Archive for the ‘motorcycle touring’ Category

Eight Months Away But The OFMC 2018 Trip Is Set

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
motorcycles parked alongside the road.

On the road with the OFMC in 2008.

I did what I said, I just made the decisions for next year’s OFMC motorcycle trip and told the guys where we’re going. They think it’s a great plan. Fine.

And I think it’s going to be a good trip. We’ll be going some places the group has never gone before and with any luck we won’t roast in southern New Mexico in July. I suggested we move the date to a cooler time but nobody else agreed with me. Don’t complain if it gets hot, OK?

We’ll start out headed for Lake San Isabel. The lodge there has numerous cabins large enough to accommodate all of us so that will be an inexpensive night. And it’s a nice place.

Next day we’ll head on to Angel Fire, New Mexico. There are not a lot of options there so we’re pretty much stuck with the Lodge at Angel Fire.

Then on to Ruidoso, and this stop encompasses several things that are mandatory on any OFMC trip. We’ll stay at an Indian casino where there is gambling, we’ll stay two days and play golf one of those days, and it’s posh. I’m not into posh but the rest of the guys have gotten pretty snooty over the years and they like this kind of thing. I can live with it.

From there we go to Silver City and this is much more my style. We’ll be staying in one of the old, but nicely renovated, hotels downtown. Downtown Silver City is a lively, funky place with a lot of artist types. This will be nice.

Then there’s no really good option so I chose Gallup. When John and Bill and I stayed there one night many years ago, when it was just us three on the trip, we ended up in a totally skanky place because the only other options were mucho expensivo. Fortunately, over the years they have built several much nicer, run-of-the-mill chain motels so we can at least stay at a decent place without forking over our childrens’ inheritance.

Next will be Ouray. Ouray is my favorite small town in Colorado and somehow the group has never stayed there. I’m looking forward to that one. Of course, this is very near where John lives–John who is an original member of the OFMC but who has given up riding due to health reasons. So maybe John will drive on down and join us for a night.

From there we head home, going only as far as Buena Vista. Somehow we have never stayed in Buena Vista before, either, so this will be a first.

And then on home. And maybe for the 2018 trip I won’t be sick and end up cutting my ride short after the second night, the way I was forced to do this year. That was a total bummer. I’m looking for 2018 to be better–a lot better.

Biker Quote for Today

Some do drugs, some drink bottles; we solve our problems with wide open throttles.

Biker Buddy Latest Sharing App For Bikers

Monday, October 30th, 2017
Biker Buddy website.

The Biker Buddy website.

Everyone is familiar with AirBnB, right? Well, how about something very similar aimed specifically at those of us who ride motorcycles? That’s Biker Buddy. And let me hasten to point out that the URL for this outfit is not “.com” but “.co.” (And just in case I need to be even clearer, that second period between the quote marks is not part of the quote or url, it is the end of the sentence. That’s the way we do it in the U.S., although the Brits put that period outside the quotes.)

I have written many times about the Motorcycle Travel Network and yes, Biker Buddy appears to be a direct competitor for them. The MTN is more casual and you pay less to stay with someone; Biker Buddy handles it all–including payment–via an app and the rate is higher. Specifically, for MTN you pay the host $15 for one person or $20 for two, with each additional person an added $10. With Biker Buddy the fee is $40. And that $40 is a fee, whereas with MTN the $15 or $20 is considered a gratuity to cover expenses.

Technically what that would mean is that if you had a lot of guests via Biker Buddy you would need to deal with the IRS. Presumably the MTN gratuity would not be taxable, although the IRS might differ with that interpretation.

Biker Buddy is so new that I certainly don’t have any experience to relate about it, though I have signed up. Looking at the app, so far I only see a few others signed up in this region, all in Wyoming: three in Casper, one in Newcastle, and two in Upton. Then I see one up in Dickinson, North Dakota, as well. Members also in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas; near Austin, Texas; and near Nashville, Tennessee. That appears to be everybody at this moment.

