Glenn’s Power Line Exploration Loop

Glenn Neigenfind invited me along last Thursday afternoon to explore a road he knew about but didn’t know where it went. His goal is to locate roads on BLM land so they can be documented to help ensure that motorcyclists continue to enjoy access.

View toward north

We pause to enjoy the view from high up. That's Glenn in the photo. You can just make out Grand Mesa to the north, about 75 miles away.

Glenn called about 2:30, wondering if I could meet him at 4:00 p.m. You bet! I quickly did my time card and hopped into my motorcycle gear and fired up the Yamaha XT-250. Our first order of business was the power line road. I’d heard about it, but didn’t know where it was. (See this post for the power line road trip.) After completing the power line trip, which had a fantastic view, we headed up a road Glenn knew about. Our goal was to see where it went.

GPS track.

We didn't know when we started that we could turn this into a loop, albeit a long one.

The answer is it went up. And up! Mostly it’s a pretty good road without too many challenges, although there are a few places where it’s downright steep. At first we were headed up the side of a ridge, but soon we were in the trees without many views. We stopped a few times to poke around on foot and to take wildflower photos. The further we went up, the more ragged the road got. We came to a ranch gate. (A ranch gate is made of barbed wire simply stretched across the road—it unhooks, we go through, then we hook it behind us*.) The further we went the more the road was a mere track. We got out the GPS—it showed several trails. We followed one to the east which turned out to be a double-track**, then followed a double-track to the south that wasn’t on the GPS—it ended at a fence with a “No Trespassing” sign, so we turned around (not easy on the narrow, steep, overgrown track!).

At this point, we didn’t know which way might lead down. We were always prepared to go back the way we came, just in case. What you see below is what we saw on my DeLorme PN-40SE GPS.

GPS track detail

Here's a close-up view from Topo USA that matched what we saw on the GPS. We thought we should go right (east), but the GPS said the way down was to the left (west). The GPS was correct.

The GPS said to go left (west). From where we were, the “road” to the west was completely covered in grass! Was this really the road? As it turned out, yes. That is, if you use the term “road” generously. It quickly degenerated into a steep, winding, scree-filled nightmare (nightmare for me, anyway). I had to suck in several deep breaths and remember my best technique (stand up, eyes forward, keep motorcycle tilted in correct direction for turn) and absolutely ignore the totally wild ride as I bounced down this road. (Glenn serenely rode sitting down for most of it.) Glenn asked me several times if I was prepared to turn around and climb back up this poor excuse for a road in the event we found our way blocked. I told him “if we have to,” meaning I’d have to carefully compare going back up that road to sudden death and decide which was easier.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to. The road came out at another ranch gate (which we left the same way we found it: closed). From there we were in some rancher’s back yard. We putted by as quietly as we could and then found ourselves on a well-graveled county road. Glenn was quite concerned we might find ourselves on private land and at odds with a rancher, but we never crossed any “No Trespassing” signs, or for that matter, any “Private Property” signs.

This led to Kiniken Road. We traveled west on this wide, well-maintained county road. The only caution I have for Kiniken Road is that it features lots of loose gravel, which can make things a bit squirrely. Glen knew a place to cut to the south. We found a well-traveled, though rutted and unimproved, road that generally followed another power line.

Follows another set of power lines.

This road generally follows another set of power lines. The road is in good shape and is well-traveled, though rutted here and there. I'd rate this an easy ride, though there are occasional steep spots. This road is likely impassible when wet.

So, it turned into a loop! The steep descent turned it into an adventure (high adventure for me—it tested the limits of my skills) and overall a great way to spend a late spring afternoon!

*The rule is to always leave a gate the way you found it. If closed, close the gate behind you. The point is to keep the cattle where they’re supposed to be.

**A double-track is not a Jeep road—rather it’s made by 4-wheelers. The problem with a double track is a motorcycle pretty much has to follow either track, and both tracks are very near brush, making it hard sometimes. From time to time it’s best for a motorcycle to attempt to ride between the tracks. This is usually a raised surface and can be quite tricky to follow, but in the case of deep ruts it’s essential to do so.

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