Bugling about a Weekend of Fun Fall Events in Crested Butte!

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Hi All and Happy Friday! And yep, I’m ready for a couple of days off–way ready.

Today’s first shot is of the elk along highway 135 yesterday morning.  The big boy elk (yes, “bull,” if you want to be all formal) was working hard to keep his ladies in line and paying attention only to him.  So then came the barking and squealing (yes, “bugling,” if you want to wax poetic about it) and herding and chasing . . . it’s that time of year in the high country.

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Today’s second shot is of some turning aspens on the ski area going all vivid with color, backed by Mt. Whetstone. Pockets of local color are starting to come on nicely . . . there’s probably still more green than gold on the mountain sides, but not decisively so at this point.  It’s changing quickly out there.

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Friday’s last two shots are of the little remaining physical evidence that Crested Butte hosted a world class party a couple of weeks back (blue paint on Elk Avenue) . . . sounds like with Elk Avenue getting de-blued (further pavement grinding and resurfacing to come) and a couple of boards over at the hockey rink possibly getting replaced and you’d never know it happened. If you haven’t checked out the vids from the event on You Tube, here’s a link to the event recap.  Granted, a slick production company like BL used could make cleaning a goat barn with a pitch fork and a wheelbarrow on hot and humid July afternoon look like a good time, but how often do you see little ol’ Crested Butte party like this?  Apparently there are still quite divided feelings about the event among some locals, but I’ll keep the Shot of the Day out of the mud slinging . . . besides, I’m no where near as practiced at it as the local vocal minority.

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Speaking of fun events in Crested Butte, not only is it Vinotok weekend, but be sure to check out the Chili & Beer Festival at Crested Butte Mountain Resort tomorrow! While you’re there, enjoy the Evolution bike park and/or take a lift ride . . . the fun is still happening on weekends at the ski area.  Have an excellent couple of days off and we’ll see you next week.
It Ain’t Over ’til it’s Over, but the Shot of the Day is Getting Closer to “Over.”

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Posted September 19, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

Ready for the Weekend in Crested Butte

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Hi All and Happy Friday!  Today’s shot is of the sun rising behind Crested Butte Mountain.  Have a really good day and an awesome weekend!

The Shot of the Day’s going on a permanent vacation.

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Posted September 19, 2014 by robbpennie in Uncategorized

The Fall Ride

Hi All—about his time each fall (when the summer season’s over and fall hasn’t gotten into gear quite yet, I try and get out “out of Dodge” for a decent motorcycle tour somewhere in the western United States. A week of riding and camping tends to satisfy my wanderlust and get my perspective reset a bit (if you’re used to life in “paradise” as the norm, then paradise, too, can begin to lose its luster) . . . just what’s needed before another long winter sets in on the Gunnison Country.  So Tuesday’s shots are from last week’s motorcycle ride that took me from Crested Butte, across northern Utah and southern Idaho to Oregon, northern California, and back.  Much of my goal for my fall motorcycle tours is to simply find twisty, scenic, interesting roads to ride.  Yes, a lot of folks visit Colorado for the same, but while Colorado has some good roads in that regard, the state’s  surprisingly-restrictive speed limits (they’re getting more ridiculous all the time, too) and towering mountains (so big that you have to build roads around them, rather than through them) keep it from achieving greatness in this regard.  So westward I go for motorcycling nirvana.  I could go way in depth with the back stories on these shots (and remember these are snapshots from a riding trip, not a photo expedition), but I’ll try and keep it pretty brief so you don’t fall asleep at your monitor . . .

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The first full day of my ride took me to the C.J. Strike Reservoir at the confluence of the Snake and Bruneau rivers in southwestern Idaho. I’ll remember it as buggy and hot . . . give me Blue Mesa any day.  This is a shot of the sunrise over my campsite.

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From there, it was just a couple hours to the Oregon border. I ride an ’04 Suzuki V-Strom 650 that I’ve dialed in for longer rides like this over the years.  The bike is probably a little undersized for expedited interstate cruising (but what fun is super-slabbing on a motorcycle, anyway?), but has a good mix of handling and zip that make it a hoot to ride on little roads.

