Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another Day in the WInd

First thing every morning... ok the second thing... but that other first... well... we'll just keep that private :-P so the second First thing is Sunrise Coffee.

 Which is a slight problem... when you've left your cup a few hundred miles away... well, it tastes just as good and hot in the cool of the morning when you drink it out of a bowl so no complaints.

Then it was time to load camp back up and head on down that ribbon of asphalt.

Independence Pass was on the map for today. I'd not been on it in 15 years or so. Makes it damn near a first time experience... and a sweet ride it is. Lots of twisties, and decent pavement...

Buuuuut... you might want to keep a leash on the throttle... that dozen plus big horn sheep that were on the road when I leaned around one bend can mess up your whole day if you're really pushing it. :)

I'd have a pic of that... 'cept there wasn't a single place for a half mile to pull over and put a sidestand down.

No matter... there were a few spots available for other pics as I climbed to the top.

From down in the bottom of the valley... and then way up on the pass...

You come down the west side of the pass through equally gorgeous country... right up until you roll into Aspen...

Yeah... I've got this idea I might not be a welcome addition to the citizenry of that lil' burg... leastways if the look I got from one 40something "Lady" is any testimony. Bwahahahaha...

Now I never noticed just my presence to be an offensive thing before... buuuuuut... 

That long legged gal strutted across the crosswalk past my scooter, with a look on her face that purt near said it all, as I waited on a light. Dayum... if looks could kill I'd be one of them Ghost writers right now! :) ha ha ha... yup... you'd a thought when she glanced at that leathered up biker that she'd stepped in somethin' unpleasant.

Buuuuuut... just down the road is a place, Glenwood Springs, where they treat such as me a mite friendlier :) So I got my lunch there before I turned east and rode on to a camp on the other side of a certain pass...

*Ha! They named a pass after me!*

I've tried on occasion to get myself tied in by blood to this fella. I don't know that it'd be good to have his... let's say... careless reputation ;) buuuut... inheriting a small bit of his money would sure make drifting on a scooter a lot easier deal :)

Yes sir. I could stay in Snooty Hotels where the waiters in the restaurant hang them clean towels over their arms? and you sip wine with your lil' finger in the air... and get room service and massages with fancy perfumed oils and such... WhooYa... the life of a Royal Biker huh? ;-D 

Yeah... since THAT ain't happenin'... I set my tent on a nice roomy patch of grass with one other tent over in Kremmling... We had a ramada with a table to use and fine facilities with hot showers... all for $13 bucks. Which makes it 'bout half of a KOA to get a shower... wifi too... beer and breakfast burritos just down the road a mile... all the comforts. Red Mountain RV park in Kremmling Colorado. I'll be keeping that one on my list.

Got up in the morning and crossed over Rocky Mountain National Park to get back to the rig... and all the chores that stack up in just four days of splittin' off...

Grab Your Handles and Ride... (It beats those damned chores every time!)

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Pass Baggin', Figure Eight'n, Continental Divide Crossin' Wander Through Colorado

I left out of Fort Collins bound up the Poudre River Canyon for Walden and North Park.

Before I'd gotten even three miles I got stopped for quite some little while waiting for the boys with their trains to move their toys out of the way and clear the road...

... Thennnnn... as soon as I entered the canyon... six and a half miles of chip and seal road work. I was getting a lil' nervous how this ride was starting out!

Buuuut once I broke out past those obstacles it was open road!

I crossed over six good tall passes on the 750 some miles I rolled in the four days... starting at the west end of Poudre canyon with the often crossed Cameron Pass...

Rolled down the west side of the pass which brought me down into North Park and Walden...

 I do believe North Park might be one of the nicest bits of cow country in Colorado... even if the winters are brutal... and the summers... at maybe 46 growing days is damned short!

I was coming near to my planned camp for the night about the time the clouds were piling up fast.

I raced over Muddy Pass and a few seconds later... Rabbit ears trying to beat the threatening storm.

I wasted no time and had my camp set in under ten minutes. ;) The thunder was booming and the lightning flashing as I hustled to get a dry camp set... and then with only a light shower it passed on by.

Climbed back on the scooter to run on the last 19 miles into Steamboat to pick up the fixin's for supper... and a brew to wash it down.

Now... I'm no cook so I've come up with some quick and easy ways to have a decent meal at the end of day... cook or not.

The best and easiest to have some tasty and good food I've found is this; I stop at the last town, if there is one! (Walden ain't got a grocery any more, hence the run into Steamboat from my camp east of town) ... anyway...

I stop and pick up a "Healthy Choice" Cafe Steamer!

Yeah they're made for the microwave or a regular oven... buuuuut...

I just open 'em up, and peel that celophane stuff off. Scrape the sauce out of the bowl into my pan... often it's still froze even if it's been in a saddlebag for a couple hours!...

... and then dump in the rest of the goodies... and heat it up on my stove. one pan... they provide the bowl so fewer dishes to do! ... or I often just eat it right out of my pan...

When you've been on the road, especially if conditions are tough, either cold or real hot, windy, rainy... anything that saps your strength and energy...

... it's critical that you take care of yourself. Decent food, not gas station coffee and three muskateers bars is a gotta have.

This makes it quick and easy for a non-cook to eat well.

and simple as hell for the guy on a bike with limited places to carry hardware. Eat supper and doing the dishes is largely... throwing them away! :)

It also deals with the problem of riding through BIG bear country up north. You pick up your food just before you eat it... and it's that much less to deal with for safety... Bear Bags hung in trees and such...

Anyhoo, after supper, while you savor that fancy brew you just kick back and contemplate the nice country you rode through and into.

