Estes Park/RMNP On The KLR - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-25-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Estes Park/RMNP On The KLR

Glad to finally be able to contribute something to this thread. It's been a long time since I went on a vacation aside from going to Wisconsin with my wife where her family's from.

I decided on a tour out to the Estes Park region to check out the town and a guest ranch called The Aspen Lodge where I worked a couple of Summers after I got out of high school; kind of a nostalgia/sightseeing combo.

I was originally planning to ride the entire route, but reality set in and I admitted the fact that my aged, torn-up back would never handle it and while I could have done it, it most likely wouldn't be too enjoyable. So, I opted to haul the KLR out in the back of my Tacoma and ride when I got there.

For old time's sake, I took Highway 36 out across Northern Kansas and if you're considering travelling it, it's not a bad road. The speed limit is 65, so you can run 70 or so. There are a lot of small towns to slow down and pass through, but I bet I didn't pass 200 vehicles coming the other way across the entire span of Kansas.

I stayed in Loveland because I figured available rooms in Estes Park would be hard to find and expensive, but there were vacancy signs everywhere. I travelled up Highway 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon every day to travel the areas in and around Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

The culmination of the trip was a ride over Trail Ridge Road through RMNP over to Grand Lake and back. Unfortunately, it was too early in the season to travel the old Fall River Road, still closed due to snow.

Here are a few shots I took on the trip.

Left To Right

-The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The coolest hotel you'll ever see. Built in 1909 by the Stanley who invented the Stanley Steamer automobile. It's where Stephen King was staying when he got the inspiration to write the book "The Shining."

-Snowpack on Trail Ridge Road

-Big Thompson Canyon and the kind of highway signs you never see around here.

-The KLR overlooking the Rockies from Trail Ridge Road

-Not to lower anyone's self-esteem with my stunning good looks and physique, but that's me on the upper parts of Trail Ridge Road



Attached Images
File Type: jpg stanley.JPG (92.3 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg snowbank.JPG (67.7 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg sign.JPG (124.4 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg mountainview.JPG (91.2 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg me.JPG (71.7 KB, 32 views)
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-25-2011, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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A few more shots of the trip:

-The KLR on Highway 7 with Mount Meeker and Long's Peak in the background.

-Highway 7 on the way up to the St. Vrain Valley

-On Trail Ridge Road: waited around to talk to the guy riding this BMW, but he didn't show before I had to move on. Quite the rig. After checking out his ride, there's no doubt he's actually been to all those places and didn't just plaster all those stickers on for show.



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File Type: jpg hwy7.JPG (116.1 KB, 22 views)
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File Type: jpg bm1.JPG (85.3 KB, 23 views)
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-25-2011, 07:49 PM
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Cool!
No pics of Hiway 36? lol

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post #4 of 11 Old 06-25-2011, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savage View Post
Cool!
No pics of Hiway 36? lol
I'm working on a photo essay of the wonders of Highway 36 and will share it soon. Just kidding, there. I ran into a family called the Griswolds that were looking for the world's largest ball of twine and then were heading to Coolidge, Kansas to see their Cousin Eddie for a meal of Hamburger Helper without the hamburger and some real tomato ketchup.

One cool thing I did see, aside from hundreds of Jesus and Anti-Abortion billboards was a row of telephone poles that had apparently been taken out by a tornado. They were all splintered off about two feet above the ground. They were also all brand-new. Was just imagining the power of the tornado that did that. Telephone poles don't present a lot of surface area and and a new telephone pole is a solid chunk of wood.

I won't badmouth 36, though. I actually enjoyed it. It's a well-maintained road and I liked all the small towns.



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post #5 of 11 Old 08-03-2011, 05:46 PM
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I'm hoping to get out there next month
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houndawgg View Post
I'm hoping to get out there next month
Hope you make it and get to enjoy it.



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post #7 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 01:06 AM
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I'll be in Estes Park by next Thursday, but I'm coming in from the west.

This will be ouor route:


