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Monday, June 12, 2017

Ride to West - Day 8

Grand Junction, CO to Park City, UT (335 miles)

We woke up early to beat the heat.  It was forecasted to be scorching hot in Moab, so we were trying to be past it by noon.  The rear light was broken, so I wasted some time fixing it before we started our ride, but we were on the road just after 8.

After entering Utah, we saw a sign that said 40 miles to next service.  Since we had little fuel left and was planning to off the interstate, we played it safe and backtracked into Colorado for a fuel station, adding another 50 miles to our ride and yet a little more delay.

As soon as we got off the interstate, the scenery turned into something from a western movie.  It was stunning and we were happy that we took the less travelled road to Moab.  We also checked out the Arches national park, for more stunning beauty.

By the time we got out of there it was past one and we still had a long way to go.  We got back on the interstate to find a very windy and uncomfortable ride toward Salt Lake.  At a stop for coffee, I ended up changing our rear break lights for the second time today.  I think it gets so hot it burns out.

Finally, late afternoon, we arrive in gorgeous mountain scenery and Park City to have a celebratory drink and relax for a week with our long time friends from Seattle.  So far, we've ridden 2600 miles, since our start in Virginia.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ride to West - Day 7

Boulder, CO to Grand Junction, CO (256 miles)

We started the ride by taking the mountain road from Boulder and had a fantastic ride through twisty roads and beautiful scenery.  When we arrived back on I-70, we were still riding in canyons with more beautiful scenery.

We stopped in Vail to get a taste of this well known ski resort.  There was still patches of snow to be seen, even all the way down to the road and not just the mountain tops, but of course the roads were dry.  It was chilly and we had all our gear on, but as we descended down from Vail it quickly got warmer.

Today was the most beautiful and interesting ride so far, but because the roads twisted back and forth we arrived quite tired.  Our bodies are taking a toll from all the riding.  We still got one more day to go and tomorrow is looking to be a really long one.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ride to West - Day 6

Cold Mountains
Colby, KS to Boulder, CO (253 miles)

Determined to take advantage of being ahead of schedule, we got an early start.  Rain was predicted in Boulder in the afternoon, so we were racing to get there before the rain.

It was much colder today, in fact, it was the coldest day so far.  On our first gas stop, we geared up with liners and sweaters to try to stay warm.  Besides being a bit cold, the ride went by fast and we arrived at the outskirts of Denver just a little after noon.  By then, my phone had died.  It's mounted on the bike as a GPS and I think moisture has gotten inside and it no longer wants to charge.  I'm starting to long for a day without anything breaking.

When we got to Boulder, we stoped and got some food and a peek at the city.  Boulder reminds of us Palo Alto.  There's a awesome little road just outside that looks like a picturesque mountain road with streams and cabins, I think we'll be taking that tomorrow on our way out of Boulder.

Our hotel gave us an upgrade, so we enjoyed a really nice and relaxing evening in a king size bed watching South Park episodes on TV.

Ride to West - Day 5

New chain
Kansas City, MO to Colby, Kansas (381 miles)

I started the day, by getting some of my tools out in an attempt to tighten the chain.  Of course, even though I did have tools for the job, the bolts wouldn’t budge.  After several attempts, I ended up breaking my driver tool and I had to go to plan B.

So I Googled the closest Ducati service dealer.  I got lucky.  The only one in the entire state was only 20 minutes away, so our first stop for the day was Reno’s Powersports.  My chain was so bad, they ended up putting on a new one.  We were in and out in only 30 minutes.  Awesome!  With a new chain, the bike felt like it's brand new.  I was ecstatic with how well it now rode and of course relieved that the gear box was fine.

Our goal was to reach Hays, but there was rain in the forecast, and we were in a hurry to get there before it started.  We didn't want to get soaked like we did in St. Louis.  As the ride went on, I spotted some clouds to the north and then some more to the south.  Riding west we were lucky to dodge them,  but our luck finally ran out.  We stopped for coffee and decided that we couldn’t get past Hays without running into heavy rain.  However, we might be able to get to Hays, before the rain arrived.  We just made it.  The raindrops were starting, as we pulled into Hays and we ended up heading to a diner for some dinner.

