Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 4 - Denver

I didn't sleep well last night and woke up early this morning. I could have been out the door at 6am local time. But since this is a vacation for both of us I tried to let Reagan sleep a little. I think I failed. We eventually made it across the street for breakfast at Max's Cafe and then checked out of the hotel. A quick dash next door for gas and we were ready to hit the road at 8:15 AM MDT. We managed a whopping 47mpg on yesterday's second tank of gas making it the best fuel economy on the trip so far.

Since we found out that the Coors brewery did not do tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays we opted to take a more scenic route through the mountains to reach Denver. The route started by heading west on 165 out of Colorado City. After a few miles in the little town the road started to climb and the temp started to drop. It was pleasant and the scenery was great. The road started getting curvy and fun. Just 24 miles into the ride we took our first break at Bishop's Castle. Apparently some guy started building this castle up in the woods and opened it to the public. It's not a commercialized place by any means just a really cool example of what 1 person can do with stone, steel and glass. Sometime we'd like to visit the castle again while he's there working on it, I think it'd be neat to see.

After climbing throughout the castle it was time to get back on the road. We continued on through the San Isabel Forrest and enjoyed the curves. Up hill, down hill and around hills the curves just kept coming. Finally 165 runs out and we turn right onto 96. Eventually we come up to hwy 50 and go west a short way into Canon City. Reagan wanted to go see the Royal Gorge so we detoured over to the gorge to see what it's all about. It's $23 per person to get in the park and walk across the bridge. No thank you! So we got back on the bike and continued on heading north on 9. Eventually we merged onto 24 going west for a few miles and then continued on 9. So far the roads had been country roads and traffic had been almost non-existent.

When 9 ran into 285 we stopped in Fairplay for a break and some drinks. Reagan is convinced this is really South Park. I wanted a little caffeine to perk me up and a nature break was welcomed as well. Then we got back on the road heading north on 285. Apparently while we were taking our break the entire area decided to get out on the road because traffic went from light to heavy after our break. And to make matters worse there was road construction. Apparently up here they close off a lane and repave it. And that means they have to manage two way traffic on one lane. WAIT is the name of the game. We got lucky and our waiting was minimal today.

The closer we got to Denver the more we seemed to be heading downhill. At 2 points earlier in the day we had gone over 10,000 feet but now we were in the 8000 feet range and falling. And of course as the elevation lowered the temperature rose. It was pretty darn hot by the time we reached 470 on the west side of Denver.

The plan was to stay at the Howard Johnson off exit 266 on I-70. Unfortunately I didn't feel the bike would be safe enough to leave alone long enough to check in much less overnight. So went down the road to a Comfort Inn and got a room.

This was a short mileage day at only 235 miles. But it was a fun day and we got to see a lot of Colorado southwest of Denver. Probably the most disappointing part of the ride was Denver itself. It's a large town, people drive like crap, and it's not friendly. But then we've been staying in little towns for the past 3 mights so today is kind of a culture shock. I'm hoping tomorrow we'll be back in a small town. From now on the only way I'll go through Denver is on one of the Super Slabs and I certainly don't plan to stop, even for gas, if I don't have to. It's not a destination in my book.

On a side note, after getting into the hotel I headed out into Denver for a bottle of locally distilled Colorado Whiskey made by Stranahans. I first learned about it on the History Channel special and I have to say it certainly doesn't disappoint. However the hour long, 34 mile round trip into downtown Denver was another experience all together. People in Denver can't drive and pedestrians own the crosswalks so turning left is impossible. By the time I made it to the liquor story I was justly rattled. I got my hooch and jumped back into the fray.

Colorado doesn't have a helmet law and it shows in the generally care-free attitude about safety gear not worn while on a motorcycle. Most of the time we saw riders in short sleeves and shorts, even young children as co-riders in the same attire. Even in downtown Denver I saw this same attitude toward safety. And there are a lot of people in the city using small bikes and mopeds. I'm pretty sure Colorado probably beats out Texas in several bad motorcyle accident figures. If not then I'm amazed. With the insanity of automobile drivers and even other motorcyclists in Denver I sure as heck wouldn't get on a bike without all the gear I regularly ride in because up here WHEN, not if, you are in an accident with an idiot you'll surely come out on the short end of the stick.

Oh and with regards to the whiskey. It is dang good. There likely won't be any left by the time I get home but you'll have to take my word when I say it's good.

This evening I had to work on the bike before calling it quits. We've been having problems with the intercom cutting out while going down the road. The problem was with the mic-mute module I had installed so I called the company and talked to the owner. He seemed to think it was a faulty connection and wanted me to check everything. So this evening I did and they were all ok. But when I checked out the actual module it was clear what the problem was, the lid had expanded and allowed mosture in thus coroding the circuit board. So I uninstalled it and will deal with the warranty when I get home. Nothing like taking your bike apart in the hotel parking lot.

Tomorrow, the Rocky Mountain Nation and then we head north getting closer to Gillette.

No comments: