MotorCycle Trip 2003 Ė Iron Butt !!!!

 

 

Day 1

 

Mile: 0 (22197)

Time: -1:58 (09:30 PDT)

Location: Carillon Point

 

So, again with my silly starts to motorcycle trips.Iím at work.I know, a retired person working on the first day of vacation.So here I sit in a 2 hour meeting anxiously awaiting getting on the road.Now, the meeting was terribly informative, and Iím glad I went, but Iíd rather be on the bike.After all, if Iím going to be awake at this hour I might as well be doing something I enjoy.

 

Mile: 0 (22197)

Time: -0:04 (11:24 PDT)

Location: Carillon Point

 

Meetingís over (well, not really, I just got up and left it).I get my witness signature for the start of the ride (thanks Donna!!).Now I just need to get a time stamped/dated receipt and Iím on the way.

 

Mile: 0 (22197)

Time: 0:00 (11:28 PDT)

Location: Carillon Point

 

Itís official.My clock has started ticking.

 

Mile: 1 (22198)

Time: 0:03 (11:31 PDT)

Location: Lake Washington Boulevard

 

So not only do I get an ATM receipt, I get a fuel receipt as well.Canít be too careful with this whole documentation thing.This will set me back a few minutes, but what the hell, I donít want to have to repeat the ride.

 

Mile: 7 (22204)

Time:

Location: I-90 Eastbound

 

Single vehicle rollover accident in the center lane.The good news?Two-fold:1) itís not me, and 2) itís in the Westbound lanes. But hereís my problem (and itís been a problem for awhile now), how in the world do you have a single vehicle rollover accident, that stays on the freeway, during somewhat busy traffic hours?I mean, if Iím going to flip my vehicle, physically get the sucker to roll, and stay on the freeway to boot, Iím certainly going to hit at least one other vehicle.I just donít understand how you roll over and not touch another vehicle on the road.But it happens darn near daily on some road during Seattle rush hour traffic.Where does one learn these driving skills?

 

Mile: 57 (22254)

Time: 1:00 (12:28 PDT)

Location: I-90 Eastbound

 

I hit the one hour mark.My average speed is not so good.I was kind of hoping it would be in the mid to high 60ís.Iíve been speeding mildly at this point (along with everyone else, not that it makes it right) and would have hoped for something better.If this keeps up itís going to be a LOOOOONG ride.

 

Mile: 129 (22326)

Time: 2:00 (13:28 PDT)

Location: I-90 Eastbound

 

2 hours in.Averaging 64.5 MPH.Nice little jump from earlier.But doing 80+ MPH Iíd expect more.

 

Mile: 183 (22380)

Time:

Location: A freeway

 

Fire!!A brush fire!!But it seems as though the local authorities are responding quite nicely.But it seems a little odd.A fire in the median, not too large, maybe 40í long and the full width, and nothing else burning.Perhaps a cigarette butt out the window?Perhaps a kid trying to fry an ant with a magnifying glass?Perhaps the work of aliens (albeit pyros)?

 

Mile: 203 (22400)

Time: 3:00 (14:28 PDT)

Location: A freeway

 

3 hours in.This is kind of boring.Not only that, but at 68 MPH how am I ever going to get there on any sort of reasonable timeframe?Yeah, so this is the last time I toss in the random 1 hour time update.It seems kind of tedious to have to write all this down and then explain it.Same goes for stopping.I stopped a lot the first day.Pretty much every 50-55 minutes for the first 6 hours.I couldnít find any place to put my water bottle and itís really hot.I need to stop and rehydrate all the time.ALLLL the time.Iím really parched.And if I donít drink as often as I can (and drink all the water I brought) I know fatigue will set in that much sooner.

 

Mile: 236 (22433)

Time:

Location:Washington/Oregon border.


I think the mentioned location says it all.And I was there.I saw it myself.No need for anyone to point it out.Perhaps this is a new trend for me?See the road signs right in front of me?

 

Mile: 353 (22550)

Time:

Location:45th parallel

 

Again, the location says it all.Iíve noticed that Iím not stopping to take many pictures.In fact, at this point, I havenít taken any.Itís weird how much you pass up when youíve done it before and youíre on a very short time schedule.

 

Mile: 441 (22638)

Time:

Location: Oregon/Idaho border

 

Again with the location.Perhaps I should have been using this all these yearsÖ.

 

Mile: 602 (22799)

Time:

Location:Stinky Idaho

 

And MAN do I mean stinky!!!This place reeks!!So I pass a dairy farm.500+ head of cattle.Theyíre all bound to poop one these day.And that makes for some large piles of poop.But lucky for us thereís ďMagic CompostĒ right next door.So not only do you get the effect of smelling all the cows, you now get to smell a company selling the cow shit.And if that werenít enough, Idaho must be the home for wayward skunks.So Iím cruising along, minding my own business, when I see some road kill.Not an uncommon sight.But itís a skunk.And it stinks.So really Iím just saying that Idaho in general stinks.And not just during this mile.Itís persistent over 100s of miles.

 

Mile: 622 (22819)

Time:

Location:Idaho

 

So Iím beginning to understand why they call this ride ďSaddle Sore 1000Ē.I would indeed have to say that my saddle is sore.Nothing a good butt massage couldnít cure, but sore nonetheless.And speaking of massage, have I mentioned what a huge fan I am of massage therapy?So I went into Gene Juarez yesterday for a full body rubdown in preparation for this trip.After all, living the life of the retired is hard work and we need a way to relieve all that stress.And boy did Reilly do the job.Absolutely spectacular.And the Eucalyptus steam shower afterwards?Letís just say I now understand why people need 17 shower heads in their shower.

 

Mile: 719 (22916)

Time: 10:48 (22:46) MDT

Location: Chubbuck, Idaho

 

My first way point.Itís here that I need a receipt to prove I didnít take shortcut and bypass I-86.I didnít cheat, so I go the receipt.Itís right around this time that I wonder how in the heck people really travel 1000 miles in one day.It seems really, really toughÖ..

 

Mile: 793 (22990)

Time:

Location:Idaho/Utah border

 

Yea!!Utah!!The beehive state.My favorite.Thank goodness itís dark out and there shouldnít be lots of bees out right now.

 

Mile: 874 (23071)

Time: 12:32 (01:00 +1 MDT)

Location:Utah

 

So itís midnight (my time) and my first day of riding is unofficially done.I know itís not part of the 24 hour rule to consider the day done but it sure does feel like a good time to mentally separate it out.So Iím going to leave you hanging.Thereís my first installment.

 

No, not really.I make it the full 1000 miles before stopping for the night.But to find out what time I made it to bed youíll have to read Fridayís episode.


As a side note, the bike has changed a little bit this year.I finally added a sound system.Iíve been looking around for one for awhile.And Iíve been talking about one for even longer.But I finally did it.I decided to go with XM radio.So far my feelings are mixed.I either love it or I hate it.I love the fact that as I travel the stations follow me.I love having 160+ stations.I love the fact they rarely play commercials.I hate the fact they play commercials at all (but they lump them together and only do it every 2 hours or so).And since the sun set I hate them a lot.Iím not sure why (probably pure coincidence) but ever since it got dark Iím only getting reception about 1% of the time.Itís gotten so spotty that I turned the damn thing off.Not exactly what I was expecting for $10/month.Iíll keep you updated though on how it goes.

 

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Day 2

Mile: 874 (23071)

Time:

Location:Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Have you ever seen SLC at night?Itís absolutely beautiful!I capture the moment to share with everyone.Itís similar to Chicago at night but personally I think itís more glorious.I can understand why Brigham Young stopped here.I mean, with this view, who would want to go further?The stars are stunning as well.You sometimes forget how dazzling they can be when you live near the city.Only when you get out into the open country where there are no lights can you fully appreciate what the skies have to offer.

 

Mile: 882 (23079)

Time:

Location:Utah

 

Only 388 miles to Las Vegas!!Iím feeling pretty good at this point.My butt went totally numb about 20 miles ago.Iím thinking it actually fell asleep.This is not good.I know that if my butt sleeps during the day itís going to be up all night.But at least Iím not really sore anymore.And Iím wide awake.A little chilly, but wide awake.Iím thinking I could actually ride straight through to Vegas, stop and play some craps, and still make it to Denver tomorrow sometime.Iíll give it some thought over the next 100+ miles and see if a decision comes to me.

 

Mile: 910 (23107)

Time: 13:00 (01:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Utah, some gas station

 

So Iím really close to my goal (and I still have 11 hours left to complete the last 90 miles if I need it).At this point I really need to figure out what Iím going to do.Itís pretty late here.All the Mormon girls have gone to bed for the night.The roads are empty.The gas stations might be closing for all I know.For that matter, hotels might be too.Iím supposed to make it to Cove Fort tonight but I donít know if thatís really necessary.I decide that maybe if I eat dinner it might help me think a little clearer.I actually stop for almost 20 minutes at the gas station.This is the longest stop Iíve taken since I started and it feels pretty good to stand up!

 

Mile: 952 (23149)

Time:14:00 (02:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Again, Utah

 

14 hours in and 48 miles to go.Back around mile 300 I wasnít sure how anyone could do this in one day.Putzing along through Washington at 75 MPH this trip felt like it could be 1000 miles long.And then I realized it is.Even when I hit 500 I had my doubts as to whether or not Iíd get through this.But around 700 miles it all just kind of blended together.I think a lot of it had to do with it getting dark.Once I couldnít see the wide open road in front of me my pace changed.I was still going as fast but it actually seemed like I was making progress.Not looking at the same flat barren landscape will help like that.Of course, riding in the middle of the night is a little interesting.I fully realize just how many bugs Iíve come across.The headlight isnít working so well.I canít see through the windshield.My face shield is a little spotty.Stop me if this gets a little gross.My glasses have dead bugs on themÖ..

 

Mile:1000 (23197)

Time:14:24 (02:52 +1 MDT)

Location:Utah still

 

I did it.1000 miles in less than 24 hours.And my saddleís sore.But I did it.Unfortunately thereís no one around to share in my joy.No cars.No trucks.No people.And it really doesnít count until I stop, get a computer printed receipt, and get a witness to confirm that I really did make it this far.

 

Mile:1021 (23218)

Time:14:41 (03:09 +1 MDT)

Location:Fillmore, Utah

 

Thank you Alyssa!!!I have my documentation!!!

 

Mile:1022 (23219)

Time:14:56 (03:24 +1 MDT)

Location:Fillmore, Utah (you didnít think Iíd get out of the city in 1 mile did you?)

 

Itís time to stop for the night.I debate going further but thereís a motel here and I donít want to get stuck riding another several hundred miles looking for a place to sleep.Iím not tired but Iím done.So what do I do?Thatís right my Barney loving friends, I head to the Best Western.Unfortunately, as I mentioned, Iím not tired.And my RLS is killing me. I get to sleep a little before 5 am.

 

<<4 hours later>>

 

Not quite sure what happened to my alarm clock but the maid knocking on the door is able to wake me.Up and at Ďem, I have at least another 500 miles to go today.

 

Mile:1022 (23219)

Time:20:56 (09:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Still in Fillmore

 

Time to head out.And boy is this place really nice.No the Best Western.And not the town.But Southern Utah.I forgot how gorgeous the scenery really is.For those of you who havenít seen it, visit last yearís pictures of Bryce National Park.Thatís pretty much what Iím seeing now (and will for the next couple hundred miles).

