Fly and Ride Guide: Northern Colorado on a BMW K1200GT

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by BadWHooper, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    Brass balls, Mike.

    Reminds me of this day on New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway. Once it started accumulating on the road, I turned around and went the long way.

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    #21
  2. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    At 2:23pm and 714 miles, I was passing through another agricultural area. There were wineries around there…orchards too. It must be dry wine and fruit – the area was pretty dry itself! I was also noticing zilch in the way of convenient restaurants – no fast food, but instead I saw locally owned sandwich shops, crappy burger places, and little places on the shoulders. Normally, this would be great, but I felt like I was in a hurry and didn’t see any place that called me to pull over.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    As entered a much more mountainous area, I saw rain off to my right. It reminded me of something I saw as I rode out of Rangely: in a turning lane in the middle of the road, I noticed a strange red vehicle. As I overtook it, I saw that it was an old lady in a wheelchair. She was driving a bizarre cart-like vehicle that allowed her to roll her wheelchair up onto it and then drive the whole thing around. Apparently, she also felt it was street-legal. Who knows, maybe it was!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The town of Hotchkiss came up next. From there, I took Route 133 northeast toward Paonia.<o:p></o:p>

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    At 2:48pm and 735 total miles, I was riding through Somerset, a very cool mining town. I came through the entry canyon, past big elevators, and watched a trail roll by on my left. Some rain dripped on me as I passed below a dark cloud. Once again, I wondered what people did for a living around there. It would be about 50 miles until Carbondale, where I would take a right turn to Aspen. I hoped to finish this section by 3:30pm, which would put me in Aspen nice and early…just what I was hoping for.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The road led me gently uphill, the railroad on my left, the Paonia Reservoir and the North Fork Gunnison River on my right, and more peaks up ahead.<o:p></o:p>

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    At 3:27pm and 769 miles, I was seven or eight miles to Carbondale. The road took me through fantastic gorges made of “gorgeous” red stone. Once up and over the main peak, I joined up with a few bikes – including another BMW K1200GT. He and I did some passing of each other along the way. It was a beautiful section of road. I should have been going slower and taking pictures of the astounding scenery.