So what we’re talking here is another way to find an inexpensive place to stay when you’re on the road, with people who share an interest in bikes. We have never had a bad experience with the Motorcycle Travel Network. If you’ve ever used AirBnB you should definitely jump on Biker Buddy. But heck, you really should have been using MTN for years already. I’m going with both.

Biker Quote for Today

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know when to just go riding.

Gerhard Was Our Latest MTN Visitor

Thursday, October 26th, 2017
Motorcycle Travel Network site.

I neglected to shoot a photo of Gerhard and his bike so I’m using this screenshot of the MTN site.

As I mentioned previously, we had another Motorcycle Travel Network visitor a couple days ago, Gerhard from Illinois. Once again we enjoyed meeting a fellow biker and were happy to have him stay with us.

Gerhard, who is 83 years old, is a serious rider. I’m not sure how many miles he has put on his bikes at this point but he told the story of renewing his driving license eight years ago. In Illinois you have to take and pass the riding portion of the motorcycle validation test. On his big BMW cruiser he was not able to navigate the cones and was afraid he would lose his accreditation. The tester, however, told him privately that he noticed his “400,000 miles” sticker on his bike and figured that if he has ridden 400,000 miles on a motorcycle and is still alive then he was not going to deny him a renewal on his license.

So that was eight years ago; I don’t know how many miles he has added since then.

It was interesting, too, because I know just what Gerhard was facing. When I first got my motorcycle accreditation on my driver’s license I had no choice but to take the test on my Honda 750. That’s a big bike to take the driving test on. I failed it the first time but passed it the second time by intuitively revving the engine, dragging the rear brake, and working the clutch to walk the bike slowly and deliberately around the cones.

I told Gerhard about this and said he could easily do the same and he surprised me saying that yes, I could do it because I’m an expert, but he is not an expert. He has ridden probably more than 500,000 miles on a motorcycles and he does not consider himself an expert? Really?

But then I think about the guys I ride with and I understand what he’s saying. Dennis is the one in our group who has ridden more than anyone. And yet I’ve seen in numerous instances a demonstration that Dennis does not understand this same simple procedure for controlling the bike at very slow speeds. I gave a demonstration once riding my bike in a U-turn on a narrow road and then watched as each of the other guys jockeyed their bikes back and forth making a series of Y’s to get turned around. Guys, did you not see what I just did? You really can do it if you try.

So Gerhard is no “expert” rider. Well, he certainly is a distance rider. He came here from Kanab, Utah, in one day–600 miles. And he left the next day headed for Lincoln, Nebraska. That’s a shorter distance, and one that I myself have ridden in a day a couple times, but still what I consider a long way. I’ve never ridden 600 miles in a day. And then Gerhard was planning to ride the rest of the way home, to Illinois the next day.

And remember, he’s 83. Good for you Gerhard, keep going as long as you can. I hope to do the same.

Biker Quote for Today

Imagine life without motorcycles. Now slap yourself and never do it again!

Getting My Fix

Monday, October 23rd, 2017
motorcycle above lake

A rest stop on the OFMC’s first California trip.

When you’re seriously addicted to cruising on two wheels you’ll go to extremes to get your fix. I know I did when a company I once worked for sent me to Sacramento for a month. This was going to be an opportunity to ride some fabulous roads in a place too far from home for us to reach on our usual summer trips. How could I possibly spend a month in California and not have a bike to ride? I couldn’t.

My first thought was to ride my Honda from Denver to Sacramento so I would have it there. Instead, I took a simpler approach: I flew to Sacramento and bought a bike when I got there.

I arrived in Sacramento, picked up a rental car, checked into my hotel, and went to work the next day. As soon as work was over I drove to PCP Motorsports and asked to speak to the manager. Don “Badge” Bajurin, one of the owners, came out. “I’m going to be here for four weeks,” I told him, “and I’ve got to have a bike. Can we set something up where I’ll buy one of your used bikes and then you agree to buy it back from me, at a lower price, when I’m ready to leave?”

