Friday, September 12, 2014

Sash Takes a Second Crack at Wolf Creek Pass

Me and Jared watching football and drinking beer at his place
Last April, Sash and I tried to ride up and over Wolf Creek Pass along US-160 through southern Colorado. It didn't work out. The snow fell too fast, too strong, and Sash lost control of her motorcycle and spun out.

A guy named Jared happened to come by and saw us stuck up there, some 10,000 feet with snow continuing to fall on us. He offered to ride Sash's bike back down the mountain to Pagosa Springs, while Sash drove in his truck. I followed Jared back down on my Honda ST1300.

Over the next several months, Sash and Jared struck up a friendship, followed each other Facebook, and made plans to hook up again.

Fast forward to a week ago.

We arrived at Jared's house in Pagosa Springs, CO, September 5, and stayed there until September 8.

But before getting there, Sash had a date with Wolf Creek Pass, yet again.

Leaving our motel in Salida, we continued south along US-285, and picked up US-160 in Del Norte. After a rather nice lunch at the historic Windsor Hotel, we set off west towards Wolf Creek Pass. Sash still hadn't conquered it on motorcycle, and was determined to do so.

Except it wouldn't happen without Mother Nature. She started throwing some heavy winds and rain at us. We stopped at a rest stop to put on some rain gear. Sash took in a deep breath, and was determined to ride her V-Star 650 fully loaded with gear up and over the pass.

"It's only water", I told her, my way of putting a wet and windy ride into perspective. Asphalt in and of itself is not dangerous. It's always the rider that makes it perilous.

In the end, Sash made it to the top just fine. It was just like any other road. It's kinda funny how a beautiful mountain road can become a frightening nemesis.

In Pagosa Springs, our reunion with Jared was like a homecoming party. Several of his local buddies dropped by for grilled steaks. Jared let me test ride his Honda VFR800. If you don't know the VFR series, they're like a sport touring motorcycle more weighted towards the sports part. I took it up Wolf Creek Pass. Heading back down, I found myself leaning into the curves at 85 MPH. The bike is so much lighter than my ST1300 and handles so much better.

At the bottom of Wolf Creek Pass, along the western side, there's a long straight away running about a mile and a half. I cranked the VFR up to 120 MPH. Once I got it slowed down to 70 MPH, I happened to pass by a State Trooper. But he didn't bother going after me. "Whew!" I thought. But I couldn't stop thinking about Jared saying he had gotten the VFR up to 160 MPH down the same stretch, and that he also got his CBR 929RR up to 201 MPH. After going 120, I couldn't imagine 201.

Jared was figuring since the VFR800 has optional sidebags and top box, he offered a atraight up trade between his VFR and my ST. As tempted I was, the ST is still so much more comfortable for our long distance riding.

Sash was rather blue about leaving Pagosa Springs.


Me riding along US-285
south of Villa Grove, CO
Sash along US-285, along
the same stretch.
Sash resting along US-285
near Saguache, CO
Me resting along with the
on the same stretch
Me standing in the middle of
US-285
Sash and I along the same
rest stop.
Lunch at Windsor Hotel
restaurant, Del Norte, CO
Rain coming down at a rest
stop near Wolf Creek Pass
Sash making her ascent up
Wolf Creek Pass
Rain falling on Sash as she
heads up Wolf Creek Pass
Sash makes it to the top of
Wolf Creek Pass
On the other side, Sash checks
on some riders pulled over
Snacking on pork cracklins at
Jared's house.
Jared let me ride his Honda
VFR800 up the pass
Sash caught this rainbow at
Jared's house
We grilled steaks at Jared's
house
Sash and Jared were like two
peas in a pod.
Chicken tacos at The Buck
Stops Here Deli.

2 comments:

  1. Steve,

    I'm glad you guys had a chance to go back to Wolf Creek Pass and that Sash was able to conquer it...too bad it had to be in the rain but that probably made it seem even more of an accomplishment. Keep taking photos of your journey, I really like the story they tell. Safe travels friend.

    Cheers,
    Curt

    Live Free.Ride Hard. Be Happy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hooray for no snow over the pass. Sounds like you guys have found a lifelong friend in Jared. Good times.

    ReplyDelete

About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)