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Discussion Starter #1
So I am thinking (very tentatively) of riding from California to Colorado in the middle of December. Basically my plan is to ride one way for the holiday, fly home, return in the spring and ride back. I figure I would take a southern route to take advantage of drier warmer climate.

Sounds simple, but is this just too crazy? Anyone have enough cold weather experience to know if I should drop this notion? Can a bonny do this trip? Just trying to determine if I should book my flight or take the challenge.:cool:
 

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Co Ride

It sounds like an ambitious idea! My sis lives in Co. CAn be winter there 1 day & spring/ summer the next! Why I cant live there. South run will be the way. The Bonne will make it no problem. Make sure you are well equipt! Snow & ice can be a real bummer! If you got the time- it can be done. Oh yeah- where in Co? That can make a big difference as well!
Make sure (if you do it) yo got layover time in case of the occasional blizzard! Good luck if you do it!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The family is mostly near Conifer - about an hour south west of Denver, but I can leave the bike in Denver depending on conditions.

From what I have gathered about the southern route (Los Angeles-Flagstaff-Albuquerque) and the historical weather patterns, it won't be too bad. Its heading north from there on the last leg that worries me.

I plan on buying a thermal suit and installing some sort of extra fuel container via my right luggage rack. No night riding, and scheduling about three days to get there. Mostly I was wondering if anyone in the Denver area had advice/opinions/etc. Is a Bonneville up for the cold weather challenge?
 

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Bonnies can definitely take the cold. You basically have to worries: Will you be able to take the cold? Will there be slippery road-conditions?

You can dress for any weather. This Summer I passed over the mountains on my way Westwards. I had long woolen underwear, wool sweater, fleece, leather trousers & jacket, and the "normal" stuff. It was fine for temps that came down to 3-4 celcius.

Snow, ice, and such on the road. No good. Obviously it is possible to use studded tyres, but I assume that you're not going to do any such thing. As long as the temps stay above 2-3 celcius (including the shade), you should be fine.

Remember to post some photos!
 

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Rocky Mtns in winter...... doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Why if you live in California would you want to park the bike all winter? Cant you ride all year long?
 

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Ooooohhhhh man I'd think about it a lot and check weather conditions. I was invited to go to Gardner a couple of years ago the week before Thanksgiving. (not even on a bike but in the cage) That would have been from St. Louis to Limon to Colorado springs then south to Walsenberg and then west to Gardner. We crapped out because a blizzard shut down over 300 miles of Interstate 70. There is a reason they have those gates on the entrance ramps onto the highways out there.
If the weather is good you might be fine... but if not you might have to hole up for a while or be found somewhere after the next thaw:eek:
 

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This time of year, you'd better be really sure your weather window is in your favor. The days are short, the sun comes up late, and drops behind the mountains really early. 70 degrees drops into the high 30s quickly. Are you an experienced touring rider, with lots of cold weather clothing, including heated vest? Thermal undergarments? Heated grips are also more than a nicety when the temps drop into the forties, too.

Hearing about your plans, all I can think about is riding across N Mex in the heat of early June, 2006, and within a few days , riding across the Bighorn Mts of WY in spitting rain, sleet, and snow. And this was June.

The Bonnie, like any bike, will run as long as you feel like making it run. For a relatively short tour from CA to CO, the bike's ability to make the ride isn't the issue.

Bob
 

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I live on the western slope of co, 47F when I left work @ 5. Exception not the rule. Last year had cars buried in the lot - plowed snow 10 days in a row. Weather could change on a dime. I say leave the bike - it will be ready and warm when you get back. If you do ride - good luck! Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Calliway:
My goal is to go around the Rockies, not through them. I have two bikes. I actually spend more time riding my GSXr at home, so the Bonnie has already been in storage.

Geimer:
Skipping 70, see above. the route is Los Angeles to the 40 or from the 10 to the 60 (phoenix AZ then on to NM) I wont be heading north until after Albuquerque. I would avoid Flagstaff if the weather is poor.

Ohiorider:
I have done some trips, but nothing like this. I plan on having all the requisite garments (probably no heated handgrips tho). It would be my first major long distance ride. Took the Bonnie from SF to Reno in a day, all in all in that weekend did 800+ milles in less than three days. And that was taking it easy.