The thing about motorcycle dealers like Badge is they generally love bikes as much as or more than their customers. With the very clear understanding that if I crashed the bike the repurchase deal was off, he agreed. I seem to have gotten lucky, too, because Badge told me no other dealer in town would have made that kind of deal. But he was friends with Fay Myers, who runs a dealership in Denver, and he loves to go ride in Colorado on a bike provided by Myers. He understood the reverse was true for me. And I had a bike, a 1984 Honda Nighthawk 550.

False Start
I waited impatiently for the weekend and come Saturday morning I was rarin’ to go. But the bike wasn’t. Being in an unfamiliar place, with my bike parked in the open, I had taken a security measure I normally do not: I had locked the fork. The only problem was, in my unfamiliarity with this procedure, I had set it in a position where the fork was locked but the headlight was also on. Of course the battery was dead when I tried to start it.

I didn’t know that was the problem, though, so I called Badge. He sent a truck over to pick up the bike and they took it to the shop, checked it out, and charged the battery. Then they hauled it back to me, and they did this all at no charge. Nice guys!

And then I took off. With the late start I just blasted down through the Napa Valley on my way to Oakland, where I had friends and would spend the night. We went riding in the hills behind Oakland the next day and then it was back to Sacramento.

The following weekend I had to work on Saturday so that only left me Sunday. Being chronically overambitious, I figured I’d just take a quick cruise down through Yosemite National Park. That turned out to be one heck of a long day, much longer than I had anticipated, but a lot of fun just the same.

Saving the Best for Last
The best came last. On my third and final weekend I had two days and I took advantage of them. I headed west through Davis, up a canyon to Lake Berryessa. I stopped in the canyon and saw a huge blue heron take flight. I then looped around the southern end of the lake, on nice twisty roads, down into Napa Valley. I stopped at a couple wineries and then headed for the coast.

Through incredible good luck, I cut over on what proved to be a narrow, winding, often one-lane road through dense forest, along sheer hillsides, up and down, with curves galore. Following this Skaggs Springs Road I finally reached the ocean at Stewart’s Point, where I headed south along the coast on the fabled Highway 1. My stop for the night was Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.”

In the morning I continued south to Point Reyes Station and then cut inland. From the coast to the Sonoma Valley to the Napa Valley to the Sacramento Valley it was one narrow, twisting road after another where my little 550 Nighthawk could really shine. What an absolutely glorious time!

Then it was time to sell the bike back to Badge and head home to Denver. This addict had gotten the fix of his lifetime.

Biker Quote for Today

We know you’re a poser if you’re too cool to wave at the kids in the mom-mobile in front of you.

Wanting What You Have

Monday, September 18th, 2017
motorcycle on Royal Gorge bridge

The Royal Gorge bridge. This obviously was before the big fire a couple years ago.

One of the newer members of the OFMC commented a few years ago that a big part of our summer motorcycle trips, for him, is going a really long distance. It seems he liked returning from vacation and wowing the folks at work with how far we’d gone and the exotic places we’d been to.

The subject came up because John and I were using our weight as founding members of the group, not to mention the two most involved in planning each year, to establish the decision that our next trip would be an all-Colorado ride. Living in Colorado as we all do, it’s just not as exotic to say you went to Telluride. But hey, people come from all over the world to visit Telluride, and ride the roads of Colorado. Staying in the state would make for a more relaxed trip, and knowing the state as well as we do, we could ensure a fabulous trip. Our desires prevailed.

We chose Cripple Creek as our meeting point. With guys coming from different places and arriving at different times, that seemed like a good spot for the early birds to hang out while waiting. Cripple Creek is an old mining town now reborn as a gambling town, and the roads getting there are worth the trip even if you don’t gamble.

With the crowd together we then headed south out of town on a little county road that wanders through the forest and the hills before emerging a bit north of Canon City. Canon City is the locale of the Royal Gorge, where a suspension bridge crosses the Arkansas River about 1,053 feet below. For an added treat, we took the back way in to the park, on one of the narrowest, windiest pieces of asphalt I’ve ever seen. Heck, I didn’t even know there was a back way; I thought it was a dead end. Thank John for this bit of info.

Crossing the bridge is a thrill. It sways and shudders and if you’re afraid of heights it can be more than a little scary. Of course we stopped and shot pictures of us and the bikes on the bridge. Then we cruised on to Canon City where we made a point to ride Skyline Drive.

