Home Up Next

 

Colorado 2004

 

Fall 2004

 

 

It has been a couple years in the planning, and it has finally come true.  I got to ride my bike in the Rocky Mountains.  This might not seem like much to you but it has always been a dream to me.  I have ridden just about all of the mountains in the eastern US, but I have always wanted to see what real mountains look like.  Wow are they ever beautiful.

 

By late January 2004, it began to look like the trip was going to happen.  By late April, we had a date, and I knew then that I was going to get my wish. As July neared, final plans were made, I would drive the bike, out and Elaine would fly out and meet me.

 

Day One Wednesday July 14th, 2004

 

I was on the road at 6:00am.  I had been watching the lightning in the distance all the way from Albany.  As I got closer to I-75, it looked like I was going to miss the rain, but that was not to be.  I stopped under an overpass and put on the rain suit.  It was a good thing, it poured for about 12 miles, and then it was gone.  I stopped in Macon for my first gas fill-up and I removed the rain suit then.  The sun is out, and it is looking beautiful. 

 

I had made up my mind that I was going to pass through as many states as possible during my trip.  After Georgia (1), there was Tennessee (2), boy that is a long state.  I next made Kentucky (3), where I turned north in order to touch on Indiana (4), and Illinois (5), before entering Missouri (6).

 

Finally about 9:30pm EST I stopped for the night around Topeka Kansas (7).  I had made 7 states and 1042 miles (according to my GPS).  I really felt I could go on, but I wanted to get good nights sleep and get up early to get back on the road.  I am hoping to make Colorado on Thursday.

 

I considered doing an Iron Butt Ride on this first day (1000 miles in 24 hours), but decided I did not want to have to keep up with the paperwork and documents.  I rode 1042 (by my GPS) today, which with the proper documents, would have qualified me for the Saddle-sore award.  I will use this as a warm-up for this fall, when I plan to go for the Saddle-sore (1000 miles in 24 hours) and the Bun burner (1500 miles in 36 hours).  I have not planned this trip yet.

 

Day Two Thursday July 15th, 2004

 

Back on the road around 5:30 am EST.  Kansas is a very long state, and if you have seen one part of Kansas, you have seen it all.  Nothing but grassland, cows, and an occasional oil well.  I had seen oil wells in Indiana, and Illinois the day before.

 

About two thirds the way across Kansas, I turned north in order to get Nebraska (8).

 

I decide to bypass going to Wyoming and head straight into Colorado in order to get there today.  This will give me a chance to ride the area before Elaine gets here.  One more day in the mountains.

 

Well it happens.  I decided to get off the interstate and get some gas.  As I was entering the exit, I noticed the bike was handling funny.  It doesn’t steer right.  I think I have a flat tire.  I pull up to a motel at the exit and park in area that is shaded.  S__t, my front tire is flat.  Out comes the air pump and the tire pumps right up.  What the ____!

I get out my pressure gauge, 38 pounds, 32 pounds, the tire is going down.  I start looking and find that my valve stem is breaking off at the rim.

 

I have used HRCA (Honda Riders Club of America) in the past and have been happy with them.  I give them a call.  I am told that someone will be there within 1 hour.  Boy that is great.  I decide to go into the motel lobby and sit where it air conditioned.  As I am sitting there the motel manager asks if I am the person with broken bike.  I said “yes”.  He said, “You have a phone call”.  I answered the phone and it was my tow telling me that it would be about two hours, because he had to install an alternator, and he was in Colorado, about 55 miles from me.

 

In the mean time I called the Honda dealer they are going to tow me to in North Platte Nebraska.  I inform them about the time frame.  They inform me they close at 6:00 pm.

I said “no problem, it is only 3:00 pm.

 

 While I am sitting in front of the motel, a guy comes up and starts talking about GPS’s.  It takes me a moment to realize I have a shirt on that is from GPS Discount.  I find out he sells post cards in Montana, Idaho, and Nebraska.  He has racks in all kinds of stores, and simply goes around refilling the racks and collecting the money.  He also told me about a restaurant just down the road, Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse and Bar.  He said Ole has all kinds of animals the he has hunted and had stuffed throughout the restaurant.  He also owned the Days Inn, store, and gas station I was sitting in front of.

