TAT Day 18 – Someone Scrape My Jaw off the Tank Bag

Blue Lake Campground, CO – Poncha Springs, CO

Miles Ridden – 172

Total Miles – 2,564

Today’s Travel Time – 11.5 hrs

Animal Totem – Horse 

What I learned today – Colorado days are long!

We woke up early and skipped our usual oatmeal breakfast in order to retreat from the cold as soon as possible. 

 Dad was up a little earlier than me to find a porcupine sniffing around the area where we hung our food bags!  ‘Lil Henry’s big brother was on the loose! Sadly I wasn’t up early enough to get a photo. 


heading back down to the road from our high altitude campsite
After about 40 minutes we came into La Veda for a very scenic gas stop. 
A mile down the road was Paradise Coffee, and were we ever happy to see that place! Warm and hospitable with delicious chai and blueberry muffins (I had to get an extra one for the road). After using their lovely bathroom to brush my teeth and hair, wash my face and strip off extra layers, I finally felt awake and like a semi-normal person (as normal as one can feel when living off a dirt bike that you are riding across the country). A running joke is that being on the TAT is a little bit like practicing to be homeless- except we have a credit card ☺️ 
The rest of the day was amazing riding through some truly beautiful mountains- I think my mouth was hanging open in awe at least half of the day. The photos really don’t do it justice. 
We stopped for lunch in Westcliffe, a cute little ranch town at the edge of the Sangre De Cristo mountains, where at the table next to us were three cyclists, and one just happened to be a life coach as well! We had fun chatting with them and after lunch began researching the passes that would come the following day on the way to Telluride. Unfortunately we found that most were still socked in with snow, but we decided to continue on the TAT for as long as we could. 
During the afternoon we were on a beautiful road that wound towards, away from, and then up through the mountains where the air turned chilly again and the views were incredible. 
There’s nothing like coming around a curve to see another view that takes your breath away. 

As was seeming to be par for the course, we came down off the mountain as the sun was dipping behind the hills. After last night’s camping at high altitude and the long day I was feeling a little squishy so we decided to head to the lodge at Poncha Springs, complete with a hot tub in the courtyard. Unfortunately Mimi’s Cafe was closed (Mimi is what we call Stefan’s mom ☺️) so after a nice Italian dinner we watched the moon rise over the Rocky Mountains and tucked in for the night. 

Our new tires are due tomorrow in Telluride, and with any luck we will make it there as well!


22 thoughts on “TAT Day 18 – Someone Scrape My Jaw off the Tank Bag

  1. I love reading your adventures. I didn’t even know the TAT existed and now I want to ride it! Just curious, what size is your bike? I’m looking at getting a new bike and want something that is street legal but still light(er) weight on the dirt. I’ve been looking a lot at the XT’s since I already have a TTR that I love. Thanks and safe travels!


  2. Welcome to Colorado and our back yard. I hope you enjoy the trip. As far as scenery goes wait until you get to Telluride 🙂


  3. Hey, I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed following your travels. I live in Wyoming and have been thinking about this ride for a year. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. My eight year old daughter and I have been reading this and she is feeling empowered! Any more tidbits on equipment that you find you can’t live without would be appreciated. Keep it up, stay safe! She loves your porcupine!


    1. That’s great!!! I plan to do a write up on equipment, gear, etc after we complete in late June so keep an eye peeled for that post. Glad to know ‘lil Henry has a fan out there! Tell your daughter hi ☺


  4. Thanks for creating this fun to read travelogue. As a fellow Seattle blogger, I know the challenge it can be to ride, write and photograph a trip. It looks like the TAT trip is a fantastic adventure.


  5. I have been following your adventure for the last week. I am heading out on the tat from Tennessee at the end of June in a lifted Tacoma 4×4 truck. From what pictures I have seen you post it does not look like anything my truck could not handle. From your experience on the trail do you think I would have any problems doing the tat in a 4×4 truck with a winch?


  6. Colorado gets better and better. When we were there I couldn’t help but be amazed That anything west of Colorado ever got explored or settled. Love, love, love following your trip. Keep going!

    Steve, the same group I rode the tat with are planning a trip by Jeep in 2017. You shouldn’t have any trouble in your truck. Have fun.


  7. Just curious….why the Husqvarna logo on your Yamaha XT250? Are they helping you out with some sponsorship or something? Love reading your adventures! Planning on doing the TAT next year with about 5 friends.


  8. Thanks for taking the time on your adventure to write about it. My son and I drove the western half of the trail in Oklahoma and loved it. We plan to do the eastern part in July. I am inspired by your story to do the whole thing with him now.
    Safe travels to all of you and looking forward to reading about the rest of your journey. Cheers………


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