's rig and it only got stuck twice on the way down. I managed to not get stuck at all though almost ran down a spectator who decided the middle of the road in front of a careening rig is the best place to take pictures. She was looking away from us and there was no stopping, so Murph bellowed out "Move!" and she moved.
We got back down to the mountain valley and stopped for these pictures:
Natasha and I, on one of our good days together.
Studly soon to be world traveler: Murph
We all gathered back at the parking lot in Grant to exchange stories with each other and other riders. A fun time was had by all. So, three Ural Rigs went up, three came down and no one hurt.....a good Elephant Ride. My thanks to Murph for letting me use some of his pictures from his posting for today's ride: LINK
Murph, ready to ride back to Denver
photo courtesy of Cookie and John
Steffen and his son Nick ready to roll
A longtime regular at these events: Happy
Here's Cookie pretending she still likes John