Steamboat 2018 - "Over the Passes"

By: Kevin JohnsonJun 26, 2019

Day 1 (8/10/18)

Wooooo!  We were only back for a short period from our first long motorcycle adventure from Vegas and it was already time to embark on our next trip to Steamboat.  This was a shorter ride, only a three-dayer, but still nice getting back  on the road.  We also picked up Bob’s dad, my Uncle Al, who rode with us on this trip.  Since Al’s house is pretty much in between me and Bob we just met there that morning and hit the road from his place.

August in Denver can be hotter than shit but as soon as we hit the mountains it cooled down enough to make the ride quite enjoyable.  And because we were only heading up to Steamboat, just a few hours away, we took the route over Berthoud Pass through Winter Park and Granby and then cut over to Kremmling.  It’s a much prettier ride than going up Highway 9 from Silverthorne and we had nothing but time so it was worth taking a different path.  I’ve been over Berthoud Pass dozens of times before, but most of them were when the road was covered in snow and we were headed to Winter Park to go skiing, so it was really cool going through all the switchbacks on two wheels.

Eventually we made our way into Kremmling where we stopped for a beer and some lunch at the Grand Adventure Brewing Company.  It was still pretty early in the day so we were the first patrons through the door.  Since it was Friday too I don’t think they were expecting anyone quite so early but there we were anyway.  We hung around just long enough for a few cold ones and a basket of chicken fingers before hopping back on the bikes and continuing down the road.

Being that there were now three of us on the trip needing lodging we opted for a VRBO condo rental which had a much more ideal bed setup and price tag vs having to get two rooms at a hotel.  But since it was also still quite early in the day and we couldn’t “check in” until that afternoon we decided to kill a little more time by taking 134 over Gore Pass and into Toponas.  It was a really nice ride and was fun going back over that pass since it’d been about ten years since the last time I’d been through that part of the state.  We also got quite lucky going through when we did since shortly after we’d ridden through the Silver Creek Fire flared up and nearly doubled in size taking out a good portion of the pass and shutting it down for a while.

I’d hunted near Toponas when I was about 20 so going, and going back through the town was fun – seeing that old general store still standing there, looking exactly as it had a decade before.  Then we made our way up a little further into Yampa.  If you’ve never been here before it’s a neat little town, you pull off the highway and go down a dirt road to the end of town, but that dirt road also has a median for some reason, it’s the neatest thing!  We stopped at the Antlers Cafe and Bar, but since they were closed we settled for a few photos and some fuel on our way out of town.

From there we followed 131 all the way up through Phippsburg and Oak Creek and into Steamboat.  We were a little early but it wasn’t a problem getting into the condo.  Even though it was a short ride it was nice just being there and being able to kick off our boots.  Luckily Al was prepared with some small shooters of whiskey because Bob and I didn’t plan for after riding beverages at all.  Eventually we made our way back into town for a few necessities, stocking up some booze being a one of them.  Pro tip:  Steamboat, despite being a mountain town, gets plenty hot in the summer.  Do yourselves a favor and book a place that has AC.  Lesson learned for the future!

Dinnertime eventually rolled around, so we all washed up and headed out.  It was when I was getting dressed again that I realized I’d left all my spare skivvies sitting on top of my dresser at home.  Yep I’d forgotten to pack one of the most important pieces of gear!  Oh well, it just meant I had to wash the one pair I had by hand every night and let them dry for the next morning.  Not ideal but equally the only real option…do what you have to I guess.

One of Bob’s friends was is a UFC fighter so we headed downtown to find a place to watch the fight.  After asking around we ended up at the Tap House since they said they could get the fight.  Well turns out they couldn’t but we already had beers in front of us and dinner on the way so we instead loaded it up on a phone and watched it at our table like a bunch of vagrants huddled around a trashcan fire.  I’d been to this bar before and it was unfortunate we got tricked into eating there again because I don’t think the food is all that great.  But it got the job done and the beer was cold so I suppose it wasn’t all bad.  Plus Al’s card got drawn for credit card roulette so dinner was on him!  We eventually finished up and decided to head back to the condo to take it easy for a bit before hitting the sack.

Kevin Johnson
Kevin was destined to ride motorcycles from a young age since bikes are a family pastime.  Only recently did Kevin become an internet motorcycle influencer and change the lives of no one while blogging about his exploits, both on and off the road.  He is currently (and constantly) thinking about the next places two wheels might take him, much to the dismay of his wife, so stay tuned for what's to come!