 

Mile:1026 (23223)

Time:21:00 (09:28 +1 MDT)

Location:On the freeway

 

By the by, as I head South on I-15, I pass the exit for Cove Fort (my original destination for last night).UT 161 goes through it.Thereís one gas station.Nothing else.I turn on to I-70 East towards Colorado 1 mile later.The first exit is for Cove Fort.That means that UT 161 is about 1.5 miles long.Not much there.The next hotel is about 75 miles down the road.So that would have been an extra 110 miles of riding last night had I pressed on.

 

Mile:1065 (23262)

Time:

Location:Freeway still

 

So Iím heading East on I-70 (having made the last turn of my trip from I-15 South).And Iím passing this car (a dark blue Intrepid) and something feels a little weird.I canít quite place it but it just seems a little odd.The bikeís fine.Iím fine.The roadís fine.Oh, now I know, Iím barely creeping by this car.In the last 1000 miles I havenít been passed.And for the last 35 Iíve been climbing through some foothills so Iíve been passing everyone else by at least a 25 MPH margin.But this guy isnít going by very fast.Itís kind of surreal to have someone almost keep up with me.Itís kind of scary that I donít feel like Iím going all that fast (Iím doing 97 MPH).But I keep going and lose the Intrepid in the turns (he got stuck behind slow traffic and big trucks).


Well sure enough, here I am 6 miles later and the Intrepid is sneaking by me.I think this is a good opportunity.I think Iíll follow him.Iím not sure how many of you take trips where you have the opportunity to follow someone but it is soooo much easier.It takes all the concentration out of driving.You follow a relatively fixed object at a fixed distance.You donít have to pay attention how fast youíre going (between 100 and 105 now).You donít have to decide when to switch lanes.You kind of go into a zone.All you do is stay behind the vehicle in front of you.Itís faster than Iím comfortable going (legally, not personally), but again, Iím banking on the fact that a police officer would pull over the Intrepid and not me (at least this is how I rationalize it).So I stick to him.Iím about 9 seconds back.Pretty safe following distance at this speed.And heís holding pretty steady.Most cars would differ by +/- 10 MPH, but heís sticking to +/- 3!!I like this.

 

Mile:114 (23311)

Time:22:00 (10:28 +1 MDT)

Location: Behind the Intrepid

 

Mile:1204 (23401)

Time:23:00 (11:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Still behind the Intrepid

 

Mile:1214 (23411)

Time:23:08 (11:36 +1 MDT)

Location:At a gas stationÖ..along with the Intrepid

 

Mile:1280 (23477)

Time:24:00 (12:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Again, behind the Intrepid

 

Not only am I behind the Intrepid, but I think Iíve got a new goal.I know I havenít finished this one (1500 miles in 36 hours) but now Iím thinking that I could do the 1500 miles in 24 hours.After all, Iíve taken some fairly lengthy stops throughout this first 24 hours and Iím only 220 miles short.Had I started earlier in the morning (like when I got up instead of going to some darn meeting) I could actually do this.Of course, with my bladder, Iíd need a sneak-a-leak.Youíre familiar with this device right?I discovered it in Mardi Gras.Itís a slightly modified condom with a rubber hose attached to the tip.You feed the hose down the inside of your pant leg, make sure itís not in your shoe, and roll it on.Zip up and youíre problem free for the rest of the day.Need to pee?Just go!!Perfect for all kinds of situations.A day at Seahawks Stadium, donít want to miss any action to wait in line at the restroom, try a sneak-a-leak.Got a 1500 mile ride, try a sneak-a-leak.Going to Mardi Gras and donít want to get arrested for being seen peeing in the street, try a sneak-a-leak (no word from our sponsors if they offer a female version).But did I mention Iím still behind the Intrepid?

 

Mile:1284 (23481)

Time:

Location:Colorado/Utah state line (behind the Intrepid)

 

Mile:1296 (23493)

Time:

Location:I-70 East


Country Jam USA!!!Some festival here in the middle of nowhere.There are RVs, trucks, campers, everything, lining the shoulder in line for the exit.Apparently itís this weekend.And Iím missing it.Darn.If only I had prepared for this trip a little better I would have had time to stop and two-step to my favorite country beats.After all, Iím wearing the boots and the chaps.Pick up some spurs, a hat, and a shiny new belt buckle bigger than my head and Iím ready!!

 

Mile:1339 (23536)

Time:

Location:I-70 East

 

ďRoad Construction next 122 milesĒÖ.not a sign I had wanted to see this trip.Well, come to find out, theyíre not serious.What they mean here in the state of Colorado is that sometime in the past, present, or future, and somewhere in the next 122 miles, they might be thinking about doing, actually doing, or have completed doing some construction.Apparently theyíre not real good planners.So they like to cover their butts (I have since seen a sign stating there would be road construction from August 2000 through August 2004 on a particular stretch of road).

 

Mile:1365 (23562)

Time:25:00 (13:28 +1 MDT)

Location:I-70 East

 

We get passed!!We being me and the Intrepid.Weíre kind of a group now.Iíve bonded.Iíve associated with him.I donít know if he knows I exist but heís my entire world right now.And we get passed.Some crazy dude (everyone on the road going faster than you is crazy, everyone going slower is an idiot, doesnít matter what your speed is) flies right by us (weíre doing 105 MPH).Now thatís impressive.This is the first legitimate pass thatís happened since I left sunny Kirkland.

 

And 2 miles later I can still see the guy.He slams on his brakes, jerks over to the right lane behind some van, and stays there.We pass him (heís doing about 75 MPH, which is the posted speed limit, which I am currently exceeding).As we pass, I look over at the boy.Heís from California, heís about 45, Iím guessing heís divorced (statistically I canít go wrong with guessing that about someone from California, the odds are in my favor), and he has a radar detector sitting on his dash.

 

Sure enough, 2 more miles down the road he comes flying by one more time.

 

Mile:1388 (23585)

Time:

Location:Same damn freeway

 

He he he he heÖ..weíre all braking pretty hard.It seems thereís a cop coming from the other direction, with his lights on, and heís swerving through the median to change into our direction.He bangs a U-turn and takes off after somethingÖ..ah, now I can see, itís after someone.You guessed it.California dude being pulled over.Seems as though his radar detector was outsmarted by the cops.Better him than us.Had he not come by it might be me or the Intrepid being pulled over.But let me just interject that thatís not terribly likely.Yeah, weíre doing 30 over the limit, but everyone else is doing 20 over.So comparatively it would be hard to judge just how much we were speeding.Out on the flat land it doesnít seem that fast.And weíre not being reckless by zipping by other cars.It would be much like you passing someone at 70 who was doing 60.And for the sake of simplicity weíll leave out the whole kinetic energy thing and the square of velocity proportionals.

 

Mile:1422 (23619)

Time:25:46 (14:14 +1 MDT)

Location:Colorado

 

Bye bye Intrepid.It seems as though he has a bigger gas tank.I must exit.Itís been a great 357 miles.Itís kind of like when Wilson floated away in Cast Away.The Intrepid man was my friend.Sure I made up a name (not Nelson, not Willie, not Sade, perhaps Colby) for him.And I never actually talked to him (and he certainly never talked back).But I feel like we bonded.There was a moment there.Besides the fact that I donít really remember the last 4 hours.Today has been an absolute breeze.No fatigue, no drowsiness, no worries about time and distance.Just me and the Intrepid.So I decide to calculate this out.Yesterday I averaged 68 MPH throughout the day (this includes stops and all).Since the Intrepid came into my life Iíve averaged a hair under 85 MPH.Thatís huge.Heís saved me almost exactly 1 hour (do the math, seriously, the speed difference over 4 hours comes out to a 68 mile difference in distance which at yesterdayís speed would be an hour).Come on, Iíve spared you the math problems for the last 25 hours.Do you know how many trains Iíve passed and bugs Iíve hit and how much more lethal I am traveling at 95 MPH?I think Iíve been very generous with not doling out the story problems that are left up to the student to answer.Out of curiosity, if it takes me 118í to go from 60-0, can anyone tell me how far it would take for me to go from 100-0?Feel free to use a constant rate of acceleration.

 

So getting back to what Iím doing at this stop, Iím going to a gas station.As I pull in thereís also another bike pulling in.A beautiful RS1100 BMW.Great bike.He pulls up to the pumpÖÖand tips over.All I can do is laugh.Not at him, not with him, just near him.And he is laughing.Iím laughing because Iíve almost done this twice already this trip pulling up to a gas pump.You pull up, you shut off the bike, you start to get off, and you donít have the side stand down because you know youíre going to use the center stand, it starts to tip just a little bit, and over it goes.So I pull my bike up to the pump, get off (without tipping it) and go over to help him right it.Heís done 3500 miles on his current trip.Worry free until the last 300.This is the second time heís tipped it.This time to the other side.It happens.Often with big bikes.It happens.

 

Mile:1432 (23629)

Time:26:00 (14:28 +1 MDT)

Location:Colorado, 68 miles short of my goal

 

Mile:1458 (23655)

Time:26:23 (14:51 +1 MDT)

Location:Vail, Colorado


I stop to pick up Scott.Not literally, just to meet up with him.Scottís a college buddy who Iím staying with for the week.Heís got a fabulous 1999 Honda CBR600F4.Youíll see it later.Iím going to follow him back to his place (eventually) so I donít get lost.He really just came out for the ride, and with these roads climbing through the Rocky Mountains I can see why.So after 21 minutes (which is significant if you understand the IBA rules) weíre off to complete the last 42 miles.

 

Mile:1478 (23675)

Time:27:00 (15:28 +1 MDT)

Location:I-70 East

 

Mile:1500 (23697)

Time:27:19 (15:47 +1 MDT)

Location:I-70 East, Colorado

 

This mile ends up being fairly significant.Iím at 11,158 feet above sea level.Itís the highest Iíve been on the bike.And itís a little chilly.I wasnít sure why Scott was wearing his full leather jacket when we left Vail, it being really hot out and all.But now I understand.Weíre another 3000í+ higher and itís a little chilly.As indicated by all the snow on the ground.So Iím the highest Iíve ever been, at the peak of the Rockies (on this particular road), Iíve just completed my 1500 miles (with 8.5 hours to spare), but the really cool thing is Iím in the Eisenhower Tunnel and crossing the Continental Divide.All these cool things happening all at once!

 

To make an already long story not as long as it could be, the rest of the day was extremely relaxing.Rather than go straight to Scottís house we figure why not go for a motorcycle ride.After all, weíre here, on the bikes, in the mountains, with all these beautiful twisty roads, Iím feeling fine, so we might as well.So to recap the remainder of the day:We stop at a gas station to get my receipt, we go to Vicís Gold Panning to buy a bag of dirt for Scottís Momís Birthday (yes, heís really giving her dirt, maybe it has gold in it), we see The Moving Wall (check this out please, itís the only serious part of my entire trip), have a great dinner, ride some GREAT twisty mountain roads, visit Boulder Falls, and end the day with 1583 miles on the bike.

 

So I logged 1513 miles on the official portion of the trip.But as Iíve been traveling Iíve been checking the accuracy of my odometer/speedometer.My best guess (based on speedometer check points) is that Iím a hair over 2% under.Meaning Iím going 2% faster than I think I am and Iíve gone 2% farther than I think I have.The speed I can deal with.The mileage is the issue.Iron Butt could care less what my odometer says.They plug all my points into a mapping program and go with the actual mileage.Iíve done the work for you.Check out the actual Iron Butt journey (as close as MapQuest can get it).What this tells me is that my odometer is really 2.07% under.Not bad estimating for a couple of 5 mile stretches of road.

