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Old 09-02-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
FateMaker OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: MN
Oddometer: 43
MN to the mountains

Yes it was spur of the moment. Not completely spur of the moment. It started on Facebook. I was feeling wander-lusty. I posted a Facebook status communicating such. Within minutes, Facebook was kind enough to show me Angela's status referring to her desire to go on a roadtrip (coincidence?). In any event, I made contact and we swiftly began making plans for our escape. Angela was able to get nearly a week and a half off of work, and I, well, I didn't have much going on so that worked for me. We would travel to Colorado, via South Dakota and Wyoming, on my 2008 Harley Davidson Sportster XL1200 custom. We'd come back the quick, boring way through Nebraska.
We planned to leave on a Wednesday, returning on the Sunday after next, or Monday if Angela could get off work. I had plans to drop of my bike for service prior to our voyage, but of course I didn't take into account it was Sturgis season. In June I was able to stroll into the Harley store, drop off my bike for service and pick it up the next day. Not in late July. I was not able to drop off the bike for service until Monday the week we intended to leave, with Wednesday or Thursday the expected day of completion. But Wednesday passed, so suddenly we had to contend with leaving a day late. Angela tried to see if she could get the extra day off. Then it was Thursday. We decided to do some last minute errands in hopes that we would receive a call from the Harley store telling us the bike was ready. At or around 4PM I received a call from the Harley store. It wasn't ready yet. I explained our predicament and our desire to leave for our trip as soon as possible. The Harley guy said he would try to have the bike done before noon. At 4PM Friday we were on our, two days later than we planned, we went to Angela's house to get her stuff and load it on the bike.
It quickly became clear that we had a problem. All the stuff we wanted to bring was not going to fit on my sportie. After a trip to Ace Hardware and numerous bungie cords later, we still weren't ready to leave. I said to Angie, “We can either go back to Ace Hardware and buy some tie-downs, and MAYBE we'll get everything strapped to the bike, but probably the bike will be overloaded anyway, and we'll both be uncomfortable.” So I asked her what she thought about driving her car. There were many pros and cons to taking a car, and I won't list them all because I'm sure you can think of most of them, but I will tell you she drives a late-90s Mazda. It seemed in reasonably good shape, but she was concerned that it might not survive the trip and, I'm sure, she was concerned about how much money she'd be spending in gas. In the end, she acquiesced to bringing the car, and it must have been about 5:30 PM by the time we officially took off. I was much happier because I was able to load 90% of my crap in her car, and she must have been happier because she didn't have to wear a helmet and cling to the back of a Sportster.
I was very pleased to be on the road and I was overcome with an ecstasy that I have rarely felt in my life. And before you ask, yes I have seen a girl naked before. It's a different kind of ecstasy thank you very much. We took 169 South to I-90 West via Highway 60. Somewhere along 60 I hit 10K on the bike. I got a lot of crap from people for taking this pic.

