Arrowhead Mountain Lodge Trip October 2015

This past June we took a trip to Ouray Colorado for June’s birthday…Image that, June’s birthday is in June.  Anyhow, on our way home we saw a dirt road off HWY 50 in between Montrose and Gunnision that looked interesting, so we decided to go explore.  About 5 miles up the road we came across the Arrowhead Mountain Lodge.  They had a restaurant so we had some breakfast as we had not eaten yet.  We really enjoyed our breakfast and the ambiance of the place.  We had a nice chat with one of the owners Jess.  Jess showed us the rooms, newly remodeled, no TV’s.  We told ourselves that we must come back.

Well, now it’s time!!!

The plan is to have Arrowhead Mountain Lodge our home base and do some day trips from there.  We plan on going to Telluride on one day and go up Ohio Pass to Crested Butte the other.  We will leaving Friday October 2nd and coming home  Monday October 5th.

Thursday October 1st:

We plan on leaving around 9:00am tomorrow morning. We’ll see if that happens. I have not even started packing yet, maybe I should get around to that. I am not too worried about it as we have all day to get there.
Day One, Friday October 2nd:

Conifer, CO to Arrowhead Mountain Lodge
256 Miles

We kind of got a late start, not leaving until 10:00am. We headed south on 285 from our home in Conifer. There were a lot more cars than we expected, but it wasn’t too bad. Traffic up here is a mess in the fall when the colors are in full bloom.

Weather was almost perfect, some clouds and temps in the 50’s/60’s

Near the top of Kenosha Pass. Webster Pass in the background. The colors were awesome here just a week ago
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Coming down into South Park
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South from Fairplay
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June doing her “Riding a chopper” impersonation
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Looking North
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We stopped in Johnson Village (just outside of Buena Vista) for a quick snack. Met this cool couple on their way to Durango. We chatted it up for a little bit and then got back on the road. Meet Strider and Leann (hope I spelled their names right).
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The original plan was to go south on 285 to Hwy 50 and straight to the lodge. June got on the Sena and asked if we could go a different way she knew of. Now, I am not very good with plans changing in the middle of the ride so I was hesitant to say the least. June assured me she knew where to go. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and roll with it and I am sure glad I did (valuable lesson Mr. Gobbler…I say yes).

Now the plan was to keep on 285 South and head west on 114 out of Saguache.

On 285, south of 50:
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Skies getting a little dark
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but looks sunny where we are going
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After a while, June thinks maybe we should stop and look at a map even though she continues to assure me she knows where we are going. So we stop in the tiny little town of Villa Grove.

This is June “knowing” where we were going:
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She was right and did know where she was going, but had not been there in a long time.

And onto 114 we went
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Still some dark clouds around, but no rain.
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After going through some farm land, we start heading into forests.
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The colors start coming alive.
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And we get to some awesome, sweeping turns
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We get to the top of North Cochetopa Pass…
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And my bike decides to take a nap
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Actually the wind was blowing so bad, it blew my heavy ass bike over. Thank goodness for crash bars, no real damage done.

Back onto Hwy 50
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Along the Blue Mesa Reservoir outside of Gunnison
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Clouds still threatening, but not a drop on our face shields.
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Another 15 miles or so and we were at the Arrowhead Mountain Lodge. We checked in and even before changing out of our riding gear, we were having a beer at the bar.

Day Two, Saturday October 3rd:

Crested Butte via Ohio Pass.
155 Miles

We wake up to beautiful sunny skies. Have a very good breakfast. It’s awesome to stay someplace with a restaurant and a bar.

My review of Arrowhead Mountain Lodge:

The staff is super friendly and the place is nice and clean. The rooms were remodeled recently and have nice comfy beds. There are no TV’s in the rooms, but I kind of like that. There are TV’s in the restaurant/bar. When we came by this past June, we talked to one of the owners, Jess, and she was very friendly. One problem for Jess is that staff is hard to keep, so there has been some turn-over in the kitchen. The cook they have, Taylor, is a really nice kid, but seems over worked. Taylor is also not a trained chef, but does his best. The food at dinner was ok, but nothing to write home about. The breakfasts were good, the sausage is awesome.

June with her morning coffee in front of the lodge
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Looking down the road from the lodge
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We head towards Gunnison on Hwy 50, turn towards Crested Butte on 135 and then left on Ohio Creek Rd.

Heading down Hwy 50 towards Gunnison
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Going down Ohio Creek Rd, I guess were were going a little too fast and I see a sheriff going the opposite way. As soon as I see him, he turns on his lights and I know we are getting tickets. We pull over immediately and are very polite to him because being a jack-wagon gets you nowhere when it comes to these situations. He ends up just giving us written warnings, very cool of him because we were in fact speeding and he certainly could have given us tickets.

Not a good view, unlike the views we would have later.
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Ohio Creek Rd starts as a paved road through some beautiful farmland. It turns into a fire road before heading up into the mountains.
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The views are spectacular!!!
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It’s hard to focus on the road when this surrounds you
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It’s official, we want to move here
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Yours truly…The Gobbler in all his dorkiness.
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What can I say…WOW!!!
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As we are winding our way up, some Moo-moos were enjoying the scenery as well. I thought one of the little ones was going to get me as I passed. I don’t think cows like motorcycles or maybe they are just jealous.
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I’ll let the next few pictures do the talking…
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Ohio Pass was awesome. If you have a chance to do it, particularly during the fall colors, do it! It’s Buick-able, so no worries if you are on a street bike.

