MA to CO and Back: The Anti-Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hondarider, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Long Trail

    Long Trail adv dreamer

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    Great report so far. Nice writing and humor, but how about a few more pictures to go along with the story?
    #81
  2. NCJ

    NCJ Long timer

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    :lurk
    #82
  3. Panicfishwater

    Panicfishwater Adventurer

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    sounds insane!!!!
    #83
  4. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    I wish I had taken more, but riding the super slab for 3 days didn't seem very photo-worthy. We were just trying to cover as many miles as possible and stopping for photo ops seemed like a time suck. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more. I also made the mistake of bringing a Canon Rebel instead of my usual point and click camera that fits in my pocket. This meant unpacking the camera from the left pannier whenever I wanted to snap a picture. In most cases, that was a lot of effort for such boring subject matter. I could have used the iPhone more, but it was wrapped in plastic and mounted on the bike most of the time. Live and learn. Next time I'll bring a simple camera that fits in my pocket and take pictures of everything.
    #84
  5. Marc LaDue

    Marc LaDue Been here awhile

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    I think a good number of these behemoths are part of Midwest Energy's numerous wind farms, one of Warren Buffett's utilities. You'd run into a good deal more if you stayed on I-80 rather than splitting off and heading to Denver, especially in Wyoming.
    As for the fairly consistent prairie side-wind, get used to it. In 30 years of making the annual pilgrimage to Sturgis, you could count the times we didn't almost get blown off the road on one hand. But to really experience 70 plus mph wind sheer go a little east of Fallon, Nevada on highway 50! Come to think of it, maybe that's why it's America's "Loneliest Highway".
    I too love Hampton Inn's; they took first place on Consumer Reports hotel shoot-out a few years back. Unfortunately, my wife is on Holiday Inn Express's repeat offender plan, but they're not all bad either.
    We are currently traveling your part of the World Ross. I'm writing this from the hotel in Danbury, Connecticut. If I had more time I'd head up north and check out what's left of the old Indian plant in Mass., maybe even stopping by.
    But alas, we're obligated to hitting the road and making it back to Iowa via our Honda Ridgeline (you can call me by my new ADVrider handle: Hondadriver) by tomorrow night in order to jump on the bikes and trek on out to Sturgis once again!
    Anyway, glad to see your thread is up and running; the NUTS are looking forward to more of your neurosis,

    LaDue
    #85
  6. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

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    Outstanding Writing, this is a real pleasure:thumb:thumb
    #86
    neanderthal likes this.
  7. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    When we last saw the Dynamic Duo, they were weaving through Denver traffic in full blown denial...like those squids you see in flip flops and shorts on a Hayabusa during spring break...shameful...truly.

    We were in search of a place called the Keg Steakhouse and Bar where we were assured a decent steak and cold beer. We had ridden roughly 650 miles through rain, high winds, and scorching 100 degree weather...we were 2 timezones off of our normal clocks, it was getting dark, and, whether it was the fatigue, the dehydration, or the altitude, I was feeling especially dopey.

    I had left the GPS in the hotel because I was sure that my finely tuned sense of direction and desire for red meat would lead me directly to the restaurant. After 2 or 3 u-turns, Mike was starting to wonder why he had followed me across the country and how we had managed to even find Colorado.

    We finally found the restaurant and opted to eat at the bar. That first cold beer was gone inside of 15 seconds and a second was right behind it. The steak was very good...Mike declared that it was the best steak he had ever eaten (he's never been to Texas or Kansas City) and we enjoyed the attractive wait staff...at least I did...I'm creepy like that.:evil I called it quits after 2 beers - congratulating myself on my discipline and good judgement. I was anxious to get to bed so we decided to head back to the hotel as soon as the steaks were gone.

    We got up from the bar to make our exit and, as I stumbled across the room, knocking over stools in my wake, I suspected that something was amiss. Mike, who is a much stronger drinker than I, seemed to be having some problems of his own. We got out the door, ambled over to the bikes, and came to the startling revelation that we were drunk. Like drunk...inebriated...intoxicated...ossified...WTF? I only had 2 beers...I was careful...conscientious...the model of responsibility...and now I'm standing/stumbling in the parking lot...wondering if someone had slipped me Rufinol in my garlic mashed potatoes. I bet it was Mike! He's been eyeing me desirously in the hotel room and suggesting we hit the hot tub! He's been planning this the entire time! Oddly, however, he seems to be likewise intoxicated...I'm sure its just a clever ruse so that I'll let my guard down. I'm not falling for it! Not this time...not again...