[IMG]pic 1[/IMG]
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:05 PM   #2
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Joined: Jan 2012
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Oddometer: 43
We rode until about 9:30 that night and arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We both brought camping gear and intended to camp most of the trip (you'll see how that works out for us) but we figured the first night we would ease into things and stay at a hotel. We stopped at the Super 8 in town and talked to a receptionist who was practically useless. She said she wasn't sure if they had any rooms left, then after looking on the computer told us they had a cancellation but it was a suite. I didn't want to spend the cash on a suite so I asked about other hotels in the area, to which she was completely unhelpful. So I resorted to googling on my phone. As I was doing this two men entered the lobby and I could tell they were looking for a room. So, not wanting to mess around at 10PM at night with lots of riding to do tomorrow, I quickly told the poor-excuse-for-a-customer-service-representative to just give us the room. I asked her if they offered any discounts (military or AAA) and she muttered some excuse related to the computers not being set up for it yet. Whatever. So we had a suite for the night.
The suite consisted of a living room, a kitchen area, a bathroom, one master bedroom with a queen bed, and another bedroom with 2 sets of bunkbeds. Being the gentleman, I gave Angie the master bedroom and I took a bunk bed. When we first got in the room the AC was blaring in the extra bedroom. I switched it to heat as it was getting chilly outside and drizzling. Within minutes I realized why the AC was blasting. The heater began to smoke and set off the smoke alarm. I guess I'm sleeping without heat tonight.
The next morning, after a relatively sleepless night for me, we went to see what the continental breakfast looked like. Better than the average low budget motor lodge, in my opinion, they had biscuits and gravy. A very large man was occupying the toaster for an unreasonable amount of time so I was left with the microwave to cook my biscuits. I cooked them until I thought they looked brown enough and ate them. When we returned to the room to collect our things and head out for the day I began to feel like I was going to throw up my biscuits. After several nauseous but uneventful minutes hovering over the toilet bowl, we gathered our things and took off.
We needed gas and as we stopped it began to drizzle. I figured if it stayed like this I would be fine without rain gear, but after several minutes of riding it became clear the rain was only becoming more assertive. So I pulled into another gas station to put on my jacket and “rain” pants. We hopped back on 90 West and it wasn't long before I learned that my “rain” pants were not waterproof and I had not weatherproofed my boots enough. Both items had been purchased for a hiking trip 10 years ago and appeared in great condition. I made a mental note to buy new boots and pants for my next trip.
Riding sucked for about an hour. We were on boring freeway in pouring rain and I had a pool of water fastened to my crotch the whole time. By the time we stopped for gas and the rain had subsided I realized I was shivering and talking funny. Angie looked cozy in her Mazda wearing a T-shirt. I changed all my clothes and tried to warm up. But we had a timetable to keep so it wasn't long before we hopped on the road again, headed for the Badlands.
We'd been riding for several hours before we hit a scenic overlook and I decided to bite. Look at all the scenery...

[IMG]pic 2[/IMG]
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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Joined: Jan 2012
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Oddometer: 43
uh oh

We rode a bit more and took the turnoff for the Badlands. My first trip out here was last year for Sturgis, but everyone in the group I was with had been there before and had no plans to stop. But this was my trip, and I'd be damned if I didn't see the Badlands.
The Badlands are awesome. I plan to go back again so I can take some time and actually hike around. We spent about 2 hours there and took the typical tourist photos and walked around a bit.

Rockin akimbo
[IMG]pic 3[/IMG]

We made it to what I think was the last scenic overlook and after getting our photos I tried to start the bike and got nothing. Seriously? In the Badlands?

Right before I found out the terrible truth...
pic 4
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:25 PM   #5
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: MN
Oddometer: 43
life is good

Here's probably the time to tell you that I am not an experienced rider. I'm 28 years old and bought my first bike last year. And living in MN, we don't have a whole lot of months to ride. Add to that the fact that I was deployed to Kuwait from September 2011 to May 2012, I have under 8 months riding experience total. And very little maintenance experience. So anyway, when I first bought the bike it wouldn't start. A friend advised me to check the fuses, and that turned out to be the issue. So for this trip I made sure I had extra fuses. I checked the fuses, they all seemed good, but I experimented with swapping them all out, with no success. At that point I was glad Angie had brought her car. Oh, and that she had brought jumper cables.
So I tried jumping it, but again nothing. I wasn't happy with my ground and I figured that was the problem. Well, who should roll up, but a Canadian mechanic on family holiday. He suggested taking the seat off to see if I could get a better ground, and DUH, now I remember that's exactly what I had to do in the past. That's my problem, when I get a little stressed out I lose my head. So we charged it for a bit, crossed our fingers, and the bike started right up. By the way, I have trouble anthropomorphizing my bike, but I named him Hitch, after the late-great Christopher Hitchens.
I remembered from last year that the Rapid City Harley store has an extensive setup for Sturgis, so my plan was to head there and get Hitch checked out. Even if it took them a couple days, we still had Angie's car and we could see the local sights and it wouldn't impact our plans too much. It wasn't quite Sturgis yet so my hope was that we could get the bike in and out pretty quick and not have to deal with the Sturgis rush. It worked out perfectly. We made it to the Harley store before 4PM, well they close at 5PM. We were out of there before 4:45. Our plans were virtually unaffected. We made it to the KOA and set up our tents, and made it in time for dinner in Hill City. It was Angie's birthday so we did a bit of celebrating. I was starting to feel good about the trip.

