COLORADO 2013


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Colorado Fire and Ice Tour 2013






















Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More Colorado



This trip has tested me beyond everything I have ever imagined .. Between the winds and no guard rails this has defied all boundaries I have ever had in my entire life 
Oh and let's not forget 75 mile an hour speed limits on roads that curve to. Defy gravity..��
















Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Ride So Far...,

We left Birmingham Thursday week.. The sky was a frightening black as if we were entering some deep dark abyss.. We caught  the tail end of a ferocious thunderstorm...questioning our sanity at this point for towing the motorcycle across the country to explore Colorado...between the clanking u hual trailer and the bizarre weather we moseyed  on.. We eventually found ourselves in Henrietta Oklahoma ...getting gas.. It was sweltering out...Steve did a bike check and much to his chagrin  a clip that holds the ratchet straps in place broke.. Lets just say ..U Haul was less than helpful.. They wanted Steve to go find a lowes and buy a new clip and repair the broken one.. Steve was non to thrilled with this news.. Then they said they could have someone to us around 10 pm... ( this was 4 pm in the afternoon...) Steve basically said he would rig something that we would not wait 6 hours for them to show up...so we are finally on our way to just south of Oklahoma City .. We get checked in to a Hampton inn.. And the mother of all storms was headed squarely our way... The wind was scary... We both wondered if the bike would be there in the morning,..lucky for us the storm though threatening missed our area and we kept heading west.. Things were flat through Kansas.. i did find the windmills interesting..
 We made our way through intense heat through Denver and heavy threatening clouds.. We are approaching lyons and BAM a storm exploded with white blinding rain and hail.. Pounding the  Cx9 , the trailer and the bike we pulled into Lyons .. Where a surprised little town surveyed the damage from the hail storm..From dented cars to trees stripped of green leaves and other assorted Debris..
Eventually we made our way To Steve' s Brother's place..that was a whole other journey up that road pulling a thousand pounds of motorcycle..... We got settled and Bam another Hail storm.. No damage thank heavens .. A nice dinner and off to bed.. Trying to start acclimating to a higher altitude..We spent two days getting ready for Monday.. The Journey was just beginning..
Up bright and early Monday ..heading out to Estes Park...the day was beautiful not a cloud in the sky..,.yet...... The roads twisted and curved and curved and twisted as we carefully climbed up the mountain traversing a part of the Rockies..traffic was heavy .. On the upside ....we also noticed the wind getting stiffer and lo and behold big fat splattering rain drops...we pulled over at a scenic outlook walked down a bit to take some photos.    
Yes this is July 1 and still snow capped mountains... About at this point the altitude was leaving me a bit breathless...but we kept going up . 13,500 feet high.. I was feeling it.. Steve was doing great.. It was tough for me ..not to mention the apprehension of just this challenging ride.. We were above the tree line....I felt better on our descent .. I later came to find out I was in the early stages of altitude sickness...we chatted with a volunteer at the visitors center who told us stories of rangers who had to go to the top and drive folks down who were so frightened of the height they could not handle it...so overall I did okay ... We did see some elk but it was to crowded to stop and look for long ..we headed on to Eagle Colorado and relaxed for the night.. I have to say its daunting when the speed limit is 75 and you are on two wheels., if you are on a straight thorough fair.. It's okay but remember  this is Colorado...even the interstate had sweepers and steep deep curves so riding at an angle that fast is a little wild...
 We continued on Tuesday morning... I tell you from the high mountains the high desert country is bizarre soooo it's like another planet.. How can I describe this....??? Tuesday we explored the high plains desert ... From sage covered buttes to ridges with small trees ... It went from chilly to HOT! We had lunch in the little town of Hotchkiss and talked to locals who sent us on a 65 mile adventure around the Black Canyon riding on the outer rim of a mountain  with out guard rails can not be described...
We decided to stay in Gunnison for the night.. ..a nice pleasant evening and a brisk start for Wednesday.. We Wound our way through more of the high plains desert...it occurred to me that the majority of our trip has been poised on the outer rim of mountain passes at a angle as we followed switch back after switch back  with little or no gard rails and on the outer rim...deep curves that pushed you through mountain passes such as Monarch Pass at an elevation of 11,835 feet .. Once again I was short of breath..but took some rocking photos still..

We wound our way down the pass through Buena Vista ..had some coffee and headed to  Leadville camping out at a lodge at 10,200 feet  to relax... More to come as the journey continues ...

Gunnison and Leadville









We arrived safely this afternoon in Lyons..cleaned up and just are chilling for a bit..what a ride and an adventure glad to be Back though.. Now to pack up and homeward bound...