To picture Skyline Drive, think of a 200-foot tall brontosaurus and riding up the very ridge of his back. The road itself is barely 12 feet wide and it’s most definitely one-way. At the top you overlook downtown Canon City and it’s a great view.

Our next stop was Bishop Castle, a ways south of Canon City. This life-size castle is being built by one man, Jim Bishop, and it’s straight out of your wildest imagination of the medieval ages, complete with fire-breathing dragon. Forget about building codes because this is officially a work of art, not a building. Jim Bishop went to court to establish that fact. Translated that means it takes more and more guts to keep going higher and higher in this thing. And you can. You can climb all over it.

Lacking space here to go into detail, I’m going to list what came next. We crossed over Independence Pass to Aspen and then took McClure Pass over into the Grand Valley. We skirted along the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, rode past Blue Mesa Reservoir, and up to Lake City. From there it was over Slumgullion Pass down to Creede and then over Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs.

At that point we did exit Colorado just for a bit, dipping down into New Mexico, to Chama, and then back into Colorado along the road to Antonito. In Antonito we visited Cano’s Castle, sort of smaller version of Bishop Castle built almost entirely out of cans and other scrap. From there it was south to New Mexico again, to Taos. Then we went northwest, back into Colorado, to Durango, over Red Mountain Pass to Ouray, to Montrose. At that point the trip was over and we scattered each in our own directions.

Biker Quote for Today

The only thing better than a biker chick is . . . absolutely nothing!!

Too Much Like ‘The Shining’

Thursday, September 14th, 2017
Bear Lodge

The place John was headed, not the creepy place we stayed.

Have you ever been out on the road and stayed at a really creepy place? I’m not talking about dumps. Heck, we’ve stayed in plenty of those, like the place in Kemmerer, WY, where it turned out the three rooms next to ours didn’t have roofs. You see, they’d had a fire awhile back . . .

No, I’m talking about places that make you think of that old Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall flick, “The Shining.” Or maybe the Bates Motel from “Psycho.” The OFMC stayed in one of those places some years ago.

Some years prior to that, on our annual OFMC motorcycle road trip, we had been crossing the Big Horn mountains up in Wyoming going east on US 14. We were pressing on to Sheridan that day but coming around a bend we scooted past a lodge with some cabins that struck me as very appealing and perhaps a place to plan on stopping in the future.

Skip ahead some years and our route was taking us back over the Big Horns, this time from east to west. John and I agreed that there was this place up there where we wanted to spend the night, but when I pulled in to the lodge I had in mind it wasn’t the same one he had in mind. Didn’t matter; it was a nice-looking place.

Shall we just say the people running the place were a little odd? Taking care of prospective guests seemed to be the last thing on their mind, and we kind of got the feeling we weren’t welcome. It almost felt like, to them, we didn’t even exist. At John’s suggestion we mounted up again and went on another 10 miles or so to the place he had been thinking of.

The problem with that place, however, was that it cost more than double what the first place was asking. Reluctantly, we headed back. Standing at the front desk, no one seemed interested in taking our money. And again it was like we didn’t exist. I finally got very pushy, corralled someone and demanded to be registered, and they deigned to check us in and give us keys.

Getting dinner in their restaurant was the same. Hello, is there anyone who would like to wait on us?

We finally ate and spent some time shooting the bull on the deck outside our rooms, talking about how weird this place was. Would “Here’s Johnny!” be awakening us from our slumbers? But the night passed uneventfully, with the exception of Dennis’s Gold Wing falling over as its sidestand sunk deeply into the rain-saturated gravel of the parking lot.

In the morning we agreed to eat breakfast up the road. Good-bye. So long. We won’t be troubling you any further. Just one final chill down our spines as we left, to send us on our way.

Biker Quote for Today

You can’t always go back but you can always go further.

A First-Timer Rides To Sturgis

Monday, September 11th, 2017

I don’t often accept guest posts but when Chris Ward approached me I decided to give him a shot. Here’s Chris’s story.