I should also mention, when I pulled in to park in Hill City, I found a spot across the street from a live music performance. Apparently I disturbed his song because he said something in his microphone to the effect of "Now everyone is going to go kick his bike over." I thought for a second and then yelled "I have weapons!" Confident that the situation had been astutely handled, I went to enjoy a fine German beer.
[IMG]pic 5[/IMG]
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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This trip was basically a test run for the South America trip I plan to take in the Fall, so a lot was hinging on this trip. Am I cut out for this sort of thing? Would I even enjoy it? What really got me through my boring deployment to Kuwait was dreaming about riding my motorcycle through picturesque vistas, eating great food, and making great memories. It's something that is easy to idealize and forget about all the things that can go wrong. Now that I was on the road, I was experiencing firsthand the goods and the bads. And up until this point I had really been focusing on the bads, and how my plans were quickly turning to crap in my hands. But the way things seemed to magically workout was really helping my attitude.
I even got up super early that morning (I think I was still drunk from the night before) and did our laundry. I kind of felt like I owed Angie because she hadn't been planning to take her car, that's why I tended to pay for our lodging and try and do favors for her. So it was like 6AM and the machine was out of detergent. Ever the resourceful one I scrounged in the trash and underneath the washers until I had enough detergent for a load of laundry. We were packed and out of there before 8 and went to Mount Rushmore, another sight I had not been able to stop at on my Sturgis trip—we had rode by it but didn't stop. We paid the entrance fee and took our photos, making us true Americans.

Let's be honest, my face would look good up there ;)
pic 6

We intended to have breakfast in Keystone at Ruby's but it didn't open until 11. We ended up having breakfast at a crappy diner across the street.
Then we hit the road again. We went past Crazy Horse and I tried to point to it so Angie could see but she wasn't able to pick it out unfortunately. Next time I think I'll definitely invest in a headset so that we can communicate.
Riding out of the Black Hills and into Wyoming was a life-changing experience for me. The sky has never looked so big and I felt like it swallowed everything else. It had clearly just rained in the areas we were riding through and so the sky was alive with color...wish I'd stopped to take a photo.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Joined: Jan 2012
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Oddometer: 43
Ro-ads. Roods

It was Sunday and we rode from Hill City, South Dakota to Castle Rock, Colorado. A gorgeous ride, relatively uneventful except for a couple things. Shortly after we crossed into Wyoming the left side cover underneath my seat came loose held on only by a small piece of plastic. So I began to slow and move onto the shoulder so I could stop and secure the cover I noticed all the sand and gravel in front of me. Too late. I did a wicked power slide through the sand and gravel and amazed myself by keeping the rubber side down. I managed to pull over and secure the cover. The plastic bracket keeping it on had worn down too much. Good thing I brought duct tape.
The other thing that happened was the bike killed somewhere north of Cheyenne. It was basically the middle of nowhere on a two-lane highway with only a modest gravel shoulder. It just died. I'd been riding 70+ mph all morning and afternoon, maybe that had something to do with it. Well, I waited a few seconds and the bike started right up. Phew. On to Cheyenne.
We arrived in Cheyenne the last day of Frontier Days, but it was around 4PM so I think all the activities were over. In any case we still wanted to make it to Denver before it got too late, so we got some Chinese food and hit the road again. Hit some nasty traffic on 25, go 50 mph for a while than slow to a stop. Go 50 for a while and then slow to a stop. Over and over. I think people would just read the overpass signs referring to heavy weekend traffic and they would instinctively apply excessive braking.
Our plan was to stay at the Denver Super 8, which in hindsight was quite a silly idea. We pulled into the parking lot and it just looked sketchy. Not that I was concerned about anything happening, I was more concerned with paper thin walls, uncomfortable beds, and obnoxious people. So Angie and I had a huddle and I convinced her to keep going to the next Super 8, in Castle Rock. Best idea I've had in a while. That was the nicest Super 8 I've ever seen, it had a gorgeous view of the mountains and a Jack in the Box next door. It also had a Waffle House across the street for breakfast in the morning. Win/win.
Sorry there aren't more pics. At the Waffle House we talked to the waitress who informed us that Garden of the Gods was pretty much right on our route. The goal for the day was to go up Pikes Peak and end up in Buena Vista. I figured we had time for a short detour. I'd been to GOG as a kid on a roadtrip with my grandparents but it's different seeing things as an adult. It was just as cool and beautiful as I remember. Some people were doing technical climbing and I was a little jealous—I'm a part time climbing instructor for an indoor climbing wall in MN.

