Wow what a grueling day the first day of our Wyoming trip was. We rode 350 miles in 100 plus temperatures 30 to 50 mile per hour winds and sand storms to boot. I don’t doubt that we will be able to cough up enough mud to make a few bricks. We rode to Raton New Mexico for the night and camped at a KOA. Dinner was at K-Bobs, not my favorite but it filled us up. Good thing because we were both weak in the knees and light headed by time we got here. I knew I was getting spent when after filling up in Dalhart I had to sit for a minutes and figure what all buttons I had to push on the bike to hit the road. But like they say any time on motorcycle is good. Kerry never complained a bit but then again she rarely does.
Our stay at the Raton KOA was nice. We have stayed there years ago and would stay there again. There were a few glitches in our camping set up. The first was that I packed a sleeping bag that we bought for our sons years ago. I did not fit in it and the zipper was broken. That sleeping bag was pitched in a Wal-Mart parking lot trash can after we bought a new one. During the night the wind would whip up and make us think we were going to be lifted away. We survived the night.
Day two. The saying “From one extreme to another” sure fit here. Yesterday we fought 100 plus temperatures most of the day and today we rode in a snow slush mix. From Trinidad Colorado to Loveland, just north of Denver it was a wet ride. With temperatures hovering around 50’s, the snow was short lived but the rain stayed around. My gloves were soaked but the heated grips kept my hands toasty. We both had our seat heaters maxed out and we were comfortable. The next night we staying at Glen Echo Resort in a river front cabin on Hwy 14 half way between Fort Collins and Walden Colorado. The resort was fairly desolate. I asked the clerk when their busy season was and he said it was suppose to be then. The price of fuel was having long reaching effects. Next year or so will be a good time to start looking for deals on mountain properties.
Earlier we tried to cross the mountain pass on Hwy 34 in Rocky Mountain National Park, but the passed was closed. So we went North and caught Hwy 14. Hwy 14 is beautiful follow the river through a mountain range. We were trying to get to Walden Colorado then go north to Wyoming and the town of encampment. From there we want to cross the Snowy Range. The mountain pass at Snowy Range is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
It was almost 10 am the next morning and we were having breakfast at a restaurant in Glen Echo. What! Just eating breakfast at 10. Must have over slept? No we hit the road at 7am and headed to Walden. About 25 miles into the trip the road turned into ice. We should have figured something was up as snow started to appear on the side of the road. As we rode on it started getting deeper and the trees became covered in it. When we were nearing the summit the road turned to slush then ice. I had to back down the mountain until I felt I could safely turn around. We decided to ride back to Glen Eco and have breakfast allowing time for the sun to warm the pavement.
After breakfast we found the pass clear. Little did we know, we were only a few 100 yards from making it earlier. But a few 100 yards on a sheet of ice is a few 100 yards to many. We rode on to Walden about 40 more miles. The terrain turned from steep rock escarpments to wet prairie lands. After fueling in Walden we rode into Wyoming and caught hwy 130. 130 took us across the snowy range. The Snowy Range is a mountain range with peaks around 12000 feet, and is snow covered year around. They do not clear the pass until memorial day and stop maintaining it after labor day. Riding over the pass is like riding in a maze with walls made of snow.
After getting over the pass we rode thru centennial into Laramie. Centennial is a one horse town that as long as I can remember had an old police car with coffee cans painted red on the roof as lights. The car was of an error gone by and did not run. On this trip thru centennial I noticed they had a second decoy, this one I think was a Saab with the trademark red coffee cans on the roof.
In Laramie we caught IH 80 east to Cheyenne. Just as you leave town the interstate climbs a summit. This part of 80 gets closed often in the winter. Once years ago I found myself on the wrong side of the summit when it was closed. I needed to get back the Air Force Base where I was stationed. A local said there was another route that took gravel roads thru the Medicine Bow Mountains by way of the town on Horse Creek. My friends and I took this route across the mountains and at one point someone had to ride on the front bumper of the truck to tell me witch way to go. Enough the reliving of the good old days.
