Back in the first half of August, a fellow Uralista and friend of mine, Darrell S. and his lovely wife Piper rode their 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig along parts of the COBDR (Colorado Backroads Discovery Route). Here is their report:
Buena Vista to Lake City.
Not a challenging section, but long: 212 Kms total.
Passes crossed (in order)
Los Pinos Pass
I stopped in Pitkin and put a gallon of gas in my tank because I wasn't sure exactly how long this section was. I only put a gallon in because they didn't have 91 octane. Turns out I didn't need it. Could've made it on one tank of gas (or at least one tank along with the Kolpin reserve I had).
The most challenging section was a small section off of county road 14PP. There were a couple of hills I wasn't prepared for and before I knew how steep they were, the rig didn't have enough umph or momentum to make it up. I just turned around and tried each a second time and had no problem making it up them. Not that they were extremely steep, but one didn't realize how they were until you were upon them......
Basically, a long hot day in the saddle. Left Buena Vista at 9:30am, arrived Lake City at 4pm.
Lake City to Telluride
This is a very short section if you can take the main route laid out on the map. 64 miles total. It goes over the following passes:
Red Mountain Pass
We left out of Lake City and had high hopes of being able to complete this section on a Ural.
We motored toward the top of Cinnamon Pass with no troubles......until we came to a switchback that had a large rock outcropping on the road just on the uphill side of the switchback. I just couldn't get enough umph
around the switch back to make it up over the rock outcropping.
Piper got out of the sidecar and I tried one last time. I made it 3/4 of the way onto the rock and my rear tire got caught in a shallow hole in the rock. I was just about to use my winch to get over the remaining portion when a vehicle coming down the mountain stopped to help. A man and his son helped lift up and push the rear of the bike as I tried my best to burn up the clutch.......but it worked!
I was up and over the rocks. The rest of the ride to the top of Cinnamon Pass was uneventful. We crested the top and it was a steep ride down the other side to Animas Forks.
Looking back towards Cinammon Pass from Animas Forks.
We rested a little in Animas Forks and then started the trail up to California Pass.
Animas Forks Gold Mine
The road up to California Pass
I'm not exactly sure how far up we made it on this road, but I believe we were within 1/2 mile of the pass. We hit a right turn switch back that I just couldn't make it past. It was a very tight right turn and a very steep incline just after the switch back. The third time I tried I made it at least half way up the steep incline and realized I wasn't going to make it so I braked.
I didn't want to back down, so I slowly started turning the bike as I coasted backwards to have the sidecar wheel downhill. I got to the point where I was completely sideways on this section and the whole bike just started sliding sideways down the steep part of the road.....Piper wasn't happy and was almost ready to jump out of the sidecar. I finally righted the ship and got going downhill the right way.
A factor that I failed to realize about this pass was that it is the highest pass on the COBDR at 12930'. The
altitude was also robbing the Ural of what little power it has.
We stopped to discuss the situation and not knowing what the other passes were like, we were too concerned that we might get in an area where we couldn't make it out of. So the decision was made to turn around and take the road back down to Animas Forks and then the road down into Silverton.
Road from Animas Forks to Silverton
From Silverton, we took 550 up to the turnoff to Ophir Pass.
Ophir Pass looking west
another story. For the first mile, it is very loose rock and a sheer drop off on the side. Make sure you have good brakes and go very slow. I mainly used by rear/sidecar brake because it left me the ability to steer with the front wheel. If you lock up your front wheel in this section it could get hairy real quick.
Summit sign at Ophir Pass
Ophir Pass Western Road
Ophir Pass, waiting for traffic to clear the way
A Ural can make it up if it doesn't have to stop. There aren't many areas for someone to pull off to the side to let you pass and if you stop then you are in trouble. So as we were making it down, we made sure no one was coming up, because didn't want to have to try and get out of their way.
So the only passes we crossed today were Cinammon and Ophir.
We left Lake City at 9:00am and arrived in Telluride at 2:00pm.
Telluride to Dolores to Four Corners.
A very easy section of the COBDR with some of the best scenery.
Wilson Mesa Ranch Area
Road 618 Southwest of Telluride
Road 49G Overlook
We could hear the faint sounds of motorcycles coming up the trail so we waited to see who it was. They stopped to talk a little bit. Two Canadians on BMW's just starting out on the COBDR. We had a nice chat. The one asked us about mud...he seem quite concerned about it. They warned us about a mud hole just a little ways down the trail and we were both off in our different directions.
It didn't take long to figure out why the one Canadian was concerned about mud. We must have found at least 5 locations where his bike fell over in minor muddy spots. Not to let him outdo us, we came upon the mud hole they told us about and it didn't look too concerning.
I took a line and started into it.........the part that the sidecar tire went into was way deeper than I had anticipated and the sidecar tire went down into and it swung the whole bike around to where the front tire was in the same hole as the sidecar tire.
Well my testosterone got the better of me. I put it in two-wheel drive and hit the gas. The front wheel came up out of the pit, but now both drive wheels were stuck in it. I couldn't go forward and I couldn't go backwards.
Piper tells me to stop and lets look at the situation. I finally listened to her and got off the bike. She took a pic and proclaimed "stuck Ural!".
It really wasn't that hard to get out. I physically lifted up the whole back of the bike and Piper pushed to where the back tire was out of the mud but the front tire was back into it. I then went around the front and picked up the front end of the bike while Piper pushed backwards and we have the front tire out of the mud. I then got back on the bike without Piper in the sidecar and drove right out of the hole.......
Back on the trail, there are a couple of interesting FS roads before you hit Dolores (FS C and FC 257). Nothing too difficult but better than motoring along FS 527.
The ride from Dolores to Four Corners is all paved, hot, and long. The actual Four Corners monument was