[IMG]pic 7[/IMG]
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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And then there was nothing standing between us and Pikes Peak. Part of the way up Ang mentioned that her car was overheating, so we decided to park the car and both ride the bike up. The switchbacks and the significant lack of guardrails made it a little stressful for me, but we made it up just fine.

[IMG]pic 8[/IMG]

Just for the heck of it I tried making a phone call. Reception was great. It was great telling people where I was, that I was looking down on thunderclouds. Angie kept trying to get photos of the lightning flashes but alas it eluded her.

pic 9

When we'd had enough we decided to head back down. It was already later than I wanted to be on the road to Buena Vista. Weather didn't look so great either. At the entrance to the park we had been warned of a weather advisory, but pavement was dry the whole way up. Well on the way down I was in 1st but still felt we were going a little fast for the turns, so I rode the breaks a little. Well it didn't take long before my foot pedal went out. I just said, "Uh oh". Ang asked me "What?" but I didn't say anything, I just continued to ride the hand brake. I knew I couldn't continue like this forever so I pulled over. I wasn't entirely sure what to do at that point, just let the brakes cool and hopefully be okay. Okay I'll be honest, I kept a cool exterior but I was freaking out inside. A couple in a car pulled over and asked if we needed help. I said, "Yes but I'm not sure how you could help us." They asked if I wanted them to talk to a park employee on their way out and I said that would be great. Meanwhile I got on the phone with AAA and the guy on the phone wanted to make sure all my info in their system was correct. Seriously? I'm on the side of the road on Pikes Peak and a storm is rolling in. In the end all he could do for me was give me the number for local AAA. Just as I was able to find a pen and paper to write down the number a park vehicle came up the road with sirens going. She passed me, turned around and pulled up behind us. She asked if we had talked to a couple in a car leaving the park, and we said we had. She said they reported that a motorcycle had wrecked. Nope, but it sure was nice for her to get there so fast so I wasn't complaining!

She had a brake temp gauge and my brakes weren't even that hot. I tested the foot brake and it worked. So we had Ang ride in the park vehicle and I rode the bike down, this time keeping off the brakes as much as humanly possible. We made it back to the car, and feeling a little stupid I thanked the ranger for her time. We still had ground to cover so we took off for Buena Vista.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:43 PM   #9
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I was pretty tired and flustered by this point. It started raining soft but hard enough to be annoying with an open face helmet. I was making stupid mistakes like shifting from first to neutral and then freaking out and shifting roughly to 2nd. We were over 1000 miles from Minneapolis. The rain got worse and pretty soon it was hailing small pellets. Another lake formed in my crotch, my boots and pants soaked through. A lot of smarter, more experienced riders would pull over and wait it out. Or make sure they're gear was waterproof. In any case, my philosophy is "If you don't like the weather, keep riding." And in that moment, for me to pull over and wait for the rain would be submitting more to the negative cosmic forces that wanted to ruin the trip. I wanted to show that hell or high water would not slow me down. If anyone was going to be my worst enemy, it was going to be me. Before long we passed the rain, and for a brief period a cop sped up behind me. I'm pretty sure he was in a hurry and just wanted to get around me, but there was no room for him/her to pass and so s/he was stuck behind a law-abiding citizen for several miles. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when s/he finally passed me and sped off into the distance.

We made it to BV and checked into KOA. We knew a storm was coming (a lightning strike the previous night had fried their computers) so we set up our tents on a slight incline under some tree and rock cover. My heart was in the right place. I had no problem sleeping with my feet pointed downhill. After getting our tents set up we went to the Coyote Cantina, recommended to us by my cousin Phil who lives in Denver. I really wanted to try the green chile beer but of course they were out of it. I had the double IPA instead, and it is definitely a double IPA. Holy hops. Good though.