At the top of the summit we found yet another challenge. The electronic billboard on the summit warned us of 50 plus mile per hour winds and it was not lying. What grueling ride as the bike was blown all over its lane. Good thing the winds only last for about five miles then we made our way to Cheyenne.
Ok so we have had 100 plus degree temperatures, ice and snow, high winds I guess we have had about every weather condition there is. Or have we? There is always the trip home and the excitement that may await us.
We left Cheyenne for a trip to Scotts Bluff Nebraska to attend the Nebraska District GWRRA rally. Between me taking a wrong road and my GPS out right lying to me we found ourselves on a dirt road in Nebraska. After a few miles we saw a woman mowing her lawn and asked her how far it was until we hit pavement. She told us we had 18 more miles. Instead of back tracking a lot more then 18 miles we decided to press forward on the dirt road. It went without a hitch. Except for not going over 40 mph due to occasional soft spots and harden mud tracks that would send us fighting to keep upright. The road took us thru beautiful canyons and I could not help but envy the people who got to live there.
The Nebraska Rally was held in Scotts Bluff. We past it the first time because we only saw a few motorcycles in the parking lot. Their State rally was smaller then the rally my local chapter held last year. We had fun as we always do at GWRRA rallies. We did leave early as we wanted to put some miles behind us so that the last two days of our trip could be an easer pace.
We spent Saturday night camping in North Platte Nebraska . When we woke up we were prepared for an uneventful ride to Sothern Oklahoma where we wanted to camp. It was not until we were 200 miles or so from where we planned to stop did we run into a brick wall of sorts. We had just passed thru Fort. Supply OK. When we saw rain ahead. I asked Kerry what she wanted to do and she said try to punch thru it. Nope, not a good idea. It was one of those storms where you could stand next to it and not get wet but walk 20 feet into it and get drenched. We could see the hail as we went into the storm. We turned around and booked it to Ft. Supply, tuning in the weather channel on the way. The weather channel is a feature on the Gl1800 that might go un noticed at least until you need it. There has been several time when my friends and I were on our way back from our weekly dinner rides hauling ass home with our eyes glued to the road and our ears to the weather channel.
Well the weather outlook for the rest of the day did not look good. That storm we turned around from was producing 70 mile per hour winds and baseball size hail. We were hunkered down under the awning of a dilapidated filling station when a fire truck and another truck pulled up. They asked where we were headed and discussed the crappy weather between us and our destination. Then the man in the other truck told us to follow him to his house and we could wait it out in his shop. We spent what seamed to be a few hours listening to either the weather station or hail beating on his roof. After a while I decided we needed to come up with a plan. He had Doppler radar on the internet that we had been monitoring. The storms were firing up south west of us and were maintaining the same north easterly path just skirting the town. We decided to get ready to ride and watch the radar for some sort of break in the storm. The nearest city was Woodward, about 13 miles down the road. The brake came in the form of a let up as we could see the dark red indications of sever weather become pink in a cell that was moving towards the route we wanted to take. We decided to ride into Woodward and then make a determination weather to go on or get a room.
The ride was wet and windy but no hail. Except for slipping on those pesky cracks sealed with tare a couple of times, we did ok. But the weather radio made it clear that we were done for the night. The bad weather had moved further south and we had tornados and baseball size hail to look forward to if we rode on. We found a hotel and called it quits for the night.
The next morning, storms from the night before fanned out over night in to rain that stretched into Texas. We spent the majority of the day in the rain. But we were determined to ride to the top MT. Scott in the Wichita Mountains. The rain let up long enough for us to ride up the mountain but the low hung clouds covered the mountain top so there was not much to see and no reason to get off the bike.
We drug the rain with us almost all the way home and I predicted it would stop just as we closed in on our home. We sure could have used the rain in on our fields but that is how the weather go in Texas