Ride West: Day 17 Part Two Begins
Jon and I parted ways today in Walsenburg, Colorado, as he headed east toward Wichita and I turned north to Westminster (Denver) where I would meet up with the Twisted Riders, nine friends of Brian Brannon and mostly from Indiana.
Before we split up, Brother Jon and I had another great ride through New Mexico and Colorado, though it was one of the cooler rides we had with temperatures in the low to upper 50s for much of the morning. Because of the temperature, and only because of the temperature, we thought it wise to stop about two hours into the ride and warm up. So, we each devoured a huge slice of warm blueberry pie and a cup of coffee at 9 a.m at the Elkhorn Cafe in Chama, New Mexico. Good thing the pie was warm because the cafe was as cold inside as it was outside.
Scenic Highway 17 in Mexico and Colorado was a real treat for our final ride through the mountains. We rode through several National Forests and over a 10,200 foot pass and, at times caught sight of a vintage coal-fired, black-smoke-belching excursion train chugging along its tracks hauling tourists to Chama so they could ride back down again. I’m sure their’s was a pleasant ride, but I prefer two wheels not attached to tracks.
Our final 2,000 foot dive out of the Rockies put us in Walsenburg, which didn’t seem to have any particular redeeming qualities, though I suspect the people who call it home must find it appealing in an odd sort of way.
Jon had planned on going only a few hundred more miles and finishing his ride home Sunday, but he called a little while ago from Wichita to let me know that he rode the more than 700 miles and was home by 10 p.m. Amazing what feats of motorcycle daring do can be accomplished on a new tire. Jon had a long first day ten days ago and a long last day today, but I think he eight pretty good days in between.
I arrived in Westminster about 3:30, 20 minutes after the 10 Twisted Riders checked into the hotel. Quick introductions were made and we saddled up and made a lightening run to Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, which overlooks the entire city of Denver spread out below and the beginning of prairie extending eastward to Kansas. It is also the burial site of Col. William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody and his wife; they must have liked the view from the top, but that was before Denver had spread out like an urban ooze.
The short ride to Lookout Mountain was a good introduction for me to the type of riding we’ll be doing in the next week. Aggressive, but not over the top. It’s going to be another great week on the bike. If tonight’s raucous dinner at the Bonefish Grill is any indication, this group is going to be a lot of fun.
Tomorrow: Into the mountains (again) and through Rocky Mountain National Park.