Thursday, August 18, 2016
Thank goodness the rain had stopped by the time we woke up in Lake City, CO. Since we hadn't used the tent last night, packing the bikes was quick and easy. Not too long, we were on the road again. Still on CO Highway 149, the traffic was light to non-existent and we were enjoying the solitude, scenery and great road. This highway is a scenic highway called the Silver Thread. As we neared the end of the highway, we found a nice rest stop and took the opportunity to get off the bikes, look around and take some pictures.
How sad is this? There was a garbage can in the parking lot just a few feet away. Ironic, huh, "I'm proud to be an American" stamped on the coke can that was probably smashed and left on the parking lot by an American. Well, maybe not, who knows. But totally sad.
There was a storm a brewing to the east, and that was the direction we were headed!
Friday, August 19, 2016
The next morning we were up and at it fairly early. We geared up, headed out and stopped for brekkie at a local hangout. We then decided it was time to take a ride. The Rockmor event officially started on Friday. The night before, we had looked at some of the planned routes and decided we'd take a Bronze off road route to start. They had provided maps of both on and off road routes with the off road routes rated Gold, Silver or Bronze for difficulty. Since we were fairly familiar with all of the paved routes, we decided a simple Bronze would be appropriate. Off we went! We rode over a number of paved roads before we hit the start of our Bronze off road path. The beginning was quite mild although there was a lot of washboard for a bit. We easily conquered this and the road began to deteriorate a bit. No big deal, still an easy ride, especially since we had dual sport tires on the bikes. I got rather aggressive (for me) a time or two and I found that if I went faster, the washboard went away. Go figure!
So on we rode to a rest stop, trail head, where we took a break and looked around a bit.
Oh, thanks Eric for taking a picture of my butt!
Me taking photos of the flowing water. It really was a lovely place to take a break!
You can see some of the switchbacks here. This was stunning. A bit chilly and windy, but totally awesome. I did get a tiny bit of a headache from the altitude but as soon as we made our way down, the headache went away.
We returned to the camp ground for some socializing before dinner. Here I am with Ruth and Kandi, both of whom I had met at the ADV Woman Rally.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
While at dinner we had spoken with "Chip" who told us of an "easy" ride to Salida. So, we checked the map and decided that's what we'd do. So Saturday morning we had brekkie at the Pavilion and hopped on the bikes to check out this "easy" ride.
It certainly started out easy! Just what I wanted to get comfortable on. We rode south from Buena Vista on CO 285 and turned left at Johnson Village CO 24/285. Then we were on the lookout for a small gravel road CR307. Yippee, found it! We turned right onto CR307 and I was tickled. It was smooth gravel. I told Eric I'd like to ride this for about 60 miles or so and get really comfy. Ha, like that would happen! From CR307 we took another right onto CR187. CR187 wasn't nearly as nice as CR307 but it was "okay" and I wasn't too worried. It was just a bit rough and a lot smaller.
Okay, I finally started to breathe again as the road, although rough was kind of flat for a bit....and then....it got gnarly. I mean really gnarly, especially on a fully loaded R1200GSA! Now, we were riding over baby head and bigger rocks, deep ruts, whoop de doos, roots and general gack!!! My lovely "get used to it and comfortable" gravel road had turned into a rugged jeep trail!
When I lost my line, I admit, I panicked a bit (understatement). The Beastie Bike was still just doing her thing and chugging over everything but I needed to stop and catch my breath. So, panic, OOOHHHHHHH, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, F**K!!!!!!! That's all I could say, f**k, repeatedly as I bounced to and fro on the rocks and ruts feeling like I was totally out of control. That Beastie Bike kept going right where I pointed her but I was too tired to hang on for much longer. And, in panic mode, I was certain I was going to crash big time! Eric could hear me in the comm unit and asked if I was okay. I couldn't answer, all I could say was F**K!!!!!!
Now, I didn't "CRASH". I tried to stop and choose a poor location and Beastie Bike just laid over. I call it a "doink". F**K! I knew better than to try and keep her upright, she's a beast and weighs a ton. So over we went together. Fortunately, there was a berm on the side of the road and that's where we landed!
I took a bunch of photos but they honestly don't do justice to the terrain. The road was a bit steep here and still more climbing to go.
So, we waited. I took in deep calming breaths. Eric was extremely patient, encouraging and kind. It took a long, long time and then I cautioned Eric to stay away because I didn't want to accidentally run him over. And.....after even more time, I just let out the clutch, stood up on the pegs and rode that Beastie Bike up that stupid hill. I passed Eric's bike which was parked up the hill further and I didn't stop - no way. I wasn't going to stop for anything and risk another doink!
And then.....after only maybe 100 yards or so, I burst out of the woods onto a beautiful, flat, plateau! Hooray, I could safely stop! While at the top, a group of jeepers came along from our left, the direction we were headed to reach Salida, CO. I had a little laugh because they were going to go down what I had just gone up!
During this rest break another group of jeepers passed us going up the mountain. I asked the last jeep if they wanted to trade places. They all laughed but I could see the driver was having some difficulty handling the jeep on the trail. Little did they know, but it would be worse going down the other side, hahahahahaha! I know, I was just there ;-)
Both Friday and Saturday nights was live music at the Pavilion along with socializing. Sometimes I got so wrapped up in chatting that I forgot to take pictures. We had a marvelous time at a fantastic event that was outside our comfort zone. Big kudos to Bex and Lee Becker and all who helped them put on the event along with all the great sponsors. I hope they do it again next year and I'll be signing up to go. I think there were around 100 people at the event and everyone was so supportive and positive. It was good :-)
Sunday, August 21, 2016
We probably left around 10:00 am or so after brekkie provided by Rockmor. It was an easy ride up CO 24 to I-70. Then, well you know, slab along I-70 west. We did take a quick rest stop at the summit.
So, we arrived in Grand Junction about 2:30 pm or so. Eric helped valet my stuff to my room and parked my bike. What a fantastic hubby I have! He hung around for a very short time and then left for home. He had work obligations :-( But, I didn't :-)
I got to hang out with all the cool rally rider staff and participants! What a perfect way to end an already fantastic ride-about.
Monday, August 22, 2016
The next morning I had the delight of breaking fast with Ken and Linda Schleman. We laughed until we were blue in the face. Man, we had fun!
From there it was slab on the I-70 to the I-15 and roll on in home. It was a wonderful week of riding and camaraderie. We met new peeps, made new friends, saw old peeps who are still old friends ;-)
I certainly stretched my envelope! Yes, I'll be doing more of that! I know it's mostly all confidence. I have the skills. I used to dirt bike a LOT. Of course, being on a huge Beastie Bike is a bit different but the skills and techniques are the same. I just need to do more to gain my confidence. I'm so happy we went. I'm happy we camped too. Camping alone opens up a whole new area of fun for us.
So, my friends, thank you for following along with me. I'm thrilled when someone tells me they actually read my blog. It's because of you that I continue to post. I have more fun stuff coming up so please stay tuned!