[IMG]pic 10[/IMG]

It stormed like crazy that night and we had some lightning strikes that sounded closer than any I've ever experienced. I heard Angie zip in and out of her tent several times during the night but didn't think much of it. The next morning when I went to charge my phone I found her curled up in the passenger seat of her car. Her tent had started leaking and she had to abandon ship. This would conclude our camping for the duration of the trip. We wanted to take a day off anyway so we reserved a cabin for the next night. After packing up my tent (and tossing Angie's in the trash) we returned to Coyota Cantina for breakfast and bloodies.

pic 11

Then we rode into BV to see what there was to see. Turns out not much. I decided to just keep riding north on 24 and enjoy the scenery. We pulled off and after walking along a creek for a bit we decided to head back into BV and check out a local brewery.

pic 12

Our timing was perfect and we pulled up just a few minutes after they opened. We enjoyed a nice sampler platter, and luckily they had a chile beer on tap. We talked to the attractive female bartender about things to do in the area and she recommended the hot springs. She was a diehard supporter for Cottonwood Springs, but the waitress at the Cantina had told us that Mt Princeton was the place to be. We took a poll in the bar and Mt Princeton won handily, and the bartender was noticeably upset. After thoroughly wetting my whistle we headed back to our cabin for a well-deserved nap. We left the door open as the weather and temperature were absolutely perfect, and as I dropped in and out of consciousness I noticed that hummingbirds were darting in and out of the cabin. For some reason this pleased me immensely.

See, it's next to the feeder
[IMG]pic 13[/IMG]

After naptime we went to Mt Princeton, and just as we pulled up we see the exodus of bathing suits. Mt Princeton closes for 10 minutes every time they see lightning. So we opted to wait in the bar and hope for the best. We gave it 40 minutes before we gave up. Cottonwood, while reputedly "not as nice", does not close for weather, plus it's just outside of downtown BV so we could easily get into town for dinner after our soak. Cottonwood was certainly "not as nice", in fact it appeared very aged and half-assed, but the pools were warm, and we had the hottest one to ourselves most of the time we were there. My body was very pleased and refreshed, we'd covered a lot of miles with little rest. We decided to return to Eddyline for some pizza and beer, and I was so excited to tell the bartender that we ended up at Cottonwood after all, but alas her shift had ended. The bar was packed so we had communal seating with two other groups of people. We all watched Olympic gymnastics and I amused myself by making loud, crude jokes everyone could hear. Everyone thought I was hilarious and don't believe anyone who tells you different.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:08 PM   #10
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: MN
Oddometer: 43
Aspen and Leadville

We left BV that morning and headed for Aspen. I amused myself for much of the ride by thinking of Dumb and Dumber quotes ("Killer boots, man!").

All bundled up
[IMG]pic 14[/IMG]

From Independence Pass
[IMG]pic 15[/IMG]

We made it to Aspen a little before 11AM and stopped at The Cantina on Main Street. Then we headed for the Maroon Bells. I saw the signs that said vehicles were not allowed up the Bells but for whatever reason I ignored, which resulted in us turning around and going back to park at the ski lodge, then taking a bus up.

[IMG]pic 16[/IMG]

Getting closer
[IMG]pic 17[/IMG]

That's as far as we go
[IMG]pic 18[/IMG]

The life...
[IMG]pic 19[/IMG]

After an afternoon of hiking we headed back the way we came for Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US. I lost track of Angie so I pulled over at Independence Pass and waited. An ex-military guy on a Kawasaki (I think) pulled up and we chatted for a bit. I didn't ask but my guess is he is an ADVer. I asked if he had seen a red Mazda on his way up and he said that he had, and had passed and been passed by her several times on the way. Angie eventually showed up, her car started overheating again so she pulled over several times.

While I was waiting...
[IMG]pic 20[/IMG]

We took off again, and it started to rain and by the time we hit 24 it was really coming down. We were about 10 minutes away from the hotel when it started hailing and streams of water were flowing across the road. Yes I will be investing in a full face helmet. Soaked to the bone we made it to the Super 8. A hot shower and a change of clothes made me good as new, although my boots were still soaked through. Of the limited dining options we decided on Quincy's. My steak was cooked adequately but Angie's was rarer than she likes. It must have been sent back 3 times, and we joked with other customers who were having the same problems. I ordered Stranahan's to drink, which is a Colorado whiskey, and enjoyed it very much.