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    The stretch of road into Carbondale was gorgeous…the last stretch was along the East Mesa Ditch (river) on my right. I passed some slow Harleys (no problem, but they were doing the letter of the law – there’s something to be said for not being in a hurry), then caught up with my BMW friend. Once out of the canyon and into Carbondale, I found the decent retail and residential there...nicer than most of what I’d seen so far. I pulled over at a gas station near the intersection of 133 and 82 and drank some delicious, piping-hot Diet coke. I was tuckered out…my right shoulder and neck (throttle muscles) were dying. Today’s mileage would be about 300.<o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p>Next up...into Aspen...and bathtub leakage!</o:p>
    #22
  3. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    Route 82 southeast took me quickly and directly to Aspen, past the little airport and in through a gorgeous welcome of mountains. I arrived at about 4:30pm or so. Aspen was pretty sweet. It reeked of all wealth and no industry. That said, the downtown area was crisscrossed with charming little streets and plenty of small shops to keep people busy. The ski runs – now green – stretched up from the main square of town, and every town needs a central meeting place.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I found the Hotel Jerome easily – right downtown. It had a gorgeous stone façade. I did a few laps around town to get my bearings and scope out the social scene. Eventually, I pulled up at the front of the hotel and a dude came out with a “hello sir!” I responded with a “Hi, I’m checking in, can I leave this [bike] here for a minute?” He responded with: “Do you have a reservation?” Duh, like I’m checking in without a reservation. Poor guy. He could hang out with my hot and clicking bike while I went in, still fully-ATGATT. I’m sort of a do-it-yourself guy. I’m able-bodied. I try to save bucks here and there, especially for things that I can handle myself. So I sort of like pulling up to a hotel on a bike – there’s really not going to be a need to tip someone to park my bike or carry my luggage. I hate to say it – and I know these people make their living on tips – but you can drive yourself crazy traveling in tip-centric places like Hawaii, New York, etc., or anytime you visit higher-end places. My wife and I make a fine living, but we started to get tip-overload on a work/pleasure trip to Hawaii. We were staying at a number of hotels over the course of 10 days, and renting a few cars on the various islands. To keep frickin’ small bills on-hand for tipping is a pain in the ass. Especially when you’re a grown-ass man, 6’3”, raised by do-it-yourselfer Midwesterners who taught self-sufficiency and frugality! So, I guess what I’m saying is that motorcycle travel will often discourage that kind of tip-piness. Valet parkers won’t/can’t ride bikes. They don’t know what to do with latched-on and strapped-on bike luggage. Another reason to ride more!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Shockingly, an eastern European girl was at the front desk. She’s like, “Umm wait a minute while I check on something.” I’m like, “Great, my Hotels.com reservation didn’t go thru.” But it all worked.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    She asked, “Did you come through the pass?” I responded, confused and a bit taken aback, “I came thru so many passes I don’t know anymore.” I was a bit burnt, and it must have showed because they gave me a free parking spot under the building, along with my room key. I rolled down to the garage, left the bike, and wandered around the back wing of the hotel looking for the front wing. It was a gorgeous – if immense – place inside. When I finally found my room and figured out how to use the key card, I also found the room to be immense too! The biggest non-suite hotel room I’ve ever had (yet no view – I was stuck looking at the inside of the breezeway between wings). This thing had a monstrous bedroom: a fireplace in the corner; a gigantic flat screen; two big leather seats; a monster bed with a leather headboard. I wandered to the bedside table – a remote control for the whole room caught my eye. It controlled window shades (sheers/drapes), fireplace, TV, sound, lights, etc. Buttons were labeled by door. One was “Request Maid Service” and “Privacy” – just like when you hang the little doorknob tag out there. This thing talked when I pressed it: “Maid service requested.”
    #23
  4. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    The bathroom was a monster, too: a two-foot-deep soak tub with jets. Jeez, it looked like a sarcophagus! Monster shower with lots of heads, with rain-down shower heads. And what’s this strange square in the mirror? Good lord, it’s another TV! There’s a TV in the bathroom, built into the mirror, so it’s nearly invisible! I started doing laps around the room! What better way to celebrate this luxury than to watch The Sopranos as I took a long, very deep bath. I did so later.<o:p></o:p>
    #24
  5. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    #25
  6. S-TrackJunkie

    S-TrackJunkie Knee Down!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
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    706
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Great RR!! Thanks, but it makes me want to get out and ride!! LOL!!
    #26
  7. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    Me too, S-Track-Junkie.

    I recently remembered how alive an adventurous ride like this makes me feel - my last was Death Valley (ironic) and the Las Vegas area, a year ago - and realized that I need to do things like this once a year. A year is a long time, and we don't have many (especially in the motorcycling ages), so we should do what we can. For me, it means convincing my wife that it's something important to me, but I figure every safe trip I take (and not too long), the more she'll be okay with it. I even float the idea of going with me on them (Grand Tetons or Adirondacks might capture her imagination - after all, she loved our ride down Big Sur).

    Thanks for reading! And now, onwards!
    #27
  8. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    I took a quick walk around the center of town to see what was there. Great scenery, ideas for dinner, and lots of people-watching.

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    I headed back and jumped in that dream bath. I cranked on the bath jets, poured a sipping Bourbon, and was feeling great.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At 7:30pm, after the bath and getting dressed again, I thought about my options. The bar/restaurant downstairs looked fun, so I opted to take a walk downtown, shop, come back, eat downstairs, and repeat. There were two bottles of water and two Toblerones left as gifts in my room. Nice.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Once out of the bath, I was full-on clean, still feeling great, and catching up on emails. A knock on the door? Who could that be? I put on a bathrobe, and figure it’s the turndown service. Nope, it’s a hotel manager. “Sir, were you using the bath this evening?” He asks<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Yes, I just got out of it.” I respond<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Could you stop?”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Yeah, it’s over. I’m out.”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Were you using the Jacuzzi jets too?”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Um, yes.” [that’s sort of personal, no?]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Well, there’s water leaking downstairs into the State Dining Room, so could you not use it anymore?” He seemed really anxious and rather desperate. I was impressed that they tracked it down to my room.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Of course, no problem.” Slightly embarrassed, I wondered if it was dripping down into people’s salads. Hilarious. Actually, I feared going downstairs and having people say, “Oh you’re in Room 208? Great job, arsehole, we got a lot of soapy soapiness in the dining room. My wife’s spinach salad tasted like bath gel.”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Luckily, none of that happened, but it did set a tone for that cursed room and my inhabitance of it. It was time to hit the town.

