Sunday, September 4, 2011 @ 7:00 PM in General Travel
We noticed we had some new neighbors next to us when we woke up. All the screaming and barking was from them. They must have got in after dark and set up their camp site. It was a mom and dad with their 2 year old girl and 2 small yappy dogs. The dad took more care of the dogs than the kid, and you could tell the wife wanted nothing to do with the whole situation because she just sat in the car wrapped in a sleeping bag. Whenever we saw them, you could cut the tension between the mom and dad with a knife. She did not want to be there and she was so annoyed at the dogs and kid. They had also killed their battery in their car during the course of the night, probably due to sitting in it with the heat on but without turning the car on. They had to ask the host to jump it for them.
After eating breakfast, we backtracked to Gunnison to fuel up, then headed west on US 50 to US 92. It was about 66 miles from the campground to north rim of Black Canyon. The ride was well worth the curves, but beware, there are spots without guard rails next to several hundred feet drops. So if you're afraid of heights, you might want to take the south rim drive instead.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park North Rim is at an odd location. US 92 takes you toward Crawford and you're in the middle of farm lands, then you head on some side roads and all of a sudden you're looking down on 2,700 foot drops. Black Canyon is narrower and deeper than the grand canyon. The canyon drops 95 feet per mile. You don't really notice that when you're riding to the north rim, but on your way back you definitely notice the decent toward Gunnison. You should also beware of animals, as there were a bunch of chipmunks, squirrels and birds darting across the road. Whatever you do, don't try to dodge them or else you could fly off the mountain in a ball of flames. Also beware of rocks that have fallen into the road, as they're usually on the curves when you're least prepared to encounter them.
Make sure you take something to eat and have a full tank of gas before heading out to the Black Canyon. There isn't much around in case you run out of fuel or get really hungry. The Black Canyon North Rim isn't paved, but it's groomed gravel. Just keep this in mind when you're going out there. It's washboarded in some spots, but overall not bad. My SV650 handled it just fine. If you're looking for something less frightful and more tourist oriented, you can go to the South Rim of the Black Canyon where it's more developed.
After visiting the north rim, we ate lunch in Crawford, which is just a couple miles north on US 92. The restaurant we stopped at had a Sunday Brunch that was definitely not a diet menu. Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, bacon, sausage, eggs, etc. The town was really small. it was basically a liquor store, two restaurants, a church and a gas station. We were the first bikers into the restaurant, but soon after a bunch more showed up. After eating lunch there, we fueled up and headed back to the camp ground.
The ride back on 92 to Gunnison seemed to go pretty quick, but the views and curves were amazing. Ryan almost hit a baby hawk at about 65mph, but it shot up at the last second. I saw it fly out of control for about 10 seconds before finally flying off normally. On the way back we also decided to see if we could get down near the river to get some photos of the Blue Mesa dam, but unfortunately the good spot was gated off for dam workers only.
We got back to the camp site around 3:00pm and our tents were completely full of dust, as there are no trees and very little ground cover. Any wind just picks up dirt and dust and blows it around. Even the rainflies put all the way to the ground didn’t keep the dust out. We spent a little time trying to clean our sleeping bags and stuff, then decided to re-build our lake cooled refrigerator and put our liquor back in. We had to move it about 3 feet closer because the water receded a bit during the day. I also had to add a shade attachment to keep the beers from heating up in the sun. We waited about an hour for the liquor to cool and tried getting in the water ourselves, but it was a brisk 65 degrees, so that didn’t work out too well.
After finishing the beers we decided it would be a good idea to give some fish a new home. We weighed down the empty bottles with rocks and sand and threw them in. The only problem is one of mine didn't have enough weight in it to fully sink, so it floated around for a good hour or two. We tried smashing it by throwing rocks at it, but it got too far away for us to do any damage. After the beers we switched our focus to finishing off the vodka and coke. Note: crappy vodka does not taste good when it's not cold or without ice cubes.
We had set up our little cooler near the boat ram and the people camping to the other side of us (not the one with the 2 year old) were bringing their boat in. All the kids were on the front and one of them fell into the cold water and started crying. We saw them throw in a life jacket and one of the adults jumped in after them. It took about 5 minutes for the boat to loop back around and pick them up, meanwhile the kid is crying probably due to the freezing water.
About 7:00pm the booze really started to kick in because we thought it would be a great idea to gather as much driftwood as possible for our fire. We ended up getting a bunch of big logs and a lot of medium sized pieces. We started our fire and waited a bit to eat dinner because we weren't quite hungry yet due to the huge lunch. By now it was about 8:30pm and dark and our fire was huge and blazing. We noticed that everyone else had already gone to bed, which seemed weird because the night before they were all up until 11 or so. We ate dinner around 9 and then kept the fire going for a little longer then went to bed.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Extremely steep and long drop into the canyon
View Entire Photo Gallery
motorcycle, labor day 2011
Posted from: United States