 

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Day 3

Mile:0

 

Enough with tracking all the other data.Itís 8:30 in the morning and I got an interesting night of sleep.Not because I did anything wrong but because today is rally day.Today we get the Catholic School Girls!!

 

Mile:10

 

And here they are!!That would be Jeslyn on the left and Amber on the right.I think they go the outfits figured out quite well.And what do they wear under those skirts?So off we go to check in at the Poker Run and donate our money to such a wonderful benefit (okay, so no one really knows what the benefit is, but we put $25 towards something).

 

Mile:56

 

Here we are in wonderful Timnath, Colorado at the Colorado Feed & Grain to register.Todayís event is sponsored and organized by the UMF of America.Never being one to waste time with all these fabulous people, the day starts out before the first drink ever goes down.It seems as though Amber has met a new friend (nudity).I figure if itís only 10:30 in the morning this day is going to be plenty of fun by the time 5pm rolls around.But no time for drinks, itís time to head to the next rally point and hopefully find some lunch.

 

Mile:72

 

Dickís Tavern in Ault, Colorado.None of us have a map and we donít know where weíre going.We have to ask directions each step of the way.This place was the most difficult to find.We had to make 2 turns.Apparently it gets easier from here.I thought this stop would be relatively tame compared to the last one.But I was humbled.Something even more spectacular than two girls kissing.I got to shake hands with the Pope.

 

Mile:76

 

Up Yonder in Pierce, Colorado.No turns required to find this bar.Itís 4 miles up a straight country road.And Jesus Christ whatís that?The fun continuesÖ.

 

Mile:I donít know.I was very busy checking out Scottís bike.I didnít have time to look at the odometer.

 

Mile:102

 

The Clownís Den in Cheyenne, Wyoming.Interesting that we made it all the way to Wyoming for a Poker Run.At first we didnít really believe it.After all, Cheyenne isnít supposed to be for another 11 miles down the road.And none of us saw a ďWelcome to WyomingĒ sign.We did however see a ďWelcome to ColoradoĒ sign on the way back.We made it all of 100 feet into the state of Wyoming.The strip joint (for thatís what the Clownís Den is) is right on the border.Rather than show pictures from inside (of which I have many, they let the girls get up and stage with the dancers), Iíll show some outside shots.Of course, the Nuns inside were cuter than the Nuns outside.And not only was the people watching fun, the bike watching was fun as well.It was no Sturgis, but it was a great time.

 

Mile:160

 

Interesting little side trip on the way back.The Swetsville Zoo.Iíll let the pictures speak for themselves:bike, ants, VW Bug, Snoopy.There were over 150 sculptures on somewhere around 2 acres.This guy did an amazing job.I took about 50 pictures but figured you wouldnít want to sift through them all.The Zoo is not funded by any state or local agency, itís purely this guyís property and the donations people provide.

 

Mile:208

 

How many of you know how much of a Granola town Boulder, Colorado is?I didnít.But Iím beginning to realize.Itís a no smoking city.Thereís tofu anything.Everyoneís in shape.Bike paths everywhere.Theyíre mostly vegetarians.They smoke ungodly amounts of pot.Girls donít shave theyíre legs or armpits (I made this one up).And they donít hunt.So weíre at the Med for dinner, the waiter tells us the specials, and I perk up at the duck.It sounds really, really good.Served sliced with a little side of vermicelli pasta.Comes with focaccia bread.I think Iím in.So Jeslyn asks what Iím going to have for dinner and instead of using the common English language, I just quack.For some reason I thought this would be amusing.Apparently not so.The girls just glare.Scott just smirks.Iím informed that I might offend someone by making fun of the fact that the food I want to eat was once alive.God forbid we shoot something and eat it.So the waiter comes by, asks what I want, and being the jackass that I am, I quack again.He smiles, says great choice on the duck, and asks me how I want it prepared.Not one to be shy in a restaurant full of people, I want it medium rare.I want it to ooze blood on my plate when I cut into it.The waiter must be a transplant.He just smiles.And he OFFERS to bring me extra bread so I can sop up the bloody mess on the plate.I LOVE THIS GUY!!The girls cower.They lower their heads.They start speaking in whispered tones.Theyíre afraid of getting shot.They seriously think that someone is going to be so offended by this that theyíd come up and cause us bodily harm because I like medium rare meat!Being the deductive reasonist I am Iím not afraid of getting shot by a community that doesnít hunt in the first place.So to make it worse, Jeslyn orders filet mignon and Amber orders chicken pasta.Apparently youíre allowed to eat meat as long as no one knows youíre doing it!Thank God these granola hippie freaks havenít given up drinking!!Another quick gripe if I may, the girls are trying to get sympathy out of me because theyíre ďso soreĒ after putting in a 200 mile day on the bikes.Ha!!

 

A little more Boulder history, thereís some weird weather patterns here.Throughout the spring and summer, it rains almost every day for about 30 minutes between 4 and 6pm.You can count on it.You can plan your day around it.Itís anything from a couple sprinkles to a flash flood.Clear skies all day (in fact, not a single cloud in the sky until about 1pm, not one single cloud, in any direction, I almost took a picture for you Seattle).

 

So drop off the girls, back to the homestead, shower up, and sleep flawlessly for 9.25 hours.

 

Todayís Miles:219

Total Miles:1802

 

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Day 4

Race day boys and girls.But we take the Jeep.Time to give the bikes a much needed day off.And we can wear shorts to boot.If you havenít been to a motorcycle race, go.If you have, go again.Pictures canít do it justice.There was one bike there that really stood out.Just beautiful.Iíd say more or show more if I thought I could put a better image in your head.

 

Is everyone getting as much out of this vacation as I am?

 

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Day 5

So it seems as though yesterdayís story might have been a little incomplete.Since we were in the Jeep all day I donít seem to recollect everything as well as if we were on the bikes.We did end up visiting some pretty cool places.Rather than drink the night away (which would have been okay mind you) we decided to see some of the local sites.We visited NCAR, the pink building on the hill.Which truly was a pink building on the hill.Then we went by the NOAA.For those of you with atomic clocks, you should recognize this company.They transmit the signal.Since Iím a clock whore this stop was particularly interesting to me.Then we drove into the mountains up to Flagstaff point.The drive itself was really neat.Wonderful switchback roads all the way to the peak.Thankfully we were in the Jeep.It seems as though all the animals know this is a safe place to hang out.So there were plenty of deer and fox to be seen throughout the drive.Of course, hitting a deer on a bike pretty much sucks so the Jeep was very handy.The view from Flagstaff point was spectacular.You could see all of Boulder and even into downtown Denver.Quite the sight.Not only that, thereís an amphitheater built into a portion of the mountain.Itís not huge, seats about 250, but how cool is it to have a place on the peak where you can have plays and bands and such.

 

Mile:0

 

So not so much of an early start today.We donít take off until about 11:30.But you have to love a place where not only do you not need a jacket starting around 10am, but you donít need the choke on the bike either.However, you all know this means that the bike is normally carbureted.Iíll come back to the problems of that.But itís a glorious morning and a lovely day for a ride.

 

Mile:10

 

Seems a little early for a first stop, but lunchtime it is.We eat at this fabulous little sandwich shop in Boulder.They make a prime rib sandwich that is out of this world.Freshly sliced off a roast as you order it.Wonderful spices.Wonderful flavor.They have horseradish mayonnaise.This place rocks.

 

Mile:44

 

Now, there seems to have been some odd things about the state of Colorado.Some little idiosyncrasies that every state has.But this one catches me a little more off guard than usual:ďFor wildlife viewing, tune radio to 530 AMĒ.Now I canít figure out if this is a service for the blind (in which case why is there a road sign, they couldnít read, much less should they be driving) or what.Not having a radio on the bike I canít tune it to figure it out.Perhaps itís some Walter Cronkite imitator explaining what the wildlife would look like if I were able to see any.I donít know.A little odd to say the least.

 

Mile:66


Weíre almost at the peak of Rocky Mountain National Park.This place is cool.I mean, itís a little cold.Sure itís neat and all but itís very similar to most other National Parks in the mountains.Very reminiscent of Crater Lake National Park and Mount Rainier National Park.Of which, Mount Rainier is a scant 925 in a northwesterly direction from where Iím standing.I try to see it but I canít.Maybe itís because I need new glasses, Iím not sure.So we jump off the bikes and hike to the top of a peak to check out what we can see.Thereís a cool marker at the top (if you choose to climb up the rocks) that tells you all the local peaks, their distance, and their elevation.There are 53 peaks in Colorado that exceed 14,000 feet and you can see quite a few of them from here.A little different hiking at altitude.Where somewhere between 11,000 and 12,000 feet and the air is definitely a little thinner.And a whole lot drier.But we stop and enjoy the scenery for a little while.This would be Scott in case you havenít seen any pictures of him yet.And since weíre up here, itís time to play with the camera a little.It has this fabulous feature that allows me to pan around and take a series of pictures and then it will merge them into one long panoramic view.So why the heck not try it?For those of you with high speed access, hereís the high res image (2.8Mb) of the peak.For those of you with a slightly shorter attention span, hereís a medium res image (1.0Mb) of the peak.For those of you who canít wait that long to download it, hereís a low res image (400kb) of the peak.

 

Mile:71

 

So Iím not quite sure the exact altitude we top out at since thereís no road marker on the crest of the next hill, Iím guessing itís about 12, 065.Which is the highest Iíve ever been on the bike.I feel fairly confident in this guess since as we start to descend there is a road sign that puts us at 12,020.So back to the carburetor.My carb is tuned for sea level (being that I live at sea level), not for 2+ miles above the ocean.The airís a little thinner up here so the mixtureís running a little rich.What this all comes down to is a little less horsepower.Like a person has trouble breathing at this altitude under exertion, so does a motorcycle.So the benefits of electronic fuel injection would be oh so handy right now.

 

Mile:92


Grand Lake, Colorado.Cool stuff here.A big lake.A little resort town.Pretty much a tourist trap.And apparently real estate is quite pricey.As we walk around town we stop at a couple of the real estate agencies and check out the ads in the windows.Absolutely ridiculous.More expensive than living in Medina on Lake Washington.And itís not as pretty.But being that thereís only so much waterfront apparently itís the going rate.So in town was just all right, it was leaving town that cracked us up.I mean where else can you get warm beer?

 

So that pretty much brings us to the next 100 miles.Spectacular mountain roads.Nice 70 MPH sweeping twisties mixed in with 40 MPH tight turns.Itís fun to find the limits of youíre motorcycle.And these roads helped out nicely.Although Iím not sure what touches down after my feet.Fabulous little factoid about the ST, the first thing to touch down in the corners are the outsides of your feet.Wonderful little feelers if you ask me.But Iím not sure what touches down next.I tried to find out but it just didnít happen.

 

Todayís miles:205

Total miles:2007

 

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Day 6

 

Mile:0

 

Perhaps today might be a long t-shirt day.Yesterday I was of the opinion that I had enough of a tan to be done with sunscreen for the summer.For the most part I was right.But perhaps I could have used just a little.I didnít burn, and Iím not even really any shade of red/pink/chartreuse, but I did get quite a lot of sun.So today might just be a day to cover my arms.And itís already warm.A plus yesterday.Perhaps a liability today.I think it might get a wee bit toasty.But at 11:24am I canít really complain.Itís not like itís 9am and 90 degrees out.