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   Sometimes the road to finding something beautiful is filled with challenges... as both Steve and I learned .. We left Birmingham over 8 days ago.. in the worst weather possible towing our Goldwing on a clunky u haul trailer... we dealt with soaring temperatures, monsoon style rain, hail,  high winds, ratchet straps that kept coming unhitched,  some of the worst roads we have ever ridden on... to get to this beautiful place...far away from Alabama...   after a quick rest... first stop...Trail Ridge Road in Colorado in Estes Park was just the beginning of seeing some of the most amazing sights in our country. Close to 13000 feet... the soaring snow capped mountains where simply breathing taking.. ( not to mention the thinner air )  , We saw  magnificent canyons, that words can not describe ... the rewards of the endless twisting and somewhat tricky roads provided some of the most simple beauty I have ever seen...  I will do my very best below... minus the photos this time ( I will provide a link at a later date to my flickr account  so you can view the roughly 500 photos of this adventure) ...to describe to you what we went through and witnessed...
One sometimes,  has to really seek beauty through challenging times... I would say that line really describes our trip... As I mentioned above our trip started out in the worst most threatening weather . Really though our adventure began years ago when my insanely delightful husband decided it would be his mission to take me on a Colorado adventure... Something  he had experienced twice before.... the first time  about 13 years ago...nearly cost him his life when he crashed on his way home via motorcycle  near Hays Kansas.....  the second time with friends.. and to  prove to himself that he could take this adventure via motorcycle across the country and return home  safe and sound.. which he did about 5 years ago.. He knew I needed to take this adventure  and somehow he was going to make it happen... and true to his inspiring tenacity  HE MADE IT HAPPEN....He had carefully mapped out our journey over the last  2 years.. Altering things.. and coming up with the best way to get to Colorado ... He decided that towing our bike there would be the best choice rather than riding the whole route via motorcycle... We were both unaware that this decision would bring its own set of obstacles to over come.. 
The day finally came to pick up the trailer... with a little frustration the task of getting  the bike on the trailer and back home was accomplished by my ever resourceful husband...  The next morning we would head out to make our GREAT COLORADO adventure...

We woke up the morning of June 27th around 4 30... much to our chagrin... the weather did not look promising as we left.  As you know from previous posts we had some ratchet strap issues... and some uninvited weather issues as well... let me tell you about the monsoon through  a part of Kansas... even though the rain was not welcomed at least for us ( but for thirsty lands it was much needed) when it came to a end... Steve happened to glance out of his side mirror and saw a BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW.. to me .. sort of God's quiet gift ...
  We journeyed  on... and as you already know came through a roaring hail storm and finally landed at Steve's brother's place in Lyons Colorado... we rested up for 2 days... which actually means with his brother and his wife we toured parts of Boulder , went to a museum went to a concert  and really did not do much resting .. :-) ... but it was all entertaining and fun.   WE left Lyons and went up to Estes Park... this must be on your bucket list.. seeing this beautiful place with unforgiving roads... be brave~ traverse it ... and see the top of the world... ( at least to me) .  Even in the misty sky it was beautiful a grey blue blanket of mist and clouds clung to the mountain tops unveiling in places  remnants of the last snow fall... Honestly ... only  your own eyes can really take in what we saw... .. while we both were a bit breathy and as you know I got a little ill ... it was all worth it..   I won't lie to you and say I loved the ride up to the top.. frankly I was scared beyond belief... the roads twist with in themselves .. going up and up and up.. few guard rails greet you on the outer rim... and there is little room for error either... I gripped my side bars and held on with my entire body that whole journey.. Steve knew I was scared .. but he also knew I needed to do this... to prove to myself I could conquer anything ... no matter how big or small... or even with great fear .. I could accomplish this.. ( as I type this I have tears in my eyes) and frankly what choice did I have?   I was on the back of a motorcycle .. we got to the top and we would get to the bottom as well..
  We took a break after that and chatted with a ranger volunteer  who talked to us about human behavior on these great mountain peaks... only a portion of the great rolling Rockies...He talked about the recklessness of people who try to approach the wild animals.. UHMMM HELLO ... WILD ANIMALS... where does common sense go.. ??? I often wonder... He also  ( as previously mentioned ) told us about Rangers having to drive people down from the over 13000 feet peaks because they were to frightened to drive themselves down...   here is a link from Wikipedia about Trail Ridge Road in Estes Park... TRAIL RIDGE ROAD Both Steve and I traveled on with a certain amount of pride for safely accomplishing  another challenge...
We journeyed on... and headed Towards Eagle Colorado... found a place to stay..  and woke up to a new and beautiful day ....