    Coming up: it get's worse.
    #28
  9. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    I walked up to the square and sat down at the bar at a restaurant called “Pacifica” for dinner. Delicious, but I was turned off by the prices. Yet, I ordered an $8 gazpacho and, surprisingly, received a frickin’ trough of tomato soup, made even more delicious with crab meat and a slice of avocado. Yes, in 2014, that appetizer would have been $14. The always-interesting travel banter began with the bartender. He had been to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, so we had lots to talk about. He was a funny guy. Two women in their mid-late 30s came in and sat next to me at the bar. We all chatted and I learned that they were locals. The guy with them was absolutely wrecked. He made no sense. I was enjoying my wine, but this guy was speaking a version of English that I was not familiar with, and of topics that I knew nothing about. It made no sense for him to be with these interesting women, but they had taken ownership of him. There was another group on my left, an Indonesian couple. The guy did the talking. He did freelance writing for Audi, so he told stories about driving and renting Audis and touring them around the world.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    One of his first questions to me, after learning of my Colorado ride was, “What passes have you hit? What curvy roads?”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    So, we talked all night about cars, roads, curvy roads, and how best to enjoy them all. His wife piped up eventually. They live in San Francisco, so we talked about that great city (where I’d be in the next week). He thought my stories interesting enough to ask if I had blog.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “You tour a lot and write a lot, but where do you put this out?” He asked.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “Dammit,” I said, “that’s what I need to do!”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [and so here we are]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Eventually I finished up at the restaurant and wandered around Aspen. It was 10:45pm. I was toasty, recounting the evening’s events into my voice recorder as I sat outside among the tourist crowds, smoking a cigar (something I haven’t done in years), near a place called Gusto. I phoned and talked to one of my best friends, John, who lives in Boulder, and who I would see the next day. It was a great conversation with him, as always. This is where things start to get a little surreal.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The whole sequence of the night went crazy from there. And somehow I had tweaked my back. And I recorded it on my Grand Junction Best Buy recorder:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “O my god there’s my back! Holy fark that hurts! Alright. mudderfarker that hurts. Ah shyte that hurts!”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here’s the history as I recorded it, basically:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “I cruised back to hotel and up to my room. I came into the room and the bed is turned down: mints on either side of the bed, because of course I have a lady friend. Of course I don’t have a lady friend! Tomorrow night I won’t, but the next night I will! At that point, I go downstairs. For some reason I go down and I say I can’t get in my room. “Oh,” they say, “you can’t get into your room because it’s one of the rooms with the new card swipes and we can’t get you into it, so go to the bar, and we will buy you a Guinness while we get you a new key.” I’m like, “of course”, but I’m a bit embarrassed because there’s a farking martini sitting in the fake greenery – where I left it – I got the martini from the bar down below before going up to my room.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    “And so, yes indeed, I learned that the privacy button does turn on the red light outside the room and dissuades housekeeping from bothering you. What an amazing farking hotel. It’s <?xml:namespace prefix = "st1" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:time w:st="on" Minute="30" Hour="0">12:30am</st1:time>. I’m going to bed.”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    And so, as I lay in bed, I continued to wonder – into my recorder – how the night panned out:<o:p></o:p>

    “It’s so surreal. I don’t know how my (quite excellent) book, ‘McCarthy’s Bar’, got into my room. I was talking to John, I came back to the hotel, I looked in, saw the turn down service, I went down to the front desk and said I can’t get into my room, and it’s true, I couldn’t. I guess it turned out to be that I – bizarre – I must have come up, brought my book up…then maybe I went back down to have a martini, came back upstairs, couldn’t get into the room because I didn’t have the key, put the martini into the greenery, went back downstairs and said I can’t get into my room, but they were like “we’ll help you”, but they can’t get into my room either, so can you go to the bar for a beer on us while we work it out? I’m like “certainly” (totally embarrassed). Some poor old employee gives me a key and says, “we got your key out from your room.” Shyte, the key was in the room. I’m a dumbass. So, here we are.”

