Last Leg Home (4 of 4)

Friday morning – another clear and beautiful day, just a little chilly at this altitude so early. I visited with other guests about fishing on the river, and the resident dachshund about the merits of under-collar scratching.

I returned to my room to do a couple more hours of work while waiting for the world to warm up a bit. I could feel my attention wanting to turn inward. Not all the adventurous journeys lead to distant horizons by a long shot! This adventure spirals inward, the path of shadow work and meditation. Perhaps more challenging, higher risk, than riding a motorcycle along winding highways.

Honestly, I relish opportunities to recognize belief systems that no longer serve, to open a space to feel what has been resisted, and to let it all dissolve and resolve again into native peacefulness. Like surfing fractals and chaos theory from the inside. The way one interpretation twists into a childhood vow, then veers again toward a self-fulfilling belief is not so different from the curves on a mountain road or a race track. Full attention, open focus, totally present to what is coming up in this moment, and moving through it in full experience, relaxed and ready for what’s around the next twist.

Eventually, the clouds pass. I can no longer believe the things I’d thought. Mental and emotional cleansing. More space available to be fully present to the life I’m actually living rather than caught up in secondary thoughts about things. Ahhhhhh. It’s time to move on. Go with that.

Today would be my final leg of this trip. Some more of the best roads I could find in Steve Farson’s book, then into Denver and just the interstate back home.

First my ride took me back out along the Arkansas river. It was just as beautiful in the morning sun.

I’d heard a lot about Royal Gorge, but had never been to see it, so I went. I thought I would even take the time to walk across the suspension bridge. But when I got there I found that they’ve built an amusement part at the entrance to the bridge, so the only way to get on the bridge is to pay for a full day pass to the amusement park rides. I have my own amusing ride, thank you very much. So I hiked up to the lookout and took some pictures from there.

In nearly every trip (nearly every stop), I find heart shaped rocks. This one is mica from the trail.

As I walked back up toward the parking lot, a lizard scrambled down the path, directly between my feet, and stopped! Rather an awkward photo to take, but you get the idea.


In Native American mythology, Lizard is the totem of the unconscious. At one point, he meets Snake near a rock. Snake asks Lizard why he’s not afraid about being eaten. Lizard says he knows Snake has just eaten because has seen it in the Dreamtime. Snake is now full and feeling lazy, moving under the rock. “That’s the difference between us,” says Lizard. “You seek the shade. I seek Shadow.” I thanked the lizard for honoring me with a visit, honoring my intense shadow work that morning. He zips down the rocky trail. I climb upward.

From Royal Gorge, I backtracked just a little to Highway 9 and County Road 11 toward Woodland Park. This area was part of the massive wildfire last summer. It’s like riding through a cemetery, especially for someone who loves trees as I do.

Here are a few clips of the road opening out before me.

I had a nice late lunch in Woodland Park. That was the only time I intentionally changed my plans during the trip. I’d scoped out County Road 22 as the twistiest looking thing for miles around, but sitting at lunch I realized I didn’t have the energy or the focus for it today. According to googlemaps, it would take a full 2 hours longer for just an extra 15 miles more than Highway 67. That averages out to a whole lotta twists and turns. Not today. I was glad that the one road I was surrendering was close enough to home that I could go back to do it on a weekend, though! And Highway 67 proved to be lovely and relaxing and still plenty of fun. I was sorry I’d put the movie camera away at lunch, but not quite motivated enough to get it back out again.


Actually, I missed the turn to stay on 67 toward Denver. I saw a sign saying “to 285” which was a road I recognized, so I went that way. It turned out to be a gentler road along a stream in a meadow. Absolutely gorgeous!

Then 285, which is a major freeway took me right into the middle of Denver at 4:45 pm. I admit to being partial to some forms of adventure over others. Stop and go city traffic on the interstate for the next 45 minutes was not so much fun. (No lane splitting here, for you California riders!) Eventually it broke loose and I zoomed up the long, straight stretch to my little house. I slept well that night, too.

1172 miles. Four beautiful days, three nights, one happy woman and her Tiger!

9 Responses to “Last Leg Home (4 of 4)”

  1. dave says:

    awesome post Karen. I’m something close jealous but more so happy to see a ride report of someone enjoying the journey. Even more, I’m stoked to have a neighbor engaging life as you are! Cheers!