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Sunday on Memorial Day weekend some of the Guys with Exit Tours Motorcycle Club did an Epic Ride to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado's San Luis Valley. A Pre-Ride of Day 1 of the 5 day HotSpringsADVTour this Autumn. We departed Cottonwood Hot Springs in Buena Vista and headed up Trout Creek pass to Dirt and Aspen Ridge. Took Aspen Ridge and its epic views of the Continental Divide south towards Salida, but then took a left and headed East in the dirt towards Cotopaxi and the Arkansas River. Gas at Lunch at the Store in Cotopaxi, then took 1A to Hwy 69. Hung a Left on 69 and then picked up Gulch road East towards the Royal Gorge. From there it was some excellent paved twistys and then multiple fun dirt switchbacks into Temple Canyon Park. From Temple Canyon Park your almost in Canon City, but if you take the correct route you can avoid the city and you end up on Oak Creek Grade. After an supreme climb up the Mountain , your then headed down into a canyon and neat rock formations on your way down to Silvercliff in the Wet Mountain Valley. Fuel and snacks in Silvercliff and then again down Hwy 69 to Medano Pass. Nobody rides or enters the Great Sand Dunes from this direction. No Rangers and no fees on this end of the National Monument. After passing bye where the Buffalo Roam, and a leisurely ride, Your then challenged by the switchbacks up to the top of 10,000 foot + Medano Pass. From the Top of Medano your headed down the Medano Canyon drainage into the back of the Great Sand Dunes. Multiple Creek crossings which where quite low for this time of the year. The Sand is quite soft on Medano Pass road and if you dont have a 21" inch front wheel, are not adept at staying on the Throttle and maintaining momentum, you will struggle. You May want to avoid to Medano Pass and take La Veta Pass around Mt. Blanca and come into the Dunes from the South. Word of warning. If you can ride and have a suitable bike with a knobby, by all means take the challenge of Medano Pass. Worth the views and a super fun ride. From The Sand Dunes we had made reservations at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge. Where views are spectacular and nights are quiet. But of course we had to visit the Great Sand Dunes Pool and their new Beer & Wine bar. Quite a few kids in the usually serene Pool. On Memorial Day weekend. So we avoided a dip in the pool. Sunday we had another Epic Ride that was not a Pre-ride, but fun nothing the less. Rode across the San Luis Valley and picked up a dirt road on the west side of the San Luis Valley and then up to Penitente Canyon, which is an Internationally recognized Rock Climbers Paradise. From Penitente Canyon there is a neat Pass west over the Mountains at 10,000+ feet thru the wilderness that takes you Hwy to 114. Old Cowtown Resort sits just a 1/2 mile from where Canero Canyon hits Hwy 114, and we had alerted the staff we where headed their way for Lunch and Drinks. The Good people at Old Cowtown Resort were quite accommodating, and after a a quick nap on the porch after an excellent meal, we headed East again. Old Cowtown Resort sits in a Valley and on a road that was the Hoagland Stagecoach stop used in the 1800s. Hence the Stage Road is the shortest route into Saguache and Fuel. From Saguache, the Little Known Ute Pass (1 of several Ute Passes) takes you up and over the mountain and drops you into the Bonanza Mining area. From Bonanza we took the Otto Mears Tollroad, (Which only had snow in a few small areas) up an over the Extreme West end of the Sangre de Cristo's and down into the the Silvercreek basin. Which then drops you out at the old mining town of Shirley and the East end of Marshall Pass. By the time we had gotten back to Buena Vista and Mountain Tech Motorsports after our last dirt Stint from Fisherman's Bridge on the Arkansas river to Trout Creek Pass we had covered over 500 miles. Captain Jack Bongiovanni, The Honda Africa Twin guy and Exit Tours MC Chief Instigator Michael Brown had an outstanding 2 days of riding and hauling butt in the dirt and on the pavement. Bongiovanni's '04 990 KTM may have had a few small issues, but the Africa Twin Never missed a beat. Other than his hard saddle bags almost causing him grief when the going got rocky. Brown's DR 650 was a weapon in the tight stuff and the soft dune road, and the DR's running out of gas once was the only issue for the weekend. See Fun Photos below and feel free to comment ?