*Dumont lake east of Steamboat*
Yeah... and laugh at the looks on everyone's faces when you walked out of the grocery store in a frog strangler downpour there in Steamboat... climbed on your scooter... and rode off into the storm! :)

... To have your supper in the sunshine that came along after that second storm passed!

Got up to a soft and quiet sunrise...

... and then dawdled around and visited with some folks in the camp... while I waited for last nights rain and the HEAVY morning dew to dry off enough to pack up camp.

It's kinda nice to not be in a rush to get somewhere.

My plan for the day was to head south on U.S. 40 past Kremmling turn onto Hwy 9, cross Hoosier Pass and on to Fairplay.

I'd choose my direction once I'd got there... and when I did... that lil' voice inside my head said; Swing around and turn back north on U.S. 24 To Buena Vista...

City Market in Buena Vista supplied my second nights Cafe steamer and another fine brew... That I enjoyed at the Diamond Point Campground near Twin Lakes... Just below the eastern approach to Independence Pass...

You can't see it in these... but there was a pretty constant breeze across that like... that kept the skeeters blown away... and made for a pleasant camp... just soaking up Far Country.

It was fairly cool... and that rectangular $29 walmart Coleman Bag I recently got because I can't stand the confines of a high dollar North Face mummy bag any more did an awesome job of keeping me toasty along with plenty of room to wiggle around. ;)

Shortly after the sun set... I crawled into my bag and zoned out for the night... though I left the door open so I could see the moonlight on the lake when I'd wake during the night. :)

In the morning I headed west again on Hwy 82, to climb Independence Pass... but that's another post.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why Not Sturgis?

Several people have asked me along the way; "Coming from Sturgis" ...

... um... Nope!

I thought about it... almost went that way when I pulled out...

Buuut then I thought; 500,000 drunks and half naked women that , let's face it... the world would be a better place if a LOT of them just kept it covered...

... not to mention the bald headed shirtless macho bikers who haven't seen their belt buckles in years...

Yeah... I know... I'm bein' mean. :-P

Just not really a place I fit well... so... I just went west.

Fits me much much better :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Friday, August 8, 2014

Just a sunrise pic

Photo from the ride.

Can't hook straight up... and email is limiting the pics I can post ... so 1 or 2 here and there...

Putting it in The Wind For A Few Days

Threw a leg over yesterday morning about 9 and pointed Sonja west... bound
for the high rockies.

Once I got past the train roadblock and the 6 1/2 miles of chip and seal in
Poudre Canyon it was open road.

Found my camp on Rabbit Ears Pass at Dumont Lake by two...

Set up camp under Booming thunder... but got set up dry.

Had to ride the 19 miles into Steamboat Springs to acquire my supper... and
the obligatory brew :)

The sky opened up just before I started back... good thing my rain gear is
still solid :)

Good supper. Fine Samuel Smith ale from the Britts... warm bed and star
filled sky...

Hot Starbucks "instant" this a.m. with Seger on my mini boombox ... it's

Grab your handles and ride

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I've Been Reworking Some of My Touring Gear

I picked up a New Ultra Touring Bag from Kuryakyn about a week ago. Found it in the Beaver's Den Motorcycle Leather shop on a ride up Highway 34 west of Loveland...

*My New Kuryakyn Ultra Tour Bag*

There's been a bit of evolution over the years... for how I pack my gear.

*How I packed my gear on my Alaskan ride*

*Another evolution from a ride a couple years back*

*My current packing and gear arrangement*
I used to carry the tent up on the bars. Not a bad way... but there was some interference with the ignition key... so I'm trying out some new packing of that.

Also, I abandoned my old mummy bag. I just can't tolerate the confines of that thing... and I'm now carrying a cheapie walmart rectangular bag that seems to keep me as warm and a hell of a lot more spacious. But it is a bit more bulky. 

The Kuryakyn tour bag so far is proving out well. I took it on a "Test ride" up a twisting mountain canyon and into Rocky Mountain National park the other day. I thought it a good idea to test it and the way I've got everything packed now on a real world hundred mile ride... before I take off on a weeklong trip hopefully later this week... and it all rode without a hitch.

The bag is something I'm becoming real happy with. It carries actually more clothes than I took to Alaska... and does it without having to stuff and punch to get it in. The quality of the bag seems top notch...

This is what I put in it... and still have a bit of space if I DID feel like stuffing... Likely I don't need that much... you just stop at a laundry a bit more often. :)

 ... and this pic doesn't include the drinking water bladder I'm testing out in the top road side pocket... a convenient place for drinking water on the road (one of the bigger mistakes people make on long hot tours... they fail to drink enough water) Make it convenient to get a drink... It should improve that... which makes you a safer rider. (dehydration is going to slow down your thinking/reaction time)

Likely one of the biggest improvements for me is that it attaches rock solid. I've tried to cheap out for a while, (not a good choice really) using "other" gear and not bags designed explicitly for bikes. That left me always having to conjure up ways of strapping it on secure.

This bag locks onto my seat with two built in straps from the bottom front and a wide, velcro strap that wraps around the back rest.

Combined with two straps from D-rings on top of the tour bag that I use as anchor points to secure the tent...which is also secured to the sleeping bag below it... which is secured to the luggage rack... it is a rock solid load.

It does come with a heavy duty rain cover... but with all my other gear, that doesn't look like it's going to fit. The bag itself seems like it should be pretty water resistant... but I'm scouting for a rain cover that will cover the whole load... thinking maybe a light nylon tarp sized right and a lil' bigger net to secure it... always some sort of gear to fiddle with...

Grab Your Handles and Ride