Hop Along's Ride to the Ride... entry 2

Well it's been pretty predictable in a way:  spurts of rain through the Rockies and points west, on roads that frequently don't have guardrails.  It's been great! 

This fine Tuesday evening, finds my multicolored Magna parked next to Frank's multi non-colored (it's black and white) BMW.  At just over 100,000 miles, my Magna has many miles to go to reach the mileage on Frank's bike.  Speaking of many miles, today I had some opportunities to think about some of the trips I've been on, and the places I've seen.  There is certainly a list of visual pictures one often has in their mind of where they've been.   And today I've added a new one: Dinosaur National Monument, eastern entrance on the Colorado side.  I don't remember who suggested it to me... but I owe them a huge thanks.  The road from the Visitor's Center goes uphill, and you ride through the many layers of ancient rock as you go uphill.  And about 12 miles in, you reach Escalante View point.  And what a view it is.  Absolutely *stunning*.  It it possible to see for 200 miles on a good day, and the view is so panoramic, I'd think a panoramic camera wouldn't be able to get it in.  Just gorgeus, I even almost got goosebumps and cried.  And I'm not a very sensitive kinda guy.  The road back down was actually a challenge; fast sweeping curves with these stunning views as the backdrop.  A few towns west of there, I stopped for gas.  3 other bikes pullled up.  I mentioned this side trip to them, they seemed a little disinterested... they were going to Sturgis. 

Oddly enough, today's ride through Dinosaur and last night's stay in Craig, Colorado surpassed yesterdays ride from Denver, through Rocky Mountain National Park, through Steamboat.  Don't get me wrong-Rocky Mt Nat'l Park was gorgeous.  And full of traffic even on a Monday.   Steamboat was a bit disappointing perhaps-my plans to camp at about 8000 foot elevation were cancelled by one heckuva rainstorm.  That in itself isn't too bad, but about  a mile from the campground, there was an impressive bolt of lightning that seemed like it was just around the bend in the dirt road.  And that was enough to convince me to move on.  Staying in Steamboat proper wasn't very appealling-it can be hard to go from a camping state of mind to a tourist state of mind, as Steamboat Springs is a tourist mecca.  But the small town of Craig; I'm glad I ended up there.  I had some of the best ribs I've had in years at JW Snacks Gulf Coast BBQ.  Amazing.  And breakfast (I decided to skip the sweet potato pancakes, based on a suggestion from the camp host)... breakfast was at the local VFW Hall.  Giant Breakfast burrito, coffee, water, all to be had for $10, with  a generous tip included.  It did well to tide me over all day.

I also have to admit, that I did need to do a little service to the bike.  Dirt roads can be rough on chains.  And of course I keep riding dirt roads in a quest to find natural springs.  So it is normal to have to occasionally tighten and lube the bike's chain.  I sometimes pine for a Harley, just for the belt final drive they use.  No maintenance.  But all the chrome on a Harley can get in the way of admiring the belt. 

I also had to address an electrical issue.  A wire for my auxilliary lights had shorted.  These lights are important to me... they help me see in the dark.  And they do well at helping oncoming vehicles see me.  It's one of the reasons you see signs:  "Look twice for motorcycles" and the like.  It's understandable.  We have a small profile that can blend in with the background.  Only one headlight can make us look like we are much farther away, or moving very slowly.  And so, these lights are important.  Thus the need for the repair.  The local motorcycle shop didn't have the correct electrical fittings (thanks to Craig Powersports), but they did send me to the local NAPA auto parts.  It was larger, and busier, than you would think possible in a town, and region, this size.  But they were extrememly helpful in making sure I got the right parts, and they even loaned me an electricians tool to do the repairs.  Brilliant! 

My final rumination has to do with meeting people.  It's the easiest, and hardest thing to do on a motorcycle sometimes.  People ask you questions... this trip has been: "Are you from Long Beach?" and "Aren't you going the wrong way to Sturgis?"  Both typically get the standard LRLR charity ride response.  I've now handed out all my little LRLR business cards.  And I dont' have kazoos.  But meeting other riders can be a pleasure in route planning, weather info, and so on.  It's exemplified by what we do when we pass each other in the road... the biker wave.

If you are reading this, and don't know the biker wave, consider this a challenge: next time you see 2 bieks passing each other on the road, watch what the do with their hands.  And Look Twice for Motorcycles.