Sunday, July 30, 2006

Birthday Ride

Yesterday was my birthday. Tina and I decided to do a trip up to Estes Park. We left Friday and got back Saturday at 5:00. I didn't want to be gone all day, because I wanted to spend some time with Jaime on my birthday.

It was a beautiful trip. We took 105, to Santa Fe, hit 470 and then 70 for a bit up to the Black Hawk turn (went past the EMF camp), and then up to Estes. Pretty much the "back way" - off-road. We really like riding the small/back roads and staying off the interstate. Much more relaxing, scenary is better, hit some small stores/places-to-eat.

Hot afternoon, walk into a small general store, golden lab laying on a piece of carpet right in front of the door, looks up with one eye, acknowledges your presence and then closes the eye. We step over him and walk in. Yeah, its just that kind of lazy day. As we head toward the 2 soda display cases, the owner says, "We just installed the 2nd one, soda probably isn't cold yet, you might want to try the other". He's right, so I look at the display of Stewarts - picking a lime. "Hey Tina, what do you want?" - "Whatever". Owner's wife says, "The Black Cherry seems to be our most popular". So, grabbing two cold Stewarts and the obiligatory cinnamon roll that Tina grabs at every stop, we head out and sit on a couple of milk crates. Watching the few travellers and locals heading in and out. Just gazing around at the mountains and watching a dog in a far off pasture chasing something only he sees back and forth. Its a great day.

That kind of thing is great about back-roads and not something you usually find on the main highway!

Anyway - it was a beautiful trip. Ate at the Big Horn Restaurant. We headed west out of town a bit, say a place to stay that looked not too expensive (it wasn't cheap - but when they said they had a room with a hot-tub - well my back was hurting a bit and I just had to do it!). We asked where was a good place to eat and the owner said "Right next door". "What kind of food do they have?" - "Well the smoker is going, so they will have BBQ today" - and she could have stopped talking right then, because I was sold. But they also had Italian and Salad Bar. I got the ribs (ate 1/2 of them - I'm less hungry when traveling) and Tina got fish and chips and we both had salad bar. Their sign outside said "Grits" and inside they had a review of "Voted best breakfast in Estes Park" - Yup - we were back the next morning for breakfast. The grits were probably the best I've had. Yum.

Went to the Safeway to get some soda and snacks. Long line. Woman behind me (maybe in her mid 50s or so?) asks me, "So what model to you ride?" - "Excuse me?" - "What model of Harley do you ride?" - Guess the dew rag, vest, t-shirt and chaps - all with Harley Davidson plasterd all over them was a dead give away. ;) We ended up having about a 15 minute conversation about how her and her husband used to live in the Springs, built customer Harleys, her son races high performance bikes for Harley now. Very cool stuff. Like they say "Its a brotherhood". :)

Next morning we headed into the park, taking the road across to Grand Lake, Granby and back to Idaho Springs, were we hit I-70 and back the way we came. It was awesome. I have a picture (which I'll post later) that shows Tina and I on the bike with a 12,750 ft peak in the background. Tina was pretty nervous. We are both nervous on high Mt roads (yes, the kids can tell you great stories of us going up to Pikes Peak) - but I'm not so nervous when I'm on the inside and on a bike. Much better a bike than a car! In any case, it was a great ride - really beautiful country.

We were pretty spent when we got home. We plan on probably going down and seeing Tif in AZ in the fall... But so far we've only covered about 200 miles in one day. We tend to just enjoy riding - and stop very seldom, and then only for a few minutes. Because I had a head-ache (I think I need to do some glasses adjustments) - we stopped at Starbucks when we hit I-70 and sat there for probably 15 minutes, watching the Big Horn Sheep. I think we need to do that more. I think the trick is to stop more often, and more longer periods of time. I can usually feel pretty fatigued, and after 30 minutes I'm ready to go again. We usually eat breakfast before we hit the road. I think riding for an hour or so, then doing breakfast, then riding, do lunch, etc. will let us go further in a day. But we haven't gotten into the swing of that yet. Usually we are a) excited to go and just want to grab something and hit the road, b) love to ride and so don't stop often or for long, c) not all that hungry when we are riding. But I think if we can make this adjustment it will really work out for us.

Plus last night I was watching a few Food TV shows about guys on the road looking for the cool dinner, backroads place to eat, etc. Yeah... I need to do that. Not just hit the fast-food joint, eat the same-ol/same-ol food, and hit the road... But make it an adventure. Look for the small town place with good reviews, lots of cars, whatever. A "Hey - hows it going. Where you heading" type place. That will make trips more of an adventure and more fun. And should break up the ride some.

Anyway - it was a great birthday and one I won't forget. And I wore my new vest (birthday present) - as it was way to hot for the jacket. And when I got home I put my first pin on in - a HOG pin. :)

So its all good... now just have to figure out where we are going next weekend... There's always Sturgis. ;) - Nah, not this year... but maybe next. :)

There are a couple of Pikes Peak Chapter or just HOG in general rides this coming month. Some folks have said the Cripple Creek run is a bit of a pain. 40K bikes riding to Cripple Creek. Lots of stop and go... but we might do it anyway. Just to do it.

Anyway - its an adventure and one we are totally into. We've literally seen more of CO in the past month than we've seen the entire time we've been here. 365 miles this weekend, and 1635 total this month. :)

See ya on the rode! :)

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