Woke up and ran into a fellow rider named Vic. He was from Atlanta on a V-Strom 650 and about 5000 miles into an 8000 mile trip. He was coming from California like me and heading back to Atlanta. We chatted about our bikes and some of the experiences we’d run into so far on our trips. He was a pretty cool guy, but I unfortunately forgot to ask if he was a member of ADVRider.
Due to popular demand on my facebook, my trip was rerouted to check out Pike’s Peak. I got off I70 at 24 to head south towards Colorado Springs. I took tons of pics. Here’s some of my better ones.
I ended up missing the turn off to Pike’s Peak Highway and didn’t catch it until I was in Manitou Springs. I got turned around and got to the toll gate right as they were closing it. The ranger informed me I missed the closing by a couple minutes as it was 5:05PM. I told him if he let me by I’d treat it like a practice run for next year’s hill climb. He wasn’t amused.
No big deal, I planned on staying near by for the night anyway. I ended up grabbing a hotel room in Manitou Springs and headed to a bar called the Keg Lounge. Nothing like spending an evening eating some good food, drinking some good beer and chatting with some locals about the hill climb.
Got up at 6 am to gear up and be at the gate of Pike’s Peak by 7:30 when they opened. Being first on the road has its perks. Myself and another rider on a R1200GS made a pretty spirited run to the summit. I was amazed at how fast the temp drops after you cross the timber line. The summit was amazing. Just purely amazing. Oh its also really hard to breath. I know I’m not in the greatest shape, but shit I was breathing pretty heavy just wandering the summit taking pics. I think I read somewhere at 14110 ft, there is only 60% of the oxygen as there is at 8000ft at the mountain base. Which made it even crazier when I passed guys riding their bicycles to the summit. Ok pic time….
Pikes Peak highway was also a rush of a ride. The canyons in CA were spooky know that there was a good 50 ft drop off a lot of the roads. Well Pike’s Peak has then beat when you realize that its about a 2 foot shoulder and then a 1000ft cliff. Even as scary as it was, I’ve got a hard on to try racing in the hill climb next year. I can’t think of a bigger adrenaline rush than that.
Well by this point I was pretty exhausted from a week of riding and I was honestly a little homesick. I decided to put the camera away for the trip and haul ass back to Indiana. After leaving Pikes Peak, I headed north outside of Denver/Aurora to catch I80 in Nebraska. I pushed 750 miles that day to stay in Des Moines, IA that night. Friday was the last short leg home back to Elkhart, IN. I made it back and pulled into my driveway with 4974 miles on the odometer. Nearly 5000miles without a single real incident….and I dropped the FJR in my driveway. HAHA….yep….didn’t have a good footing and couldn’t catch it when it tipped over in the gravel. O well….at least the trip ended with a little excitement.