Steamboat 2018 - "Through the Woods"

By: Kevin JohnsonJun 26, 2019

Day 2 (8/11/18)

We got up this morning without any sort of plan, just ready to do some riding.  Wandered around the condo some humming and hawing about where we might head to, all while still waking up, eventually we decided we’d head up toward Steamboat Lake.  So we geared up and started out for the day, still without much of a plan in place which was a-okay.  It didn’t take long to get up 129 to the lake so we began to go around the lake some where the road quickly turned to dirt and we figured we probably didn’t want to go too much further up this direction since it eventually dead ended, but we were at a good spot to stop and take some pics before turning around.

Cruising back out the way we came we eventually hit the main road again and continued north until we reached a fork in the road.  We could take one of two dirt paths, 550 or continue down 129.  I’m not sure why, but right at the fork 550 appeared to be in better shape and more traveled so initially we thought that would be the route to take but luckily I had some service and we realized it wouldn’t lead us anywhere.  After a quick chat we decided to take the dirt all the way up to Wyoming along 129.

Riding down this path I have to say, I need a lot more practice with two wheels on these gravel roads.  It was definitely a white-knuckler and it really wasn’t even that bad.  My problem was that I just don’t have enough experience and was lacking trust in my abilities at first.  Even the 30 or so minutes we were on the road was great for me because I started to feel a lot more comfortable and knew how to handle that behemoth of a motorcycle on gravel a lot better.

It was a great ride though!  We went past some ranches that were absolutely stunning.  I was thinking how nice it would be to own one of those, pretty well removed from everything, right in the middle of some beautiful scenery, and fully able to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.  Maybe one day as I’m confident they’re worth millions and millions…so instead we rode on by and enjoyed the view, all the while cutting in and out of Wyoming.

Eventually we made it to the end of the dirt at Highway 70 where we stopped and let the blood rush back into our hands.  Al, being the experienced rider, had been waiting for us for about five minutes already, so he was likely ready to get a move on again.  There must have been some really good four wheeling trails back where we’d just come from too because as we were sitting around we saw a few RZRs go flying by heading opposite the direction we’d just come.  It sure would be nice if Colorado would allow side-by-sides and UTVs and things on the roads.  Obviously not the highways, but you get my drift.  They’d make a boatload more money for the state AND it’d help prevent theft having all of them registered…but what do I know?

So from here we didn’t have much of a choice but to head west down 70 toward Baggs.  We hit a few small towns along the way and finally pulled into town thinking we’d stop and grab some lunch.  As we were parking we ran into some other cyclists who’d just walked out of the Cowboy Inn giving glowing recommendations so we figured that’d be the spot to go.  We walked in and first sat at the bar which is our typical seating choice, but after hanging out there for a few minutes and getting no service due to the lack of any staff we walked around to see if we could find someone to help us.  We saw one server the whole time who was helping another table and either didn’t notice us or wasn’t interested in our greenbacks so we decided it wasn’t meant to be and walked right back out to get on the bikes and head toward Craig, CO where we knew we’d be able to have something to eat.

From bags we went south down 789 until we hit the boarder and the road switched to 13 on the Colorado side.  We cruised right along into Craig where we stopped quick to actually find a restaurant, which we did pretty quickly via the phones since whatever we parked in front of was closed.  The OP Bar and Grill was the spot (stands for Other Place which I thought was quite fitting given the situation), so we rode over, parked up, and had some lunch.

After we were sufficiently fed we figured it was time to head back to Steamboat.  We got close to town and did a quick lap around the KOA campground where Al and Bob and the family had camped a few times when the kids were little, and then Al had remembered a gun store nearby so we made that our next stop.  I was surprised at the inventory Elk River Guns had on hand!  Being located in a small ski town I figured they’d have a pretty limited supply of things that go bang but I was pleasantly incorrect.  We looked at a few things, but our wallets were saved from anything we might have wanted since we were on the bikes and transport would have been somewhat difficult with long guns so instead we got out of there and headed back to the condo to kick back for a while.

Since it was so damn hot in Steamboat and we didn’t have AC we decided on an even better plan and hit the pool instead.  With cocktails in hand and trunks on we headed across the parking lot to the outdoor pool where we were the only inhabitants for a long time.  Eventually a lady showed up with her daughter and we visited with her for a bit, also getting a good recommendation from her for a place to go for dinner.  We’d been sitting around long enough so we got out, showered up, and headed over to Rex’s.  The food was good, the atmosphere was good, and best of all, Al “won” credit card roulette for the second time in a row!  Thanks again for the dinners!

When we got back to the condo it was still pretty early so we donned our bathing suits again and headed back to the pool area, this time to sit in the hot tub and rest our muscles from the two pretty good days of riding we’d just completed.  We sat around there until the maintenance guy eventually showed up to close everything up for the night, so we got out and headed back upstairs to do a little packing before bed in preparation for the trip home the following day.

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!