    <o:p>On to Day 4, the final day of the ride.</o:p>
    #29
  10. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    DAY FOUR - Monday 9/3/07

    I got moving around 10:45am, a late start. I needed to sleep. Yeah, something like that. What a weird night. I dragged myself out of the hotel, got onto the BMW, and got rolling upward out of the hotel’s garage. It was 10:57am with 816 total miles on my ride so far. I added three gallons in Aspen before leaving. There was a lot of time to make up.

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> I rolled on Route 82 Southeast out of Aspen, and then eastward to Route 24 north toward Independence Pass. It was a wonderfully curvy road, but I was waking up to a pretty gnarly hangover. It didn’t actually affect me until I got up into the clouds.
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    <o:p>Next up...headache central...</o:p>
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    #30
  11. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    At 11:44am and 839 miles, I crossed over Independence Pass – 12,095 feet. It was beautiful up there. The views were amazing. I was also rather hung over, and there was no air up there. So I stopped quickly, tested my feet, and then kept on rolling. Dizzy. I could only imagine what Mt. Evans would be like. It was my goal to go up that highest of mountain roads. But would I have time? I needed to be back in Denver to meet a friend to get back to my job! And I was in deep physiological pain!

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    <o:p> I could feel the relief as I zig-zagged down the other side of the mountain from Independence Pass.

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    <o:p> At 12:13pm and 857 miles, I felt like ass. I felt like shit. I had just gotten off the bike at Twin Lakes to take shots after coming out of the mountains. I felt dizzy and off-kilter. I wasn’t even at that high an altitude anymore. I found the alpine setting of the twin lakes to be beautiful, as was the village of the same name.

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    <o:p> Not far past the lakes, Route 82 dead-ends into Route 24 north and south. I turned left and headed north. I could then get back doing some speed! Leadville was about 40 miles away, and I was going to have to think hard about trying to ride up Mt. Evans. I felt like absolute crap up on this mountain, and I didn’t want to go any higher. Heavy clouds loomed along my road, and some opened up in the hills.

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    <o:p>Next...into Leadville, then Denver...</o:p>
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    #31
  12. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
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    At 12:35pm and 877 miles, I rode into Leadville, elevation 10,152 feet. It was a scrappy, unremarkable village. One of those dark clouds caught me – got rained on a little bit on the way in. My friend John in Boulder said Leadville was cool, so there may be something good there, but I didn’t take time to look for it. There were some classic old buildings in a few blocks downtown that would have been fun to investigate, but I was on a schedule. So much so that I was having second thoughts about Mt. Evans (nothing to do with the previous night’s activities, of course). It was time to find a quick lunch. Under mostly blue skies, I pulled over and got a Diet Coke and a few bites of something unmemorable. So much so, I don’t remember if it was a restaurant or convenience store. I still felt like crap – dizzy and lightheaded. Once back on the bike, I started to feel much better. It’s funny how that is…I’ve noticed on a number of occasions that riding is the best cure for a hangover. Something about the balance, the wind, the physics that keep something on two wheels upright – it quiets the head, stops the spinning, makes everything move in the right direction…at least while you’re moving.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    By 12:52pm and 882 miles, I was rolling north out of Leadville. It would be about 30 miles until I-70 and the last stretch of the trip. I was actually looking forward to some highway – less stress on the head to get into a lane and just haul. No red lights, no stop signs, no 25 MPH zones. Just move to the destination.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Of course, I had to take a picture as I crossed the Continental Divide (for the fourth time) at Tennessee Pass, elevation 10,424 feet.<o:p></o:p>

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    Though I was looking forward to the highway home, this last stretch of two-lane stuff on Route 24 was fantastic: amazingly scenic, plenty of curves, and dramatic elevation changes. And there’s one fun switchback that crosses a crashing creek.