 

Mile:10

 

I like this whole starting the day with lunch plan.No need to set an alarm and get up at 8am to get things rolling.You get up when you get up, you have plenty of time to sit on the shitter and contemplate life, and you can relax and roll into the day at your own pace.Perhaps figure out where you want to go and then sit down and think about going there until the mood hits.Yesterday it was Salvaggioís, today itís Illegal Peteís.Fine, fine burritos.Kicks butt over Taco del Mar (not that thatís all that tough).Blows away Casa Dís.Oobaís canít hold a candle to it.The only place that even comes close (and is a really close second) is probably Gorditos on Greenwood and 85th.Not only that but today is Dos Equis Tuesday and they have $2 bottles.God bless Boulder.

 

Mile:42

 

Here we are at Sun Harley and Sun Honda.Right next door to each other.And how appropriate that weíre in the sun at Sun.So I pick up something for Nelson while Iím there because I can.A nice blue accessory that will keep him warm on those cold winter nights.

 

As we depart Sun I figure Iíll try and find a bank reader board to check the temperature.A nice pleasant 91 degrees.Okay, Iím a liar.Itís freakiní hot out.Really hot.I love Henry Ford for his philosophy on cars:You can have any color as long as itís black.And I subscribe to this philosophy when it comes to motorcycles.But there is a mild disadvantage when youíre in sunny weather.Everything gets hot.Everything.My butt melts when I sit on the seat.My legs melt when they tuck into the bodywork.My head melts when I put on my helmet.My face melts when I put on my sunglasses.My hands melt when I grab the grips.God I love this.I wouldnít trade this for anything.Such a glorious sunny day and I get to spend it tooling around the countryside while you poor saps sit there and read this at work.Mild suggestion:retire.Itís fabulous.

 

So todayís agenda is to head for Pikeís Peak, do the hill climb, tool around Garden of the Gods, hit Colorado Springs, then zip down to Royal Gorge, and finally hit the local Prison Museum outside of Canon City.Quite the fun day planned.

 

Mile:92

 

Well, plans do have a tendency of changing.Itís hot.Weíve gone 50 miles.Our butts are sweaty (no, I didnít personally check Scottís and he didnít offer to check mine).We need a drink.So off to freeway to the local rest stop it is.Fill up on nice cold water.Drain the bladder.Check the map to see where weíre going.And hey, while Iím here, letís do a little safety check.It never hurts to check out the status of your bike while youíre on the road.Make sure you have plenty of brake pad left. Check the oil and coolant levels.Maybe look at the brake and clutch fluid.Check the tires.Bulbs (headlights, turn signals, stop signals).No loose bolts.

 

And this does not bode well.Sure, the third taillight doesnít work.Itís the accessory I installed in the trunk.Not a big deal.It shouldnít be tough to figure out.Itís not required by law.It doesnít affect the performance of the bike.It just upsets me that it isnít working.But then, this is really a minor worry compared to what else I find.Now, I performed a full safety check on the bike 2 weeks before I left, 1 week before I left, the night before I left, and the morning I left.Everything was great.But not so now.The rear tire is having some minor issues.Okay, maybe some major issues.I seem to have lost all my tread on the center section.Not only that but, just off center, the tire is actually starting to peel.This really isnít good.Scott checks out my tire and hole heartedly agrees; it needs to be replaced.And since weíre here Scott figures heíll check his own bike as well.Again, not so good.His front tire is shot.Now this may seem like negligence but it really came out of nowhere.When I left I had at least 4k, probably 6k miles left on the rear tire.Iíve only gone 2k and now itís shot.Scott checked his tire Saturday, Sunday, and again on Monday morning.I checked his tires on Sunday (since we were going to the motorcycle races and this is where he picks up spare tires) and they looked great.Shouldnít be any problem.Apparently Monday wasnít so good a day on tires.So instead of moving on towards our destination we decide itís a great time to turn around and limp home.And of course Iíd love to check the temperature again being that it feels pretty darned hot out; 96 degrees.In rush hour traffic.Sitting at a stand still on I-25 in downtown Denver.Damn tires.

 

Mile:160

 

We hated to have to turn around.It sucked.But it was totally the right decision.Itís not like we canít get new tires and do the trip tomorrow.Weíre not missing anything.Thereís no deadline and no agenda for us.So heading home was the right and safe thing to do.But the bikes look so sad.Scottís looks mildly nekkid while mine just looks pathetic.So here are the tires.Perhaps you know what youíre looking at, perhaps you donít.If you do, we donít need a lecture on checking these types of things more often.We know theyíre bad.Enough said.

 

What this does give us a chance to do is jump in the Jeep and head out to the local Microbrew Pubs.Of course, on the way, it does seem like picture opportunity.Out here thereís never a shortage of great scenery to capture.So we did head to some pubs and, unlike our earlier adventure in the day, this time we were successful.We made it there, we partook in the festivities (and the festive libations), and made it home safe and sound.So tomorrowís another day.Weíll get the new tires mounted, reassemble the bikes, and try this whole trip over again.One day delay, no big deal.

 

Todayís Miles:160

Total Miles:2167

 

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Day 7

Iím still reveling in last nightís dinner.We went to Fazoliís.Yum.Is it wrong that around mile 1200 on Friday I started thinking about Fazoliís and havenít gotten it out of my mind since?Itís a little weird, when I arrived Scott asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to do while I was in town, Fazoliís was my only requirement.And he fully understood.The lucky bastard has one about 2 miles from his work.I donít know if youíve ever been to Fazoliís (or even heard of it) but itís fast food Italian.Their pizza sucks (no big surprise there) but everything else is really tasty.Youíd think it would be Olive Garden quality but itís sooo much better.And their breadsticks?Out of this world.They have no equal.Iíve eaten a lot of breadsticks in my day.From coast to coast actually.And nothing can compare.And theyíre all you can eat.Back in Kentucky there was a Fazoliís on campus that we frequented (never mind the girlís Volleyball team hung out there).It was perfect.Bring your books.Order a plate of spaghetti (all you can eat, as is everything in that obese state).And you could stay all day.Sometimes even eat two meals there.And the staff didnít mind at all.Did I mention the breadsticks?I was a little worried as we were driving there last night.What if it wasnít as good as I remembered?It has been a couple of years.But there was to be no disappointment.It lived up to my every dream.And the breadsticks?YumÖ..

 

Mile:0

 

Fresh rubber up front for Scott.Fresh rubber out back for me.Time to scrub them in and head out.While I was at the motorcycle store I invested in a tinted face shield as well.Iím a convert.I wasnít sure I ever wanted one but now that Iíve tried it I love it.Not sure how much good it will do in Seattle but itís lovely to have out here.

 

Mile:6

 

National Wind Research Facility.Pretty cool.Thereís a couple of buildings and a field with about a dozen different designs of wind turbines.From both philosophies of power generation (both upwind and downwind hubs).Check out the January 2003 edition of Mechanical Engineering magazine for more on this.They had a great article that really went in depth explaining the characteristics and trade offs of wind turbine design.Not only that but one of the leading companies in wind power generation is based in Kirkland, WA.

 

Mile:72

 

Uh oh, back to the scene of the crime.The same rest stop on I-25 South where we turned around yesterday.We figured we might as well stop here and check out the bikes.Not only that but we know they have cold water here.The bikes check out fine, the tires are breaking in nicely, the water is truly cold, and we are truly hot.Itís a nice pleasant 104F today.And none of that dry heat.Weíre sweating.At least, we are now that weíre hydrated.You know you need more water when you stop sweating (as Scott did yesterday).

 

Mile:103

 

Uh oh, not the scene of the crime but truly a crime scene.And weíre here to witness it.Iím not sure how old the crime scene is (thereís no yellow tape) but the body outline is still visible.Why they painted the whole body in I donít know.


But weíre here at the Garden of the Gods in lovely Somewhere, Colorado (weíre right outside of Colorado Springs).And since Iím here it seemed like the right time for a kartwheel.I donít think I did one at all on last yearís trip but somehow it just seemed appropriate.Pretty cool place, neat history.Apparently some dude bought the land quite some time ago.He opened it up to the public so they could come and check it out.Before he died he sold it to the city for $1 under the stipulation that it always remain a free park open to the public.And so far thatís worked out.A couple of neat things to see here that were capturable, notably the balancing rock and the kissing camels.It wasnít real possible to get pictures of much else since the scenery is so vast and so close.I couldnít really fit anything meaningful into one frame that would give you an idea of what this place really looks like.So get off your butt and go visit it for yourself.Oh thatís right.Most of you are at work reading this while Iím out here on vacation (is it really vacation if youíre retired?).Well, hereís what people that arenít working are driving to come to Garden of the Gods.Thatís a sweet ride.

 

Mile:129

 

Pikeís Peak.Not much going on with this site.Itís big mountain.Thereís road that goes up it.Itís the site of the annual Pikeís Peak Hill Climb (which happened to be last Saturday).The road is paved for a while.Then itís not.Itís estimated to take 2 hours round trip to get to the top and back.Street motorcycles are not recommended.The mountain looks like any other in the Northwest.Itís covered in Evergreen trees.So we decide not to ride up it.There is however a train that will take you to the top. So we go check it out.Itís 4pm.As we pull into the parking lot the announcer informs us that there are only 2 tickets left for the 5:20 train to the top.Lovely.So we run up to the ticket window and as Scottís standing in line I notice that the train doesnít come back until 8:30pm.Thatís too long.So given all the above glory and praise for this peak we decide to skip it.There was one redeeming point to coming here.Itís not often you get to see Santaís Workshop.

 

Mile:182

 

Well, itís almost 6pm and it seems to be cooling down a little.Yup, sure enough, the thermometer is reading a cool, crisp 101F.Not sure what the high was today but it did seem to get a little toasty.And did I mention how great my farmerís tan is working out?I have yet to get to the point where Iíll subject the fine people of Colorado to seeing me topless on the motorcycle.

 

Mile:193

 

Royal Gorge.Itís a gorge.Apparently itís royal.And at $19 a head entry fee it better be.We decide to skip the actual entering of the park.Thereís a bridge you can walk on.Thereís a store you can shop at.Thereís a restaurant you can eat and drink at.Iíve been on a bridge.Iíve seen a gorge (the Columbia River and the Grand Canyon).Iíve shopped.And Iíve eaten.So for $19 weíre not really sure what the attraction is to us.So we turn around and head off (the windy road to the Gorge was well worth the trip though).Did I mention how much shade bugs suck?Itís that time of night where they all come out.Thousands of them.And theyíre hanging out by us, on us, and trying to get in us.They like to fly into mouths, ears, and noses.So not much talking between Scott and I until we get out of here.

