The weather was beautifully sunny and cool but not cold. Traffic was light and my rig was running well. I'd ridden this road before on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Airhead Beemer and it was time to introduce the scenery to Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig.
Rocky cliff sides near the settlement of Needles, CO
Above and below, the mountain views from the
Durango Sports Center
Above and below, more views of
Turks Head and Grand Turk Mountains
View of several peaks from near Molas Pass
Some more peak views from north of Molas Pass
Approaching Silverton, CO
Riding North of Silverton on US550
Part of the Million Dollar Highway
After shooting the pics along the Million Dollar Highway, I tried to start up the trail to Engineer Pass from the western entry point near the above picture but the way was blocked by a truck!
I got to Silverton and after asking for directions, found myself on County Road 2 leaving Silverton and soon found myself at the start of the Alpine Loop which is how you get to Engineer Pass:
Alpine Loop entry point north of Silverton, CO
Not much remains of the town of Eureka which
is on the Alpine Loop enroute to Animas Forks
The road to Animas Forks is "maintained" according to the lady at the visitor center but it's very rocky and rutted and not for the faint of heart. Still, it wasn't too bad really and soon I was at the outskirts of the ghost town of Animas Forks:
Animas Forks, a Ghost Town where I should have turned around.
From Animas Forks, the road got much more rough and conditions were pretty iffy. Valencia was doing fine for the most part but I could tell the clutch was starting to overheat so I stopped often to let things cool off.
Above and below, are the last shots I took on the way up.
Less than two miles from the top....so close and yet so far
Got myself turned around, the clutch not seeming to want to disengage the transmission from the engine when the lever was pulled in. Still, it was all downhill, I had first gear and could shift up as needed even though the clutch wasn't working.
I slowly made my way back down the mountain, past Animas Forks was back at Silverton shortly after 5:45 PM or so.
Made it into town with no further issues, I rode over to the Triangle Motel which had a Vacancy sign and got myself a room. I called a fellow Uralista: Craig H. and also my friend Oscar and discussed the situation with them.
Between our talks, it was decided to adjust the clutch cable to allow engagement of the clutch to some extent (not perfect but usable); called the dealer and ordered parts and turned in for the night. The hope is things will become "unstuck" overnight as the rig cools to allow better clutch operation.
That's it for the pleasure riding for this trip I'm afraid. I pushed Valencia way too hard on the way up to Engineer Pass. I will ride her home tomorrow, using the route with the least amount of city traffic!