    Anyhow, amidst my theorizing about how I came to find myself in this predicament, another thing occurred to me; it was dark out...like middle of the night dark...like "who turned out the lights?" dark...where did the sun go? Apparently, when you position yourself directly at the eastern foot of a mountain range, you should not expect a long and gradual sunset...it goes behind the mountains and poof!...it's gone. The temps drop too!

    So, our two heros find themselves drunkenly loitering in a dark parking lot...thousands of miles from home...shorts...t-shirts...no helmets...and thank God for this, wearing sunglasses.

    This is not exactly the adventure I was looking for...
    #87
  8. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

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    :shog
    :freaky
    #88
  9. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    As we stood there in the parking lot...laughing deliriously at our current predicament...wondering how we managed to get ourselves into this condition on just a couple of beers, it was getting darker and darker. I also noticed that the parking spot I had nosed into was on an incline and I would have to push the bike backwards up-hill to get out of there. I don't know if you've ever ridden a GSA, but the sheer height of the thing means not a lot of boot is touching the ground...even worse in sneakers. So walking it uphill...backwards...astride, in my current condition, seemed implausible at very best. That leaves pushing it out of the parking spot as the remaining option and I was having enough trouble balancing on my own...let alone pushing the bike and not dumping it onto the asphalt. More time for quiet contemplation...followed by foolish laughter and brave rhetoric like "God hates a coward" and "Watch this!"
    #89
  10. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    Thanks Man! I had no idea that F5 does that.:thumb
    #90
  11. h2oboy

    h2oboy Been here awhile

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    Pacific NW
    Welcome. I tend to wear out the refresh button on good RR's. Yours may not have a lot of pics but your writing makes up for it. :D
    #91
  12. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

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    Oh, this is fantastic! :lurk

    :thumb :thumb :thumb
    #92
  13. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    When I tell you that I exerted every bit of concentration I could muster, I mean I was concentrating harder than buckling your helmet while wearing gloves and motoring down the highway at 75. I pulled my shit together, lifted the bike from the kickstand, and gingerly...ever so gingerly...inched it out the parking spot. I had my hip pressed against the left pannier, one hand on the left grip, and one hand on the left rear grab rail. I acutely focused on one thing...don't fall over...don't fall over...don't fall over...there are people watching...don't fall over...don't fall over.

    I made it about 8 feet before I had to stop to rest, regroup, and sweat. Mike was already sitting on his bike...trying to figure out how to start it. We had agreed to take our chances and make a break for it...willing ourselves into sobriety...Herculean effort being put forth to stimulate brain cells starved for oxygen...it wasn't working...I was quite plainly snookered.

    Despite my self-induced handicap, I pressed on...surely the alcohol had to wear off shortly...it was 2 beers for goodness sake. I climbed aboard, hit the starter, and looked over at Mike

    "We really gonna do this?"

    "Sure, why not?"

    "Just be sober"

    "OK, sure...be sober...I can do that"

    We laughed and motored off into the darkness...be sober...be sober...be sober...be sober

    Moments later I was laughing like a fool...I couldn't find my way out of the parking lot. Mike was still following me and most likely still wondering why he should be following me. We eventually found our way out onto Colfax and headed for the hotel. We stopped at a red light...still laughing like fools...

    "How are you doing?"

    "Good. I remembered to put my feet down when we stopped. I'm pretty happy about that...and my clutch works again so I've got that going for me"

    "Cool. Now if we can avoid the police, we'll be golden"

    At that point, I looked across the intersection and saw 2 police cruisers sitting side by side...facing us. "Be sober...be sober...be sober...be sober...be sober...be sober...why the hell am I wearing sunglasses in the dark? I'm not Corey Hart and its not 1983. Why am I so stupid? I have a mortgage." The light turned green and we set off without incident. I missed the hotel again and had to make another u-turn. We pulled into the parking lot, covered the bikes, went upstairs, and went to bed. End of story.