http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Benton,+CA&daddr=Luning,+NV+to:eureka+n evada+toelta,+Utah+to:Moroni,+UT+to:Colton,+UT+t o:Crescent+Junction,+UT+to:Glenwood+Springs,+CO+to :Aspen,+CO+to:CO-82+E+to:Kremmling,+CO+to:Granby,+CO+to:Estes+Park, +CO+to:lyons+co+to:Golden,+CO+to:Bailey,+CO+to:Bue na+Vista,+CO+to:Poncha+Springs,+CO+to:Gunnison,+CO +to:montrose+co+to:Grand+Junction,+CO+to:Panaca,+N V+to:Caliente,+NV+to:tonopah+nv+to:lone+pine+ca&hl =en&ll=38.530979,-111.818848&spn=7.233766,17.819824&sll=38.925229,-111.818848&sspn=7.194055,17.819824&geocode=FdsSQQI dIzHw-CmRfvQQ19-9gDFAoqtCLJMezg%3BFUiPSwIdebH0-Cn5xsWzPA69gDEHNpp2r91drg%3BFWLqWgIdaogW-SlXjL37DwilgDFcmvEqNGGWfg%3BFXJ3WAIdbjVK-SlBFFv88bRMhzHCgjyHjFO9Mw%3BFWIaWwIduENZ-Sl3A5qR7WlMhzFw-tSX6QgtLA%3BFZUOYAIdPh1i-SkJ7tz0d4NOhzFeFhC5f0APvg%3BFVA5UgIdpVR0-SmnOXRZsIlIhzHqNxqnVYxaEg%3BFUp-WwIdmFqa-Sn5eh80lwlBhzElEWFME1l-jA%3BFToCVgId_Rei-Sl9PEH3fDlAhzFy9ix43EIrwQ%3BFYBlVAIdztWo-Q%3BFfo_YwIdSKKo-Slnia_qEANqhzHwjDInb--tkQ%3BFVGqYwId_H2v-Snr21I6yyhqhzECfMtvWKk0Hg%3BFXYbaAId_921-SkDGhm71mVphzEMrMqpt5iW2w%3BFcTHZQIdrq-5-SmrLEMr9N9rhzEKbCRjeDOqjw%3BFRefXgIdFHS6-Sn3bGiHEphrhzHcVYAgVEbGFA%3BFelHWQIdy5q2-SkJatyfOQ5rhzGbmPc8ZPl1SA%3BFWqvUAIdR5Gs-Smt9UxLUi4VhzE3Veeq56GEfQ%3BFYeoSwIdymOt-SkZJwND3RUVhzGRNMQt2SFp9Q%3BFaEpTAId93Kg-SmfW4P1w5I_hzHskqdFEJ12zA%3BFfAhSwIdsvCR-SkXCAeKiFA_hzFNl4tQZ-QXBQ%3BFT4RVAIdB6aH-SlXcOci49ZGhzFWfL_OUfRjzA%3BFaKiQAIdSZ4u-Sm3NDFqHA22gDF8ID3M-RDgbQ%3BFXX1PQIdvq8s-SnR1oqAgxW2gDHoDQ644FWz5A%3BFdvjRAIdBjQD-SkLY29Gbwa8gDGW737MpG5VkQ%3BFVyQLgId74D2-ClTBvITnC2-gDF4jwJgY2H4BA&mra=ls&z=6

We're starting and ending n LA, but it doesn't show that; I think I maxed Google Maps out on the number of destinations.

T

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“The muzzle of the Luger looked like the mouth of the Second Street tunnel, but I didn’t move. Not being bullet proof is an idea I had had to get used to.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 08-04-2011 at 01:09 AM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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I would highly recommend riding Highway 34 from Estes Park down to Loveland via the Big Thompson Canyon. You can also take the side trip/alternate route up through Glen Haven on the way back to Estes Park. It's even more scenic and fun to ride than the Big Thompson Canyon, itself.

Just a suggestion to consider if you have some extra time in the Estes Park area.

Hell of a ride. Thanks for making me feel like a candya** for hauling my KLR out there in my pickup. Wish I was capable of such rides. Enjoy! It sounds like a great time!



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post #9 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 01:40 AM
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10-4 on that, good buddy. I think we'll hit that section of 34 on a side trip to Fort Collins to visit my riding partner's brother. And thanks for that tip; not sure we'd have known to go that way.

Riding long distances on the KLR is a function of planning and a good seat. One can ride 750 miles a day on the KLR, but it best be because ya gotta get someplace, because it ain't gonna be fun. Been there, done that, and MB4 gave me a T-shirt.

This is going to be an easy trip - 3000 miles in 9 days, with our longest day at 430 miles. We'll be staying in a motel every third day or so and half the days are less than 300 miles. Lots of time to enjoy the country we're riding through.

We've also got a side trip to Moab planned, just cuz we're in the neighborhood.

T

Tom [email protected]

“The muzzle of the Luger looked like the mouth of the Second Street tunnel, but I didn’t move. Not being bullet proof is an idea I had had to get used to.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
Noli Timere Messorem
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
10-4 on that, good buddy. I think we'll hit that section of 34 on a side trip to Fort Collins to visit my riding partner's brother. And thanks for that tip; not sure we'd have known to go that way.

Riding long distances on the KLR is a function of planning and a good seat. One can ride 750 miles a day on the KLR, but it best be because ya gotta get someplace, because it ain't gonna be fun. Been there, done that, and MB4 gave me a T-shirt.

This is going to be an easy trip - 3000 miles in 9 days, with our longest day at 430 miles. We'll be staying in a motel every third day or so and half the days are less than 300 miles. Lots of time to enjoy the country we're riding through.

We've also got a side trip to Moab planned, just cuz we're in the neighborhood.

T
I mention 34 and the canyon because I know you'd enjoy it. Can't stress enough about taking the alternate route that splits off 34 about halfway between Loveland and Estest Park and takes you up through Glen Allen (or Glen Haven, can never remember the name of the damned town) and comes back out at the Northern edge of Estes Park. I can't recall the name of that highway, but I'm sure you can find it. Highway 7 that connects Estes Park and Lyons is also an excellent ride.

I keep throwing out recommendations but, let's face it, any route in those surroundings is good: you can't go wrong.

It sounds like you have an excellent plan for your trip.

My sister has some property near Moab with an old Airstream trailer on it. I'd like to venture out there one of these days.

Be safe and I wish you well on your trip. I'm sure we'll be privy to the obligatory photos when you return? Hope so, anyway.



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