The other thing we had to do in Leadville was visit the Silver Dollar Saloon, which Doc Holliday used to hang out in and shot his last man in. Several of the mirrors behind the bar are original from the 1880s, and were carried by covered wagon from Missouri. The saloon was really quiet. It was a Wednesday night, but still. One youngish female bartender, a guy in the back I took for her boyfriend was watching TV, and another couple who were on a roadtrip of their own from Kansas. The bartender gave us the history spiel when we asked, and there was a ton of cool historical-looking stuff, but I was a little disappointed overall.

I forget now if this is one of the original antique mirrors or a replacement
[IMG]pic 21[/IMG]

[IMG]pic 22[/IMG]
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:03 AM   #11
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: MN
Oddometer: 43
So now where to?

I did some searching the next morning (soul and google) to pick out our route. We planned to meet my cousin Phil the next day, either in Denver or wherever we ended up in the mountains. I am a lover of German food and beer, and I was pleased to discover there were a number of establishments of the Deutsch persuasion in the area. We decided to head for Winter Park, with a pit stop at Walmart in Frisco--I needed some clean socks and underoos. I swear I grabbed boxer briefs but when I opened them up I was horrified to find tighty-whities--you're welcome for the lack of photos.

So we journeyed on toward Winter Park. I really enjoyed the ride coming down from Leadville, the terrain and the sky opened up and felt pretty epic. Somewhere before Loveland Pass Angie said she lost acceleration. I forgot to mention, before we left Leadville, Angie said her oil level was low so she bought like 4 quarts and I watched her pour a whole quart of oil into the running vehicle, the oil cracked and popped and a little shot out of the tank. I hoped for the best. So like I said, she lost acceleration later that morning, not sure if it was related, but that was the last time she had any problems.

After getting off 70 we hit more switchbacks, but neither of us had any problems. It was a pretty ride but it's hard to enjoy the view too much when you have to focus so much on the road. We arrived at our destination, a German B&B called Gasthaus Eichler. Just for the heck of it I asked if they had vacancy and they did, the price wasn't bad so we jumped on it.

[IMG]pic 24[/IMG]

I had to fill out an information card to rent the room and I could barely write with my right hand. I don't know if this is really common for motorcycle riders or if I'm just maintaining a death grip on the throttle at all times. My signature was like a child's scribble. Note to self, buy a throttle rocker. (Update: I have since bought a throttle rocker. Right hand continues to be weak but not as bad).

After checking in and dropping off our stuff we settled in for lunch.

I sent this pic to my friend Bill, also a lover of German food and beer, for the purposes of inducing jealousy.
[IMG]pic 23[/IMG]

After some delicious food and beer (use your imagination) we wandered around Winter Park, found a skate park and watched for a bit, then walked into a place to see about mani/pedis but they were booked for the afternoon. We walked the other direction and found a little multi-level shopping/restaurant complex. We found another salon that was able to get us in, so while Angie got her nails done I went downstairs to a coffee/wine bar. After sampling a couple local brews I went back up and it was my turn. Yup, got the nails done. They looked great by the way

The lady doing our nails gave us some ideas for places to go and things to see, she gave the impression she had friends all over town. We hit up The Cheeky Monk, and on our way there we came across an endless line of mini coopers. Normally I wouldn't be intimidated but there were just so many of them, and they looked like they were lined up for a race. After overcoming my trepidation I continued down the road past them to our destination.

I got some Children of the Corn vibes as I slowly rode past...
[IMG]pic 25[/IMG]

Finally made it to the Cheeky Monk
[IMG]pic 26[/IMG]

[IMG]pic 27[/IMG]

We must have been there 3 hours. Until we realized it was almost time for our dinner reservations. The nail-ist told us about Tabernash Tavern, supposedly the best restaurant around. We headed over there and had an incredible meal. Buffalo carpaccio appetizer, Angie had duck, and I ordered this:

[IMG]pic 28[/IMG]

And I turned it into this:
[IMG]pic 29[/IMG]

And enjoyed this fabulous Belgian:
[IMG]pic 30[/IMG]

At the end of a heavily indulgent day, a hot tub sounded like the icing on the cake. We found the hot tub but to my horror it was locked! It had a strap that connected to a padlock and I considered cutting the strap but realized what a dick move that would be. Luckily the strap connected to a metal piece with a few screws in it. I made quick work of the screws and relaxed my aching bones in the hot tub. How dare they try to keep a paying customer out of the hot tub. I' sure they learned some sort of lesson...
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:08 PM   #12
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: MN
Oddometer: 43
Nearly there

All right let's wrap up this glorious tale...