The rain was coming down hard, and it looked quite stormy, but we were dry inside having steaks.  About an hour later it had just about stopped, so we decided to get back on the road for another 100 miles.  Just around 9pm and sunset, we pulled into Colby and finally got a hotel.

Even with our late start, we put in 381 miles of riding, which puts us on track for being in Denver early afternoon tomorrow.  Again trying to dodge some afternoon and evening rain forecasted in Denver.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ride to West - Day 4

St. Louis, MO to Kansas City, MO (248 miles)

After such a wet ride the day before, it was good to wake up to sunshine and dry roads.  In fact, it was hotter than ever, predicted to reach 90 during the day.  I prefer hot to cold, so not a problem.  Sadly, my shoes didn't fare so well in the wet.  They're old and are starting to come apart in the seams.  At our first stop, I taped them together with Guerrilla tape.  There!  Permanently fixed!

It was a hot day of riding and we quickly became exhausted, so we pulled into a hotel early.  After dropping the luggage, we rode to the closest grocery store to get some food.  When coasting in first gear, I could hear an awful metal grinding noise coming from my bike.  When starting the ride this morning, it felt like the bike slipped a little in first gear, so now I’m wondering if the gear box is done for.  After inspecting the bike, I find that the chain is extremely loose.

I spent the rest of the evening on Google.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ride to West - Day 3

Louisville, KY to St Louis, MO (261 miles)

The ride started out flat and uneventful.  We passed by a gang of bikers riding Gold Wings and my rear end was feeling a little jealous.  Sitting on a motorcycle is far less comfortable than riding in a car.  We found a cute little diner just off the highway and stopped for lunch.  As we were leaving the diner, we felt a few rain drops.  We decided to go for it, hoping to get ahead of the rain, but no such luck.  A few minutes after getting on the highway, it was starting to pour down heavily and we stopped under an overpass to put on the little extra gear we had.

After getting rather soaked for the next 30 minutes of riding, we finally got out of the rain, the warm air came back and we started to dry out.  However, after another 60 miles, the rain was returning.  Not wanting to get wet and cold again, we pulled into a Starbucks.  The Starbucks was of no help, they had their AC set to 60.  It was warmer outside under some awnings.

We waited for more than an hour, but the rain just didn't seem to wanna stop.  There was no end to it, so we decided to power through to the end.  We only had another 40 mins or so to the hotel we had already booked.  Naturally, we got soaked and even got stuck in some traffic in St Louis.  When we finally got to our hotel around 7 pm, they told us they didn't have any rooms ready.  Seemed rather odd, but after waiting soaking wet for 30 mins, we finally got it sorted, got our keys and jumped in the shower to warm up.

Luckily, the hotel had a laundry machine, so we could dry all our wet clothes.  Our sidebags are soft and 100% of all our clothes got soaked.  By midnight, we had it all cleaned and dry ready for the next leg.

Ride to West - Day 2

Charleston, WV to Louisville, KY (246 miles)

Even though it should be a straight shot from Charleston to Louisville on I-64, I've gotten a little dependent on Internet to verify everything I do, so with no cel coverage we started our ride by finding the closest Starbucks. It was in a mall across the street, but the mall was not yet open.  Luckily, we were able to get some free wifi just outside.  Feels like a blast from the past, desperately trying to get online.

The ride though the eastern part of Kentucky was fantastic.  Green trees, pastures and little lakes with nice new roads.  A great start to our ride.  Once we got to Louisville, we checked out the famous derby racetrack.  We had to many horsepowers to be let onto the track, their limit was one. :). We also quickly stopped by the Ohio river to check out a statue of Clark and catching a quick glimpse at some big barges and cool bridges.

Even though the ride was a short one, we were exhausted, once we got to our hotel and went to bed early, so we could get ready for our next leg.