Everything started out innocently enough, the ride through town to CR24 was routine. The weather was 62 degrees and perfect. The stretch from Manitou Springs to Woodland Park was the usual, a twisty spot allows me to escape the pack of cars that always coagulates half way up the mountain. I started getting excited once I hit CR67, new untravelled road, my favorite kind. The first sign out of town placed Deckers 23 miles up the road. I remembered from the map (which I forgot at home) that was the area I was headed. The first part of this stretch was pretty high speed and straight with a few long sweepers and light traffic. There were just a few cars to pass and plenty of places to do it. After a while the curves started to tighten up and it really got fun. Most of the road was down hill so I got the speed up a few times and the corners really got my heart thumping. People always compare that kind of ride to a roller coaster but I've never been that thrilled on coaster.
I got into Deckers, a small fishing spot on the left of the road and a coffee shop, liquor store and bait shop on the right. I pulled in for a bottle of water and ended up getting a hot dog too. While I was sitting outside an older gentleman pulled up on a pristine '79 BMW R65. We talked for a little while and he gave me some advice about the route. If I had gone the way I told him I was headed it would have been more accurate advice. He was justifiably proud of the bike, it had one previous owner and a mere 35,000 miles on the odometer when he bought it. It was garaged and well tended to and had quite a few miles more on it by now. After sharing the remains of my hot dog with the neighborhood dog I was off.
Deckers is actually at the crossroads of where I should have turned. I decided to follow Goggle not the directions of the motorcyclist obviously familiar with the area. This led me across some more great twisty road but also to Platte River Road. For the next 17 miles I was making my way down a very twisty, very dusty dirt road. Fortunately it was a well maintained dirt road, one that I had been down a few years ago when my wife and I were looking for ghost towns. The bike actually handled the washboards better than her Tacoma. The ride was scenic as all get out and I stopped and took several photos. I eventually ran past this creepy old abandoned hotel Lisa had taken me to before. I finally came out on paved road. It turned out to be the road I would have taken if I had followed the local's directions back at Deckers. The road sign said Deckers was ten miles, I had gone about 25 extra miles, 17 of them on dirt. I guess there are two ways to look at it, I had to go 25 extra miles or I got to go 25 extra miles. Anyway, after getting the bike up to speed and just getting back in the groove, I came to my next turn - back onto gravel! This was an interesting road with some steep inclines and narrow stretches hanging on the side of the hills. It struck me as a logging road almost, albeit nicely maintained. I passed a few SUVs and received a few curious glances as well.
This stretch of dirt turned out to be a mere four miles and I popped back out on CR67 and headed north to Sedalia. This section was another cork screw dream come true. It felt good to be leaning at extreme angles on smooth pavement again. I took a right at CR150 and there the tale basically ends. I rode into Castle Rock and got an angry stare from some short little guy on a big custom (apparently because I had the audacity to be in the lane next to him during a red light). But that was about it. I-25 was I-25 but by this time I didn't care, I was tired and thirsty.
All in all this was an exceptional ride. I couldn't help but notice while going down the dirt road how I was in a state of zen (not to overuse that term). After a while my speed started to pick up and I started to learn something new about the bike I've been riding for the past seven years. And here I thought I knew it inside and out. I also learned a little something about my own abilities. I surprised myself by not turning around from the unknown. This ride gets a ten out of ten. The ride was a total of 168 miles when it was all said and done.