San Andreas 300 - May 5 & 6 2018 Pozo to Ballinger Canyon & Back CaliDualSport.com The San Andreas 300 from Pozo to Ballinger Canyon on the May 5 & 6 weekend was a successful weekend ride participated in by 45 like-minded Dual Sport Enthusiasts. The Exit Tours Motorcycle Club event was a Club Ride of less than 75 participants and included Club Membership with sign up. The San Andreas 300 Dual Sport ride was all Inclusive and included camping and lodging on Private Property. Snacks, 2 Breakfasts, 2 make your own sandwich lunches and Luggage Portage to the Songdog Ranch in Ballinger Canyon. Along with 2 Fuel Stops in a remote location, Beers at this Club event, BBQ Saturday Night at Songdog Ranch and a Sunday after the ride BBQ in Pozo. T- Shirt, Finisher Pin and the Camaraderie of like-minded riders. Friday evening, the new owners of the Pozo Saloon were gracious enough to open the doors to us for a private party, just prior to the Public Grand Re-Opening the following day on Cinco de Mayo. Dinner, beverages and atmosphere were thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. Saturday started with an excellent breakfast by Club Member Don Gross (DG). Two Riders meetings were held, one at 7 am for the early risers and a second around 8 am for those who couldn’t make it out to Pozo Friday night. From the Oak studded Ranch in beautiful Central Cali, the route headed out onto two miles of pavement and then proceeded to head to the top of Las Chiches, a Challenging route in Pozo that just about everyone conquered. Only one Helicopter Flight was required to evacuate one heat exhausted individual. The Flight and Landing was aptly called in by our satellite phone equipped talented Out-Riding Crew. Although the evacuated individual was unable to continue with the ride, he was able to make it to the BBQ in Ballinger Canyon Saturday evening with his Buddy and Truck. From the challenge of the steep and rocky 20 mile loop through Pozo, which included some new single track, the route then picked up 20 miles of pavement. As this was a Dual Sport ride for street Legal Motorcycles. From the Pavement we headed West along the Soda Lake Valley and the Carizzo Plain National Monument. Skirting the National monument on it’s fenceline along and on Top of 27 miles of Mountain Range. Epic views and 2 Track with very few whoops were the order of the day, and included a few challenging uphill’s and downhills. Once at the West end of Soda Lake, it was a quick jaunt on the Hwy to Ballinger Canyon and after 95 miles it was time for the first remote fuel stop. Followed by lunch and beverages at the Songdog Ranch. From Lunch we then rode a fun and flowing 29 mile loop in Ballinger Canyon. Which included trails that were used in the past at the Leapin’ Lizard Enduro, ridden in the last Enduro in 1993. After everyone was accounted for, we settled in on the Mesa at Songdog Ranch as our exclusive campground for Saturday Night. Lodging in the Strawbale Lodge was taken by half the crew, with the other 20 + camping throughout the Mesa. Everyone's gear was portaged in the trailer, from Tent's to cots and/or guys slept under awnings on the bush studded Mesa. We all enjoyed an excellent Tri-Tip BBQ and beverages on Saturdat night, by Jenny Stith and her crew. In anticipation of Sunday’s ride, everyone turned in by 9:30 pm Saturday. Two VIPs who shall remain nameless, slept in the Bed & Breakfast in the main Lodge at Songdog Ranch. Funny. But only one of them complained. About trail Difficulty! Sunday mornings leg of the San Andreas 300 started with another excellent meal by Jenny and her crew. This time ultra thick Ham and French toast with cowboy coffee. After everyone had packed and loaded their overnight gear in the portage trailer, there were again 2 riders meeting’s so the early risers could hit the trail before the stragglers. The route on Sunday, Day 2 headed further West on the highway toward the Dick Smith Wilderness and Tinta Trail, which skirts the boundary of the wilderness. Tinta is a little ridden trail on par with anything in Colorado. For scenery or difficulty. Gotta love singletrack through the California Oak Trees, down trees and overgrown bushes so overgrown you can hardly see the trail. One gulch that was so steep you need help to traverse it. And rocky creek beds. Once you had traversed Tinta you got to ride thru the spectacular red rocks of Santa Barbara Canyon. Then cross the what could be really bad if it was flooding, a wide riverbed back to the Highway. After the 50 mile loop to start the day, it was back to Songdog Ranch for the 2nd remote fuel stop of the weekend and Lunch. Which everyone had cleared by 12:30. What a Sweet spot to gather at the Ranch in Ballinger Canyon. Jim the owner set us up with 2 shaded picnic tables and 2 clean Porta-Potties. From Lunch on Sunday we took a different fun 2 track route through the Carizzo National Monument past Soda Lake and some stellar views. Then after about 50 miles hit some pavement on the Highway, back to Pozo on a beautiful Oak lined road and then a spectacular ride over Pine Mountain, down the Stair Steps and back up to Las Chiches. Steep downhills, uphills and rocks of typical Pozo and back to the private the ranch, for another BBQ by DG (Don Gross). Beers were again included at this private shindig. More than a few stragglers took the Princess route over Pozo Summit and the Dirt road back to the Ranch. Thereby avoiding the awesome views from Pine Mountain but also the descent down the Stair Steps. The Steps are much more eroded than they were 25 years ago. But with walking down as the only option for those not named Cody Webb, there is no shame in walking your bike down the Stair Steps. And the ride and views over challenging Pine Mtn. that was missed by those who didn’t do it, should be regretted by the Princesses who by-passed Pine Mtn. Exit Tours MC of Colorado could not have pulled off the Once in a Lifetime ride without the help of club members and Local Enthusiasts. A tip of the Hat to Long time Exit Tours Board member Larry Heschke of Paso Robles, Penguin Advisor Josh Beene, BBQ’ist Don Gross (DG), Steve Javedan for manning the Gas barrels and driving his support truck. Drone Pilot and local fast guy Ryan Fogarty and CCMA member Carl Brandt for believing in the concept and coming thru like the Good Guy he is. Bosch’s John Nave was also instrumental in the club pulling this off. And we have to thank Pipeline Digital Media’s Todd Huffman for coming along, donating fun media and just being a fun guy to hang out with. Thanks Guys ! We also need to Thank Songdog Ranch for their Hospitality and owner, Jim Reveley and his daughter Jenny for their Support and Great Attitudes. And Last but not least, we have to give a big Golf clap and Thanks to Camp Hostess and Sign-In Guru Dindah McCullough for her unwavering support and hard work. A thoroughly Positive weekend with no real issues (Other than a Helicopter ride that ended well) and we all had fun time Riding our Dirt Bikes in a Part of California few people ever get the opportunity to visit or Venture into. For more on future Exit Tours MC Rides check this Page : https://advtours.com/