You won't hurt my feelings if you skip this section. It's just some background...
As I am an admitted noob (compared to 95% of the folks who post Ride Reports here), I am posting this in the Day Trippin section as you will find no glamorous border crossings, life-threatening danger, or exotic, remote, or otherwise macho coolness - so much so that I considered naming this RR "What I Did On My Summer Vacation". In the end, "Blame It On Facebook" seemed to work. Let me explain:
When I was a kid, I considered folks my age old - and I guess I am. The bulk of my childhood was spent in Overland Park, Kansas.
In 1973, my Dad's job moved us half way across the country to Virginia. I had just turned 14. Needless to say, 14 year old boys do not voluntarily write letters. The internet didn't exist, and long-distance phone calls were very expensive. So I quickly lost track of ALL of my friends, and even some family. Fast forward nearly 40 years and along comes Facebook. Over the last year I have been able to track down and re-connect with friends I knew going all of the way back to kindergarten. While one of the "reconnections" was disturbing, most have been a true joy. Among the highlights was reconnecting with cousins I hadn't seen in 30 years.
I have a tendency to share via "mobile upload" pictures on Facebook of weekend rides. After politely suffering through (ad nauseum) a batch of my pics, my cousin (who lives in Colorado) PMed me on (you guessed it) Facebook, that I need to come out to visit and ride my bike in some real mountains. And the wheels of trip-planning started to turn.
I have been jonesing to go out west for years (thanks mostly to iDave's and Flanga's incredible rides reports), but the time just hadn't been right. I didn't want to blow the vacation time as I was afraid I would need it in the event I was laid off. And I didn't want to spend the money - for the same reason. But good fortune found me - to the tune of $1000.00 worth of Marriott gift cards (as a 15 year employment anniversary gift), and my yearly vacation time had just been upped to 5 weeks. The time was NOW.