Chris Ward on his Harley

Chris Ward

The Best Things About Sturgis

As an avid rider who decided to take off from my office parking lot in Aptos, California, and head to Sturgis for the first time ever this summer, I can tell you quite a bit about the ride north, the people I met along the way and the exciting things I saw once I arrived at the biggest motorcycle rally in the United States. You can read an itinerary on any biking site to see a list of things to do from one day to the next while at Sturgis, but those lists don’t tell you anything about the raw experience you’ll have and the memories you’ll hold for years to come.

First, I was determined to take the 1500+ miles ride alone and I mapped out a ride going through California as well as parts of Nevada and parts of Utah and Wyoming as I rode into South Dakota. I know there are some who will have their motorcycle shipped to get to Sturgis fast and not have the excess wear and tear on the bike, but for me, the ride was half of the fun and this was one trip I needed to take to relax, enjoy the scenery and feel like I was living life fully.

My Ride
The ride to Sturgis was long, dusty at times and extremely hot most of the way. I love to experience rides on the best roads in the U.S. I stopped at almost every roadside café, junk shop and convenience store along the way so I could grab a cold water, stretch my legs and see parts of the country I had never seen before. Oddly enough, I’ve travelled the world but have yet to see some of very heartland of America in person.

In Utah, just outside of St. George, I met up with a small group of bikers who were headed to Sturgis as well and as luck would have it, I was able to spend the rest of my road time riding alongside them. This gave me people to sit and chat with when we stopped to eat and fuel up along the way. It turned out, they were all students from Cabrillo College, a small community college right in Aptos where I live. Apparently, the world truly is small. These college kids were a hoot and I had some great laughs during the times we stopped.

We spent the night at a Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah, and had dinner at a local steak restaurant before retiring for the night. After some much-needed rest, we headed out before dawn to continue the last leg of the ride through Wyoming and into South Dakota to get to Sturgis by nightfall.

Entering Sturgis and Plans Gone Awry
Entering the actual grounds of Sturgis Motorcycle Festival was intriguing to me. Since this was my first year, I planned to go by a schedule of events I found online and I wanted to stick with the plan so I wouldn’t miss anything. As most things in life however, plans go awry and nothing goes as a person plans. Well, when it comes to sticking to a set itinerary, I blew it. When it comes to having the time of my life, it was incredible!

First, since I rode in with the guys I met on the highway, I decided to forego the first music show and I ended up hitting the campgrounds with them to check out the scenery and meet up with some of their friends who were already at Sturgis. From there, we decided to go bar hopping the first night. Word to the wise on bar hopping: Pace yourself if you indulge in a few drinks during the time spent at bars. This is a huge event and you won’t want to miss it by drinking too much and blurring your time at the rally.

A great thing about bar hopping is that every bar had a different band playing and each had great food. Whether you like traditional bar food including chips, burgers or fries or you like a good steak or a chicken dish, the bars have it all. They also have the coolest people from all over the U.S. and Canada and I even met a couple from France who came over just for Sturgis. I spent many hours my first day listening to bands playing everything from hillbilly Vegas style music to country, rock n’ roll, bluegrass, alternative and more. One of my personal favorites was seeing David Allen Coe and Bush play at the Iron Horse Saloon.

Road Trips Galore
When you decide to toss your itinerary, and go with the flow, you’ll find so much to do at Sturgis both inside the event and even down the road a little way. Every day after I arrived, some of the Cabrilo gang (that’s what I started calling them) and I would head down the road to see the sights near Sturgis. Did you know you can get to Mt. Rushmore and take a scenic cruise through the Badlands? I found some of the most amazing scenery in the country and it was all within 50 miles of Sturgis.

Advice to Heed
If you have never been to Sturgis, I urge you to start making plans now to attend the 78th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August 2018. This event is one for the record books and it’s one that I wish I had taken time to check out years ago. After the fun that I had and the new friends I met on the way to Sturgis as well as at the rally itself, it would take a lot to cause me to miss another one in the coming years. I have a few short tips for anyone who is thinking about going to Sturgis this coming year.

