top of page

Eagle Crest Riders’ Amazing Southwest Colorado Odyssey 

 

Story by John Burton, with photos from riders on the ride and stock photos to illustrate places we visited but didn't get photos. 

 

The Ride – 

5 members of the SEAT group returned from a 5 day Colorado ride on Sunday tired, but having seen some beautiful country and making memories we’ll have for years. 

 

Day 1: Tucson to Cortez  

 

A "Get There" day.  Tucson to Cortez is about 450 miles and even though it was clear running and sunny skies, that’s a lot of motorcycle miles for a day.  Arrived at Cortez late afternoon, tired and hungry. Crashed in our rooms and slept like logs. 

Stopping for a Shiprock picture -- The small  knob on the horizon is Shiprock

 

Shiprock view with the telephoto –

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Cortez to Delta ---- Cliff Dwellings and Canyons, but few Cars:  

 

We ran up to Mesa Verde first thing after breakfast.  The park contains a group of cliff dwellings -- primitive apartments with 200-500 inhabitants -- built into hollows in cliffs, active from about 800 to 1600 AD.  (Photo Julian Gonzalez, Lloyd Koppes, John Burton)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Butler looking at Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde

 

 

 

The views from up top of Mesa Verde are phenomenal. On a clear day you can see 200+ miles, but the wind was blowing and the dust was up, so views were limited. We headed down the mountain for a splash of gas and a coffee before turning for the Gateway Auto Museum and some beautiful Western Colorado riding.

 

The ride to Gateway resort on Colorado 141 was a great ride. The road traces the deep, red-rock canyons of the Dolores and San Miguel rivers. Beautiful canyons with walls so steep and sheer, you might think you are in a RoadRunner cartoon. 

 

 

 

The Gateway: 

We stopped at the famous Gateway Auto Museum which formerly held a large collection of specialty autos, only to find that the collection was recently sold to the Hendricks Racing people and most of it had been moved.  A few cars remained, but the website had no indication that 75% of the cars were already gone.  A great disappointment for us.

 

 

 

 

Another hundred miles or so of stunning red rock canyons as we traced the Uncompahgre, Gunnison, and Colorado rivers toward Delta and a bed for the night. 


Day 3: Delta to Pagosa Springs -- Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ridgeway, Telluride, Delores, Pagosa Springs:  A day of beautiful country and great riding, but more drizzle and wet.

 

 

 

(Stock photo. Low hanging clouds prevented us getting this photo for ourselves)

 

 

We pushed off from Delta into another day of low clouds, drizzle, and wet roads, heading for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and more incredible riding.  We had hoped that this would be a spectacular morning of views along the canyon but it's hard to enjoy the views when the roads are wet and the drop offs are a thousand feet or more, and hard to get good photos with the clouds that low.  

 

Still, we made some stops and took a few snaps, and enjoyed the ride. (Photo below is what we really saw of the Black Canyon.)

 

 

 

After gas at Montrose and a quick lunch stop at Ridgeway, we headed for some of the most beautiful country on the ride.  

 

We had some concerns about traffic around Telluride because of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, but it turned out to be a non-issue.  We saw the huge camping area as we passed by, and it looked like a giant homeless convention had descended on the beautiful valley. 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross Mountain Highway

 

Leaving the fleas, flies, and lice of the Folk Festival in the mirrors, we headed up toward a high-mountain valley unlike any other. 

 

The valley between Mt Wilson and Blackhawk Mountain is stunningly beautiful. We expected as we rounded every bend to find Julie Andrews with outstretched arms singing "The Hills Are Alive...."  

 

 

 

A real highlight of the trip as we traced the Dolores river down toward the town of the same name. 

 

 

 

After a break in the small town, we turned for Pagosa Springs, with some welcome rest and a place to put on some dry clothes. 

 

 

 

 

Pagosa Springs natural hot mineral baths:

 

Day 4:  Pagosa Springs to Albuquerque: Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge, Cimmaron, Angel Fire, and dry freeway at last. 

 

Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Guage

 

We loaded up and rolled out of Pagosa on schedule to see the narrow-gauge steam train roll out of Chama.  The engine is still coal fired, so the sight and sound of the little engine starting to chuff its line of cars up the hill is unlike what you'll see anywhere else in the country. 

 

 

 

 

On days when the passenger load demands extra cars, they actually double-head the little train for the pull -- The only steam locos left in the country to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

When the smoke and steam cleared, and the sound of the steam chime had gone around the bend, we pushed off for Taos and the beautiful ski country of northern New Mexico.  

 

After a great ride past Taos, Red River, and Angelfire, we passed through a beautiful valley, coming out in Las Vegas, NM.  We saw none of the flooding that was reported on the news that evening, and we were totally surprised to learn that much of the town was suffering a terrible catastrophe. 