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    <o:p> Not far after the switchback and these photos, I passed through the charming little town of Minturn, hugging the Eagle River: angler’s paradise. I could imagine extreme commuters to Denver living here, since it was just a few more miles up to I-70. I was done with the little roads and the little towns, and expected to blast into Denver on the highway quickly, smoothly, and without stress. Nope.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The first part of the I-70 ride was very enjoyable, primarily because of the scenery. I could see many of the ski resorts I’d only heard of. At 1:37pm and 919 miles I passed Vail’s green runs on my right. It would be about 100 miles to Denver, perhaps 90 minutes. That makes a 3:00-3:30 arrival time – I was starting to sweat the schedule. No detours.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I eventually needed to get off the road and eat something real. At 2:25pm and 941 miles, I pulled into Frisco, not far from Breckinridge. I found a small shopping center surrounded by peaks and pines, where an organic food store offered sandwiches. Everyone was very, very crunchy around there. Very crunchy. I think my “space suit” appearance freaked them out a little – it was all nylon and leather, no hemp. I don’t know what the abrasive resistance of hemp is. I do know what it is for leather and Cordura. I enjoyed the sandwich, sitting by my bike in the parking lot. I’ve eaten a lot of lunches like that – I like the sort of vagabond simplicity. I also get a kick out of the reaction I get from other people. Who eats a sandwich in a parking space, sitting on a parking curb?

    Time was dwindling, but I really wanted to see Mt. Evans and to say I’d been up high on that record road, because I was feeling pretty good by this point. I decided to decide when I got to Idaho Springs. Unfortunately, modern frustrations intervened. Traffic starting picking up, with no explanation. And the skies became threatening again.<o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p> But when you’re on a bike, there rarely is one, unless you pull off and dial into the information world of the Internet. But then you’re not making forward progress. Some riders have on-bike technology that I envy. Some other riders scoff at those screens, speakers, and sound systems. I think if you can fit it into a touring bike, you should. Otherwise, you’re putting your smartphone on a mount. I think that’s cool too. Unfortunately for me, I had no smartphone in 2007.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Back on the road, I found my BMW on the verge of overheating. On the last stretch to the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel on I-70 – a very uphill stretch – I ran into a serious traffic slowdown. As I crept up the side of the mountain toward the tunnel, I saw all kinds of vehicles pulled off on the shoulder, overheating. My own temperature gauge had moved to the red. The BMW’s fan was roaring. The combination of altitude, ambient heat, and too much fairing was threatening to derail my trip.<o:p></o:p>

