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Old 09-23-2012, 06:40 AM   #1
TheRoss OP
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TheRoss takes the Mrs to Colorado!

I have had motorcycles as long as my wife has known me. She has enjoyed day trips as well as longish rides (400 miles) to my parents house. We even left our wedding on a motorcycle, dress and all. But we had never really talked about taking an actual multi-day trip on a bike. We had planned a Colorado road trip for mid-September, with the assumption that we would drive. A week before, when we decided to leave our dog behind for this outing, I started working on her to change the plan to be a multi-day motorcycle ride. I was successful by promising great weather, many stops, and short days. Why she still falls for that stuff I don't know.

We left Lubbock Thursday, September 13, in rain and wind. Breakfast was at the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, TX:



This place is a touristy little Route 66 diner, and I have always enjoyed stopping there. On this day however, we were beat there by a charter bus of English tourists. The place was jammed packed and the owner (Dennis, I think), told us the bus had priority and he'd get to us whenever they were finished, maybe 15-30 minutes. He was very rude, and had I been on my own I would have left. But this was one of those promised times off the bike and Kristin found an open booth so we could at least sit down. Bottom line... we got breakfast, and the gal working there was as sweet as always, but I doubt I'll be back.

Stomachs full we aimed the bike north and continued on. The highway between Clayton and Raton has always been one of my least favorite legs. It is long, with little to see or do, is heavily patrolled, and it just seems to take forever. The last time I was in Raton, having a beer at the White House Saloon, the owner there had asked if I had ever ridden up over the Johnson mesa into Raton. I decided this was a good chance to check it out and get off that miserable slab. In Des Moines we headed up to Folsom and then west over the Johnson Mesa. We saw tons of antelope, rode through clouds, and had a great time. NM-72 is NOT a high speed road by any stretch, and the weather got in the way of some long views, but still it was a very fun side road.







Giving Kristin the camera gives her something to do when the roads get interesting, and it keeps her from getting bored. I know, I know. How could you get bored on a bike? But still.....

From Raton we ran up I-25 to Trinidad and headed west through the Spanish Peaks area. CO-12 is a very nice ride, once you get out of Trinidad (Sex Change Capital of the World, according to Wikipedia). No pics on this stretch, but the town of Stonewall looks like a cool place to try sometime. This night we stayed at the 200 year old La Veta Inn, in La Veta, CO:





La Veta is an interesting town. It's one of those mountain towns that I like to imagine living in, though aside from the service industry, I can never imagine what I would do for income there. I met an MSF instructor at the inn. Her name was Monty, and she was down from Colorado Springs with her friend in the red Mini seen above. It was nice talking to her about bikes and roads in Colorado. The experience at the inn, including the meals, was quite good. And I found a lager I'd never had before. Mmmmmmmmmm!



Thursday - 450 miles
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TheRoss screwed with this post 09-23-2012 at 04:39 PM
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:01 AM   #2
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Friday would be the start of some Colorado touristy things. Growing up in the late 70s early 80s, my family didn't have much money, but my parents always scraped up enough for a road trip in the Oldsmobile station wagon. Remember when kids could just hang out in the back of the car, playing games and not being locked in by a 5-point harness? And on those trips we always went to Colorado to tent camp and get out of the heat of south Texas (San Antonio). So Kristin has heard about certain Colorado places for years, and now I would get to show her a few of those places.

We headed up I-25 to Colorado City, and then the fun began. CO 165 is a really great motorcycling road! It has nice curves:





The beautiful Lake Isabell:



And the Bishop Castle, the creation of a kooky guy with too much free time on his hands:







In Wetmore we headed north on CO-67 toward Canon City.



The Royal Gorge is one of those summer attractions from my childhood. Admission was kind of steep at $24 each, but we paid it and went in and did everything the general admission included. The place was completely open, but not very crowded at all.











And after walking the bridge, we rode it:



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Old 09-23-2012, 07:08 AM   #3
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One other thing to do before leaving Canon City, was to ride the Skyline Drive. I found this thing a few years ago by accident, but it is neat if you are there anyway. It is a one-lane one-way road up high above CO-50.





