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Old 07-06-2009, 07:01 PM   #1
Raoul Duke OP
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Wicked The 4th @ 14,000' or: How She Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Curves

Much earlier this year my girlfriend, Ashley, surprised me when she casually mentioned that well....she just might like to join me on one of these bike trip things sometime. A short one that is. Maybe a few days out in Colorado?

I say surprised because, to this point, her extremely umm..."cautious" approach to motorcycling is best summed up by the picture below.



In particular, turning was NOT her thing. Sure, she could do it, but enjoy it? Forget it!

Closer toward the start date for the trip she asked me, "Will there be a lot of curves in Colorado?"

"Yes, there will probably be a few."


Finally calendars aligned and the date was set. July 1 - July 5. To spare her the boring ride between Omaha and Colorado (no offense to anyone who lives in North Platte...egads) we decided that I would ride out on Wednesday, pick her up from DIA that afternoon, return her to DIA on Sunday morning and then head home solo. That would give us three days of beautiful riding time together in the mountains. Great plan.

I used my SPOT device again on this trip. Here are the tracks for anyone who is interested: http://jasonjonas.org/spot/tripViewer.do?id=2034

Ok, let's get on with this!

Here's the story of my lady's first multi-day motorcycle trip....


Doing a little planning beforehand. I posted in the Regional forum for road selection advice and other tips. As usual, YFFs came through with good stuff.


I charted out a couple of options.


She did an amazing job packing. How many females can get four days of girl-stuff prioritized and condensed like that?


Loaded up the bike on Wednesday morning while she was at work. And....launch!


Day 1 - Omaha to Denver International Airport to Boulder, CO


This is my first trip with a GPS. Didn't use the maps, but the trip stats were fun and informative. I think I did alright.


Picking Ms. Ashley up from the airport. She said that her helmet, which was in the bag, really had some of the TSA agents scratching their heads at the X-ray.


She got a shot of me pulling up in the arrivals area.


No problemo. Let's go!


We departed and went up to Boulder for the evening. That's where our trip would really begin - the next day.

Enjoyed dinner and drinks that evening.


...did I mention drinks?

Next up: RMNP, Gore Pass and RAIN.

Raoul Duke screwed with this post 07-06-2009 at 09:29 PM
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:07 PM   #2
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Drinks look great Thanks for the intro! She looks good too

Let's love those Colorado curves You picked the perfect destination to introduce her to the joy of riding.

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Old 07-06-2009, 10:29 PM   #3
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Day 2 - 228 miles

We headed up out of Boulder toward to Estes around 9:00 or so.


During an early stop for gas she decided to give the front of the bike a quick wipe down.

It was either at this point or shortly after that I started jokingly referring to her as "my R2 unit." Besides being a great travel partner in general, having her around to assist in various bike-specific situations really made the trip easier. Keeping an eye out for exits, helping to pack/unpack, load/unload, paying tolls/entrance fees/handling money, etc... Oh yeah, she's a pretty good animal spotter too. Good stuff.

So anyway, we rode Lefthand Canyon Road over to Ward and then up to Estes. Very nice route we wouldn't have found/taken without the advice of some local ADV guys.

Made it up to Estes in time for lunch (note: there are a lot of food pics in this report).




I ordered elk (which I found kind of ironic) and she had buffalo. Both were pretty good.

We sat outside and had a fun view down on part of the town.




Spotted this in the distance. WTF? Can someone explain?


On the way out we saw some trout. First animal pic!


She's kind of big on dessert so this worked out well.

Then it was up into Rocky Mountain National Park.









More animal pics...







She really enjoyed being up in the mountains. Her normal "firm" grip was beginning to loosen a little.



I think for a moment she even broke out into song.




We could see dark clouds moving in from the direction we were headed. There really wasn't much we could do but keep on riding.



Spotted a deer on the way down the other side.



And then stopped to do some photo sniping...





We got down to Grand Lake and decided to review the map. She was feeling good so we decided to move along and see about following the planned route. The weather was looking kind of iffy but hey - we were probably going to get rained on either way!



Sure enough, it got to raining pretty good by the time we got to Kremmling. We talked to some other motorcyclists at the gas station who were helpful. One was going in our direction and had some advice. We waited for a few minutes and the rain let up a little. We were both ready to go by that point and so we took off for Gore Pass.



The ride over Gore Pass was great but we didn't get much in the way of pictures. The rain finally stopped and it was dry from there on that day.



A little TOO dry maybe...



An hour or so back she decided that she wanted to stay in Avon that night. We beat it on down to 70 and then hopped on over to town. Found a room, hit the jacuzzi for a few minutes and then headed out for dinner.

She found a place called Zacca Za in a brochure or something so we decided to give it a try.

Really good bruschetta...



Crashed out early after dinner. Big day tomorrow!

Here are the GPS travel stats for day 2....




Up Next: Aspen, Independence Pass and Gondola Terror....

Raoul Duke screwed with this post 08-24-2009 at 04:34 PM
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:26 AM   #4
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Great stuff! Glad that you both had a good trip!
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:51 AM   #5
Buffalo Bill
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Saturday Breakfast?

Now you're really livin.....I'm enjoying the ride....
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raoul Duke

We departed and went up to Boulder for the evening. That's where our trip would really begin - the next day.