  1. Go. Don’t delay and don’t second guess! Pack a small bag, book a campsite or a hotel room and ride like the wind to get there. (Or drive your car or truck and have your bike hauled so you can ride it when you’re in Sturgis)
  2. Forget planning a schedule. The best way to enjoy Sturgis (in my opinion) is to just wander around, meet new people and try new things. If you want to see a musician that you love or specific show, stick to a schedule so you won’t miss your favs!
  3. Leave the rally and check out the roads beyond the event.

There’s so much to do at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and when it comes around next year, be sure to have plans to attend so you won’t miss out on all the fun. This is the one rally where no matter what kind of motorcycle you own, or even if you don’t have one at all, you’ll meet exciting people and will absolutely have the time of your life.

Biker Quote for Today

Five things I like almost as much as riding my motorcycle:
1. Looking at my motorcycle
2. Talking about my motorcycle
3. Watching TV programs that have people riding motorcycles
4. Websites about motorcycles
5. Beer

Examiner Resurrection: Alpine Loop Scenic Byway: Another Sweet Utah Motorcycle Road

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway

I go out of my way for terrific motorcycle roads and coming home from Tooele, UT, last week was no exception. I wanted to revisit American Fork Canyon and the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, which provide a great alternative route to Heber City and U.S. 40, which was my road back to Denver.

I’ve been this way before more than once. The OFMC discovered this road years ago thanks to a tip from a local and we ride it whenever we can. If you’re out in the Salt Lake City area you should make a point of riding it, too.

Fortunately, in the farflung reaches of the Salt Lake City metro area, the American Fork Canyon is easy to find, provided you know it exists. From I-15, exit east onto Utah 92 just south of Point of the Mountain and follow this road arrow straight to the cleft in the rock that is the mouth of the canyon. Then kiss the city good-bye, there’s none of that ahead.

You’ll quickly reach an entrance station for Timpanogos Cave National Monument but if you’re only passing through there is no fee. Should you pay the $6 fee and visit the monument? I have to admit we never have, but here’s what the official website says about the place.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument sits high in the Wasatch Mountains. The cave system consists of three spectacularly decorated caverns. Helictites and anthodites are just a few of the many dazzling formations to be found in the many chambers. As visitors climb to the cave entrance, on a hike gaining over 1,000 ft in elevation, they are offered incredible views of American Fork Canyon.

Make your way through the canyon, which is pretty spectacular in its own right, and then bear right to head on up the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. This is a winding, twisting, amazingly narrow strip of asphalt that loops up to Alpine Summit and then on down past Sundance Ski Resort. It hits U.S. 189 running through Provo Canyon and a left will take you up to Heber City and U.S. 40, or a right takes you down into Provo.

Biker Quote for Today

God makes the lightning, bikers make the thunder.

Doing The Dragon — By Accident

Monday, July 17th, 2017
Viewpoint on the Tail of the Dragon.

I had my camera on the wrong setting, so this photo is not as good as it might have been, but this is a scenic overlook along the Tail of the Dragon. That blur is a bike racing by, in case you couldn’t tell.

Judy and I were in Clemson, South Carolina, last week visiting my mother and planned to drive to Knoxville, Tennessee, via the Cherohala Skyway to fly home. Plans changed so we didn’t have time for the skyway, so we looked at a map and found a route that was pretty direct but also identified as scenic, US 129. A no-brainer.

I was aware of a good many motorcycles going the other way as we headed along north on this road, but there was a point where I started having a very strong suspicion. This was when we pulled into a small community with a whole lot–I mean a lot–of motorcycle stuff as well as a large, metal dragon. Judy asked Google and sure enough, we had inadvertently found ourselves in Deal’s Gap, on the Tail of the Dragon.

So OK, we were in a car, not on a bike, but there we were nonetheless. Now we would get to see what this fabled road is like.

And it wasn’t very much like what I had imagined. Through everything I’ve seen and read I had the impression that the Tail of the Dragon largely ran down a river valley with the road following the twists and turns of the stream. Frankly, my mental image of it was not anything I was terribly interested in. I can find plenty of twisty roads out here in Colorado. That wasn’t it at all.

