TAT Day 17 – Riding into the Rockies

Clayton, NM – Blue Lake Campground, CO

Miles Ridden – 192

Total Miles – 2,392

Today’s Travel Time – 11.5 hrs

Animal Totem – Prairie Dog

What I learned today – Double check campsite elevations when you’re in Colorado!

Only a few debacles today. After a stop off at the post office where we mailed home 20 lbs of stuff we didn’t need…

 we finally pulled out of Clayton and rode through the beautiful NM high desert. 


After an hour or so we took a break in the only shade we could find for miles around. 

Shockingly a rider from Arkansas pulled up behind us (we hadn’t seen one other vehicle on the road), and then when we were about to pull away the two other TAT riders we had met in Oklahoma rode up! 


Riding up some washed out switch backs I took a spill, but luckily I was OK and so was the bike, and Stef caught the whole thing on his GoPro!


       When we got to the top of the switch backs we rode for miles on an amazingly beautiful high plain. We paused at the unmarked Colorado border, and saw the Rockies in the distance. 
After coming down off the plain we stopped for a side of the road snack in some more shade we found in an abandoned little town. 


Since it was in the 90’s Stefan finally felt the merits of airing out his butt. 
One more short break before filling up on gas in Trinidad, CO, 



   where I discovered that my bladder was leaking – don’t worry- just my camel back bladder. 

We had about 70 miles to go until the campsite so we decided to press onward. We saw more beautiful scenery, an unfortunate bridge outage and a field full of prairie dogs. 


The sun began to set as we climbed in elevation, up and over Cordova Pass at 11,248 ft. The air turned chilly as we rode up into the mountains.

Coming down off the pass and back onto pavement, the sun had just gone behind the mountain top and we were about 15 minutes from our campsite. 


Pulling off onto another gravel road we started to climb again. Up and up on the winding road next to a beautiful creek. Closer and closer to the white peaks until we were in one! 

Fortunately we reached camp with a wee bit of daylight left. Unfortunately the campsite was at about 10,500 feet. Cold, windy and complete with snow on the ground. I immediately went to the bathroom and put on every piece of clothing I had with me! Then set up camp, ate, and climbed as quickly as possible into my sleeping bag. I wanted to stay up to see the full moon, but even at 10:30 it was still hiding behind one of the mountain peaks. After our full day I fell right asleep despite the chill in the air. 


27 thoughts on “TAT Day 17 – Riding into the Rockies

  1. Almost wish you didn’t have the video! It looked worse than you made it sound! Glad you’re ok! Been quietly following your adventure since a couple days after you left.

    Dave (BlueMtnAdv)


  2. Loving your blog. We are hoping to leave from FT Smith around June 15th and finish the TAT we started last year. Had a little “get off” in AR that required a trip to the ER and some PT. 🙂 I am curious about the road conditions in OK. Looks muddy. How did y’all do? Also looking forward to Colorado but many of the passes are still closed. What have you found? How is it from Trinidad to Lake City? There sure has been a lot of snow this year. Have fun!


    1. Glad you are OK- that’s great that you’re starting again. Yes OK was very muddy, I’d just keep an eye on the weather, if they have had at least a couple of dry days before you ride it should be passable. In CO we had to bypass Sargents to Telluride on the highway but we made it through everything else alright! Have a fun trip ☺️


      1. Thanks for the tips. It hasn’t rained in almost a week so hopefully it has dried out a bit. So y’all had to skip Marshall, Cinnamon, Animas Forks, California, and Corkscrew Gulch passes?


  3. Loving your write-ups! I hope that a few days offline simply means you haven’t found a reliable WiFi connection to upload pictures. Ride safe and have fun!


  4. Absolutely LOVE your blog! The writing, the pictures, and above all, the spirit of it. I’ve been fortunate to have taken four extended length moto trips (Guatemala, Alaska, Labrador) and have found them to be life changing. I look forward to reading your postscript. I also wonder what will be next for you as these type of life events can become springboards for even grander experiences. Thanks for sharing your experiences! -Alex


  5. Hey Larkin! Katy and I have been following your blog and cheering you on the whole way. What an amazing ride. No matter what comes your way you folks just keep on going! Keep on trucking girl and say hi to Dad and Stef for us. Namaste! Jim and Katy


  6. Myself and a couple friends rode the trail last summer and that little section definitely made the top 10 most frightening list. Video doesn’t do it justice. The view from the top is worth the climb though. The views in Colorado will certainly reward your efforts keep it up!


  7. This is a great ride report! My wife and I forward to your updates and photos.
    I have a question, what’s your opinion on traveling the TAT 2 up on 1 motorcycle? Or making the trip on a motorcycle with a sidecar ? ( it’s a Ural so it has 2 wheel drive)


    1. I’d say it would be challenging but not impossible. The French couple we met were riding 2 up and doing a fair amount of off road- she said she would sometimes get off and walk through when the trail got too hairball, and that’s what I would suggest for the TAT in a few sections here out west. It also depends a lot on the driver’s skill and the passengers courage ☺️


  8. Hello fellow TAT Travelers, Thanks for sharing your trip experience. Our crew made it from Pueblo, CO to Elko, NV last year, what an amazing experience it was! The year prior to that we did a section from the Mississippi River to Pueblo, then the year prior was our first leg. We skipped this year and expect to complete the adventure next year, can’t wait. We started in year 1 with 5 riders, next year will be just 2. Enjoy the journey in every aspect. Happy trails. Steve C.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s