    Next...the final leg...</o:p>
    </o:p>
    #32
  13. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    At 2:55pm and 955 miles, I had finally rounded the hill and crept into the tunnel. My temp gauge was right on the edge of red, so I was freaking out about having to pull over. With black skies over me, I was also thinking about my rain suit. I decided to see what the weather was like on the other side of the mountain. Coming out of the ski areas in the Arapaho Basin, it was 3pm. Traffic delays are announced on highway signs into Denver. I definitely don’t have time for Mt. Evans. If I’d gotten up 90 minutes earlier, it might have worked out, but you never know with these delays. And those people buying you glasses of fume.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At <?xml:namespace prefix = "st1" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:time w:st="on" Minute="47" Hour="16">4:47pm</st1:time> and 986 miles, I finally broke out of traffic at the small tunnel when the highway turned into three lanes. I had been sitting in that traffic since I couldn’t remember. My neck was dying. I took that as a signal that my beginner HJC helmet was too cheap and too heavy (though it would keep my head together six months later in a deer strike). I know traffic. I live in the DC area and commute a damn long way on The Beltway – but usually in a manual transmission car. On a bike it’s different. You’re constantly shifting, clutching, putting your feet on the ground, etc. When temperature and weather come into the picture it can be worse by multiples. Out there on I-70 in the heat and traffic, I started to lose it. At one point I thought I was having hallucinations. The traffic would move and I’d snap out of it.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Once out of the tunnel, the traffic sped up to normal (as usual, it made no sense), but I was challenged by a surprise downpour. That’s what happens when you go into a mountain on one side and come out the other. I welcomed the cool wet downpour. The bike cooled and I could find a place to pull over that angled downhill, which felt better.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Eventually I made into Denver.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Back at the rental shop, I brought the bike back in one piece. No one was there to greet me. I’d given a call as to when I thought I’d arrive. And yes, this was 2007, a day when cell phones were still a bit unproven. It was an estimate. I don’t remember if I hit my mark, but I do remember that I was there at the shop before anyone else was. Must be hard. Anyway, I took a trip-closing picture of myself just in case and just because. I was wearing my Scotland t-shirt, the shirt I’d bought in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) on another motorcycle trip in 2005, just a couple years prior, Not bad. And not a bad bike escalation! Just two years! I hadn’t thought of it.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    I unloaded the bike’s bags into my luggage, called a cab, and took a $24 trip to downtown Denver. At 6:27pm, I arrived at the comfortable Hotel Monaco. A couple of half bottles of wine were waiting in the room, which was a nice touch. I gave my friend John a call so we could meet up for dinner. We had a mellow evening before my work started in the morning.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The total mileage for the trip was 1,018.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Overall, I was impressed with the variety of landscapes that I saw. I wasn’t expecting the desertlike conditions out in the northwest part of the state. It’s such a large state – there is definitely more to come back and see. I enjoyed the new experience of riding a much more sport-oriented touring bike than I’m used to. The BMW K1200GT wasn’t a perfect fit for my height, but I don’t recall ever getting fatigued from the handlebar position, seat, or wind buffeting. This rental certainly had quite a few miles on it, but the engine still had plenty of punch left. It’s also a great looking bike. I never felt uneasy with the handling or braking. The only concern I had was overheating going up I-70.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Obviously, the Hotel Jerome in Aspen wins the prize for Nicest Place to Stay on this route, and they went a step further by providing outstanding customer service to a doofus like me. The Budget Host Inn in Rangeley, in its own way, provided just as good service. I was just less of a “demanding” customer there, so they had fewer opportunities to help me. I can never say enough about the Kimpton group of hotels, of which the Hotel Monaco is one. They have the style and amenities that I love, and when I travel as a government contractor they sometimes offer the low government rate (if you book early enough). There would be fools working on government business staying at junky motels out near the airport, and there was me, staying downtown, in a swanky place that places a complimentary half bottle of wine in the room for each guest. You decide.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The route was just fine and I’d recommend the whole way. The only questionable section was I-40 (straight and long), but it was a landscape that I’d never seen before: desert, yet scorched by fire, and colorful cliffs in the background. Pulling into Dinosaur was a hoot, too, especially since I thought I might spend the night there. I wasn’t even ready to stop yet – it was still too early in the afternoon.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Out there in the west things are inherently interesting to a Midwesterner/easterner, so I recommend just jumping into whatever local situation you find yourself in.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    And that’s what travel is all about, to me.

    Thank you all for reading! See my other ride reports in my signature for more. Stay safe.
    #33
  14. CharlestonRider

    CharlestonRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Nice RR! Thanks for sharing. I felt compelled to comment on your "fly-n-ride" because I rented the same bike as you in August, 2008. I attended a conference in Fort Collins, but I stayed a few extra days and hung out with my brothers in Boulder (younger brother lives in Boulder, older brother flew in from Milwaukee). We rented motorcycles from the same place you did (and we had the same experience...We had to wait for them to arrive :baldy ) and rented a K1200GT (for me), a Ducati 1000 Multistrada (older brother), and a BMW F650 (younger brother). I was very excited about the opportunity to ride the K1200GT. Although the K1200GT was nice, smooth, and fast, I had a heck of a time getting it to change directions. I later discovered that the front tire was half flat! I had to ride halfway up the mountains until I could find a gas station with an air hose. But, the worst part of our ride was that it snowed in August! Yep, we rented the bikes for the day and spent all of 3 or 4 hours on them because the sleet / snow was too dangerous to ride in. So much for an adventure in the mountains of Colorado...We spent the rest of the day thawing out in my brother's garage. Oh well, I still got to hang out with my brothers and drink beer. Life is good.

    Again, thanks for sharing your ride...I really enjoyed reading about your adventure.

    Cheers.
    CharlestonRider

    P.S. I used to live in Silver Spring, MD too! Went to Univ. of Maryland (undergrad) and American Univ. (grad) before leaving to take a job in Illinois in 1998. I now reside in South Carolina.

    My BMW K1200GT rental (with a portion of the Multistrada visible in the background)...
    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. BadWHooper

    BadWHooper Quick, rather than Dead.

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    That's an amazing coincidence...I'm sure that we rode the same bike a year apart. The attention to detail at that rental place could have been improved (like sending me out without a full tank), but it was a good experience overall.

    Thanks for reading and writing in...
    #35