Sometimes unless you chat with the locals.. you might never discover hidden treasures .. so we dug a bit into some conversation when we stopped for lunch... a couple of ladies told Steve about a great 68 mile byway that would provide some awe inspiring scenery... THE BLACK CANYON.... getting there.. was a challenge as we would soon discover before each destination that whether it be the rural roads or high winds .. though we might be met with a challenge or two along the way ... the rewards were well worth the effort...  This lightly traveled road.. was a journey ... too... high winds bouncing off the prairie had me gripping my helmet with one hand and trying to take pictures and hold on at the same time  ... again.. we were on the outer rim of these twisting with in themselves by ways... very few guard rails if any were there... and my skillful husband mastered these roads that he had never been on quiet well.. with high temperatures and high winds... we were gifted with rolling hills that gave way to rocky peaks.. folding in and among itself..   68 miles later  we came off the winding roads to meet more twists and turns leading us into Gunnison a sweet little mtn town in the high plains desert . ( I have to say we only saw one tumble weed roll across the road and that was not even in Colorado but in Kansas :-) )  it was comfortable warm.. low 80s... with a breeze and little humidity .. we relaxed and woke up to  47 degree outside .. and gorgeous hot air balloons on their own destinations...... we packed up.. and headed out to Beauna Vista ... stopping for Coffee... and to adjust our travel plans a bit.. rolling dry dessert plains greeted us on this  journey..it really is amazing scenery when you think that just the day before we were up in higher elevations and saw snow... here we saw very thirsty dry land blanketed by sage ... surprisingly their was some pasture land though sparse ... we did see horses and cows grazing in the distance.. These places I have been describing to you  are simply really so hard to describe unless you to take it in and develop your perspective.... You could tell for the folks that lived out in these areas .. though sparsely seen .. you knew it looked like a hard life... but  you also knew it was a life chosen by them... to work the land.. make a living... raise cattle... or whatever..   We left   that area  traversed some more  curvy scenery... and  pulled into a windy Leadville for the evening... that was back up at over 10,000 feet... we found a lodge and toured the charming little town... Leadville was getting ready for its annual fourth of July activities from fire works to races to hamburger and hotdog lunches...  
We woke up to 37 degree temperature.. packed up and bundled up .. and journeyed down the mountain...  Endless winding roads greeted us ... deep switch backs and curve after curve popped out a new view of this country side.. we found ourselves in this funky little town that housed a concentrated amount of casinos in one area ... and a cute little coffee shop in another... We made our way back to Steve's brothers place  ... navigating the by ways and each new curve....  

After thoughts :
Much thanks to Dianne and Stuart Gottlieb for showing us a wonderful time when we were not exploring Colorado on our own...
Stuart  thank you so much for helping Steve off load and load the motorcycle on that trailer... We enjoyed all our experiences while staying with you guys...  from the concert to the farmers market ... absolutely  great!
Much Thanks to Jaki and Jimmy Goodwin for taking care of Shayna and Cookie and keeping the home fires burning...  Jimmy thanks so much for helping Steve off load the bike we so appreciate that.. 
While we did tow the motorcycle to Colorado the  type of riding we did;  switchbacks, dog legs, endless twisting by ways, no guard rails on outer rims of high twisting mountain wrapping roads... not to mention the changing weather...was pretty much equivalent to 600 mile days via motorcycle just based on effort alone.
We spent most of our  time via motorcycle at an angle rather than straight up in order to follow the byways we traveled.
Colorado is one of the cleanest states I have ever seen , no litter on the road sides
The Boulder area offers some of the best farmers markets with unique food choices.
People are very active  and mostly in good shape ( at least from those I saw)
Weather is a gamble there... From areas of Colorado desperate for rainfall to some being doused each afternoon.  Rolling high winds are common place.
The infrastructure of our country is shameful the roads are in pieces.. you can call it weather damage or whatever you want... but it still seems thought provoking that we can build roadways in other countries.. and can not find the man power to keep up the bridges and roadways of our own country.. Can you imagine how many people could be employed to fix these areas so desperately in need of repair.... From Colorado, to Kansas to Oklahoma to  Arkansas, to Tennessee to Mississippi to Alabama.. seriously some dangerous rickety roads...
Back to the Midwest/West...  WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE.. ON MOTORCYCLES...  HELMETS SAVE LIVES..  yeah I know its a choice.. but really .. ??? folks .... common sense dictates protect your head .. well apparently the health aware and healthiest state in our country ( Colorado ) does not think so.. Crazy if you ask me...

NOW...time for the next adventure ....

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