The Barber Trip That Wasn’t

Motorcycle in snow

This is what we woke up to our first morning on the road.

Judy and I headed out on this Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Riders Club (RMMRC) “Pilgrimage to Barber” but we never got there. Mother Nature intervened.

The group was planning to leave on Saturday but Judy and I didn’t want to do the 450-mile day entailed in going all the way to McPherson, Kansas. We decided to leave on Friday and make that stretch a two-day trip. I found what appeared to be a delightful BnB in Coolidge, Kansas, and made a reservation.

Meanwhile, weather reports were saying a big winter storm was blowing in. The rest of the group decided to leave on Friday, too, and book a second night at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, so as to get the rest of the trip (and motel reservations!) back on track. We figured fine, we’d meet up with them in Eureka Springs instead of McPherson. We figured we’d be fine, because we would stay ahead of the storm.


We rode to Coolidge that first day and the BnB was everything I hoped it would be. If you’re ever out there and need to stop for the night I strongly recommend the Trail City Bed & Breakfast. It’s clean and very attractive, exceedingly well maintained, comfortable, and Lori is a great cook. Plus, it’s dirt cheap.

In the morning we got up to what you see in that photo above. OK, let’s think about this.

First off, you’ll notice that the pavement is only wet. It was windy for sure but the roads appeared clear, and after vacillating all morning I finally said let’s go for it. The weather radar was telling us if we could get east of Garden City we would be out of the snow. Into rain probably, but not snow. And Garden City was only 69 miles away.

We didn’t get that far. We were happy to make it 42 miles to Lakin where we pulled in to the first motel we saw. The wind was blowing like a banshee and the roads were not as clear as they had been in Coolidge. I’ll tell you about that 42 miles in my next post.

We stayed in Lakin three days. We had no choice. We were snowed in and the following day the highway was officially closed.

In the morning we were clearly snowbound. There were eight inches on the ground, it was still coming down hard, and the wind was still blowing like a banshee. Also, the power was out, so there was no heat in the motel. The road was closed because the powerlines had fallen down all along the highway.

Long story short, it was two more days before we could leave. We got east of Garden City and we both immediately noticed that the temperature went up 10 degrees. And there was no snow anywhere to be seen. So if we only could have gotten past there . . .

Initially we figured we would catch up with the group even later, and eventually later stretched to after they had visited the Barber Motorsports Museum–the object of this pilgrimage–and were headed back. But after three days in Lakin we decided to just go on to Wichita and visit a cousin of mine who I hadn’t seen in 60 years. And after that we went down to Oklahoma City and visited a nephew of mine and met his wife for the first time.

Then we spent three days getting back to Denver, playing tourist, stopping at several national park units, and seeing new country. It was a good three days.

Nearing home, we ran into a downpour between Elizabeth and Franktown, suited up, immediately rode out of the rain, started to cook in the rain gear, but then got closer to town and saw dark clouds. Sure enough, the last five miles home was in another downpour. And that was our 10-day trip.

Biker Quote for Today

What if I told you you need to actually ride a motorcycle to be a biker?


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