Aug 24, 2007
Up and off, tracing Rt 550 from Durango towards Grand Junction, but cutting west at Ridgway. Definitely some of the most beautiful mountain country (with roads anyway) that I have been through. Attempted to ride up Mt. Kendall on a rocky 4x4 road in Silverton, a pretty mining-turned-tourist town, until my bike started to emit an awful, hot smell, like burnt brake pads or burning plastic. Turned back downhill and crossed my fingers at the bottom, looking for the cause when I made it back to flat roads. I couldn't pinpoint the smell, but all looked good enough to move, and after checking for motorcycle techs in Silverton to no avail, I headed for Moab. Crossing into Utah, three large storm cells loomed and after gearing up rode through some of the most intense rain yet; the road was mostly a puddle/stream, with visibility pretty impaired and speeds down in the 20's to avoid hydroplaning. Near dusk, found the the forest road that was to lead me to my next campsite, but it turned out to be slightly rocky as well, and my bike emmitted that same ugly smell. This time it was worse, still heavy and choking at 35 mph on flat pavement, and I was getting pretty sure my front brakes were getting seriously misaligned and heading towards done for, though they still responded normally. Made a makeshift respirator mask out of my long underwear, good enough to get me back into town without gagging, and sought a hotel. Cheapest I could find was about $80, way over my nightly lodging budget :) To bed, not exactly relaxed.