Forum Friends Ride the Rockies (1 of 2)

For months, my online friends and I had been planning for them to come enjoy the incredible scenery and fantastic riding I’m blessed with here in Colorado. I’ve been so excited, thinking about all my favorite things to share with them! And in August they actually arrived. (I know, the report is a little late… more good things coming!

Although we missed some folks from Minnesota who had to cancel at the last minute (new granddaughters are a rare treat… the mountains will be there next year!), Sunday evening we had guests from Missouri, South Dakota, California, and Wyoming (but Jack had to go back for work).

I enjoyed playing tourist in my own town and staying at the landmark Armstrong Hotel in Old Town.


Best place to start for breakfast? Vern’s Place, of course!

(Web image)

Since Kip wasn’t fully acclimated to the altitude, we took the Porsche as the pace car for the first day, with those beautiful bikes following through the curves.

We headed up Poudre Canyon along the river and down Stove Prairie to take Highway 34 up to Estes Park.

We didn’t stop for pictures, but here are a couple I took last year June:

After a brief pit stop in Estes, we headed down the Peak to Peak route. Touring on a motorcycle, your range depends on the size of your tank and the size of your engine (how much it eats!). Most bikers have to stop every 150-200 miles for fuel. And to wiggle. I never realized how much I change position on long car trips, until I couldn’t on long motorcycle trips!

 We stopped in Nederland for lunch.

After lunch we enjoyed the rest of the Peak to Peak highway

and ended the day at the Indian Springs Hotel at Idaho Springs. Great to travel with friends who agree on avoiding chains for eating and sleeping — see the local color!

We enjoyed dinner at a local diner. The holiday tree apparently changes seasonally. Among us we hold such varied careers. A techy geek and an estate attorney, law enforcement and steel working, cattle ranching and coaching, river rafting and rental properties… brought together by the love of riding, traveling, and open minds. Our political views and religious backgrounds are as diverse as everything else. Online and in person we’ve shared very frank discussions about guns to socialism to aliens to — of course — motorcycles. But rather than drive-for-agreement tirades, our discussions let us really explore different perspectives without making each other wrong. There are so very many things I know nothing about! And getting glimpses and insights is fascinating.

And made time for a good soak after.

The resort accidentally sent a maintenance person to Todd’s room and apologized with complimentary use of one of the extra-hot pools. Way to go for great customer service! And thank you, Todd, for sharing!


In the morning, we went to Marion’s for breakfast. They understand bikers here.

We shared a cinnamon roll for appetizers.

I took Kip to the airport, then circled back to Fort Collins to trade the car for the Tiger.

Todd and Jean went to Mt Evans and proved that a Harley Davidson can be an excellent dual sport choice on washboard gravel roads.

We ended the day in Frisco. I thoroughly enjoyed glazed salmon and a lively dinner conversation about economics and education!


The three musketeers set out to make it to the southwest area of the state so we could do the San Juan Parkway at the end of the week. Turns out, getting there was way more fun!

As we were loading up to head out,

so was a fellow traveler.

He’s riding from Banff to Mexico along the Continental Divide trail (not roads). You go, dude!

We passed many towns that cater to hunters. One place had a huge set of antlers on a barn. Then there was an elk crossing sign, with huge antlers pictured. And just as I looked up, a car came along with 2 bicycles on top and the handlebars looked like giant antlers. The automatic pattern matching machine made me laugh out loud! Even on a relaxing ride through great scenery, it just never shuts off.

Up and over, up and over. Crossing passes at 10,000 and 12,000 feet, I Gave Thanks for heated riding gear!

Stopping for gas made an opportunity to snap some pictures.

As we rode along Curecanti, we enjoyed the reservoir. Looking at the water levels, I pondered how something as simple as water can become such a precious resource. I remembered a line from Kun Dun (I think), where the Chinese invade Tibet and the Dalai Lama remarks “They’ve taken our silence.” Precious resources indeed.

I’m grateful for the sound of my motor revving up and down as I work the line through the curves. Some people like to listen to music while driving or riding, but the sound of the engine is all I need. My thoughts are few, shaped by the environment they grew in, like the last trees at altitude living in strong winds.

Our chief navigator kept us in line. Todd did a great job and it was lovely to be able to just follow along!

We stopped at a lookout along Black Canyon of the Gunnison to stretch our legs and take the time to really LOOK at the beauty.

But when you’re done walkin around, how could you resist?

As we went higher, the aspen were thicker. The vertical lines of their trunks echoed the vertical lines of the cliff tops.
And over and over, that question… what would it be like to live here?

Time to ponder over the miles… not only what people here do for income now, but in the past? How much has the internet availability changed the face of the predominantly agricultural landscape? Do people still “go into town” to shop and have social contact? Has that been replaced by and facebook? How many of the local residents these days aren’t really involved in agriculture, or only as an interest while they provide internet development services or sell information products online. So much more diversity is possible. City people dispersing into rural areas, just as a generation or two ago, country mice headed to the city. And what is the resulting creative tension in neighborly relations?

Another stop for gas.
Watch out for those Desperados!

Stayed at the Black Canyon Motel in Montrose and walked to the Red Barn for dinner. Because not only did the hotel clerk recommend it, but the other guests waiting behind us in the lobby raved about it. I love it when people just share spontaneously! Great fun telling stories over dinner. Watch out once you get Jean started! Someday I want to ask her husband, Geoff, about Rhode Island Red roosters!

postscript: I forgot my phone at the Black Canyon Motel, and when I contacted them they mailed it home for me – no charge, no questions. Another great example of customer service!

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