Remember the lunatics plan? Back in Little Rock when Bret was laying this all out for me, my BS meter was redlining. I was thinking, sure, y'all are going to roll into Raton looking and feeling like the walking dead. Bret assured me, "oh no, we're going to be raring to go!" Well, Bret and the boys left me tapping the lens of that BS meter wondering where to take it to get recalibrated. In fact, I was the one who was feeling off most of the day.
The Sugarite Canyon campground was ten or fifteen miles from decent phone reception and I wasn't real sure when they were going to arrive. I didn't want to start the trip with them waiting around for me while I was snoozing away at a campground, miles up the road. At 3 a.m. while I was laying in my tent with pre-trip insomnia I came up with a plan to ride down the road, find decent phone reception, and find out whats up. The campground was pretty concentrated with tents and campers so being the considerate bad ass that I am I quietly pushed the bike to the highway before cranking it up. (a 3 a.m. step disregarded by one of our fellow campers later in the trip at Moab) I have never in my life seen more deer standing on, beside and around a road than I did on the road to Raton that morning. Between the deer, chilly morning air, and pre-trip jitters I was fully awake and alert. It seems that early morning phone reception is farther away from camp than mid evening reception. I ended up riding almost to town before I was able to send texts to everyone inquiring about their ETA. Nothing back. They must all be asleep in the car. No calls answered. Only one thing to do, ride back to camp, break it down and get back to our rendezvous. I weaved back through the deer, parked just outside of the campground and quietly packed with the help of the mornings gloaming. With the gear packed and bike loaded I once more traversed the gauntlet of deer and made it to our meeting/truck and trailer parking place.
Once there I received word from Zach that they were about an hour and a half away. I had time to sort my gear and reconsider what I really needed to carry with me and what needed to stay in the truck. I had put a lot of thought into packing but in the end I panicked and threw pretty much everything I owned in the truck. This method of packing created a lot of chaos when it came time to whittle down my final load and pack my bike. In the end I got my gear pretty well figured out and the lunatics arrived on time.
They were hungry and talking about McDonalds, which I kind of hate so I steered them toward Raton's, All Season's Cafe. I just wanted a good meal and had been impressed the previous morning when I ordered an egg over easy and got a properly cooked egg, over easy, that never happens! Unbeknownst to me I had just set the stage for the perfect way to start our trip. I had never really spent much time in public with Bret, Brian, and Zach. While I have known many with highly developed skills in bringing out the personally of waitresses, non compare with the artistry of Bret! There was all sorts of off colored stories, jokes, and pranks emitting from our table. All the tables around us were either offended or snickering depending on their sense of humor, or lack thereof. One or two fellows in adjacent booths even joined in. It was Zach who finally won the prize of the game "I can't believe you just said that" when he told the waitress some crazy story about "not liking to run though the grass because it tickled his testicles" Then Bret said "at his age even if he wasn't short he'd still have the same problem" I thought they had gone a little too far but I think the waitress lady was ready to jump on the back of Zach's bike and go with us.
After breakfast and learning TMI about Zach and Bret most of the day was a blur for me. I discovered that Colorado turned me into a vampire who had to wear sunglasses at all times to keep my retinas from cooking (it's really bright out there) The procedure of getting your key in the ignition, and donning your jacket, earplugs, helmet and gloves in order was even more complicated on a muli-day trip. Most importantly, I was riding with three nut cases who despite having been awake for most of the previous twenty four hours, seemed to have boundless energy!
first nights camp sight near Crested Butte, Gothic Campground