    Wildly disappointing I know. I felt the same way. We were so close to an actual adventure and then...nothing. This trip blows. We get so close to epic disaster...raging rainstorms...flammable clothing...would-be motorcycle thieves...sinister meth-addicts...gale force winds...break downs...drunk driving...scorching heat...bed bugs...under-cooked chicken...expired milk...and yet, despite all of the ingredients being present, we keep skating by without real incident. How am I going to write an epic travelogue if nothing bad ever happens? It's truly infuriating. I might be driven to do something rash if our luck doesn't change soon. I can't go back to work next week without a harrowing tale of death and dismemberment. If I have to get Mike killed for a good story, I'm willing to make that sacrifice.

    Maybe tomorrow will be better...err...worse...
    #93
  14. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    So here's the thing with a GoPro camera...awesome technology...terrific picture...decent sound...water proof...shock proof...and with a 32G SD card, you get 5 and a half hours of footage. The problem is that absolutely nobody will watch your video unless there is some sort of vehicular mayhem or someone gets hit in the nuts. I've logged dozens of hours of footage over the past years without capturing a single Tosh.0 moment. It's usually 30 seconds after turning off the camera or the battery dying when I crash into a bear, lose my front wheel, or arrive at the naked Playmate carwash. It's truly frustrating.

    With the camera mounted on my helmet, I was hoping my luck would change on this trip. I hope Mike falls down and gets humped by a rutting elk.
    #94
  15. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    DAY 4 &#8211; Monday <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I woke bright and early to a perfect Colorado day&#8230;sun shining&#8230;birds singing&#8230;twisty mountain roads beckoning. I was energized and eager to hit the road immediately. Mike was hiding under a mountain of pillows and, I suspect, hoping for a couple more hours of sleep. Sucker! I was up, showered, and packing my bags inside of 15 minutes. Then, as was our daily ritual, I woke Mike in the gentlest way I could think of&#8230;the delicate melody of the Braun Model 5610 XP Electric Shaver/Alarm Clock with a full charge&#8230;a sound that Mike may have later described as a 2-stroke weed whacker against a chain link fence&#8230;it&#8217;s important for one to look his best before heading to breakfast; no?
    <o:p></o:p>
    Mike was up and moving&#8230;begrudgingly, but moving nonetheless. I suspect that he was excited to finally see the Rockies today so he didn&#8217;t complain nearly as much as I was expecting. It was probably 6:00AM at this point. I consulted the map while he got ready. I&#8217;d really like to ride up Pike&#8217;s Peak today, but I-25 to Colorado Springs blows and the route through the mountains to the west is fairly time consuming so we&#8217;d probably end the day somewhere south or west of Denver. That&#8217;s OK, but I had promised Mike we would take a full day off from riding on Day 5 and I didn&#8217;t see an ideal spot for that to the south; not without going way down to the southwest corner of the state to Ouray or Pagosa Springs. I love those places as base camps, but we didn&#8217;t have enough time for that on this trip. Instead, I thought we might ride up Mt. Evans this morning instead and then head north to Rocky Mountain National Park and the mountain town of Estes Park; one of my favorite places for the past 20+ years and a good spot to take the day off from riding.
    <o:p></o:p>
    We cruised down to our complimentary breakfast and watched the weather forecast. Record high temperatures slated for the Front Range today, 100 degrees, but we&#8217;re heading west and up to higher elevations. Perfect!
    <o:p></o:p>
    We packed the bikes and prepared to hit the road. My clutch was still suspect, but there was feel in the lever once again and I had convinced myself that it was most likely a heat issue related to our long charge on the super slab. Maybe it would be better in the mountains with cooler temps and much more frequent shifting. I topped off my oil, having burned about ΒΌ quart on the ride out. Mike decided to check his oil level for the first time of the trip, noting that the bike was sounding a little &#8220;clunky&#8221; when we pulled into Denver the afternoon before. He pulled the dipstick to find that there was no oil &#8211; at least none detectable by the dipstick &#8211; bone dry.<o:p></o:p>
    Now here&#8217;s the part where I get a little irritated. Back when we were still sitting in an office somewhere, I told Mike that he needed to bring a quart of oil on the trip. This was a lesson that I learned on a previous trip when I found myself in Tennessee with an empty sight glass, no spare oil, and no place to buy it. ON that trip, I hadn&#8217;t even checked for oil consumption up to that point as most bikes I&#8217;ve owned never lost a drop between oil changes. When I did finally look, it was already a little late and I was down at least a quart. Now I always carry a quart on a long trip and I check my level daily. I had insisted that Mike bring a quart &#8211; especially since his dealer had convinced him that Victories only run on a magic blend of synthetic oil, ground unicorn eyelashes, and leprechaun sweat &#8211; bottled and certified by Victory Motorcycles Inc. Anything else would certainly mean catastrophic failure.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Guess what? He didn&#8217;t bring any.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Clearly, while he was taking time out of each day prior to the trip to make fun of my packing list and ridicule my obsessive over packing, he missed the quart of oil in the left pannier. He was probably giggling about the word &#8220;pannier&#8221;. Slacker!
    <o:p></o:p>
    So, here we were at 7:00AM&#8230;sun shining&#8230;birds chirping&#8230;mountains beckoning&#8230;temperature rising quickly&#8230;and we can&#8217;t go anywhere. There&#8217;s a dealer in Lakewood, but they don&#8217;t open until 9:00. We could be sitting here for a while.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Perhaps sensing my irritation at the notion of standing around for 2 hours to address an issue that he could have easily prevented, we opted to do what all Americans do when they need something, we went to WalMArt. There was one a mile or so down the road. I suspect this may be the case no matter where you find yourself in America. I&#8217;d like to despise WalMart for their crappy Chinese products and Borg-like domination of the marketplace, but when I need something, I always end up back there. Curse your extended business hours and total disregard for your employees &#8211; you&#8217;ve seduced me with convenience!
    <o:p></o:p>
    Anyhow, we find some motorcycle-specific oil with an appropriate viscosity. It&#8217;s not officially authorized and it doesn&#8217;t contain any magic pixie dust, but I&#8217;m pretty sure it will do the trick and we&#8217;ll be able to get back on the road. I suggest Mike buy 2 quarts&#8230;one to put in the bike now and one for the ride home&#8230;he resists the idea and opts to buy only 1 quart&#8230;I&#8217;m confident that I&#8217;ll be annoyed by this decision later in the trip.
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    Here's Mike dumping in the first quart of oil for this trip. He looks confident that this should be the last time. Doesn't he? It looks top me like that tank bag can easily hold a spare quart or two, but he must be trying to save $10.

