Subject: WanderRockies 11 - Cedaredge, Colorado
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 21:24:33 -0700
The best laid plans of mice and riders.
Planned: Breeze into Denver, retrieve her bike, meet
at the airport, roll west.
Unplanned: storms that screwed eastern air traffic schedules.
Unplanned: playing tug of war with a parking ticket machine.
Oh heck, let's start in Kremmling again. The Cowboy
Espresso shop was packed to the doors. Say what you want about the yuppification
of the old towns, but this was the only business that was busy early this
morning. Even the "plain old coffee" (as it was listed) was anything but
plain. People want what they are used to, and many are used to a quality
that is raising standards where they go.
My experience with getting Internet connected last night is an example. The old and very charming Eastin Hotel does not have phones in the rooms, so I politely asked if I could use the office phone to make my computer call. Perhaps because Rudy, the house dog, enthusiastically liked me, the clerk said yes. While I was composing my story in the lobby another traveler came in to ask for a room. She huffed and heeled away when told there were no phones ... "We get ALL our needs on the Internet! Humph!". The clerk just shrugged. But I suspect the Internet is not something that can be shrugged off for long.
Although I am using a GPS, I still carry paper maps
for the occasional 'big view'. It is unfathomable to me what formula is
used to decide when a route is to be marked "scenic". Yesterday I wrote
about the enjoyable ride along the Yampa River from Craig to Steamboat
Springs. That is not marked scenic, but it is. Today I took the not marked
CO 9 from Kremmling to Dillon, and thought it was more scenic than the
marked route from Hot Sulphur Springs to Winter Park. The message here
is don't take maps as gospel - you have to ride your own ride.
Still thinking I was on schedule, I wandered through west Denver and eventually met IBMWR President Dr.Bob for a wanderlunch. (Thanks Bob.) Shortly after I found Rebecca's planned 3:30 arrival might turn into an overnight in Ack!Run! (Ackron), Ohio, but instead it meant I was waiting curbside at the terminal at 12:30 am. On the way in, the ticket gates played a game with me. At first they sensed the bike and pushed out a ticket, but before I could grab it they decided the signal wasn't strong enough and slurped the ticket back into the machine. I rolled back and tried again. Pitooie/slurp. Rolled back and tried a different gate (thankfully, there was no traffic at midnight). Pitooie/slurp. Ok, enough of this game. I rolled back a good 50 feet and gunned it. Slipped into neutral and stuck out my left hand while braking. Pitooie/grab/attempted slurp/tug/slurp/yank/slurp (damn I musta looked dumb see-sawing with a robot) one more yank and out came ... two tickets. Denver airport is not accommodating to motorcycles.
Kremmling CO9 I70 Denver
Come morning, refreshed and ready, we circled the
city to visit Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson. WHAT? You say? Thot youse
guys was on Beemers? Yes, but Colorado Jeff told us RMHD has a fully restored
WLA on display. Rebecca's father was a sergeant of the motorcycle motor
pool during WWII and had a fleet of WLAs. She had never seen one other
than in pictures. This was complete, down to the leather foot guards, the
bivouac shovel, and the Thompson submachine gun in its front rack (a real
one, btw!). Quite an eyeful.
Finally we turn west and begin the long climb off the plains. At the entrance to Turkey Creek Canyon, four horses stand on a hill and seemingly point the way. Three chestnut browns stand nose to tail and a paint stands angled as an arrowhead on the shaft. The canyon is the perfect combination of colors and terrain. I think this is the best way to or from the southwest of Denver.
Lunch at the old Fairplay Hotel and Restaurant threw in unexpected entertainment. It was Burro Race Days in Fairplay, the jackass Iditerod. It might have been fun to see how many jackasses had two feet instead of four, but miles called - and I was concerned about the clouds over the divide. In the hazy heat, the humidity was casting a blue gauze across the distant ridges. As we climbed, the mountains off toward Pike's Peak looked remarkably like the eastern Blue Ridge, only higher. While we drifted along the high plains, broad shafts of sunlight split the clouds and glanced off the Collegiate Peaks (Mt. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Antero ... Antero?) and Rebecca commented with the brilliant sunplay these must be like the Shining Mountains of Indian lore.
Wanderlust rain luck was with us again, and we made it over Monarch Pass only minutes after the downslope had been drenched. From there the dreamy ride across the Gunnison plain and again along the Black Canyon was enough to wipe out that 'sealed inside' feeling. All through the valley with the continental divide to the left and the Black Mesa to the right, we did the dance of the rain veils, occasionally getting sprinkles but never wet. If there is a better way to cross central Colorado, I don't know it.
Today was Rebecca's birthday. She said her present was one of the most beautiful motorcycle rides she has ever taken.
Denver CO470 US285 US50 CO92 CO65 Cedaredge
Sam Lepore, San Francisco