Thursday, November 19, 2009
Part 4 The AMA conference in Keystone CO
Day 6 Keystone CO
I got up early to go for a run, but a run was not to be taken. Ellen, her husband John, Laura, Ted and Jon were to head back to Huston TX. And even though, I of course knew this, I was going to give my hugs and good-bye send offs and then go on my way. There seemed to be a slight glitch in this perfect plan, one of the Harley's had a flat tire!
After numerous phone calls and several hours later they were on their way to Denver, as luck would have it they managed to find a garage on a Sunday to change the tire. We found out later, they made it to New Mexico on the same day.
Jane took her Soft tail Heritage and rode back to Denver in order to catch a 3:30pm flight back to Connecticut. Cathy and I were left to stay another night, but not without giving up the "funky" house to go stay in a hotel down the road.
We got a late start on our day ride, and as the day progressed on, so did the cloud cover. We headed towards Leadville, from hwy 70 west for about 10 miles then cutting off to hwy 91 straight into a cute 1800's flavored old silver mining town in the Rockies.
We pulled in around 1pm had some lunch at the Mile High burger joint with a perfect view of MT Elbert while we dined. I found my CO motorcycle license plate I had been looking for all week, to add to my collection on the wall in my garage, yeah!
It was 3pm when we decided to push on and head towards MT Elberts Pass. The skies grew increasingly more intimidating, but it was our last riding day and we really wanted to make the most of it.
For the next 14 miles it went from cute little mining town to low rolling hills where the hills had been rapped from the mining days of yester-year, with beat-up and broken down houses surrounding them, one of the saddest sights I seen in this beautiful country side.
We turned on to hwy 24 towards the majestic mountains beyond, the massiveness was unbelievably grand to watch as we rode around this beautiful lake in the foreground.
We had a illusions of grandeur in hoping to make it to Aspen, but with a late start and clouds looming, it was clear, there was no way it was going to happen! Winding our way up to the top of Elberts Pass, taking 10 mph twitch backs on many occasions, with shear drops and no guard rails to speak of, it left little room for error in our riding skills.
Finally reaching the top we were surprized to see a big sign saying "Continental Divide 12,095FT" We parked the bikes and walked down this beat up path to arrive at this unbelievable view of the valley below and all the winding roads we had just rode. We took pictures and hung out for awhile, but knew we better get going to try and beat the weather that was now coming in fast.
By the time we got to the bikes it was now starting to rain! Coming back down the switch backs with timid caution as the rain was now intensifing! Luckily for us, as quickly as the rain would come, it would also disapate, giving us a much needed break.
We rode on back into Leadville, refueled and continued on to connect to I70 leading us back to Keystone. As we approached the split 20 miles out, the skies could hold back no longer and it poured! Then came the thunder and flashes of lightening, I found this so incredible being on the bike with the powerful and intimidating intensity of the storm, being totally exposed to it on the bike- I loved it! I found myself laughing out loud in my helmet!
Cathy and I pulled off into a gas station right before hwy 70 to assess the damages. After dismounting under an overhang we took one look at each other and started laughing our heads off! There was a family with a pickup truck next to us, desperately trying to tie down tarps over their precious cargo. They noticed us laughing at the sight of each other and then they too, started to laugh. In the eye of storm, it was a funny thing to experince. Soon after two women pulled in in a convertable with the top down! Now we had seen everything! It seems they couldn't get the top to latch, so Cathy and I helped them by laying ontop of their soft top to get enought weight to hold it down to latch, worked like a charm. But another pretty sight, two women in full "wet" motorcycle gear laying on top of a convertable!
We changed gloves got back on the bikes with the blustering elements in full swing, but with 10 miles to Keystone, we knew we could make it.
I watched the spikes of thunder plant itself across the sky, but never could hear the thunder, which I found strange....It poured for all those 10+ miles up until we pulled into the hotel parking garage. We looked like two drowned rats, I found the whole scene hysterically funny! We made our way up to our room and immediatley noticed it had stopped raining!! This just added to the hysteria!
We pulled garments off assessing what got wet and what didn't. Cathy faired the worst as she discovered her waterproof gear wasn't so waterproof, with wet pants and wet socks. Her top was the driest.
I did pretty good, , wet gloves, wet feet and the lower portion of my shirt got wet. Still can't figure that one out??
Needless to say, after 2 hot showers and some dry comfy clothes, we weren't going anywhere for the night!