We woke the next morning, 8-sh, and left Winter Park, backtracking on 40 to 70. We were to meet my cousin Phil on Central City Parkway. I asked him to take us on one great last ride through the mountains. But first, we were hungry, so he suggested we stop in Central City. Central City and Blackhawk reminded me of Deadwood, and both looked ripe for nighttime fun. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of riding for a few hours and then hitting the road towards home. I figured if we made it to central Nebraska by dusk, we'd be able to make it to Minneapolis before dusk the next day, assuming we had no major problems

Phil in Central City with his mucho expensivo signed helmet.
[IMG]pic 31[/IMG]

We had a lovely scenic ride, a lot of Miss Daisy's out driving though.
[IMG]Pic 32[/IMG]

hey Ang, look over here
[IMG]Pic 33[/IMG]

Now smile, look like you're having a good time
[IMG]Pic 34[/IMG]

There you go!
[IMG]Pic 35[/IMG]

As far as I remember, we took 119 up to 72 to Lyons, going through some very cool canyons. In Lyons we fueled up and said goodbye to Phil. To get home, he suggested we go back up to Cheyenne and catch 80 east. Everyone says not to bother with 25 South, but Cheyenne seemed too far out of the way. With some help from google I determined we would go south on 25 a few miles and then take 52 all the way east to 76. It worked out great! It was really depressing coming out of the mountains and into more Nebraska-like territory. For years my family (parents, etc.) and I would drive out to Colorado and back to ski in the winter and I always dreaded the drive home--by then the trip is over with and there's nothing to look forward to after the mind-numbing 14-15 hr drive. But in any case, we now had a singular goal, and that was to cover as much ground as possible before dark.

We rode 369 miles to just outside Kearney, Nebraska when my bike killed again. After pulling over to the side, waiting a a minute, she started back up and I vowed to keep it below 70 mph the next day, as annoying as that would be. We spent the night at another Super 8 and ate at a satisfactory wood fire grill place called Whiskey Creek.

The next morning the weather sounded sketchy, with a very large storm scheduled to hit central Iowa at about the exact time when we'd be rolling through. It wasn't long before I completely forgot about it. We stopped for "brunch" at Subway near Omaha at a massive gas station we typically stopped at on our ski trips. Nothing really interesting happening at this point, just pounding pavement. I don't remember precisely where it was, but at one point during the day I followed a sign for a gas station and exited 76 only to find out the elusive station was 6 miles down the road in a podunk little town that was smack in the middle of some kind of festival. The float for the graduating class of 2012 had maybe 12 people on it.

After plenty of miles, we stopped at the Boondocks truck stop, and we could tell that we had just missed a heckuva storm, confimed by an older gentleman in a pickup who had pulled over to get out of it. I couldn't help thinking that, despite all the problems we've had along the way, our luck had been more than pretty good. And we were only a couple hours from home, and would make it there well before dark.

Well this is when I tell you what a horrible ordeal the rest of the trip became...except that didn't happen. We had a smooth rest of the ride home and pulled into my driveway having traveled over 2700 miles.

It shows
[IMG]Pic 36[/IMG]

The most fulfilling thing was knowing that I was capable of planning and executing a trip like this, this trip being the first of its kind. We didn't run into (or cause) any major disasters, but even if we had, we're still in the US, with quick access to repairs, medical care, and any other necessities. Colorado is not South America, and while I'm more confident than I was before, I'm still trying to maintain a reasonable amount of terror for my impending journey. Anyway, thanks for reading :) -Dave
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:36 PM   #13
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Granbury Texas
Oddometer: 2,792
My first suggestion for someone new to ADV type rides is learn to do repairs on your bike if you can. Second suggestion- ditch the Harley and buy a bike that is more suited to long distance riding. Also buy the best camp gear you can afford, as you will be glad you did. Other than that, just head out and go with the flow....
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