 

He asked about the bike, and I told him I had someone coming to get me.  I tell him they are going to take me to North Platte, and as long as I get there before the Honda Dealer closes, I will be alright.  He informs me that the time changes from MST to CST between us and North Platte.  This throws a real wrinkle in my plans, because North Platte is an hour ahead of us.  I sure hope the tow guy hurries up.

 

My tow finally arrives with a nice trailer, and we load the bike and my trailer into it.  He gets me to Budke Honda in time for them to try and fix my problem.  By 6:30 local time, it became obvious that I was stuck for the night.  By chance there is a Hampton Inn just around the corner.  I was given a ride over to the motel.  All I had on hand was hot beer, so the first thing I did was hit the Applebee’s next door for supper and a cold beer.

 

Even with the problems, I still managed to ride over 500 miles today.  Just not quite as far as I had wanted.  I had all kinds of visions of arriving in Colorado today and being able to ride in the mountains on Friday while I waited on Elaine to arrive.  So much for my plans.

 

Day Three Friday July 16th, 2004

 

I have to be in Denver tonight.  Elaine is coming in by plane. 

 

Budke found a valve stem across town that will fit my bike.  By 12:00 pm EST I was finally ready to roll.  The first thing was to go back to the motel and get my bags.  What is that scraping noise coming from the front end of the bike.  I head back over to Budke’s and drive right up to the service department.  I tell the guy about the noise, he looks over the brakes and tells me that they just have not seated yet.  Okay, so off I go.

 

Yesterday I had decided to bypass Wyoming in order to go straight to Colorado.  I now have decided that Wyoming is back in the mix.  When I-80 and I-76 split, I take the I-80 branch and head for Wyoming. 

 

I stop at a rest area and get out a pack of cheese crackers and a coke.  A real raggedy looking lady come over and tells me “That ain’t much of a lunch”.  She sat down about 10 to 12 feet away, and the odor nearly knocked me down.  She could have really used a bath in a bad way.  I learned she was responsible for cleaning the rest area and bathrooms.  I wish I had taken a picture of her.

 

Back on the road and into Wyoming (9), through Cheyenne, and south to Colorado (10).  The traffic started picking up as soon as I turned south on I-25.  By the time I got to Denver, the traffic was bumper to bumper and it started to rain.  I stopped and put on my rain suit, and pushed on.  I am now in traffic that is moving about 50 feet and stopping.  The GPS says my exit is just ahead, so I start looking.  Here is my turn, I’ve got to get over to the side to take the exit.  Oops wrong exit.  Now I have to go back one exit and get back into the slow traffic that was moving in feet per hour instead of miles per hour.  I made the right turn this time, and now it is free sailing into Golden.  I got to the Hampton Inn around 6:00 pm EST, and unpacked.  It continued to rain the rest of the afternoon, which stuck me at the motel.

 

Elaine finally arrived and we went to eat at Black Angus

 

Day Four Saturday July 17th, 2004

 

Up early and went to breakfast.  Packed up everything we would need for the day of riding into the trailer.  We are headed to Rocky Mountain National Park.  I have found a back road to start out on, which on the map looked like it might be a very scenic route.  It was a great road through the mountains that allowed us a view on how people actually live in this area.  Up over the mountains and down through the valleys we went until we finally arrived at Peak to Peak highway.  This road leads north to Estes Park and the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

Denver is already 5000 feet above sea level, and as we went north, we continued to climb.  We made it through a couple of passes with high mountains everywhere we looked.  This is my first view of the high mountains.  I am amazed that some of them still have snow or ice on them.

 

I like to keep a digital camera in the right pocket of my bike and take pictures of all kinds of scenery.  If I come over a hill or around a curve and I see something that makes me go “WOW”, I take a picture of it.  I see a lot of “WOW”, so I tend to take a lot of pictures.  Elaine and I took over 1500 pictures during this trip.

 

We arrived at Estes Park, where we filled up with gas and drank a little water.  I figured that there would be few gas stations once we entered Rocky Mountain National Park. This was the highest price gas on the whole trip $2.15 per gallon   I believe we paid around $6.00 to enter the park.  All around us the mountains were towering above us with ice still on a lot of the slopes.  We began to climb to the top of the world, until the trees finally disappeared.  We were finally above the tree line.  WOW, WOW, picture, picture, picture.