    That's a good shot of the windshield he finally went with. Its from Memphis Shades and it seemed to work pretty good. Certainly a lot more coverage than the "visor" he originally purchased.
    #95
  16. JACIII

    JACIII Been here awhile

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    :*sip*
    #96
  17. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    With a crankcase full of oil&#8230;maybe&#8230;I&#8217;m not so sure that Mike even knows how the dipstick on that thing works&#8230;I think he just dumped in a quart and put the stick back in without checking&#8230;I told you he&#8217;s casual. Anyhow, with a crankcase full of oil, and proper riding gear donned, we FINALLY hit the road and headed for the hills.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    First stop&#8230;Lookout Mountain Road&#8230;a twisty little slice of heaven with views of the Front Range, a 20mph speed limit, and countless memories of young girls I lured up here in my Jeep 20 years ago. It was a damn shame that I&#8217;d have no one but Mike to make out with today. Oh well&#8230;any port in a storm.

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    #97
  18. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    I can&#8217;t tell you how many times I&#8217;ve driven this road over the years. I take the tour every time I&#8217;m in town. It reminds me of being 19 all over again. I was in the Army and attending AIT at Fitzsimons Army Med Center in Aurora&#8230;not a care in the world beyond chasing tail, seeing as much of Colorado as possible from the seat of my Jeep, and potentially popping off to Desert Storm. Fortunately, AIT outlasted my assigned unit&#8217;s tour in the Middle East and they were on their way home just as I was finishing school. I remember being disappointed at the time&#8230;I thought I had missed out on an adventure&#8230;man, kids are stupid. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    We cruised the twisty turns and enjoyed the views&#8230;ran into a police cruiser almost immediately and slowed it way down to a legal velocity. I wondered what Mike must be thinking&#8230;seeing this for the first time&#8230;he&#8217;s really going to be shocked when we get up into the real mountains. We stopped for a few photo ops&#8230;


    <o:p>Typical tourists</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #98
  19. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    Adams, MA
    LOOK! The Coors factory...

    [​IMG]
    #99
  20. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    Adams, MA
    That's Denver in the center of the pic...almost to the horizon. It's always surprising to people to see that it's not actually in the mountains.

    [​IMG]