 

Mile:238

 

Holy crap.Some of the most amazing country roads Iíve ever been on.Nice windy twisty roads that lead through the middle of nowhere while weíre on our way to somewhere.Rather than take the state highways back to where weíre going we decide to take a road on the map that appears to get us where we want to be.Itís not marked with a highway number so we kind of have to guess which road it really is.The map legend tells us itís a local road thatís usually paved.And man was it awesome.Weíre doing 80 in a 35 MPH zone but the road was totally built for it.The cars are all doing 70+.And itís beautiful country (if you choose to take your eyes off the road).The only concern I have is all the signs stating ďLivestock on RoadĒ.I know that if thereís a fight between me and a cow the cowís going to win.Of course, come to find out, that shouldnít have been my main concern.Itís when we reached the sign ďEnd County MaintenanceĒ that it got interesting.All of a sudden thereís a stretch of road thatís missing.For no apparent reason (no water runoff damage, no mudslides, etc.).In the middle of a (short) straight stretch on level ground.The roadís just gone.Someone was nice enough to fill it with gravel though.The gravel they use down here is really fine.Itís a mixture of extremely small rocks and red clay dirt.The size of rocks that stick to a tire just long enough to be flipped up into the direct path of the vehicle behind you.So as we hit it all the debris off Scottís bike hits me. Not the worst debris from Scott I run into as youíll find out in tomorrowís episode.

 

So these wonderful roads spit us out into a little town I like to think of as Mini Reno.Itís Cripple Creek.And its sole reason for existing is to gamble.There are 37 casinos in Cripple Creek.Nothing too terribly large and extravagant but they do serve free liquor if youíre gambling.

 

This time of day thing Scott and I have going is working out very well.It seems that about 10 hours a day of traveling/riding is just about right.With my parent that seems to happen from about 8am-6pm or sometimes 9am-7pm.Which is just a little early for me.Scott and I really seem to have the noon-10pm down pretty well.Which really, really works for me.Come to find out the one downside to this is that lodging does become mildly more difficult at 10pm than at 6pm.But we find a place to stay in lovely Woodland Park, Colorado.And you just have to love the taxes here.Between all the fees (hotel tax, entertainment tax, sales tax, etc.) it comes out to 3.9%.God Bless Colorado!!

 

Todayís Miles:269

Total Miles:2436

 

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Day 8

Man was that one crappy night of sleep.I donít think it had much to do with the hotel, although Iím not sure, it just sucked.We made many mistakes which we will hopefully not repeat.I thought it was just me who was having problems but Scott really didnít sleep well either.For me it might have been going to bed too early.I dozed off around midnight which didnít seem to work well.It only lasted until about 2am and then I was up for almost two hours.And I had finished my book so I didnít even have anything to read.

 

Mile:0

 

Oh well, at least the ride should be good today.Estimated high is only 94F. Itís 82F now (9:40 am) as we head out for the day.After yesterdayís skipping of the Royal Gorge and Pikeís Peak, todayís Renaissance Fair should be pretty exciting.Itís about 80 miles away and should prove to be a good ride.Again, we stick with these tiny unnamed roads we find on the map in the hopes they lead us somewhere we want to be.

 

On a side note, nothing really related to anything else, everyone is aware of just how anal retentive I am right?Itís so bad that I changed the direction of the roll of toilet paper at the hotel because it was hung wrong.I mean, everyone knows it has to unroll from the topÖ

 

Mile:0.7

 

My armpits are already dripping sweat.Not that this is the mental picture you wanted this morning, but itís pretty darned hot out already.And theyíre physically dripping.Iím wearing a fairly loose t-shirt so itís not catching it all and I can feel it drip off the armpit hair and land on my side.Sometimes it trickles down my side or my arm.So much for the effectiveness of Old Spice anti-perspirant.At least Iím not smelly.

 

Mile:34

 

Weíre lucky enough to have picked a road that follows the Platte Canyon River.Itís a really nice road and the scenery is spectacular.There happen to be lots of fly fisherman out in the river but I didnít really care to take a picture of that.Unfortunately hereís where it gets a little weird.We were following Douglas County road 67 in the hopeís that it would lead us to Sedalia.The map tells us if we follow 67, then 40, then back to 67 it stays a local, paved road the entire way.If we follow 67 and donít take the side trip on 40 itís a local usually paved road.Well, the map was a little backwards on this one.So much for 40 being paved.Itís 4 miles of gravel.Oh well.

 

Mile:57

 

What can Brown do for you today?Drive out to the middle of nowhere, drop off a package, and drive back to somewhere.Again, not so sure that being a UPS driver is anywhere in my future.Iím not sure I could handle driving an hour one way to drop off a package.

 

Mile:82

 

Ah yes, the Renaissance Fair.To be enjoyed for 8 fabulous weekends throughout the summer.If only today was a weekend.

 

Mile:96

 

So Iíve talked about this quite a bit over the last couple of weeks; Iím looking for a new vehicle.I want to get an old mail jeep.Something right hand drive.I think I could have a lot of fun customizing one of those.Sancho already has lots of ideas on what we can do to chop it and drop it.It comes up now because one just passed us going in the opposite direction.They look really cool.

 

Mile:135

 

Wind Kung Fu is strong.Honda Kung Fu is stronger.Scott decides itís time to do a little stunt riding.Weíre following some huge semi truck hauling some type of funky load.And we think heís dropping stuff on the road.But itís really not him; itís the truck in front of him.As we pull out to pass, the truck in front of us kicks up something from under the rear tires and tosses it into the wind.The wind right in front of Scott.The debris is a chunk of something, looks like an acoustic ceiling tile.Itís about 2íx2í and about twice as thick as a standard tile.Or at least, I should it was 2íx2í.Scott seemed to remedy that problem nicely.As the tile caught in the wind, it tossed around a couple of times and ended up being square on in front of Scott as he approached it at 70 MPH.He had just enough time to tuck his chin down a little and protect his neck when he hit the thing dead on.And it exploded in the most impressive display of debris.It broke into many hundreds, perhaps a thousand, pieces.It was almost like an explosion youíd see from fireworks.All these little pieces moving radially outward from the central point of contact.The cool part was that all the pieces then followed the airflow around Scott.Kind of like a demonstration youíd see in a wind tunnel.The uncool part was that I was following right behind.So I didnít hit one piece, I hit a lot of pieces.Luckily I had just enough time to duck as well.They all bounced off the fairing and windshield instead of hitting me.So we can count ourselves lucky on this one.No damage to the bikes and more importantly no damage to ourselves.Weíll save that for later.

 

Mile:158

 

Done riding for the day.Itís early afternoon so we have plenty of time to do something else.All in all not the most successful ride weíve had.Royal Gorge, Pikeís Peak, the Ren Fair, all kind of a bust.But at least the roads were great.

 

So we hop in the Jeep and head of to El Dorado Springs to do a little hiking.Physical exercise at this altitude is indeed a little more difficult.It takes 5 or 10 minutes to get a good breathing rhythm down.And itís not really good because you just canít get a breath quite deep enough.I hiked just to the point where I could get some decent pictures and then called it quits.Probably went about 1.63 miles.So this is El Dorado Springs.I have this weird desire to run down mountains when I hike.I know itís not the safest thing to do but itís fun.Scottís already headed down and the trail is empty so thereís really no reason not to.Scott asked what I was running from (because I donít run unless itís for my life) so I told him I was running from gravity.As I thought about it Iím not sure if I was running from it or with but itís really inconsequential.The problem is I didnít run fast enough.Gravity caught up with me.At the bottom.I made it all the way to the parking lot, had 2 feet left to go, and gravity caught me.Hmm, mildly painful.But thatís okay, itís just pain.And it will stop hurting as soon as the pain goes away.Over 2500 miles on the bike without incident but I canít walk a mile without hurting myself.

 

What to do after a hiking adventure such as this?Head to the beer garden.

 

Todayís Miles:158

Total Miles:2594

 

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Day 9

 

Happy, Happy 4th of July!!Today will be a motorcycle free day.Itís more of a drinking and eating kind of day so we leave the bikes in the garage.We had a fabulous breakfast cooked by friends and then we pretty much just sat around.Now Iím not sure what people do in other parts of the country for entertainment after eating a large meal, but in Boulder people sit around and pretty much do this.Oddly enough it was good for some entertainment value.But it canít quite fill up a whole day.Eventually it gets too hot to sit around and enjoy this type of activity so we head to a van down by the river.Okay, there really wasnít a van.Itís just Scott Carpenter Park.But quite the talented group of individuals these people are.We had a full 3 piece band plus a vocalist to keep us entertained.We had the pleasure of having Tarot readings performed for us.And it was a whole lot cooler by the river.We even had some local frat boys come by and try to impress everyone and stay for a reading as well.

 

After that, off to a barbecue for another big meal, more drinking, and preparing for the fireworks.They fireworks were great.We were in Longmont?Sitting on the golf course watching an impressively long and well thought out display.The only disappointing part is that we couldnít hear any of the accompanying music.But we were able to get pictures.Kind of interesting how the quality of a camera can give you such drastically different pictures.Hereís my shot.Hereís Mike.Hereís Mikeís shots:1, 2, 3.

 

And that pretty much sums up the day.Not much to write about when youíre on a motorcycle trip and you donít get on the motorcycle.

 

Todayís Miles:0

Total Miles:2594

 

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Day 10

 

Yeah, laundry.At least I have the opportunity to do laundry.Itís always difficult to take a long trip on a bike and either have enough clean clothes to last or find some place to do laundry.The bikeís just not big enough to carry everything you need.Especially when I knew I wouldnít be riding everyday and would want shorts and a sweatshirt and tennis shoes and all kinds of other apparel.

 

But today is reunion day.I get to hook up with the rest of the family and enjoy 5 days of hanging out.Scott has been such a gracious host to me for the past week and for that Iím thankful.Iím pretty damned happy with the State of Colorado as well.This has been my first time here on a bike and Iíll definitely be back.

 

Mile:0

 

Time to trade bikes for a little while.Itís been a really long time since Iíve been on a crotch rocket and Scottís never ridden something quite so cushy.So trade up time it is.A little different this little 600 is.It almost feels like a play toy.It tips in at 376 pounds (about 300 pounds lighter than my bike).Itís so cute.But boy does it have some power.Iím not used to riding a bike that has a specific power band but once you learn where it is itís awesome.The F4 pulls from about 7k through to redline (13.5k).And man does it pull.Dynoíd out at 88 BHP a couple of weeks ago.I didnít pull the front end off the ground but Iím not sure I really needed to.And oh so stable.Pulling through a corner at 95 MPH and nary a shake to be found.The riding position is a little more extreme than Iím used to.And with all the sore muscles I have from my inability to fully understand the concept of gravity itís an interesting ride.Amazing they can pack this much power into such a small bike.But now I know why Scottís been shifting so often.The gearing is stacked for total acceleration.And with the fabulous shifting I can understand where the term crotch rocket arises.The ST is a much more tame beast.Tops out at 98 BHP but with all that weight itís not a huge advantage.The interesting part is the power band.It pulls from 2k all the way through to the 8k redline.Thereís no need to do lots of shifting.Even to pass another vehicle you typically just need to roll on the throttle and hang on.The really weird part about this experience is trading back to our own bikes.Man do they feel weird.It takes a few miles before weíre comfortable on our own machines again.


But we head off for the dayís adventure (along with Joe and Jessica on Joeís Ď99 Shadow 600) a little after noon in quite unpleasant 102F weather.Iím at the point now where I have enough of a tan I can forego sunscreen.

 

So did I mention how much my body hurts from my gravity experiment?Slipping on my riding boots is no fun experience.Apparently my ankle has swollen quite a bit from my little tumble in the parking lot and it doesnít fit too well in the boot.Pretty much means I wonít be using a lot of rear brake today (which with the LBS isnít that much of an issue).