 

We stopped at all of the overlooks.  There was one we stopped at that was over 12,000 feet high.  It had a walkway that led out to an overlook.  We walked about halfway, and were so out of breath we had to stop.  It is sure hard for me to catch my breath at this altitude, and the amazing thing is, there are people riding bicycles.  How do they do it.  As we leave one of the overlooks, we notice a lot of traffic stopped on both sides of the road.  There is a herd of Elk grazing in a meadow.  Everyone is taking pictures, us included.

 

There is just too much to look at.  Everywhere you look is a picture postcard scene begging us to take a picture of it.  We oblige the scenery and take lots of pictures.

 

All too quick we cross the continental divide and are headed down hill on the west side of the park and back to civilization.  What a shame.  Mind you the scenery is still beautiful.

 

We motored into Granby Colorado hungry and looking for a spot to eat.  We managed to find a small place and had a good meal.  The service was slow and almost non existent, but the food was edible.

 

I found a tunnel on the map that looked like it was a couple of miles long, so we headed to that area.  We stopped at an area to take pictures of ski slopes when we noticed that we were right on top of the tunnel.  It was a tunnel alright, a tunnel to carry water.

 

It is starting to cloud up now so we put on the top half of our snowmobile outfits, and not a minute too soon.  We spent the next 30 or 40 miles coming down out of the mountains to get to I-70.  It is raining pretty hard, and it is hard to see through the windshield.  We finally get to I-70 and head east to Denver.  The rain stops right before we get to our motel.

 

Elaine got a rental car when she came in so we still are mobile.  We decide to go to Central City and Blackhawk and pull the handles on a few slot machines.  I guess pulling the handle really is no longer an option, but it sounds better than pushing buttons.  We end up at Fitzgerald’s.

 

Elaine has been here before, and she takes me down a road that takes my breath away.  The walls on both side of the road are almost straight up, and the color of the rocks is absolutely beautiful.  There is a stream rolling and tumbling along side of the road for most of the way, and also a few tunnels.  I think this is the most beautiful road we have traveled, and with the rain falling it is hard to be able to take pictures.  I make a mental note to come back to this road, but it never happens.

 

We head back to Denver and I decide that I want to eat at Tony Roma’s.  We don’t get there until 9:00pm MST and we are about the last people in the place.  We ate and headed back to the motel.

 

 

Day Five Sunday July 18th, 2004

 

We are up early and get breakfast at the motel.  We are on the road by 8:00am EST.  We are still tuned into Albany time, even though the local time is two hours earlier.  We get gas and head for Mount Evans.

 

I talked with numerous folks on the internet about Mount Evans.  I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t have any problems riding up.  Most of them assured me that it was no problem.  The scenery is fantastic as we leave Idaho Springs for the ride to Mount Evans Park.  It is about 10 or so miles to the park where we pay our fee and head up the mountain.   There are hundreds of brave souls on bicycles who are going to ride the 14 miles to the summit.  I still don’t see how they do it. 

 

I am not prepared for the fact that there are no guard rails along the road and Elaine is getting more nervous by the minute.  Every curve we go around there is a groan from the backseat.  I try to reassure her, but to no avail.  I have to admit that it is a bit un-nerving to look down the side of the mountain and there is nothing to stop you from going off the edge.  Thankfully there is very little traffic, most of which is going up like us.   I think that since it is early in the morning we are some of the first people going up, so we don’t have to deal with a lot of traffic coming down.  These are sure narrow roads. 

 

About half-way up the mountain, there is a small stopping area with a bathroom.  It is called Spirit Lake.  There is a beautiful lake, and great views.  Elaine tells me that she can’t go any farther.  I tell Elaine that we won’t go any farther, we will head down.  She pointed to a rock and said “You go on, I will wait for you right here”.  I argued for a minute, but then along came two more Goldwings headed to the top, and I fell in behind them. 

 

The road to the top the last 7 miles is even narrower, if that is possible, and there are a lot of switchbacks where you can barely see if anything is coming from the other direction.  It would have been a lot harder on me if the other bikes were not in front of me.  I could watch them and know what was coming up.  They also instilled more confidence in me  If they can do it, so can I.