 

Day 5:  Rolling for Home:  Freeways and Telescopes.

 

Sunday morning sunrise broke in Albuquerque to the 5 of us saying our good-byes and loading the bikes for the final leg. 

 

From Albuquerque to Tucson riders could choose from among three routes.  Two of the riders broke off at Socorro to ride past the VLA and on to Show Low, where they parted ways with one opting for the Salt River Canyon and the other for the winding trail of 191 down from Eager to Morenci.  

 

 

 

VLA: Very Large Array.  Largest radio telescope in the world.

 

 

The remaining three opted for the efficiency and relaxation of the empty Sunday freeway and set the cruise to 85, southbound on I-25 and west on 10.  We were early, and the traffic was light until we got to Wilcox or so and the truckers were up and moving.  We felt like mice in the elephant cage, scurrying to avoid being squashed by the monsters.  

 

All arrived home safe and tired, but still good friends and talking about next year's ride.

 

<The Eagle Crest subgroup of SEAT is intended to be a smaller group, limited to 6 or perhaps 8 riders.  We do some rides that won't work with the larger group.>   

 

Next year:  Moab and Eastern Utah, maybe.  Probably another 5-day ride, because there’s just no other way to see Arches, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, and other sights without having a few days on the ground. Might try to catch Cape Royal again on the way home …  We’ll see.  

Eagle Crest Riders’ Amazing Southwest Colorado Odyssey 

 

Story by John Burton, with photos from riders on the ride and stock photos to illustrate places we visited but didn't get photos. 

 

 

The Ride – 

 

5 members of the SEAT group returned from a 5 day Colorado ride on Sunday tired, but having seen some beautiful country and making memories we’ll have for years. 

 

Day 1: Tucson to Cortez  

 

A "Get There" day.  Tucson to Cortez is about 450 miles and even though it was clear running and sunny skies, that’s a lot of motorcycle miles for a day.  Arrived at Cortez late afternoon, tired and hungry. Crashed in our rooms and slept like logs. 

Stopping for a Shiprock picture -- The small  knob on the horizon is Shiprock

 

 

Shiprock view with the telephoto –

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Cortez to Delta ---- Cliff Dwellings and Canyons, but few Cars:  

 

We ran up to Mesa Verde first thing after breakfast.  The park contains a group of cliff dwellings -- primitive apartments with 200-500 inhabitants -- built into hollows in cliffs, active from about 800 to 1600 AD.  (Photo Julian Gonzalez, Lloyd Koppes, John Burton)

 

 

 

 

Tom Butler looking at Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde

 

 

 

The views from up top of Mesa Verde are phenomenal. On a clear day you can see 200+ miles, but the wind was blowing and the dust was up, so views were limited. We headed down the mountain for a splash of gas and a coffee before turning for the Gateway Auto Museum and some beautiful Western Colorado riding.

 

The ride to Gateway resort on Colorado 141 was a great ride. The road traces the deep, red-rock canyons of the Dolores and San Miguel rivers. Beautiful canyons with walls so steep and sheer, you might think you are in a RoadRunner cartoon. 

 

 

 

The Gateway: 

We stopped at the famous Gateway Auto Museum which formerly held a large collection of specialty autos, only to find that the collection was recently sold to the Hendricks Racing people and most of it had been moved.  A few cars remained, but the website had no indication that 75% of the cars were already gone.  A great disappointment for us.

 

 

 

 

Another hundred miles or so of stunning red rock canyons as we traced the Uncompahgre, Gunnison, and Colorado rivers toward Delta and a bed for the night. 

 


Day 3: Delta to Pagosa Springs -- Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ridgeway, Telluride, Delores, Pagosa Springs:  A day of beautiful country and great riding, but more drizzle and wet.

 

 

 

(Stock photo. Low hanging clouds prevented us getting this photo for ourselves)

 

 

We pushed off from Delta into another day of low clouds, drizzle, and wet roads, heading for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and more incredible riding.  We had hoped that this would be a spectacular morning of views along the canyon but it's hard to enjoy the views when the roads are wet and the drop offs are a thousand feet or more, and hard to get good photos with the clouds that low.  

 

Still, we made some stops and took a few snaps, and enjoyed the ride. (Photo below is what we really saw of the Black Canyon.)

 

 

 

After gas at Montrose and a quick lunch stop at Ridgeway, we headed for some of the most beautiful country on the ride.  

 

We had some concerns about traffic around Telluride because of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, but it turned out to be a non-issue.  We saw the huge camping area as we passed by, and it looked like a giant homeless convention had descended on the beautiful valley. 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross Mountain Highway

 

Leaving the fleas, flies, and lice of the Folk Festival in the mirrors, we headed up toward a high-mountain valley unlike any other. 