 

Mile:21

 

Bye bye birdie.Some of you will be happy to know that thereís one less bird to crap on your car.Some of you will be upset to know that thereís one less bird to sing you a song.The silly boy didnít get out of the way in quite enough time.I figure that since itís my tax dollars that are paving the road that I should have first dibs on the use of it.I understand that birds were here first but I donít really care.So apparently the bird needed a little physics lesson on mass/velocity/two particles occupying the same space at the same time.Itís a lesson heíll only need to learn once.With a little thump he hits the lower cowling and is no more.Not quite as impressive as Scott hitting the board and a little more messy.

 

Mile:48

 

No sign of the bird.Weíre stopped in Estes Park for lunch and he doesnít seem to be around.I was kind of hoping he was lodged in the bike since that would have made for a good picture.But alas it is not to be my day to have carcass photography.

 

Mile:61

 

Longís Peak Inn.Site of the 2003 Wolsfeld family reunion (that would be my motherís maiden name).With that tidbit of info most of you can now steal my identity and do what you may.And ends up being a thoroughly entertaining afternoon of fishing and cards.Everyone who planned on attending did make it here.There are 23 of us here spanning 4 generations.Ranging in age from darned near 90 down to not quite 8 months.Representation comes from Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington.It should be an exciting time.

 

Not quite sure what tomorrow has in store.I keep hearing these silly rumors about people getting up at some silly hour of the morning to be to breakfast by 9am.I have a designated photographer to take pictures for me.With any luck Iíll be watching the inside of my eyelids.Oh oh oh, that brings me to a really cool new piece of technology Iíve discovered.Scientists have found a way to take a picture of what the eye is actually seeing.This is what the inside of my eyelids look like.

 

Todayís Miles:61

Total Miles:2655

 

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Day 11

 

Hour:9:00 am

 

Yeah, Iím trying to sleep.My lovely mother decides that she needs to come into my room and wake me for breakfast.Mission accomplished.Iím awake.

 

Hour:9:02 am

 

Back to sleep.Iíll see everyone throughout the next few days.And Iím not a breakfast fan.Besides, weíre going hiking today and I really need my rest.Okay, I need my rest regardless of hiking.I didnít get to sleep until 3:30 (which is pretty usual for me) and I slept like crap.So did my cousin Brian who happens to be my roommate for the next few days.At least he had an excuse.The building weíre staying in is brand new.The dedication ceremony was 2 weeks ago.And the building isnít quite finished.There are no curtains.And there happens to be a fine sodium vapor lamp outside that really lights up our room.More specifically it lights up Brianís head.The shaft of light coming through the window makes a beeline right at the head of his bed and he slept like crap last night.Of course, each time either of us moves we both wake up.It was a long night of staring at each other with the look on our faces of ďare we really still awakeÖ.Ē

 

Hour:10:15 am

 

Now this is a reasonable time of day to start the day.I can handle this.There are a few different activities to choose from today.Most of the group is either going to Rocky Mountain National Park or sticking around the lodge.Since Iíve already been through RMNP I opt to snag a few cronies and go hiking.I lend the bike to Mike and Karin for the day in the hopes that theyíll decide to go out and buy one.That would make their trip logs a lot more exciting.A synopsis of their day:Lovely day, great weather, take to the Park, get led up a road to the top that they shouldnít have taken (itís pretty much unpaved), they donít know where to meet up with everyone for lunch, they ride around, it gets cold, it starts to rain, then sleet, then hail, Mike puts on the leathers, Karin (5í5Ē and 116 lbs) puts on the raingear (for someone 6í2Ē and 220 lbs), they ride out of it, Mike drops the bike (which cracks me up because I do it all the time, most people do with this bike, almost always at a standstill, itís a heavy bike), itís a lovely afternoon again, they come back, 68 miles of entertainment.

 

Mile:0.0

Elevation:8,880í

Time:10:45 am


Itís time to go hiking.The Tom family (Uncle Tom, Aunt Gale, Cousin Chris, and Cousin Brian), Uncle Dick, and myself decide to head to Twin Sisterís trailhead and see what itís all about.The ranger recommends we drive down the road a couple of miles and take a nice 2.3 mile hike around a sort of nature trail that has trees and flowers and wildlife and all kinds of scenic stuff.The group seems up for it.Except Brian and I.Since he and I are in a separate car we decide to hike where weíre at.Uncle Tom, not one to be outdone by his son, decides he needs to hike this mountain as well.From there it all goes downhill.Everyone seems to be in at this point ďand weíll just turn around when we get tired even if we donít make it to the topĒ.

 

Mile:0.5

Elevation:9,040í (+160í)

Time:10:58 am (+0:13)


Brian and I decide to walk to the trailhead versus driving the car up the hill.Itís only a half mile.And it works as a great warm up.It doesnít actually save any time to drive up come to find out.

 

Mile:0.9

Elevation:unknown

Time:11:22am (+0:37)

 

Weíre not terribly far into the hike and Brian and I have lost the group.Weíre thinking they might not make it all the way to the top so we decide to stop and wait for them and grab our water and cameras and take off on our own.As the group catches up with us we depart with ďweíll wait for you at the topĒÖ..bad ideaÖ..Uncle Tom:ďyou bet, wait for usĒ.

 

Mile:4.2

Elevation:11,428í (+2,548)

Time:12:19pm (+1:34)

 

Ah, the glorious peak of the mountain.What a view.Brian and I are very pleased we made it to the top.Pretty good hike too.The difficulty level is rated as ďstrenuousĒ by the guide book (thereís only 1 mountain claimed as ďvery strenuousĒ).Iíd agree.Itís quite a hike at this altitude.Nothing but switchbacks through a forest of dead trees.Absolutely nothing to see until we get to the top (as noticed above).So we sit and chat and take in the view.Of course, weíre also catching our collective breath a little as well.Four miles distance and half a mile up in an hour and a half at more than 2 miles above sea level was a little bit of a workout.

 

So we decide that weíll give Dick and Tom until 12:45pm to show up and if theyíre not here weíre heading back down.Sure enough, 12:48 and a group rounds the bend that we think are only a little bit ahead of the brothers.And 7 minutes later they round the bend (about a 1/3 mile from the peak).And then they all stop and chat awhile.For 9 minutes (we were counting).Come to find out, the foursome ahead of the brothers was trying to talk the brothers into climbing to the top (they were ready to turn around).The brothers were trying to talk the foursome into turning around and going back down.And the brothers almost one.Dick, being the diplomat he is, is very persuasive.He was giving the foursome a detailed and enumerated list of the pros and cons of going to the top.The cons were clearly in the lead in his mind.

 

Time:1:21pm (+2:36)
But make it to the top they did.And boy were they not happy about it.They were even less happy to have to make it back down the mountain.Somehow, even thought Brian and I had no intention of anyone else in our group climbing this mountain, itís all my fault.They had their own car, their own agenda, and plenty of opportunity to take a nature walk.Yet itís all my fault.

 

Mile:7.9

Elevation:9,040 (+160)

Time:2:45pm (+4:00)

 

Brian and I are back down.And Chris and Gale are relieved that they donít have to come search for the bodies (Gale was actually kind enough to start back up the trail towards us with snacks and refreshments).Now we just have to wait for the brothers.And wait.And wait.For 33 minutes.But they made it down.They hate me but they made it to the top.

 

So back to the lodge, shower up, dream of a nap (but realize thereís no time) and itís off to dinner.My grandparents are sponsoring a chuckwagon dinner for the entire group.Itís off to the Lazy-B-Ranch for some chow and entertainment.To make a wonderful, entertaining night into something interesting for you:we ate, we drank (non-alcoholic), we laughed, we had a good time.Hereís everyone.I wonít name names.Either you know them or you donít.The best part (and most memorable for everyone) were the songs the staff sang for us in a kind of cowboy vaudeville show.One in particular, ďIím my own Grandpaw,Ē by Stevens Ray, had us in tears.My dear brother Mike is currently finding the song on Kazaa and Iíll post it when itís available.In the meantime, here are the lyrics.

 

Todayís Miles:68 (on the bike)

Total Miles:2723

 

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Day 12

 

Hour:9:00am

 

Oh yeah, sleeping soundly through breakfast again.This is how life should be.Based on that, todayís synopsis will be a little shorter (and if youíre not family most of it wouldnít be interesting).

 

Lotís of fishing going on.No actual catching of the fish (thanks Dick and Ray) but lotís of fishing.

 

And some hiking.Start out at Wild Basin (elev. 8,500í), head to Ouzel Falls (elev. 9,450í) and back (dist. 5.4 miles).However, the best part of the hike was the restroom at the trailhead.I couldnít actually find the camera, but maybe thatís the point of the research.

 

Had a great game of cards with me, my brother Mike, my cheating Grandpa, and my really, really cheating Uncle Ray.We were playing Pitch and they kept making up rules (ďoh, we forgot to tell youĒ) as the game progressed.Needless to say Mike and I lost.

 

My grandfatherís not doing so well today.Heís damn near 90.He recently got over a hospitalized bought of pneumonia.He had been on oxygen for quite a few weeks.And here he is in Colorado at 9,000í in the heat and he caught a cold.It was quite a challenge to get him showered, dressed, and into bed.But the man is so damned funny.As he and I were in the bathroom getting him ready for bed (heís without his hearing aids at this point):

 

Grandpa:JASON!

Me:Yes, Grandpa

Grandpa (again):JASON!

Me (a little louder):Yes, Grandpa

Grandpa:DONíT EVER GET OLD

 

And at this point we both break up laughing.Hereís a man who barely has the strength to stand, can barely hear at the moment, is coughing incessantly because he canít get a deep breath, and heís cracking jokes with me.There was a whole series of them and it was \one hell of a moment that Iíll never forget.

 

After we get him to bed we call in the lodge nurse (which is the best decision we could ever have made).Not for Grandpaís sake but for ours.Nurse Lily.Oh my.

 

After a day like this and a night like this, I need a drink.Thankfully, Uncle Dick to the rescue!!He mentions something about a beer (I donít know, he could have said dear, or deer, or steer, or smear, or whatever) but it perked me up.So 3 of us head off to find a bar.Back to Wild Basin (the scene of the earlier hiking).Lights are on.Thereís two people inside we can see.The bottles at the bar look lonely and a little too full.And the door is locked.A sign:Open 4pm to 10pm.Itís 10:03.Oh unhappy me.Cousin Doug and I start walking back to the car in defeat.Once again, Uncle Dick to the rescue!!The damn side door is open.How sad.Here I am supposedly the professional and I fail to get in whereasÖ..whatever, the drinks ROCKED.

 

After that itís back to the lodge.The only person left up is Cousin Brian.He and I head down to the employee lodge to entertain ourselves.Brian tries the front door; locked.Brian tries the basement door; locked.Brian tries the 2nd floor door; locked.I try the front door; open.Hmmm.Does anyone else see the inconsistency in this story?The knob is locked but the door is wide open.Just pull.Donít turn.Iíd like to think this redeems myself of my earlier bar mishap but I know it doesnít.We get in, we watch Sphere.We go to bed.

 

Todayís Miles:0

Total Miles:2723

 

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Day 13

 

Hour:9am

 

Oh yeah, beautiful sleep.Life is good.Or so I think.Come to find out Nurse Lily was kind enough to come down and have breakfast with Grandpa to see how heís doing.So thereís the dilemma, which should I have done knowing the options:sleep or breakfast?