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And while I don’t aim for them, I don’t shy away from gravel roads . . . this one was Burnt River Canyon Lane south of Baker City, Oregon, that fed into a twisty and fun section of highway 245. Like so much of the very western U.S. at lower elevations, eastern Oregon was tinderbox dry . . . this road was so dusty that I had to stop and wait for the thick dust to clear when meeting the occasional vehicle—I couldn’t see through it at all.

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These two shots are the following morning, west of Condon, Oregon, along highway 206 as it rolls across these dry and blond hills.  The Cascade’s big peaks were just becoming visible in the distance—that’s Mt. Adams in these shots.  It was way windy in the area, too . . . great place for an endless wind farm.

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Shortly after, I found myself cruising along the banks of the Columbia River—this shot on the slower-paced two lane highway on the Washington state side of his giant river.

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I knew the Columbia River gorge to be a wind and kite surfing mecca and the scene didn’t disappoint . . . while I didn’t have a camera along that could do them justice, all the little flecks of color in this shot are sails and kites riding the blustery conditions. Not a bad  backdrop, either.

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Wanting to see the coast by evening, I took I-84 through Portland and made it to the ocean and a camp site at Beverly Beach State Park in time to walk out and catch the sunset. Being landlocked most of the year, I have to admit becoming mesmerized by the ocean when I visit it.  Scenes like this contribute to my condition.

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This is the next morning, I believe looking out at the lighthouse on Yaquina Head. Again, captivating to the eye of a mountain town dweller.

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So I won’t go into all the details on this next shot, but the short version is that I was trying to get through the Bear Camp Road to cut across the coastal range to stay with friends in Grants Pass for the evening. The closed road meant having to backtrack a couple of hours.  I’ve negotiated “washed out” roads before and, being in my shoes, what would you have done?   There’s gotta be room to squeeze around or under the gate, right?  Hmmmm . . .

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The Bear Camp Road itself is unlike anything I’m aware of in Colorado (except for some very brief sections of Independence Pass). It’s about 50 miles of single lane pavement that winds through the mountains with all kinds of interesting little hiccups to keep you on your toes.  And, of course, you can meet oncoming traffic at any time, so riding defensively is a necessity.  But blazing it is a hoot if you can get in the groove.

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After a fun evening on the town with my gracious hosts in Grants Pass, I headed down highway 199 for California. While it was a very cool road (it had a sections of everything that makes northern Cali roads so great—scenic river canyon, redwood forests, sweepers and tight twisties) it was also heavily trafficked.  This shot gives a bit of the sensation of zipping through the redwood forest sections.

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From highway 199 it was out back onto highway 101 for some coastal scenery. Where highway 101 sits back in the trees and is clogged with traffic for too much of the Oregon and Washington coast, the road rides great in northern California (yes, highway 1 north of San Francisco is better, but 101 in this area is pretty good), twisting and turning along the rugged coastline with less traffic to negotiate.  Not sure where this photo was taken, but it was a pretty beach where I stopped for a ride break.

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Gotta have the selfie at the beach.  Hi Mom!

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Following lunch in Arcata, I did the highway 299, 3, 36 loop (probably my fave loop to ride anywhere) and managed to win one of the last camp sites in the Burlington campground along the Avenue of the Giants. Camping in the redwoods borders on magical—there’s something almost spellbinding about those ancient, behemoth trees.  I have enough pictures of me hugging the giants from previous trips, so none here, but the next day, following breakfast in Garberville (if you want good ol’ Humboldt County character, be sure to stop in and visit with the locals in Garberville—makes CB seem like a cookie-cutter suburb) I headed out the Alderpoint Road (an adventure in itself) and connected back up to highway 36 (that due to its lack of traffic, length, good sight lines, consistent and tight corners, all with a reasonable speed limit that you really have to try hard to violate in the tight, fun sections, cements its reputation as one of the finest motorcycling roads in the Americas) to start my easterly run back, across California.  Following a late lunch in Chico, I headed up the scenic and fast turning highway 70, lucky enough to find myself following a rider who led me on a spirited rip up the canyon.