In fact, the Dragon has plenty of ups and downs as well as all the curves. It’s not unlike a lot of twisty Colorado mountain roads, although you don’t get the kind of views you do here. First off, it’s not so high and the hills are not so high. Secondly, the tall deciduous trees block your view a lot.

Not that we didn’t enjoy the road. Our rental car was a subcompact that had energy and was quite agile. And living here I am totally comfortable driving roads with a lot of curves. We whipped along and it was fun.

Now, part of the enjoyment may have been due to the fact that this was a week-day and there was not that much traffic, and most of what there was was going the other direction. From what I hear, the Dragon is super busy on week-ends and that would have been less than wonderful.

One clue that really tells you you’re on the Dragon is all the photographers staked out along the road shooting pictures of everyone who goes by, with big banners telling you the website to go to order your photos.

We stopped at the overlook in the photo above and spoke there with a couple Canadian brothers who had ridden the road one direction, turned back to ride it the other way, and were now going back again to continue on their journey. They thought it was a pretty fun ride.

And now having driven it, I will say I would enjoy riding it. I never had any interest before but now I do. It’s a nicer road than I had pictured. It would be fun on a bike.

Biker Quote for Today

You’re only one bike ride away from a good mood.

Riding For The Fun Of It

Monday, June 5th, 2017
Up on Skyline Drive

Some of the folks on this ride had never been up on Skyline Drive, at Canon City.

Just home yesterday from a four-day ride with a bunch of folks. It was Willie’s birthday (and our wedding anniversary) so what the heck, why not go for a fun little excursion.

I’ve mentioned Willie and Jungle numerous times before. They live in Eagle and Willie runs a motorcycle tour company called Ball O’ String Custom Adventure Tours. Willie did the planning and organizing for this excursion so we knew we were guaranteed to have a good time.

We met up the first night down in Pueblo, Judy and I having taken the scenic route through the mountains to get there, rather than the interstate. At that point we had one Yamaha, two beemers, and us on my Concours. Plus there were a few folks in cars. Hey, no need to exclude people just because they don’t ride.

We had a birthday/anniversary party at the home of friends in the area and got the trip off to a good start.

Next morning we headed west out of Pueblo on CO 96, otherwise known as the Frontier Pathways Scenic & Historic Byway, to Wetmore, and then south until we hit the Greenhorn Highway, CO 165. This took us by Bishop Castle, though we didn’t stop at this point, on to Lake San Isabel and our quarters for the night at the San Isabel Lodge.

After unloading and settling in we headed back to Bishop Castle where we were to meet more folks. Just as we arrived the skies opened up so it got a bit wet and muddy, but what the heck. Everyone who had never seen Bishop Castle was properly impressed and those of us who had been there were–as always–interested in the ever-changing progress Jim Bishop has made since our last visits.

While there we also spoke with a couple guys on beemer dual-sports, one of whom had ridden the day before from Billings, Montana, to Denver, and the two of them had come here and were headed on yet to Creede that day. Serious riders here.

Back at the San Isabel Lodge we now had another Concours and two Harleys added to the group. One of the cabins had a huge main room, dubbed the Grand Ballroom, where everyone could gather and more birthday partying ensued.

Come morning some of the group rode directly to Cripple Creek but the majority of us went to Canon City where we rode the Royal Gorge train up through the canyon and back, with lunch served. Then it was on to Cripple Creek, with a detour to do the Skyline Drive loop. Then west on US 50 to pick up the back route to Cripple Creek.

Still more people joined us in Cripple Creek, so when we headed out to a dinner buffet there were 19 of us altogether. And once again Willie was serenaded with “Happy Birthday.”

Sunday morning then it was time for folks to go their separate ways. Judy and I headed north to Divide to pick up US 24, to Woodland Park, and then north the way we had come down originally. Lots more people–and a heck of a lot of motorcycles–on a Sunday than on the Thursday morning we had come down. And then back to Denver and home on US 285. It was a good little 450-mile, four-day run. And now, as always, we’ve got a whole lot of stuff to catch up on here at home. Ah, travel!

Biker Quote for Today

To every biker girl her helmet is her crown.