Thursday, November 21, 2013

Buck Snort Saloon And A Cool Colorado Afternoon

Saturday I got a little pre-winter ride in with my brother-in-law Chris.  Since Chris lives in Silverthorn (in the mountains) and I live in Colorado Springs we usually meet in the middle at my mother-in-law’s place in Littleton.  It’s been a typical Colorado fall; too cold to ride to work in the mornings but beautiful through the day.  Saturday was projected to be in the sixties and since my frequent riding partner, Chris, hadn’t seen the new bike yet we made plans to hook up and try out our usual route.  We often ride through Deer Creek Canyon and then pick a different route to end up the ride.  Chris had just done the “Emily’s Parade” ride for the I Love You Guys foundation.  He and a few other guys rode to the Buck Snort Saloon.  I checked out the location on the map and figured, “what the heck”.  I really don’t need much motivation to ride.
I left around 1000 to get to Littleton by 1100.  Traffic was light, which is unusual for the I-25 corridor between Colo Spgs and Denver.  I made it to Littleton in 48 minutes which is very good time.  This part of the trip is usually my least favorite.  I’m not a fan of interstate travel but for some reason this day was a lot of fun.  Like I said, traffic was light and speeds were swift.  The new bike is such a joy to ride, it’s responsive, limber and stable in traffic that I found myself just enjoying the cruise at construction zone speed limits.

Chris and I filled up before heading out, neither of our bikes are gas misers.  We headed to the end of South Kipling Pkwy and took a left.  Deer Creek Canyon Road is a marvelous, twisty smooth road that is easy to ride at a safe yet quick pace.  There is usually a steady stream of bicyclists and other motorcyclists but it’s never been crowded in my opinion.  And once again the new bike preformed beautifully.  It feels a little more wild than my old ’02 FZ1 but that may be because I’ve noticed a tendency I have to riding this one a little more aggressively.

We popped out on State Route 285 and made for the Silver Springs/Pine Junction area.  After a false turn (totally my fault) we headed south on Route 126 towards Deckers.  I’ve mentioned Deckers a few times before as it’s one of my favorite quick local trips.  Coming down towards Deckers from the north is always a fun ride.  It runs along the North Platte River through some beautiful valleys.  I was so enthralled by the beauty that I missed a turn again.  It was actually warmer up in the mountains than down Denver way.  Surprisingly there weren’t many bikes out and we only passed three dual sport BMWs the entire time we were in that area.  Later in the ride we would pass dozens of Harleys and Japanese cruisers parked out front of a few bars in Evergreen and Morrison.

So after making our way back the six miles I overshot the turn we headed up into South Elk Creek Rd in Pine.  This isn’t a dirt road but it’s not far from it.  It’s slow going but there are so many interesting cabins along the side to the road that I was doing a lot of rubbernecking anyway.  We pulled into a small cluster of old buildings the road snaked through and without even realizing it there we were.  The sign was right on the road but it doesn’t really stand out.  The area is really scenic.  The Buck Snort Saloon was smaller than I imagined and full of character.  With low ceilings and a kind of tacked on charm it felt a little claustrophobic inside.  There was a nice fire going in the pot-bellied cast iron stove in the middle of the dining room.  The BBQ beef sandwich and baked beans I had hit the spot after the ride.  After a few pictures we continued up Elk Creek Rd and made our way through some gravel and soft dirt back to 285.  Since Colorado gets cold after the sun goes down we made a beeline across 73 to Evergreen and across 74 to Morrison.  The ride across those two roads was the usual uneventful scenic rides with a lot of time staring at auto brake lights.  Again, the scenery is so nice I didn’t really care about the slow pace.
After Morrison it was the usual boring run down C-470 and I-25.  By the end I was cold and getting numb fast.  The bike was pretty comfortable for the first 180 miles or so but the last 40 miles I was really fatigued.  I’m not sure how much was the distance and how much was time however.  I got home at about 4:30 so aside from the hour or so for lunch I was in the saddle for a good six hours.  I may have to think about a new gel seat if I’ll be doing any touring.

All in all it was a great fall ride.  The sun was out and the roads were clear.  Even though I always say this and everyone knows how I feel, it bears repeating that motorcycles are the greatest!

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