I also have the option of wimping out when I get to my brother's in LA and grabbing a flight there.
 

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Ahhh got it! I like GXRS too but in San Fran the Bonnie would be the highlight of cool! I would love to park my Bonnie right in front of Fog City Diner have a Fog City Burger and take some pics.
 

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I've flown to Denver many, many times and drove it once in the cage and said never again to the drive. As others have said I'd be concerned at the ability of weather conditions to change and so rapidly too. Maybe I'm getting older though.
 

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This is not a trivial undertaking you're considering. Plan well; right down to an emergency mylar blanket and several meal bars. This time of year, you never know.

Flagstaff is pretty high altitude. I'd look at a more southerly route; maybe I10 to Las Cruces, NM then north. Your chances of hitting snow in Flagstaff are not trivial, but it's a shorter route; 1250 miles. You can pretty much guarantee that you'll be white-stuff-free on I10, but that route is 1400 miles. If you haven't done much long-distance riding, I'd plan on three days for the Flagstaff route, and four if you took I10.

Once you are in NM, I'd just shoot up I25 until you are as close to Denver as you can stand. Lots of Albuquerquians brag about riding on Christmas day, but they generally mean short little rides, not hours on end. You might actually want to get off the highway north of Albuquerque, so your speed (and therefore windchill) won't be as high.

You could cut north in Santa Fe, and take 285 up the Rio Grande Valley. 285 will go all the way to Conifer, in valleys almost the whole way. But the valleys we're talking about range from 5500' to over 9000'. I took 285 from Johnson Village, CO through Conifer a couple of months ago, and for most of that stretch the valley floor was over 9000'. Think hard about that.

PM me or ask here if you want any more NM/CO opinions. This is doable, but there are certainly risks, and proper preparation is called for. You haven't said if you have a windscreen or not (or I missed it). If you don't, and you don't plan on putting one on, I'd say don't do it.
 

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Hi Hudson,
I know that your route is more southerly than the route I was planning back then. I was just giving an example of how the weather can be tricky. Some of the other folks here seem a lot more knowledgeable about conditions out there than I am. It is probably smart to give them an ear and probably smart to figure a way to constantly keep on top of weather conditions while you are on the road.

Good luck
 

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Hudson:

You are rolling the dice.

You may have a great window and make it, but the alternative could be very dangerous. You may start out in rainy conditions and encounter snow conditions before the next exit which eliminate a 180 degree turn (melted snow on the road because of traffic, with a major buildup on the shoulder which would make it difficult to exit), and force you to keep going, looking back at semi-trucks on your ass about 20 feet back.

In winter, things happen quickly.

Been there, done that...

Don't scratch the Bonnie, leave her at home....

Live to ride another day....

Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the advice/info/comments etc.

I am thinking and planning very carefully. I will be checking the weather constantly and have the options of driving the cage instead at the last minute, or leaving the bike in Los Angeles if it looks like the weather will be poor and flying. I certainly won't be rushing into this.

I know the 25 has been closed on and off already which is a bad sign, so this adventure may wait until spring, but I am holding out hope. I will keep yall posted.
 

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brother used to do it

My brother used to ride old HD 45's that route. Now there is more traffic going faster. If you can plan time to hole up if needed, you can do it. I ride all winter, but am aware always of ice. Especially be aware that cars will drop slush on otherwise dry roads, so you may come onto ice any time. Get the heated stuff, and crash bars would help when you go down.
 

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I might try it if it were me. The bike will do fine. Dress well. Check the long range weather for the areas you will be traveling thru and the areas the weather comes from. And if it comes to it, you can rent a Uhaul to take it into Denver. Some friends of mine had to do that several years ago when they were heading west thru Montana in June. They got hit with a late season snow storm that was not cooperating and they rented a Uhaul and hauled 3 bikes over the mountains and continued on to Oregon. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sadly I didn't do it. The idea caused my father so much stress, that for his health's sake I flew out. Worse, I flew out only to be greeted by 70 degree sunny skies. I would have absolutely made it with no problems, but hindsight is...well, you know what it is. So the bonnie still sits in the garage. In fact... and I know this may come as a shock, I am thinking of selling it. :( The lure of a new Daytona 675 or some sort of dual sport/adventure is starting to get the better of me.
 
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