From Canon City we headed north to Colorado Springs, and then west on 24 a little ways to our stop for the night. The Lone Duck Campground is a RV style place, with tent area, small cabins, heated pool and showers. It's not really roughing it, but I didn't want to overdo it on Kristin this first longish motorcycle ride, so we got a little cabin. And the lone duck came to see that we had everything we needed. The long-time owners of the campground are super friendly, and he rides an F650. I would recommend the place for anyone wanting to get positioned for a morning ride up Pikes Peak (it is less than 2 miles away).





Dinner was at the Mason Jar in Colorado Springs. I had one of the best prime ribs I have ever had. And homemade biscuits and cornbread. GREAT restaurant. The kind of place where the owner himself comes around to check on you.



Friday - 215 miles.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:15 AM   #4
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Saturday morning we hit another of those old family activities of mine, and headed up Pikes Peak. My advice is to get there early to avoid traffic. Many of the trees had turned yellow and gold, and the ride up was clear and chilly, and very enjoyable.









I rode up Pikes Peak just 3 weeks before, as part of a Saddlesore 1000, and there was no snow at all then. The roads were clear though, and as of last fall it is entirely paved.





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Old 09-23-2012, 07:32 AM   #5
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I packed the duffel bag with sleeping bags in front, and hard things in back, and it worked well for Kristin's backrest.



One more touristy thing from my childhood to show Kristin, but we didn't pay to go into this one. Isn't it funny how places like little theme parks can seem like such big deals when you're small, and then as you get older you realize how small a place it really was?



From here, my photographer got tired of taking pictures, and unfortunately for you my narrative will have to be enough. We had breakfast in the fanciest Denny's I have ever seen, in Woodland Park, CO, and headed west. The original plan was to go back to the interstate and head south on it. The plan was changed because getting through the Colorado Springs traffic had been the worst part of the trip. In fairness, we had gotten there at 5:00 on Friday, but I still didn't want to ride through all those lights again. We rode west on CO-24 to catch CO-9 south. Highway 9 has been repaved and was really a very fun ride. Curves and scenery and almost no traffic at all. It dropped us back on CO-50 just west of Canon City, and we turned west and rode along the Arkansas River to Cotopaxi for gas.

From there we headed south on county road 1a to CO-69. Every time I have been on that shortcut in recent months I have run into TAT riders. They are on smaller machines, are dirty, and always have smiles on their faces. One day....

CO-69 runs south through wide valleys and is a nice road to Walsenburg. From there we headed west over a pass or two to San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, and then south to Taos for the night.

We stayed at the Sun God Lodge in Taos. Not too expensive, clean and reliable. For dinner we rode over to a Mexican place near the True Value store. Our dinner and experience at Casa de Valdez was awesome! Great food and service. And again, the owner came to our table to visit with us. Do not judge the place from the road. Go inside and eat!



Saturday - 375 miles
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:43 AM   #6
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Don't you hate movies that are really enjoyable, with nice story lines and plots, that just end abruptly? Like the movie makers got tired of it and just wanted out? Kill off the main character and we're done?

Sunday we headed home. From Taos we rode NM-518 to Mora and Las Vegas. This is always a fun ride, though not long enough for my likes. Sipapu looked pretty empty as we rode by, but my recent experiences there haven't been too great. I think the ownership changed.

From Vegas we took the long, long road to Tucumcari. NM-104 is one of those roads with "No Gas for 80 Miles" signs and nothing going on at all. But I take it because it is one quick way to get to Tucumcari. It is 100 miles you can cover in just over an hour, and for a nice change the road was not 105 degrees on this day. I should mention about the road, it is NOT a 100 mph road for sportbikes. It is uneven, bumpy, and in places pretty rough.

There is one nice little part where you drop down:



But for the most part, the road is a way to get somewhere.

From Tucumcari is was back roads south to Texico and then on in to Lubbock.

Sun - 375 miles

Trip total - 1415 miles

Thanks for reading my ride report.

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Old 09-23-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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I enjoyed your ride report, great job
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:08 PM   #8
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I remember the North Pole...
Is there still a place not far from there called the Alpine Slide..?? We had to go to both everytime we had a family vaction when i was growing up.

Question, do yall use any intercom when traveling two up?
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnclebudinTX View Post
Question, do yall use any intercom when traveling two up?
We do not. While this was our first real trip, we have ridden together for years, and have a little system of signals for when Kristin needs off, wants a break, etc....

My long distance riding partner has tried for years to get me set up so we can talk bike to bike, and I have resisted. I ride largely for solitude and escapism, and I'm afraid an intercom would mess that up for me.
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