 

We made it to the top.  WOW!   WOW!  WOW!  PICTURE! PICTURE! PICTURE!  This is fantastic.  I am 14,300 feet high.  Other than flying, I have never been this high (off the ground that is).  It is so cold up here; I can see my breath, what little there is of it.  It is hard for me to climb the steps to the observation points, but I did.  Pictures, Pictures, and more pictures.  I feel guilty for leaving Elaine back there, but I am thankful she did not make the ride up the last section.  She would have never made it without having heart failure.  I don’t know if I could have made it with her on the back.  Having a passenger adds a whole lot of different parameters to the way the bike handles.

 

Talked to the other two guys, they were from Minnesota.   They were doing a lot of traveling in the Colorado area.  One was riding an 1800 the other a 1500.  On the ride back to Spirit Lake to pick up Elaine, I rounded a curve and there is a bunch of mountain goats.  I stop and take a few pictures of them.  They are the only goats I see on the whole trip.

 

Elaine is patiently waiting for me when I get back to the rest area.  She explained to me that she remembered the time when we were in Maui and headed to Hanna.  The other couple wimped out on us and convinced us to turn around and go back.  We have always been sorry we did not get to see this part of Maui.  She said she did not want me to feel that way about Mount Evans, so she sent me on alone.  I really am glad to have made that trip to the top.  I think I would have regretted it, if I had not gone all the way up.

 

We got back to the bottom with a few more groans from the back.  I’m not faulting her, because I don’t think I could have ridden on the back of the bike, with no control, on those roads.  I probably would have been doing more than groaning.  I would have had to ride with my eye closed.  Elaine did manage to get a lot of great pictures from the back.

 

We got back on I-70 and headed west again.  We have Leadville in our sights.  We get off at an exit that goes to Breckenridge, and it is starting to rain.  We pull off into a restaurant and get a bite to eat and wait out the rain.  We were remembering yesterday and the rain we had to endure, and we were wondering if we should go on.  After lunch, we made the decision to go on to Leadville.  Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the US. 

 

We were only in Leadville for a few moments.   Long enough to walk down the street and take a few pictures.  We are off again, this time to Aspen.  The GPS tells me we can’t go the way we are going, and still get to Aspen.  We ignore the GPS and continue on.  Again there is great scenery and we are back on roads with no guard rails and the side of the road is straight down.  Elaine has gotten a little calmer at this point, as I hear less groans from the back.

 

We stop at Independence Pass, which is a little over 12,000 feet in elevation.  We found two guys and a girl riding three BMW’s who are taking a picture at the sign for Independence Pass.  We offer to take their picture in return for them taking our picture.  They are from the Denver area on a weekend trip.  Wow it must great to be able to ride in this type of country any time you like.  I guess you never appreciate what you have.

 

Down the mountain through Aspen, and then back out to I-70.  As we pass the airport on the outskirts of Aspen, we realize just how rich these folks are.  Almost every airplane sitting at the airport is some sort of small private jet, and there are a bunch of them.  Please keep in mind, that when I say small private jet, I mean anything less than a commercial airliner.  Some of these planes are really fairly large.  I don’t see anything with a propeller. I guess if you feel the need to get back in a hurry, you might as well do it in style.

 

We pass through a lot of bright red hills.  It is almost like someone took Georgia red clay, and made mountains out of it.  It is amazing just how red they are.

 

Once we get on I-70, it is 70 mph and over 100 miles to go to get back.  About 50 miles west of Denver, the traffic comes to a complete stop.  Bumper to bumper as far as we can see.  All of a sudden, a wrecker blocks our side of the road and we are stuck there while he pulls a truck out of the ditch and gets him loaded.   After traffic gets moving again, I figure everything is alright and we will be back at 70 again.  Wrong, within a couple of miles we are bumper to bumper again.  We manage to get off on a side road and make a little time, but then it backs up also.

 

Listening to the CB we find out that this traffic jamb happens every Sunday as traffic is trying to get back into Denver.  The person on the CB said that all of the people leave Denver on the weekends, go to the surrounding mountains, and then they all try to get back on Sunday afternoon.  What should have taken about 2 hours, takes about 3 hours.

 

 

Day Six Monday July 19th, 2004

 

Elaine has to catch a flight back today.  We leave the motel around 6:30 am, her heading to the airport, me to Durango and southern Colorado.  My front brake is starting to scrub; I make a note to keep an eye on it.