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Whether you’re into highway 70 for the adrenaline or the views, you won’t be disappointed. One of the many interesting tunnels along the road.

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By evening, I had made my way through Quincy and out to Lake Davis, north of Portola, California, where I enjoyed a nice campground on the lake, complete with a pleasing sunset.

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Looking over the map before turning in for the night and realizing that I had ridden what I came to ride on the trip, I admitted to myself it was time to head for home.  And with there being no overly enjoyable way to transit Nevada and Utah on a 650cc motorcycle, I decided to get the run over with as quickly as possible.  Packed up and on the road before sun-up (this shot is just before sun-up), I caught I-80 in Reno and pointed it east.  Some 14 hours later, with blurred visions of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Salt Lake City, Green River and an unending dotted white line dancing in my head, I rolled into my good friends’ place in Grand Junction, pried myself off the bike and was soon sleeping soundly in their guest bedroom.  The ride back to CB the next day was a walk in the park.  My trip odometer read 3,812 miles . . . no “ironbutt” awards being handed out there, but not bad for an eight-day camping trip on a little motorcycle.

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I could sum up by saying a lot of things about a trip like this, but I’ll keep it light and leave you with it being great to get out of the neighborhood (even if your “neighborhood” is one of the best anywhere) and see new places and meet different people . . . if you haven’t done it for a while, I highly recommend it. Have an excellent day and we’ll see you tomorrow.
Last Ride for the Shot of the Day

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Posted September 18, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

Early Color for Mt. Emmons

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Wednesday’s shot is looking up, into Mt. Emmons’ Red Lady Bowl and gives a good feel for the fall colors around Crested Butte these days. There are pockets of color taking off (with some of the color going well beyond the typical “golds” that we see from area aspens to oranges and even reds), but the vast majority of trees in the area are still mostly green.  As always, thanks, Matthew Johnston, for sharing your photo with us!

Crested Butte is seeing temps in the mid thirties this morning, with highs forecasted for the low seventies this afternoon. There’s a chance for an isolated thunderstorm, as well, but otherwise it should be another pretty and pleasant fall day in the mountains.  Have a good one and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Winding Down the Shot of the Day

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Posted September 17, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

Fall Color is Coming to Crested Butte!

Hi All—welcome to another fabulous week of early fall in Crested Butte!   Today’s shot is checking out some of the early color emerging in the aspens with Mt. Whetstone in the background.  We’re probably at least a couple of weekends away from peak color in the area, but it always tends to sneak up and surprise me.

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Crested Butte’s forecast is showing a chance of showers this afternoon with a high in the low seventies. We’re sitting right around freezing this morning as we wait for the sun to come up.  Have a very good day out there and we’ll see you tomorrow.
It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over, but for the Shot of the Day, It’s Just About Over . . .

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Posted September 15, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

Evening View of Crested Butte Mountain

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Thursday’s shot is of Crested Butte Mountain in the soft evening light of early fall.  I hope your day’s going well . . . the weekend’s just around the corner if you’re ready for a break.

Winding Down the Shot of the Day

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Posted September 11, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

Frostiness in Crested Butte

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Wednesday’s shot is from a recent frosty morning in Crested Butte.  Yes, we’re well into frost season on the Gunnison Country, with locals predicting an early winter, as well.  Just so it’s a deep winter . . .

There’s still plenty of great mountain biking and backcountry fun to enjoy yet this fall (the leaves are only just beginning to turn), and with Crested Butte Mountain Resort fully open for fun and adventure on weekends through the end of the September, CB’s still the place to be this fall.  Until tomorrow . . .

Final Posts for the Shot of the Day

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Posted September 10, 2014 by robbpennie in Crested Butte Shot of the Day

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