 

Grandpa is doing significantly better today.Anyone know to whom we can attribute this?

 

Mile:0

 

Itís whitewater rafting day.What a beautiful day.Might as well take the bike.Due to the carpooling situation I need to take a passenger.So thereís Mike.Kind of odd to have my brother on the back of my bike.The last time we rode together I was 15 on the back of his CB900F getting a ride to work at Wendyís.

 

Mile:9

 

Time to trade riders.Not that Mike and I werenít enjoying the ride; itís just time for someone else.So Cousin Chris is up next.She actually gets a mildly longer ride (43 miles) on much better roads.Iím not sure if sheís really relaxed or if sheís utterly terrified.Sheís not moving or talking.At the end she claims to enjoy the ride but Iím not entirely certain.Her mother seems relieved.We made it in one piece.

 

Mile:52

 

Wave On !!!No pics yet.We took all the pics on water resistant disposable cameras so I have yet to get them developed.But the rafting rocked.A perfect afternoon.Some really good stories of Doug and my Dad falling in.One of them has an excuse.Some really good stories of my and Sue almost falling in.We were both saved.Whitewater rafting rocks.


Until you get back to the cars and find that a set of keys has been locked in the trunk.Never fear, after 45 minutes and lots of phone calls the local gendarme show up and within 5 minutes the slim jim does the trick.For free.

 

Had a good dinner, although some of us were a little tuckered out from fishing all day.Just a ďfor instanceĒ:donít fall asleep around me.Let it be known that I did this in front of the childís parents and Iím not saying that it was condoned but it certainly wasnít discouraged.

 

On the way back from dinner Brian and I think it would be a grand idea to stop off and see Nurse Lily.What is it about a stethoscope?Thank goodness she wasnít toying with her sphygmomanometer or we might never have left.But alas she did have company.She was in the middle of conversing with the lovely water balloon girl from earlier in the day.Who, as I recall, asked Brian and I ďDo you boys want to get wet?Ē

 

The night continues with more cards.And specifically more cheating.Mike and I arenít playing this time.Grandpa and Ray have found 2 new suckers.As Mike and I listen we do overhear some of the rules.And theyíre different than yesterday.No surprise that Grandpa and Ray win again.

 

Randomly, hereís my Cousin Joanna.She sure knows how to attract the guys.

 

Later that night itís time for another movie.Brian assures me he invited Nurse Lily and the lovely water balloon girl.Apparently all we have to do is bring the popcorn and the chicken and lifeís good.But the girls donít show.So itís ďCatch Me if You CanĒ amongst the guys. Of which Brian sleeps through about 40 minutes of.

 

Todayís Miles:105

Total Miles:2828

 

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Day 14

 

Time:7:19am

 

Iím sleeping.

 

Time:7:20am

 

Iím up.Not awake, Up.Time to start saying goodbye.In rounds. This one lasts until 8:13am.

 

Time:8:14am

 

Iím sleeping.

 

Time:8:52am

 

Iím up.Gotta finish packing.And get first dibs on the leftover food in the fridge.Of which I do both.

 

Time:11:05

Mile:0

 

Goodbyes are done.Grandpaís not well.We do have a good chat before they head off.Hopefully the lower altitude will do him worlds of good.As for me, Iím off into the wild blue yonder.Destination Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

 

Mile:9

 

But first, a stop at the famed and historic Stanley Hotel.For those of you who donít know the significance of this hotel (which was me 1 week ago) itís where Stephen King was staying when he conceived The Shining.

 

Mile:46

 

Get me the hell out of Rocky Mountain National Park.I thought the ride would be really cool.Having done it a week ago and having loved it.But today it sucks.Itís cold.Itís windy.And people are moving at between 15 and 22 MPH.This is soooo not good.Iím so frustrated.There arenít a lot of places to pass going through the park.And Iíve just about had it.I need out of this park and I need out now.Just as Iím ready to go postal on some of these people, I come across a string of kind, conscientious drivers.The next 7 people all pull off the road slightly to let me pass.They know theyíre going slow and they compensate for it.This somewhat restores my faith in humanity.But I still need out of this park.

 

For the first 2 hours of the day I average 20 MPH.This is not going to get me to my destination.

 

Mile:123

 

Construction.One lane road ahead.Some dude holding a road sign.And then I look a little closer.This is not good.If the sign holder is reading a book I know Iím going to be here awhile.As it turns out it was only 22 minutes.At least it gave me time to stretch my butt and get a drink.After all, Iíve been at this for 3.5 hours already today.Yeah, do the math on my average speed.

 

Mile:172

 

Hayden, Colorado.Iím quickly getting the impression that the Patrol Officers here have a different view on traffic violations as the rest of Colorado.On the way into town there are 3 cruisers.Each has someone pulled over.On the way out of town there are 2 cruisers (which could have been the same ones, I stopped for 10 minutes or so in town).Each has someone pulled over.

 

So this is my first stop in 4.5 hours.No need for gas yet, havenít gone very far.Unfortunately itís my first pee stop.Itís unfortunate because this means Iím already dehydrated.4.5 hours is waaaay too long for my peanut sized bladder.0.45 hours is more like it.Perhaps I should drink a little more.

 

Mile:237

 

I do believe Iím finally out of the Rockies.I believe this because I can see the road for the next 20 miles or so.In the mountains you canít see it for 2.Here itís 20.A little straight for me but at least itís warm again.There are still foothills, so thereís still scenery, but bye bye Rockies.

 

Mile:271

 

Dinosaur National Monument.Iíd share more but there isnít any.The information center/visitor booth is closed (no idea why) and the trip through the park is a 62 mile loop.Estimated to take 2-4 hours.No way.Maybe another trip.

 

Mile:278

 

Utah!!Now hereís some beautiful country.Iím not sure what the difference is (beside the state line), but all of the sudden everything is more beautiful.Itís far more picturesque.Itís wonderful scenery.And the roads are so much better (twistier, not quality of blacktop).But Iíll only be here for a short while.Just cutting through the corner.Heading to Wyoming.And I really donít want to spend too much time here with the whole alcohol policy and all.

 

Mile:305

 

Heh heh hehÖ.Maybe I spoke too soon.I pass a place called ďClub XSĒ.You gotta love a strip joint in Utah!

 

Mile:347

 

Flaming Gorge and the Flaming Gorge Dam.Stunning scenery.Couldnít quite capture it on film.Definitely a great road to be taking.

 

Mile:358

 

Wyoming.And Iím a little concerned.It turned ugly all the sudden.Seriously, at the state line it turned ugly.The scenery is boring, the plant life changed to something sicklier, the road became straighter, and itís just boring.Hopefully the whole state isnít like this.

 

And it isnít.It takes 12 miles but it gets prettier.Nowhere near as good as Utah but it got better.Iím not sure who picked the state lines for Utah but they did a great job in this corner of the state.The left the ugly portion in Colorado and Wyoming.

 

Mile:430

 

Silly state.Iíve been driving around for 45 minutes finding gas, alcohol, and a room.Rock Springs, Wyoming doesnít have much to offer.Itís a pretty big spot on the map, but itís not a destination.Itís a through point.Apparently it doesnít matter where youíre going to or coming from, you pretty much go through Rock Springs.Tom Bodette left the light on for me, but he didnít leave any empty rooms.Neither did the Super 8.So itís some random place called ďThe Inn, A Cowboy Country PlaceĒ.Not the worldís best slogan but there it is.The upside?A refrigerator and a microwave in the room.I love that.

 

I ended up averaging 45 MPH for the day, but Iím still 176 miles shy of my nightís intended destination.On a side note, I feel pretty white trash right now.Iím in the hotel room drinking a 40 ounce Coors Light Widemouth bottle.Sorry, couldnít find PBR.

 

On a totally random note, have you ever heard of the ď48 Conterminous StatesĒ?Iíve heard of contiguous.Even concatenous.But never conterminous.This was a new one for me.

 

Todayís Miles:425

Total Miles:3253

 

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Day 15

 

Mile:0

 

It seems as though I was actually able to get a decent nightís sleep and get up in time to have a reasonable start on the day.A little over 5 hours of sleep and I feel great.Must be the Coors Light.So I eat a banana and load up the bike, but I figure Iíll drop by the free breakfast to snag some bread for my lunch (I have some leftover chicken already).And there it is.A big old bowl of hardboiled eggs.And not the cheap ones that come preshelled in a 5 gallon bucket.These are fresh, in the shell, yet slightly cracked.So I have a couple.Really tasty.Itís a hair before 9am and itís about 82F out.Lovely day for a ride.

 

Mile:37

 

City of Eden.Where the elevation exceeds the population.Elevation:6590.Population:220.I pass through a dozen or so towns where this is the case.It kind of amuses me.

 

Mile:102

 

God Bless the Wyoming Department of Transportation.It seems as though theyíve followed the Canadian model of highway repair.If youíll recall from the 2000 Sturgis trip, Canada hired some darned fabulous looking young ladies as flaggers.And Wyoming has followed suit.These girls are outrageous.All of 18 and looking incredibly hot.Oh my.Not that this is a consolation to sitting on a highway waiting for construction, but it doesnít suck.

 

Mile:176

 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming.Yesterdayís destination.It took about 2.5 hours to get here.Itís a pretty cool town.Definitely a touristy type of place.But pretty cool.Unfortunately, with a population of 8k-ish, not a place I could live.However I would visit for their fabulous winter sports.

 

Mile:190

 

Grand Teton national park.Kind of sprouts out of nowhere.Not much else here in the way of really high, snow capped mountains.Cool place.But ravaged from the fire.I didnít realize just how much land was damaged.

 

Mile:203

 

Jenny Lake.Jen, this oneís for you.

 

Mile:206

 

Couldnít pass up this picture.Not quite sure what inspired it.Donít ask how I actually got it (I took 9 of them and thankfully one turned out).No, this is not staged.

 

Mile:214

 

Jackson Lake.Phenomenal views in the Grand Tetons.I can see why people would come to visit.

 

Mile:239

 

Sorry Grandma.I tried to find the campsite but wasnít quite able.Apparently we camped at some place behind Flagg Ranch Resort.Flagg Ranch is still there but the campground behind it no longer exists.I tried.

 

Mile:240

 

Yellowstone.

 

Mile:246

 

So the fire damage is not only extensive, itís breathtaking.I havenít been to Yellowstone since 1982 and the raging forest fire seems to have changed the scenery a little.Sure nature needs to do it every now and then, but this is absolutely breathtaking.Every direction you turn you think you should be seeing lush, green forest and instead itís a dank gray landscape.Given the rich soil the new trees are growing nicely.It provides for an interesting undertone to the grayness that is the bleached out burned trees.

 

Mile:259


Thank goodness.Itís about time I see the Continental Divide.Iíve tried to find the signs numerous times but to no avail.I know this is the 8th time Iíve crossed it this trip.Finally, on my last crossing, I catch the sign.

 

Mile:288

 

Sulphur Cauldron.And it smells like it sounds.Pretty cool place actually.The earth is so hot somewhere this close to the surface that not only does it outgas but it makes the water boil too.

 

Dragonís Mouth.And the description.This place is cool.It rumbles like La Bufadora in Mexico.Very much a blowhole type of environment.

 

Mud Volcano.

 

Mile:316

 

Oh lordy.More road construction.And of course, more flaggers.Oh lordy.