 

Most of the morning I am in the mountains, but around middle of the morning, I break out into what looks like a high meadow area.  I am at 6 or 7 thousand feet, but the land around me is flat as a pancake with a few mountains in the distance.  It stays like this until I turn south in Montrose for what we be the last hurrah through high mountains. 

 

Highway 550 from Montrose to Durango is called the Million Dollar Highway because of the views.  As amazing as this road is, I believe some of the other areas of Colorado were better.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of beautiful things to look at.  There are also lots of old mines.  A lot of these old mines are being fixed up to look nice.  Mostly for the tourists I’m sure.

 

I decide to make a stop and get a pack of crackers and a coke.  I come to a little stream that is tumbling out of the mountains and under the road.  The spot is fantastic and plenty of room to park and enjoy the view.  After about 10 minutes, I look up and there are two guys climbing down the side of the hill along side of the stream.  They look a little on the scruffy side, and there is no vehicle around for them to be leaving in.  I don’t know why, but the closer they got to the bottom, the more nervous I became.  I finally closed up the trailer, got on the bike and left before they got to the bottom.

 

As I come down out of the mountains, it is starting to rain.  There is an unusual amount of construction going on and the traffic is stopped many times.  As I get to Durango, it really starts to rain hard.  I pull into what looks like an old drive-in restaurant like Sonic with the speakers on the poles.  It is a Mexican place, and I don’t know if the speakers are used or not.  There is no one sitting in their cars, they are all inside.  It is a good thing I stopped, because now it is hailing.  The sound of the hail hitting the metal roof is really loud.

 

My brake is making a lot of noise now, so I decide to find a Honda shop and get it looked at.  I get out my GWRRA Gold Book and looked up the local Honda Dealer.  I get the address and enter it into my GPS, and when this rain stops, I will go there.  It is only a mile away. 

 

The rain stops, so I head out to get the bike looked at.  The GPS says the place is right here on the right side of the road.  I don’t see any Honda Shop, only a gas station.  Oh God, it is starting to rain again and not just a little, a lot.  Do I go on or turn around?  I am already wet so I turn around and make another pass at the address.  Still no Honda shop.  I go around the block, still nothing.  I give up.

 

I head for Four Corners.  On the way out of Durango, I stop to get gas.  It dawns on me that I am hungry so I go inside and get a hot dog.  I eat it on the road out of Durango.

 

Three days of mountains and before you can say Southern Colorado, it is flat mesas and desert looking terrain.  You look out and there is a bluff or mesa running along the road.  It is only a couple of hundred feet high, but it goes on forever.  Then all of a sudden there is one round (not really round, but cylinder shaped) chunk of rock sprouting out of the ground with nothing around it but sand and gravel.

 

The desert is nice to look at when you first arrive, but it gets old fast.  Sagebrush, rocks, and sand everywhere.  Still off in the distance are the mesas and rock formations, but they are getting farther away.  I enter New Mexico (11) for the first time just before arriving at Four Corners.

 

Four Corners is the only spot in the United States where four states meet at one point.  Of course they charge you to go into the little area where the marker is located.  There is nothing here but a monument marking the spot, and a bunch a little shops surrounding it.  You can stand on the monument, and in essence, you are standing in four states at once.

As I walk around the monument, I leave New Mexico, enter Colorado, then Utah (12), and on to Arizona (13).   I am really tired after walking through 4 states, I think I will sit down and rest.

 

I walk over to the monument and climb up on a little wooden platform and take a picture of the monument.  I never took time to read the sign that said only two people on the platform at a time and of course I was the third person.  As I was climbing down a family was walking out onto the monument to have their picture taken, when the father told them “Not yet”, they asked why, and he said “It says that only two people at a time can be on the platform, and there are already two people up there”.  Actually there were three including me.  I am not sure if he was saying that for my benefit or because he was so anal about following the rules to the letter.  If it was meant for me, it didn’t work.  After shopping at the Indian shops around the perimeter, I walked back to the monument, handed my camera to someone who was up on the platform and got him to take my picture.

