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  1. #1
    Senior Member thebarerider's Avatar
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    Last minute questions

    I'm heading out for Colorado this Saturday, bright and early. I'll be using a route cyccommute drew up for me as a guideline, changing it a little and throwing in Taos, Moab, or Leadville (I'm leaning towards this) as a side journey. The route begins and ends in Alamosa.

    I have everything I think I need except experience, but after the next month I will have some of that Some things I am still concerned about:

    1) Bears. I have read all about the safety triangle and hanging my food. How likely is it, though, that if I hang my food a bear or some smaller animal will still get into my pannier? And what on earth would I do if a bear destroyed my pannier?

    2) Stealth camping. How will I know what land is public and what land is private? I ask this because I read that it is not necessary for CO residents to mark the land with a fence or a sign. Right now, I've got a route going that will put me in a campground each night for the first few days so I don't have to worry, but it has me doing a pretty long day on the second day (a little over 80 miles).

    3) About that long trip the second day, does anyone have an experience with Highway 84 from Chama, NM into Pagosa Springs? The interactive AAA map I was using showed no gas stations along the route. Are there any other services or should I be prepared to break out my water filter?

    My panniers are packed, sitting at the edge of my bed. I need to grab a new set of brake pads and install them plus get two disposable cameras, and then I am set. Hopefully finding a place to leave my car for four weeks in Alamosa won't be a problem.

  2. #2
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    1) Bears and other critters: Definitely hang your food and anything else (like toothpaste) a critter might want to eat. Make sure that you keep your panniers clean and free of food smells. These precautions keep you safer and keep your panniers from being ripped open. Raccoons (nocturnal) and even squirrels (diurnal) can be quite destructive. Bears are less likely, but the consequences would be serious enough warrant the effort.

    2) Stealth Camping: Opinions vary and can get quite emotional both ways, but the truth of the matter is if you are stuck and you have a "necessity" to protect person or property you have a common law right to "take refuge" on private land. However, the land owner may not see it that way and you may have a problem - including getting shot. He goes to jail (unless you're in Texas), but you're dead. You take your chances. I avoid stealth camping by planning some short days. Emergency means emergency.

    3) Can't speak to Hwy 84, but the consequences of running out of water are disasterous. If you have a water filter bring it.

  3. #3
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    you know living in ireland it's crazy to read a post like that ,bears / getting shot /keeping your eye out for racoons and other man eating animals but it all sounds great so be careful and have a great tour and i hope some texan dosen't shoot you before a bear eat's you up.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebarerider View Post
    I'm heading out for Colorado this Saturday, bright and early. I'll be using a route cyccommute drew up for me as a guideline, changing it a little and throwing in Taos, Moab, or Leadville (I'm leaning towards this) as a side journey. The route begins and ends in Alamosa.

    I have everything I think I need except experience, but after the next month I will have some of that Some things I am still concerned about:

    1) Bears. I have read all about the safety triangle and hanging my food. How likely is it, though, that if I hang my food a bear or some smaller animal will still get into my pannier? And what on earth would I do if a bear destroyed my pannier?

    2) Stealth camping. How will I know what land is public and what land is private? I ask this because I read that it is not necessary for CO residents to mark the land with a fence or a sign. Right now, I've got a route going that will put me in a campground each night for the first few days so I don't have to worry, but it has me doing a pretty long day on the second day (a little over 80 miles).

    3) About that long trip the second day, does anyone have an experience with Highway 84 from Chama, NM into Pagosa Springs? The interactive AAA map I was using showed no gas stations along the route. Are there any other services or should I be prepared to break out my water filter?

    My panniers are packed, sitting at the edge of my bed. I need to grab a new set of brake pads and install them plus get two disposable cameras, and then I am set. Hopefully finding a place to leave my car for four weeks in Alamosa won't be a problem.
    Bears and critters can be a problem. Get some parachute cord and hoist the bags off the ground in a tree (make sure it's at least 8' up). That will keep the bears out of it. Don't cook or eat in your tent or sleep in the clothes you cook in. Bears have very good noses and are looking for massive quantities of food. Most of the ones you might run across are not going to look on you as that edible but they can make life interesting. I do my cooking away from tents and don't keep dirty clothes with me.

    The ride from Chama to Pagosa is 48 miles and will likely be hot. You might want to carry a couple of extra bottles of water with you over what you are carrying normally. It's not that far but there is little in the way of water even for filtering along the route. You should be fine but be prepared nevertheless.

    As for camping, try to plan ahead. It might pay to have a forest service map of the forests you are riding through (Carson and San Jaun). You should be able to get them in Alamosa. They aren't the best maps but they should give you an idea of where the public land is and where campgrounds are. Most people will mark their land with signs but some don't. If you have a map and you read it wrong, it's an honest mistake and most people will understand.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    +1 on the water filter, or maybe water treatment tablets.

    Have fun! I'm looking forward to hearing about the trip. Take lots of pictures; if there aren't pics, it didn't happen.
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  6. #6
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    The Delorme State maps (large folios) attempt to show land ownership (forest, blm, bia, state, private, etc.) A quick study of the transect you are likely to take would be worth it to avoid sensitivities. Specifically, BLM and USForest lands are free to camping unless prohibited locally (i.e. close to streams or trails) but Indian lands are prohibited unless you are specifically authorized. State lands are usually ok, but private owned lands should never be camped on without asking someone about sensitivities. I hope this helps. Ride safely. tom

  7. #7
    likes bikes. eAspenwood's Avatar
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    perhaps you could designate one pannier to be the only one you ever put food in, so you could take that one off at night and hang it up somewhere if possible. if u couldn't hang it up, then at least they'll only attack one pannier if they get to it. racoons are vicious little *******s.

    most importantly, like cyccommute says don't bring anything in the tent with that might smell of food.

    good luck on your trip. it sounds like it will be a lot of fun. can't wait to read about it.

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