Monday, June 10, 2019

A Ride to Bonanza and two failed attempts at passes.

June 8

June 8, Saturday.

Sunny skies and puffy clouds would be the order of the day today.

The sunrise wasn't too bad either:


Today, I rode to the old mining settlement of Bonanza....I'd seen signs for it before while on US285 but never had time or inclination to investigate.  Rode Yagi at max Ural speed (55 mph) south on US 285, being passed by all cagers as when I'm riding one of my Ural rigs.

It's 14 miles to Villa Grove and CR LL56 which leads one to Bonanza.  It's 14 miles away, the last few miles on dirt road.  Nice dirt road but dirt.  The settlement itself is a far cry from the mining town it used to be.  Now its just a small mountain house community.

It does allow access to FR 869 though, aka Otto Mears Toll Road from back in the mining days.  I thought I'd take it to see how close I got to the summit of Marshall Pass, which I believe the toll road leads to.

Road conditions were worse than on Marshall Pass Road, very rocky and rutty.  I also didn't get very far north of Bonanza.

FR 869 was washed away by the swift running Squirrel Creek, the first wash through seemed doable but the second one was the one which convinced me to turn back after looking at it:

Turning back, I tried the route to Mosquito Lake, the road wasn't too bad, still rocky and rutty but not bad.

Pretty soon you come upon the ruins of a mine, with its dilapidated wooden buildings falling apart over the years.

A bit further up, I was stopped by water again, this one was long and seemed about 2 feet deep in the middle but since I was riding alone, no sense taking the chance eh?

Note, the above crossing also stopped a Jeep, its driver was nearby eating lunch.

 Looking back towards Mosquito Lake 

As one nears the city limits of Bonanza, you can see the old site for the town of Exchequer, not much remains but a cabin with a dilapidated inside:

Heading back south from Bonanza, I turned to try to reach Ute Pass which was indicated by a sign to be 4 miles away.  The last two miles or so were basically deep ruts, huge rocks lying loose among other rocks and on a Ural it would have been a kidney buster!

Yagi handled it all just fine, she got me to within a half mile I think of the summit.

 Campsite just before the summit of Ute Pass

Having just negotiated perhaps a 1/4 of mile more of the big rocks lying on top of other big rocks, the sight I saw below stopped me and I ran out of guts.  Bock Bock Bock....I turned around and headed back down.

So, no passes summited today either.  I rode back to the BLM campsite with no issues besides being the slowest vehicle on the road.

I did some local riding of dirt roads, and found the local campsite for the logger crew that is working nearby.  The area they're currently working in looks quite devastated, with several piles of harvested logs awaiting pickup:


RichardM said...

I was looking at the picture of where you turned around. Is it just the number of loose rocks or am I missing something?

redlegsrides said...

RichardM, yep loose rocks and a steep climb that I failed to capture in the picture. I have to work on that, capturing steepness.....