 

Well, I have been here longer than I normally stay at any place.  I might have spent 30 minutes touring the Four Corners Site.  It is time to leave

 

Right after leaving, I enter Arizona.  I probably drove maybe a total of 10 or 15 miles in Arizona before crossing back into New Mexico.  More desert, more sagebrush, and more sand.  Did I say the desert is boring?  If not let me say it now

 

I am heading for Farmington New Mexico.  There is a guy that hangs out on the GL1800 website who lives here.  I cannot remember his last name (I can now as I write this, but not when I was there).  His first name is Tom.  He is a retired crop duster who loves to ride his 1800 Goldwing.  At last count he has over 130,000 miles on a 2001 Illusion Red.

 

I probably should have stopped in Farmington to spend the night, as it was the last place between there and Albuquerque that had up to date motels.  I had planned to go through Taos New Mexico, but changed my mind at the last minute and headed for Albuquerque.  I was only going through Taos because the cowboy policeman on TV was from there.   I ended up staying a hole in the wall in Cuba New Mexico.

 

 

Day Seven Tuesday July 20th 2004

 

I am still on Georgia time, so I am up at 3:30 am local time and I hit the road.  The only thing open in whole town is a gas station.  I figure to make at least Arkansas today and maybe further.  Of course there is nothing to look at because it is dark.  The road is a four lane divided highway, and I stay in the left lane on my side.  Even with the great headlights, I don’t want any surprises jumping up from the side of the road.  I am wearing a t-shirt and a light jacket and I am comfortable.

 

It is still dark when I turn onto I-40 in Albuquerque.  I need gas so I make plans to stop as soon as I get out of town a little.  I don’t have any idea why, but just as I am leaving the main part of the city, it feels like someone just opened the freezer door.  I am about to freeze.  I stop to get gas and put on my snow mobile outfit, and heavy gloves.  I ride with this on until I stop again for gas and some breakfast in Tucumcari.  Wow, I am making great time.

 

There is not much to say about New Mexico or the panhandle of Texas (14).  Nothing but rocks and sagebrush.  I do notice that all of the trees are leaning north from the effects of the wind.  It seems to blow constantly, making me ride at an angle to compensate.  It is particularly bad when you pass a truck.  You are leaning to compensate for the wind until you pull along side of the truck.  Now the truck is blocking the wind, so you are back upright.  As soon as you pass the truck, the wind hits you again, and now it back to leaning.  I passed two trucks one time, and forgot about the wind, and when I passed the last one, the wind almost blew me off of the road.  I was more careful the next time.

 

I remember that as I am leaving Texas and entering Oklahoma (15), it is getting real hot.  I stop at a rest stop and drink a bottle of water.  I also take a wash cloth and wet it in the cooler and wipe myself down with it.  I keep the washcloth in the left compartment and bring it out every so often and wipe my face and arms with it.

 

After passing through Oklahoma City, I stop at a rest stop.  While there I talked with a guy who was hitchhiking about how hard it is to get a ride.  I offer him a soda, which he is glad to get, and he tells me he has been on the road for a couple of weeks.  He is divorced and is trying to get back to wherever to see his kids.  He told me that truckers were his best ride; most families don’t want to pick up hitchers.  I told him “You might be the nicest guy in the world, but I would not pick you up, there are too many rotten people out there”.  He understood.

 

As I was backing out of my parking space using reverse. The bike locked up.  I turned off the reverse, and pushed backwards manually, that seemed to work okay.  I wonder what caused that.  As I am merging into traffic, I have to slow down a little.  When I pulled on the front brake lever, it was mush.  I had no front brake.  Traffic was real heavy so I decided to go on to the next exit.  I didn’t want to be stuck on the side of the road.  I took the next exit and pulled into a gas station, where I discovered the brake pad on the right outside was hanging down.  Another call to HRCA to get someone to come and get me.

 

They told me where they were going to tow me, so out comes the Gold Book and I looked up the name of the dealer I was going to and called them.  They were very nice, and said they would be expecting me.  HRCA called back and told me that they couldn’t find anyone to tow me.  I am 40 miles from the capital of Oklahoma and there is no one to tow me?  Makes a lot of sense to me….NOT.