Ohio Pass ties into Kebler Pass.

On Kebler heading towards Crested Butte
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We make it into Crested Butte and stop for lunch at Teocalli restaurant for some awesome tacos. June had a tamale and said it was fantastic.

Downtown Crested Butte
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Leaving Crested Butte heading down 135
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In case you hadn’t noticed, I like taking pictures of June riding
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We stopped for coffee in Gunnison before heading back to the lodge.
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What a fantastic day!!! The weather was awesome, the scenery was awesome and the company was awesome.

A personal note here. June has been working a lot lately and even though she works mostly at home, I feel like I rarely see her. I feel like we had become somewhat disconnected. I love June and missed her even when she was in the same house. We needed this trip, I needed this trip to reconnect again. This trip is just what the doctor ordered, life is back to normal in my heart.

Day Three, Sunday October 4th:

Telluride.
204 Miles

We wake up and have another great breakfast. The weather is not looking as good as it was yesterday, there are some threatening clouds about.

Hwy 50 looking down onto Montrose Colorado
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Taken from Hwy 550 looking towards the south
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We turn onto 62 towards Telluride and the clouds are looking a little dark in places, but there still some sun.
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But the colors are looking good
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62 is a wonderful road. I suppose they have to keep it that way in order to make the rich people in Telluride happy
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The weather starts looking nasty behind us.
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But not bad in front of us
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Beautiful colors abound
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Downtown Telluride. I had never been here before, but June has.
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We parked our bikes and walked around a little. Seems like there is certainly a lot of money in this place. I still liked it and want to come back when we have more time.
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It looked like we were going to get nailed with some rain, so we booked it out of there. We got just a little rain on us, but it seemed it was behind us most of the time. The weather gods looked out for us this whole trip as we just kept missing the rain. Once we got closer to the lodge, the weather cleared up nicely. I didn’t take any more pictures until we almost got back to the lodge.

A few pictures of June riding up the road to the lodge. The lodge is 5 miles up a dirt road from Hwy 50.
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That’s it for day three. Another great day of riding and it was fun to be just ahead of the weather.

Day Four, Monday October 5th:

Arrowhead Mountain Lodge to Conifer.
196 Miles

We heard some rain overnight and wake up to cloudy skies. It’s not raining, so that’s good. The day did start out kind of interesting though, we locked our room keys in the room. At a normal hotel, this would not be a problem, but here it is because there is nobody around. The lodge opens at 11:00am and it’s now 8:45am. We are the only people in the whole building. There is no phone number for us to call, so we are just kind of screwed until someone gets there. June finds a radio and is able to reach someone, she tells her that she will get a hold of someone. Luckily there is coffee in a sort of lobby area, so we drink coffee and wait. The phone in the lobby area rings and June answers it. It’s the guy that runs security for the community, he tells her that there should be someone there in one of the on-site apartments. June tells him that she is not there (turns out that she had to go away for an emergency). Finally one of the owners shows up and lets us in our room.

We get on the road a little after 10:00 (seems to be a theme on this trip).

The weather doesn’t seem to be too bad, there are some blue skies in the direction we are going. because of this, we decide to go home via Taylor Park and Cottonwood pass. For those of you that don’t know, the west side of Cottonwood is dirt and can be very, very slippery when wet.

We head up 135 to Almont and head east on 742. 742 is an awesome road, I highly recommend it.

742
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We stop at Taylor Park Reservoir for a quick snack
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June heading up the west side of Cottonwood
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The road is nice and dry for a while and the going is good.

They are doing construction near the top and they actually had a water truck wetting down the road, this was not good for us. The road became a slippy mess, but we made it to the top without incident.

The top of Cottonwood
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Heading north on 285, the clouds start looking ugly towards the west
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but not bad to the east
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We are hoping that we can just stay between the rain
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I was not terribly worried about a little rain, what I didn’t want was heavy rain, hail or snow.

It started getting really ugly on the other side of Kenosha and then it started to hail on us. Luckily it didn’t last too long and was mostly dry the rest of the way home. Within minutes of pulling into the garage, it started dumping rain. We were so lucky on this trip dodging rain.

Well that’s it. What a great trip! I love living so close to fantastic scenery and great riding.

Trip stats:

  • 811 miles
  • 1 napping Yamaha
  • 2 written warnings (one for each of us)
  • Lots of beer at the bar
  • Lots of good reconnecting with my wonderful woman June.

Thanks for coming along

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Subi Pete says:

    Dude, so jealous. Glad to see you haven’t totally abandoned your social skills and beer drinking habits. I would love to drive my Subaru around those dirt roads. Maybe one day. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    1. The Gobbler says:

      The beer drinking habits certainly help with the social skills.

      Like

  2. Brad Cranwell says:

    Nice trip. I live in Johnstown, up I25 from Connifer. I ran across your motorcycle blog on the 4runner forum. I ride an older gs1150. If you’re ever looking for a trip up North, let me know. Pennock pass is all gravel with some more difficult trails if interested.

    Like

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