Over the past week, I was fortunate enough to travel to Central and Western Colorado with one of the most renowned explores in the USA and automotive industry, Sinuhe Xavier. Sinuhe put together an amazing trip, the plan was for him to take me to his favorite back yard spots and some he hasn't done yet. We covered a little over a 1,000 miles in 3 days. We covered 12,000' passes, red canyons, desert, high pines to fields of sage. It was a wondrous trip to say the least.
“This is what dreams are made of.” The mountains of Colorado are perfect for adventure bikes, and the trip is only made sweeter by the friends and fellow bikers met on the way. Taking advantage of the Tenere 700’s ability to handle all terrains, I decided to head to Colorado to take mine out with Sinuhe Xavier, the man that created the Utah Traverse.
The night before: I was rushing to pack, indecisive about either hauling out the bike or just road dogging it as I planned. I decided to stick to the plan, riding it out will be part of the journey. I’ve double checked everything, tools, supplies, luggage, food, fuel. The first leg of the trip is to meet up with my friend Sinuhe.
Thursday: It was a big day on the bike, 10 hours on what seems to be the straightest highway in the US, I-70 from Wichita to Denver. Early on it was a nice ride, and I stopped at every major town for fuel. I met a fellow rider and future Tenere owner, who had just returned from California on a large touring bike, looking fresh and unfatigued. Based on what I had just experienced, his touring bike was much more enjoyable than my last four hours on the road. I am not sure if it was nerves or the cool air but, spontaneously my legs would start uncontrollably shaking. For the first few hours the temperatures were below 40℉. Eventually, either my nerves wore off or it could have been the rising temps, my legs stopped shaking. From Colby to Denver I passed a handful of motorcycles, one was a small adventure bike with a rider and passenger from Brazil, or at least who had ties to the country as they had a small Brazilian flag on the back of their hard cases.
In Denver, the roads were busy, and more stressful than the rest of my travels. I spotted that the express lane was open and toll free, so I jumped into that lane and raced off into the mountains, ready to feel the joy of moving and maneuvering over the road. The ride was fantastic, and the temperature changed often, ranging from 90℉ in the valley and down into the 40’s in the mountains.
I made it to my destination early on Thursday, which offered a little time for exploring and trying some local food. I found an authentic taco truck and got the el pastor and asada tacos, which were delicious. The truck was popular, and I enjoyed watching the owner good-naturedly tell other customers that they’ll only make authentic tacos.
After a good meal, it was time to head to Sinuhe’s. Turns out I had perfect timing, and I ran into him on his bike on the way over. He showed me a different route out to his house and we ended up taking a fun loop. Those roads are what the mountains are for, those are the roads we don’t have in Kansas. Sinuhe rolled onto his throttle, opening up his 1200 BMW. The smell of an open exhaust on an air cooled bike, takes you back to vintage bike racing. A strong smell of gas and carbon, the exhaust popping on deceleration is a fantastic sound. A few times I thought he was going to hit his hard cases on the road. We rode through straights, hairpins, and fast curves, and I was glad for the opportunity to try out the terrain in Sinuhe’s stomping grounds. It was also a good opportunity for Sinuhe to test my riding abilities, and I was right there with him the entire time.
When we got to the house, he cracked open a few Modelos, which were well appreciated after a long day in the saddle. I felt so grateful to be able to relax with a new friend who felt like a childhood friend. It completely took the edge off, that I was about to go on a three day adventure ride with the man who created the Utah traverse, and did the Great Divide Expedition. We got our supplies all packed for the ride ahead, then grabbed a bite to eat with Brad, Sinuhe’s friend. We all talked, enjoyed the meal and ended the night sharing stories from our different travels.
End of Friday: I have never in my life seen such an amazing place. The canyon valleys, soft mountains, sharp mountains—everything about Colorado is beautiful, every vista truly stunning. Our ride today was truly an unforgettable one. We started out at 9 a.m. and traveled over three different passes, two were gravel and one was asphalt. The first gravel pass was by far the most enjoyable, an off road trail with loose gravel, fast rolling curves and technical rocky terrain. We climbed to above 12,000 ft, surrounded by nothing but wild Colorado grass, wildflowers in bloom and granite rocks.
The second pass was all pavement, and it was a blast as well. It might as well have been a 30 minute track day on a mountain road, and we took advantage. Maybe we were acting like complete hooligans, but we had the roads to ourselves and the freedom of the asphalt in front of us. We carved the mountain roads, and used every bit of our tire. I wasn’t expecting to wear off the chicken strip on this trip, but it is defiantly gone now. The third pass was truly breathtaking. The roads were inches away from sheer drop offs with no guard rails, no safety measures, just us and the road. This is adventure riding at its best and it is the best way to experience the outdoors. You experience the outdoors completely differently on a motorcycle, feeling the air dip around a stream to smelling the sage after a mountain rain.
After we rode through a small mountain town, we descended into the most stunning valley—like a scene from a movie. The wide open valley had only a straight dirt road that disappeared into the hills and beyond to the mountains breaking up the horizon. Our campsite was in a picturesque, sage covered meadow with mountains on all sides. We set up camp next to a gently flowing creek, trickling down from alpine snowmelt. I settled into my tent to commit the day to memory, and get ready for the next day.