Monday, May 18, 2009

Cripple Creek

I hopped on the bike this afternoon with the intention of riding down to Garden of the Gods park and getting some photos of the bike in front of pretty scenery. Three hours and 104 miles later I'm pulling into the drive way, hot and thirsty and happy.

I left the house at around 11:30 a.m. and drove through the neighborhood toward I-25. It was around 65 wonderful degrees out. When I hit I-25 I was just starting to get into the swing of it and thought I might ride on up to Woodland Park, not too far down the road. I was almost to Woodland Park when I saw the sign for Divide, which wasn't too much further up State Route 24. And of course as I was going into Divide a sign alerted me to the fact that it was a mere 18 miles to Cripple Creek. Lisa, my wife, and I had been there a couple of times and found it quaint and historic. I thought it might be a good place to get a few photos. Going into Woodland Park a truck started changing lanes into mine, I surprised myself with my horn reflex (for all the good it did). The guy panicked and started swerving back into his lane, then realized there was no longer room there and came back in front of me anyway. Fortunately that was all the time I needed to slow down and get out of the way. The guy waved and since there was no harm I figured no foul and waved back to let him know there were no hard feelings. I try to remind myself that I've done stupid things while driving myself.

A majority of the ride is fairly straight but once you get a couple miles out of Divide headed south on CO 67 it starts to get interesting. I finally got to break in the new tire. At least until I caught up with a guy and his girl on a cruiser. Cruiser riders are, to me, like a liberal family member. You love them but you have to ask, why? I think all motorcycles are great, all brands, all displacements, it doesn't matter. The few times I've rode a cruiser I felt like I was going to be blown off the back. It's just not the riding position I prefer. In addition, I like to go fast around the corners without dragging metal parts.

So I backed off, not wanting to make the guy nervous. I always hate it when someone faster and on a better bike is tailgating me. I pulled off for a few pictures and was able to play catch-up the rest of the way to Cripple Creek. Once there, I stopped for a few quick pictures, made a fast pass through town and headed home. About halfway to Divide my camera's battery died, which worked out for the best. I could forget about scenery and concentrate on the best part, the ride. Once I got into Colorado Springs I saw a guy in a truck do the same thing to a car that the driver in Woodland Park did to me without the apologetic wave. It happened right in front of me and I was thinking twice in one day is twice too many.

All in all, another great ride. And I broke 25,000 miles on the odometer.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Patriot Guard Riders

Here's an old old post I just came across, it was saved as a draft and for some reason I never posted it. It's a little out of date. You don't hear much about westboro church any more but I know they are out there still so I thought I would go ahead and post this. Plus, I just signed up for the Patriot Guard Riders

I saw a report on the morning news as I was getting ready for work. It was a story about a group protesting at soldiers' funerals. The protesters had signs saying "Thank God for IEDS" and other non-sense. "God hates your tears", I wonder how God feels hearing that? I was curious who these idiots were so I did a search and it turns out they're members of the westboro baptist church from Topeka, Kansas. Their website, which I won't provide a link or a name for, is full of the filthiest, most vile, hate-mongering b.s. this side of Nazi Germany. I don't have the words to describe my thoughts. My initial reaction was disgust of course, but than it was disbelief. I was sure it had to be a sick joke the kind frat boys, who don't know better yet, would pull. There were statements the sole purpose of which seemed to be for nothing but to provoke a fight. Apparently anyone who has never come out publicly against homosexuality is burning in hell. I'm not violent by nature but I hope some day I come across one of these guys in an alley. Fortunately, it seems to be mostly the preacher, Fred Phelps and his family. Probably inbreds.

On the opposite side are the Patriot Guard Riders. Their story is pretty interesting, they formed over night as an answer to those idiots, the wbc (as they call themselves). They might be a little awkwardly named but on the list of "Who Rides With Us" you'll see several church organizations as well as non-secular groups. I'd like to think that means they are doing it not only for the GIs but because they are against the message of the wbc. Makes me proud to be a motorcyclist. For as depressing as the existence of the westboro baptist church is it's good to know that just as quickly there even more people willing to stand up against these idiots.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Colorado Springs to Ellicott Colorado

I went for a break-in ride which was for me not the bike.  I haven't taken a ride since July 12th, 2008 and am feeling a little rusty.  I thought I would take a nice easy route to shake the cobwebs and get the motions imprinted back in my brain.  I hadn't been east much since we moved to Colorado Springs, all the action and scenery is west in the mountains.  I knew east was pretty flat and the roads straight so I had an idea of what to expect.  Colorado State Route 94 did not dispel my expectations .

I started off from the house cruising through the neighborhood being careful to obeying the speed limit.  Still not familiar with the area I followed the Google Map directions down Powers Blvd to State Route 24 heading towards Limon.  After a couple of miles of busy city traffic I hit 94 and headed east.  After a few miles of some gentle turns I was headed toward Shriever Air Force Base and Ellicott.  I literally saw the road stretched out before me and decided to set the top of the hill where the road came out of the valley as my goal.

The road was free of traffic on a Monday afternoon so I decided to blow the carbon out of the engine.  I usually stay as close to the speed limit as possible but being as it was 65 and I could see about twenty miles of the road laid down in front of me I hit about 85.  I know that doesn't seem like much coming from a bike capable of 130 plus but I would hate to hit a rabbit at triple digits.  I passed through Ellicott quickly.  It was a hard scrabble little community with some house trailers and modular homes at various angles here and there, like someone took a handful of blocks and scattered them on a table.  The main business seemed to be a junk yard on the west edge of town.

I kept on going about five miles out of town to the top of that darned hill.  It had a kind of siren call on me, I had to see what was on the other side.  The picture above is what was there to greet me.  My curiosity satisfied I turned around and headed home.  The trip back was a little more enjoyable with Pike's Peak giving me aomething to look at besides scrub brush and fence line.  It's top was peeking out of the layer of clouds at the base.  It was a pretty site but hard to get a good picture of.

The ride would have ordinarily been a boring trip but it's been so long since I've been aboard either bike I was just happy to be riding.  Plus this easy drive helped me boost me confidence up a little.  I was afraid that I would be a lot rustier than it turns out I was.  It was a great ride with perfect 58 degree weather and when I got home I had Moon, our dog waiting to greet me.  Not a bad day even though I only went 60 miles.  I'm looking forward to boosting that up tomorrow.


That's the magic number for the official start of my riding season.  That's the mileage on the FZ1 today.  Unfortunately my season didn't start with everyone else's.  Here in Colorado Springs you can be assured of a few good riding days a month throughout the winter.  We've been catching up on moving from Ohio to Missouri last June and Missouri to Colorado in January so money has been tight.  We've finally caught up with enough bills that I could afford a new tire and tags for the bike.  I'm getting ready to don the leather jacket and gloves (it's overcast and 47 degrees today) and take a short spin somewhere, anywhere, it doesn't matter.  God I've missed the rides.  If you're reading this all I'll ask is why?  Go get on your bike, it's always perfect riding weather (if there's snow or ice on the road I'll give you a pass).