 

A few minutes later the service manager called and said he was sending a couple of his guys out to get me.  Now it is a race against time to get the bike back to the dealership in time for them to close.  We made it.  Grabbed my stuff and one of the guys dropped me off at the Motel 6 where I had made a reservation while waiting to be picked up.  I had also tried to get a rental car, but they closed at 6:00pm and if you weren’t there by 6:00, you had to go to the airport to get a car.  So now I am stuck at the Motel 6 with no ride.

 

My GPS mount broke today so I decided to walk to Home Depot about a mile away.  Bought some J B Weld to repair the mount with.  I put multiple layers of J B Weld on it, but it broke again as soon as I tried to use it the next day.  Well, at least it talks to me, and tells me where to turn, even if I can’t see the screen.

 

 

 

 

Day 8 Wednesday July 21, 2004

 

Wait, wait, wait, Oklahoma Honda doesn’t open till 9:00 am CST.  I call a cab and arrive at the Honda shop at 9:00.  The service manager calls me over to the bike and says I ought to take some pictures of the reversed valve stem, which I do.  They also informed me that when Budke fixed my bike in Nebraska, they did not put my brake pad back in properly.  That is what has been causing the scraping noise.  They get me back on the road around 12:00 noon.

 

When I go to pay for the work they have done, I notice that they didn’t charge me for towing my bike.  The service manager says since he is not a licensed tow shop he cannot charge me.  I tell him it is unfair, as he sent out two guys and truck and spent 3 hours of their time to not get paid for it.  He said to just go ahead and for me not to worry about it.  I did, but still feel bad about the situation.  If I am ever in Dell City Oklahoma again I will stop in and see them.  If you live near there, I highly recommend them as good people to do business with.

 

About 100 miles from Oklahoma City, I have the brilliant thought that GPS Discount, where I bought my GPS is somewhere in Oklahoma.  I can get a new mount for it there.  I call Melissa and she looks it up on the web and gives me the address.  I punch in the address, and wouldn’t you know; it is located just a little north of Oklahoma City.  What would have been an easy detour this morning would be a major commute this afternoon.   I am not going to backtrack that far.

 

The rest of the day is kind of uneventful as I pass on through Oklahoma.  I enter Arkansas (16) around mid afternoon, and turn south.  The only thing I can remember about Arkansas is a sign I saw by a penitentiary which read “Penitentiary Area Beware of Hitchhikers”.  Maybe this has been a problem in the past, otherwise why would you put up a sign.  Late in the afternoon, I enter Louisiana (17) for a few miles before entering Mississippi (18).  It is time to set down and find a place to spend the night.  I was supposed to be home tonight.

 

I got a call from Melissa that we have had a drowning in a pool we are building.  It appears that a 16 year old child was having a problem when the grandfather jumped in to save him.  A bug man, who was next door, heard the commotion and came to help.  He was able to get the child out but not the grandfather.  This is the first drowning in one of my pools that I can remember.

 

Day Nine Thursday July 22, 2004

 

I leave early in the morning and have crossed Mississippi by the time the sun comes up.  Now all that is left is Alabama (18) and then back to Georgia.  This is a very uneventful day, as I am trying to get home.  Most of Alabama and Georgia are two lane roads.

 

I saved my lunch till I got to Cuthbert Georgia, and ate at the Piget BBQ House.  It is one of my favorite places.  It is the first place I ever ate bar-b-que.  My dad took me there when we were in Cuthbert many years ago.  We also built most of the first part of the restaurant.

 

Stopped by to see Wilson Holloway (Honda of Albany) and ask him about the rotor on my bike.  We determined that it would be alright.

 

Afterthoughts

 

When I did my final calculations, I found I had been 5000 miles in 9 days.  I would have made it in 8 if I hadn’t broken down.

 

I did not find the ride out and back very taxing.  I like to ride long distance, I find it a challenge.

 

The highest price I paid for gas was in Estes Park in northern Colorado at $2.15 per gallon.

 

The highest miles per gallon was riding double in the mountains.  With Elaine and I and the trailer, I got around 48 mpg.

 

The lowest mpg was interstate riding at 78 mph pulling the trailer.  I got around 34 mpg.

 

The best day of the whole trip was the 5th day.  Mount Evans, Leadville, and Aspen.  I think we saw more of the mountains and real pretty country that day.

 

I think this ole Georgia boy won’t have a need to go to the dessert southwest again.  I got real tired of sand and sagebrush.

 

Home Up Next