 

Mile:330

 

Dang.Themís some big antlers.Iíd tell you what it is but Iím sure Iíd be wrong.And I donít even need a gun.I could reach out and slap it if it werenít illegal.

 

Mile:335

 

Montana.No picture.Not much of a sign.But I love the speed limits.

 

Mile:362

 

Earthquake Lake.Want to know how?

 

Mile:408

 

Ennis, Montana.Kind of an eerie town.I feel like Iím in a Bud Light commercial.The one with the whole ďhow you doiníĒ theme.And with the guy who actually answers.Thatís Ennis.Everyone here says hi.My response inevitably seems to be along the line of ďhowís it goiníĒ or ďhow you doiníĒ or something and they all answer.All of them.Kind of Stepford like.Itís a really friendly little town.Perhaps itís just a neighborhood watch thing and they all want to look out for the scary dude on the bike.

 

Mile:478-486

 

Montana State Highway 2.Perfection.The best 8 miles of road on the entire trip so far.Perfect motorcycle road.Just needs to be 10 times longer.

 

Mile:490

 

Quite the odd experience.Iím in a convenience store at a gas station buying a Montana State map.And I decide to go to the bathroom.Of which the entrance is in the Laundromat.And lo and behold, all the Laundromat equipment is Speed Queen.This is the company I worked for in Kentucky during college.The funny thing is that Speed Queen only sells about 6% of its product under its own brand name.They typically rebrand.But here it is, original equipment.I can still identify all the models and name most of the parts.Scary flashbacks ensueÖ.

 

Mile:564

 

Montana State Highway 1.Close to perfection.Remember Hayden, Colorado from yesterday?Well, there was some more significance than what I led you to believe.It marked 3k miles for the trip.Itís also the time I finally got fed up with the XM radio.Iíve had 2 weeks to correct the antenna problem and Iíve let it slide.But it was time to move it.For the last 817 miles the radio has been so spectacular.It does occasionally cut out (in canyons and under bridges) but weíre talking about roughly 1800í of poor reception.Which comes down to 0.04% (or 99.96% uptime, not too shabby).

 

So the day is done, and Iím writing all this up.Ever wonder why motorcyclists donít like riding through dusk?Hereís why.But now Iím drinking a PBR.The first gas station I stopped at had the 24 ounce cans.Lovely.So todayís trek for gas, alcohol, and lodging went a little quicker.Although it did take 5 hotels to find one with a room (I got the last one).Thankfully uploading this file and the pictures will be a little easier here tonight.I didnít update the page as often while in Colorado for one primary reason:the whole modem thing.Typically you unplug the phone, plug in the modem, and it all works.Not so at High Peak Lodge in Estes Park, Colorado.It took my father and me about 20 minutes to figure out how to get the phone line to work.To make a long story short we had to go through a few steps.We had to configure the connection for manual dial.Open the modem port.Pick up the phone.Dial the number.Wait for the modem on the receiving end to pick up.Tell the computer to negotiate.And then unplug the phone line from the base to the handset of the phone.Not hang up the phone (which would be normal) but unplug the line.If the handset was put back on hook it would terminate the connection.In fact, the modem itself couldnít open the phone line.The handset had to be off hook.Weird, weird, weird.


Todayís Miles:626

Total Miles:3879

 

 

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Day 16

 

Mile:0

 

Well, today will in all probability be my last day of the trip.Iíve made enough mileage the past 2 days (despite all the slowness of National Parks) that Iím close enough to home to make a run for it.Itís not my goal to do that but I wonít be upset if it happens.Itís a little cool out this morning, quite a blessing really.I know that Eastern Washington is going to be really damn hot.Highís predicted in the low 100ís.

 

Mile:42


Leaving the mediocre state of Montana, entering the smelly state of Idaho.And back on PDT.I actually see both signs, but theyíre not worth capturing on film.

 

Mile:56

 

Sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.If ever there was a time to believe in a greater power it is now.Here is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.Iím not sure it gets better than this (it certainly hasnít this trip).This is US Highway 12 which meanders through the middle of Idaho.Maybe the stateís not so stinky after all.

 

As luck would have it, I hook up with a group on Moto Guzzis (Le Mans 1000ís no less).What a sweet sound these bikes produce.What a setup.And these guys have either traveled this road many times before or they have some track experience.My bet is a little of both.Theyíre carving up this road like thereís no tomorrow.Whoever created the first road and the first motorcycle must have known that the two would one day combine on this stretch of road.Itís fast and itís mildly technical.At least at the speeds weíre going.For the first 20 miles Iím struggling to keep up with these guys.They donít have more power but they certainly have more confidence.That and a better suspension setup.Iíve known for 3500 miles now that my suspension is nice and plush for around town and general freeway miles but itís far too soft for roads like this.Mainly preload and rebound damping on the rear.I could use a little more compression damping on the front as well.


But these guys have no fear and no worries.Weíre at darn near full lean through 70 and 80 MPH sweepers.Definitely teaching me a lot about corners and the limits of my own bike.I can do full lean through 40 MPH corners but this is a whole different story.Iím covering ground at twice the speed.Little mistakes are amplified exponentially.It takes me 4 times as long to stop.Everything is happening just a little bit faster.After the first 20 miles Iím finally into the groove.Something happens that just melds me with the bike.Gone is the hesitation into a corner.Gone is the panic braking.My grip on the bike is loosened and Iím letting it find its own line.No need to adjust my line in the middle of the turn, just look where I want to be, lean, and roll on the throttle a little more.Itís amazing what a little gas will do in a turn.Totally evens out the bike.If somethingís going wrong in a turn, the first reaction is to drop the gas and grab a little brake.The worst thing you can do.Forget the brake.Loosen the grip, roll on the throttle.Everything just evens out and life is good.

 

But alas, the road sign was wrong.There were not 63 miles of curvy road.

 

Mile:134

 

By my account we had 78 miles of great curvy road.I think the sign had a different reading since there was a little town at mile 114 (58 miles past the sign) that may have affected things.But the road continues on.And I love it.

 

Mile:189

 

Iím fortunate enough to hit a spot of construction.Fortunate for many reasons:1) I need to stop and take off this damn jacket (itís a little toasty to be wearing it), 2) I need a drink of water really bad and my water bottle is empty, I need to exchange it with a cold one from the cooler, and 3) I get a chance to dismount and talk to the lovely people Iíve been tailing for the last 144 miles.Cool people.Cool bikes.Come to find out one of the guys loves my bike as much as I admire and am jealous of his.And also come to find out theyíve taken this road before.Theyíre plan is to stay in Idaho as long as they can before they jump over into Washington.No fault in that plan.They also tell me theyíre going to be coming through the North Cascades over Highway 20 tomorrow.What a grand plan.Hell of a road.Of this Iím a little jealous but I donít want to go that far out of the way on my trip back.I have the time but not the desire at the moment.Being that I live where I do I can do the Cascade Loop on any given day (and given my retirement status I can do it during the week when there are no Winnebagos).

 

Mile:208

 

Alas itís time to depart the company of the Guzzis.As they stop for gas I give a wave and head off to parts unknown.Unknown since Iím not sure where I am and even less sure of where Iím going.

 

Mile:210

 

And it still smells like Idaho.Even for their lovely road this state really does stink.What a putrid odor.

 

Mile:216

 

Here I am back in Washington.And back to the crappiest roads Iíve experienced.Itís pretty sad really.Iíve covered lots of states on the bike (I think Iím up to 28) and Iíve covered even more in cars.And Washington has the worst roads (quality wise) of any place Iíve ever ridden/driven.They really are crappy.Hereís a salute to the WSDOT and their inability to create nice roads.Not that itís entirely their fault.The whole government of the state is to blame, and along with that the people who elected them.So Iím in part responsible for the crappy roads.Whether by voter apathy or voter choice Iím still a part of the system.And to top it off, not just the state of Washington but King County in particular has the worst roads.The largest revenue producing county in the state and their roads are by far the worst.The most heavily traveled but the worst.Iím done with my soapbox now if anyone needs it.

 

Mile: 488

 

Thank goodness Iím climbing through the mountains.The weather was absolutely miserable.Hot as hell in Eastern Washington.And this unbearably dry heat.And the wind.Hot wind.Not cooling at all.It sucked.And it sucked the life out of me.I stopped every 45 minutes to an hour to try and keep hydrated.To no avail.I became light headed and drowsy.Fatigued definitely. I put at least 3 gallons of fluids in me and I still havenít stopped to pee.Not a good sign.But Iím in the mountains now, a little chilly and that suits me just fine.In the Cascades on Highway 410 rounding Mt. Rainier.Yet another National Park to go through on the drive home.With its whopping pass elevation of 5,432í.Not exactly a record setter here.But an impressive view.Itís kind of funny.Going through the passes in Colorado everything seemed really short.Sure the mountains were 14k+ feet high, but the passes were 11 and 12k high.Now hereís Mt. Rainier at an elevation of 14k+ feet, but with a pass at 5k it seems really daunting.And really impressive.Blanketed in snow year round.Heck of a sight.I wasnít able to get a great picture but I have one from the kartwheel trip if anyone is terribly curious.I think you can access it here.

 

Mile:612

 

Iím home.Home sweet home.Itís about 9pm and life is grand.No, Iím not at the place where Iím going to sleep tonight; Iím just at my home.The bar.The Central Club.How lovely.Time for a nice cold beer.

 

Mile:615

 

Iím home.Home sweet home.Not the place where I like to live, just the place where I sleep at night.


Todayís Miles:616

Total Miles:4495

 

And, as always, time for a little stats:

 

IronButtÖÖ

Total miles:1513

Total Time:27.5 hours

Avg Speed:55.0 MPH

Top Speed:112 MPH

Actual Riding Time:19.75 hours

Avg Speed while moving:76.6 MPH

Gallons of gas consumed:43.662

Avg Fuel Consumption:34.65 MPG (which isnít all that bad considering the average speed)

 

7 states

16 days

4500 miles

Tens of thousands of bugs

I never ate fast food on the entire vacation

Not nearly enough Catholic School Girls

1 strip joint

1 stalker

13 maps purchased

11 maps used

1 tire

2500 miles of music frustration

2000 miles of music appreciation

2 dropped bikes, 1 of them mine, 0 times it was me dropping it

1 dropped Jason, 1 of them me, 1 time it was my fault (perhaps someday Iíll learn to walk through a parking lot without throwing myself at the ground)

17 beers consumed

3 pounds gained

1 brushfire

1 rollover accident

842 miles of crappy road (838 in Washington, 4 in Colorado)

7 National Parks

A new high altitude on the bike (12k+)

14 tunnels (one REALLY COOL one)

118 people notified of the URL of this trip

42 unique hits on the site (most of these people returned as well)

22 comments on the content

13 constructive comments on the content

8 jackasses who need to keep their opinions to themselves

The word conterminous appears 3 times (including this one)

No references to Elvis

499 pictures taken

109 pictures used

14 nekkid ladies photographed

2 nekkid ladies posted on website

18 construction flaggers

7 cute ones

4 beautiful ones (thank you Wyoming)

17 park rangers

1 cute one

0 beautiful ones (thanks tax dollars at work)

17 business cards handed out

1 business card handed back

1 intrepid

2 Moto Guzzis

More lovely race Ducatis and Buells than I could have ever hoped for

Never needing to personally use my rain gear!

AND NO BEE STINGS !!!!!

 

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