 

The valley between Mt Wilson and Blackhawk Mountain is stunningly beautiful. We expected as we rounded every bend to find Julie Andrews with outstretched arms singing "The Hills Are Alive...."  

 

 

 

A real highlight of the trip as we traced the Dolores river down toward the town of the same name. 

 

 

 

 

After a break in the small town, we turned for Pagosa Springs, with some welcome rest and a place to put on some dry clothes. 

 

 

 

 

Pagosa Springs natural hot mineral baths:

 

 

Day 4:  Pagosa Springs to Albuquerque: Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge, Cimmaron, Angel Fire, and dry freeway at last. 

 

 

 

Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Guage

 

We loaded up and rolled out of Pagosa on schedule to see the narrow-gauge steam train roll out of Chama.  The engine is still coal fired, so the sight and sound of the little engine starting to chuff its line of cars up the hill is unlike what you'll see anywhere else in the country. 

 

 

 

 

 

On days when the passenger load demands extra cars, they actually double-head the little train for the pull -- The only steam locos left in the country to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

When the smoke and steam cleared, and the sound of the steam chime had gone around the bend, we pushed off for Taos and the beautiful ski country of northern New Mexico.  

 

After a great ride past Taos, Red River, and Angelfire, we passed through a beautiful valley, coming out in Las Vegas, NM.  We saw none of the flooding that was reported on the news that evening, and we were totally surprised to learn that much of the town was suffering a terrible catastrophe. 

 

Day 5:  Rolling for Home:  Freeways and Telescopes.

 

Sunday morning sunrise broke in Albuquerque to the 5 of us saying our good-byes and loading the bikes for the final leg. 

 

From Albuquerque to Tucson riders could choose from among three routes.  Two of the riders broke off at Socorro to ride past the VLA and on to Show Low, where they parted ways with one opting for the Salt River Canyon and the other for the winding trail of 191 down from Eager to Morenci.  

 

 

 

VLA: Very Large Array.  Largest radio telescope in the world.

 

 

The remaining three opted for the efficiency and relaxation of the empty Sunday freeway and set the cruise to 85, southbound on I-25 and west on 10.  We were early, and the traffic was light until we got to Wilcox or so and the truckers were up and moving.  We felt like mice in the elephant cage, scurrying to avoid being squashed by the monsters.  

 

All arrived home safe and tired, but still good friends and talking about next year's ride.

 

<The Eagle Crest subgroup of SEAT is intended to be a smaller group, limited to 6 or perhaps 8 riders.  We do some rides that won't work with the larger group.>   

 

Next year:  Moab and Eastern Utah, maybe.  Probably another 5-day ride, because there’s just no other way to see Arches, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, and other sights without having a few days on the ground. Might try to catch Cape Royal again on the way home …  We’ll see.  

Eagle Crest Riders’ Amazing Southwest Colorado Odyssey 

 

Story by John Burton, with photos from riders on the ride and stock photos to illustrate places we visited but didn't get photos. 

 

 

The Ride – 

 

5 members of the SEAT group returned from a 5 day Colorado ride on Sunday tired, but having seen some beautiful country and making memories we’ll have for years. 

 

Day 1: Tucson to Cortez  

 

A "Get There" day.  Tucson to Cortez is about 450 miles and even though it was clear running and sunny skies, that’s a lot of motorcycle miles for a day.  Arrived at Cortez late afternoon, tired and hungry. Crashed in our rooms and slept like logs. 

Stopping for a Shiprock picture -- The small  knob on the horizon is Shiprock

 

 

Shiprock view with the telephoto –

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Cortez to Delta ---- Cliff Dwellings and Canyons, but few Cars:  

 

We ran up to Mesa Verde first thing after breakfast.  The park contains a group of cliff dwellings -- primitive apartments with 200-500 inhabitants -- built into hollows in cliffs, active from about 800 to 1600 AD.  (Photo Julian Gonzalez, Lloyd Koppes, John Burton)

 

 

 

 

Tom Butler looking at Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde

 

 

 

The views from up top of Mesa Verde are phenomenal. On a clear day you can see 200+ miles, but the wind was blowing and the dust was up, so views were limited. We headed down the mountain for a splash of gas and a coffee before turning for the Gateway Auto Museum and some beautiful Western Colorado riding.

 

The ride to Gateway resort on Colorado 141 was a great ride. The road traces the deep, red-rock canyons of the Dolores and San Miguel rivers. Beautiful canyons with walls so steep and sheer, you might think you are in a RoadRunner cartoon. 