Enjoyed dinner and drinks that evening.
The Rio Grande in Boulder. I know that place well. Gotta watch out for the Margs though as the effects will sneak up on you and slap you hard upside the head. Sitting up on the roof during lunch is very enjoyable.

Glad you're enjoying/enjoyed your trip.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McNeal
The Rio Grande in Boulder. I know that place well. Gotta watch out for the Margs though as the effects will sneak up on you and slap you hard upside the head. Sitting up on the roof during lunch is very enjoyable.

Glad you're enjoying/enjoyed your trip.
Yeah, the only things I'd had to eat that day were two little strips of beef jerky. I was starving. The fajitas hit the spot. Definitely recommend Rio.

Raoul Duke screwed with this post 07-07-2009 at 05:43 PM
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:42 AM   #8
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Laugh Glad You Had Fun!

Good to see the photos and glad you enjoyed the "locals" routing suggestions. You picked the rainiest Spring/Summer we've had in many years.

Looking forward to the rest of the ride report.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:43 AM   #9
Gregster
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Nice pics - looks like a lot of fun & good eats.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:25 PM   #10
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Day 3 - 193 miles



We woke up and had a simple but leisurely breakfast outside in Avon.

The plan for the day was to head over to Glenwood Springs and then down through Aspen toward Independence Pass.



We stopped in Aspen and happened on an outdoor street market thing.

Bought some cherries and enjoyed them while we walked around.





Pretty soon it was getting to be lunch time.

As we were about to order lunch she noticed that her wristlet was nowhere to be found. Uh oh. (For those of you not "in the know," a wristlet is basically a female billfold with a tiny wrist-sized strap.)

A bit of panic ensued and I tried to keep up as she frantically back-tracked the mile or so we had walked up to that point.

Finally, as she approached a jewelery stand we had previously visited the gal working there held up the wristlet! Saved!

I, personally, hadn't been all that concerened. She didn't have much cash in there and all the cards, etc.. could be replaced without too much pain.

Later she revealed that the cause of her panic was never the loss of the credit cards. The REAL cause was the potential loss of her driver's license which she would need to get back on the plane Sunday!

I guess a 500+ mile day across Nebraska on I-80 still didn't sound too appealing. Can't say I blame her...

When everything returned to normal we made another attempt at lunch. And succeeded this time.





After lunch it was time to head off for Independence Pass.





Whoa - what's this? An actual ride report with a picture of me ON the bike? Insanity!



Independence Pass!





Beautiful area and great riding.



Barely two days ago this would have struck fear in her heart. Today, though, she was 100% ready to go! Colorado was working its magic!







Some road pics...







Eventually, rain clouds made their second appearance of the vacation. We weren't near any place that we really wanted to stay for the evening so Ashley decided that we might as well complete the loop and try to stay in Vail that night. Off we went.



We did catch a bit of rain on the way north but I think she actually enjoyed it - a little.

To be continued...

Raoul Duke screwed with this post 07-07-2009 at 06:33 PM
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:34 PM   #11
Raoul Duke OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrodder
Great stuff! Glad that you both had a good trip!
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solution. pitch tent and wait for trail to dry before burying bike. might throw a flask of good bourbon in for the wait. and a Kermit chair, it might be a while - you'll want to be comfy.
Bwahaha. Glad to see that Tallboy's sage advice to me made your sig line.

You coming to Ceresco on Saturday?

Raoul Duke screwed with this post 07-07-2009 at 05:43 PM
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:06 PM   #12
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Day 3 continued...



We finally arrived up in Vail. It's probably worth noting that we only actually paid for one hotel night during this trip. I travel a lot for work and consequently have (err...had) a LOT of Marriott points. When we got to town, we found the hotel, dropped into the business center and made a reservation for that night online with my points.

About two minutes later we were at the front desk. "Yes, we're here to check in. Actually, we made the reservation about 90 seconds ago - don't suppose you have it in the system yet?" They did. We were set.

My R2 unit grabbed the luggage and headed for the room while I worked on the parking situation. Note the rockstar parking. One of the minor benefits of motorcycle travel!

After that was settled I made a brief detour and acquired the essentials....





A short while later it was time to do some exploring. There was no way she was going to pass up a free gondola ride...







She was a little nervous about the 11 minute ride to the top...



...but I'm really the one that, to put it lightly, is not big on heights...

This is me trying not to hyperventilate.





As soon as we got to the top it was obvious that we had found a good spot to hang out...

Adventure!



We listened to a band for awhile and had some wine by the fire.





Later on it was time to head back down. There were a couple other people in the gondola that time so I had to hold it together....



Back at the hotel we had a drink and some cheese before calling it a night. Another successful day!





Tomorrow: 14,000 feet of two-wheeled excitement!
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:22 PM   #13
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Most excellent.... Great report and, I am of course, jealous....
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:52 PM   #14
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Beautiful!

Bring on Mt. Evans (or did you hit Pike's Peak?)
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:52 PM   #15
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this is a great thread
my first trip to colorado....
was on a '96 "glacier green metallic" R1100RT
so...
this will be quite a nostalgic ride for ME, too
i'm so appreciative of the story and images

thank you
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