 

 

 

The Gateway: 

We stopped at the famous Gateway Auto Museum which formerly held a large collection of specialty autos, only to find that the collection was recently sold to the Hendricks Racing people and most of it had been moved.  A few cars remained, but the website had no indication that 75% of the cars were already gone.  A great disappointment for us.

 

 

 

 

Another hundred miles or so of stunning red rock canyons as we traced the Uncompahgre, Gunnison, and Colorado rivers toward Delta and a bed for the night. 

 


Day 3: Delta to Pagosa Springs -- Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ridgeway, Telluride, Delores, Pagosa Springs:  A day of beautiful country and great riding, but more drizzle and wet.

 

 

 

(Stock photo. Low hanging clouds prevented us getting this photo for ourselves)

 

 

We pushed off from Delta into another day of low clouds, drizzle, and wet roads, heading for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and more incredible riding.  We had hoped that this would be a spectacular morning of views along the canyon but it's hard to enjoy the views when the roads are wet and the drop offs are a thousand feet or more, and hard to get good photos with the clouds that low.  

 

Still, we made some stops and took a few snaps, and enjoyed the ride. (Photo below is what we really saw of the Black Canyon.)

 

 

 

After gas at Montrose and a quick lunch stop at Ridgeway, we headed for some of the most beautiful country on the ride.  

 

We had some concerns about traffic around Telluride because of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, but it turned out to be a non-issue.  We saw the huge camping area as we passed by, and it looked like a giant homeless convention had descended on the beautiful valley. 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross Mountain Highway

 

Leaving the fleas, flies, and lice of the Folk Festival in the mirrors, we headed up toward a high-mountain valley unlike any other. 

 

The valley between Mt Wilson and Blackhawk Mountain is stunningly beautiful. We expected as we rounded every bend to find Julie Andrews with outstretched arms singing "The Hills Are Alive...."  

 

 

 

A real highlight of the trip as we traced the Dolores river down toward the town of the same name. 

 

 

 

 

After a break in the small town, we turned for Pagosa Springs, with some welcome rest and a place to put on some dry clothes. 

 

 

 

 

Pagosa Springs natural hot mineral baths:

 

 

Day 4:  Pagosa Springs to Albuquerque: Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge, Cimmaron, Angel Fire, and dry freeway at last. 

 

 

 

Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Guage

 

We loaded up and rolled out of Pagosa on schedule to see the narrow-gauge steam train roll out of Chama.  The engine is still coal fired, so the sight and sound of the little engine starting to chuff its line of cars up the hill is unlike what you'll see anywhere else in the country. 

 

 

 

 

 

On days when the passenger load demands extra cars, they actually double-head the little train for the pull -- The only steam locos left in the country to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

When the smoke and steam cleared, and the sound of the steam chime had gone around the bend, we pushed off for Taos and the beautiful ski country of northern New Mexico.  

 

After a great ride past Taos, Red River, and Angelfire, we passed through a beautiful valley, coming out in Las Vegas, NM.  We saw none of the flooding that was reported on the news that evening, and we were totally surprised to learn that much of the town was suffering a terrible catastrophe. 

 

Day 5:  Rolling for Home:  Freeways and Telescopes.

 

Sunday morning sunrise broke in Albuquerque to the 5 of us saying our good-byes and loading the bikes for the final leg. 

 

From Albuquerque to Tucson riders could choose from among three routes.  Two of the riders broke off at Socorro to ride past the VLA and on to Show Low, where they parted ways with one opting for the Salt River Canyon and the other for the winding trail of 191 down from Eager to Morenci.  

 

 

 

VLA: Very Large Array.  Largest radio telescope in the world.

 

 

The remaining three opted for the efficiency and relaxation of the empty Sunday freeway and set the cruise to 85, southbound on I-25 and west on 10.  We were early, and the traffic was light until we got to Wilcox or so and the truckers were up and moving.  We felt like mice in the elephant cage, scurrying to avoid being squashed by the monsters.  

 

All arrived home safe and tired, but still good friends and talking about next year's ride.

 

<The Eagle Crest subgroup of SEAT is intended to be a smaller group, limited to 6 or perhaps 8 riders.  We do some rides that won't work with the larger group.>   

 

Next year:  Moab and Eastern Utah, maybe.  Probably another 5-day ride, because there’s just no other way to see Arches, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, and other sights without having a few days on the ground. Might try to catch Cape Royal again on the way home …  We’ll see.  

colorado 01.jpg
colorado 02.jpg
colorado 03.jpg
colorado 04.jpg
colorado 05.jpg
colorado 06.jpg
colorado 07.jpg
colorado 08.jpg
colorado 09.jpg
colorado 10.jpg
colorado 11.jpg
colorado 12.jpg
colorado 13.jpg
colorado 14.jpg
colorado 15.jpg
bottom of page