Monday, 13 September 2010

Can A Road Be Beautiful,,,,?

I felt a bit down today, but I am not sure why.

Maybe I am getting tired. Maybe I am missing my wife and family. Maybe I am getting a little road-weary. This was day 80 of my tour, so it could be that.

It should have been a great day today as I went to a car show this morning, rode Pikes Peak and then went to see Cripple Creek. But it wasn’t. It was an okay day that just felt odd.

The car show was good, with a few gorgeous cars on display. Riding Pikes Peak was very good and the views spectacular, but I didn’t feel like making a video of the ride and I didn’t take many pictures. On the way back down we had to wait while an ambulance was called for a couple that had an accident on their bike. They simply ran off the road and hit a bank of earth. The rider said he had been going just 25mph and skidded on the yellow centre stripe. No way. He was obviously going faster than his and just lost control. Too bad they had an accident, and I am sure they will be OK. He wasn’t badly hurt, but the lady had lost the feeling in her legs, but it was coming back.

I had heard a lot of good things about Cripple Creek, but there must be two towns near each other with that name as the one I went to was sadly disappointing.

I even realised at one stage I had been riding in the wrong direction for about 10 miles, so convinced I was that I knew the way to Cripple Creek. I was not happy when I eventually turned on my GPS / Sat Nav to be told by she-that-must-be-obeyed to make a U-turn. Hmmph!

With the delay for the accident, I was running a bit later than I would have liked, so I skipped lunch and by the time I got to my hotel for the night I went straight out and ate dinner. All I wanted to do when I got back was to sleep, but I was running low on clean clothes, so I am laundering my clothes in the hotels guest laundry as I type this. I may have said it before, but Holiday Inn Express hotels are not too expensive and every single one has a guest laundry.

My back is still aching a little, but only at the end of a day’s riding. My wife’s sister’s husband suggested a backrest for the bike today and the timing of his suggestion passed onto me by my wife was good. Maybe I will try one. I wonder if there is a H-D dealer in Colorado Springs. I will look in a little while.

Okay, snap out of it France and sort your pictures from today out, go get your clothes out of the dryer, publish this post and get to bed!

A few pictures from the Cruise Above The Clouds car show....

These three similar coloured cars seems to be saying “feed me”.... They reminded me of hungry pelicans....


















I have never seen this car before but I loved it.... just look at that retracting roof!....





































I was really happy the way this picture came out....


















Hmmmn. This looks familiar!....


















Yes, please. I would like one of these....


















It seems a bit silly to have to pull a trailer just because the restorer chopped the trunk....


















Drool....


















Terrific paintwork....


























For a long time, I have wanted to own a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Today I changed my mind, because I now want a 1957 Chevy Bel Air Nomad. What a wonderful car!.... but I would want it in red....


















On the way to my next destination, I saw this sign. Can you guess which place I went to?..... (hint – the only workshop I like must have a bike or car in it)....




















I posted something recently saying taking pictures of mountains is really difficult as they either are washed-out or do not portray the scale of what your eyes actually saw. I think this picture shows the scale....




















With the road shown, this picture equally demonstrates the size of what is there....


















I love this picture....




















One of the Rangers stopped and offered to take my picture. I don’t know why I usually decline when someone offers to do this, but today I said yes....




















I chatted to the Ranger for a while and learned that just about every day, somebody gets too scared to continue to drive their car on the road going up/down the mountain. These just freeze and a Ranger has to drive their car down for them. It did make me wonder why they ever started to drive up in the first place!

What curves.... Can a road be beautiful? I think so.....




















The road to the top of Pikes Peak is 18 miles long from the pay booth ($12 per person). All but about 3 miles are paved and are some of the best roads you can possibly hope to find. The 3 unpaved miles are easy to ride if you take it slowly. I kept to about 20mph and had no problems at all.

The top is at just over 14,000 feet. You can park quite close to the edge....


















To get an idea of scale, click on this next picture to enlarge it and look at the people standing on the peak on the left hand side....


















Stunning views....


















I had noticed signs at the bottom of the mountain proclaiming “Pikes Peak Challenge”. I had seen people walking up the mountain and when I walked around the summit, I saw that it was an organised event for walkers and runners(!) to reach the top.....wow, I am full of admiration for these people.....


























The mountain has a cog railway and I wondered if the train was running today....


















I didn’t need to wait long for the answer....


















Riding back down, I saw this classic car being driven up. I like it when special cars like this are driven and not locked away only to be bought out to be polished or taken to a show. I waved at the driver in appreciation as he went passed....


















I stopped, parked the bike and climbed some rocks to take a picture with my Point and Shoot camera. While I was up there I use it to take a short video....




This is the only picture I took of Cripple Creek.... I just couldn’t sum up enough enthusiasm to take any more.....




















The one really bright spot of my day, was bumping into Charlie6 at a gas station. I had stopped to make a phone call and in he rode on Natasha. It is a small world!....

19 comments:

Beck said...

The pictures are breathtaking, as usual, and you do not disappoint with your stories. You always seem to make a friend along the way, case in point the ranger, where you learn something to share with us. Sorry to hear you are down, but it has to be extremely hard to be away from your family for so long plus the trip has to take a toll on you. Just remember this, you bring so much joy to all of your followers everyday. You make us smile with your stories that you share and dream of places that we will probably never travel with your pictures and videos. You give us hope. My prayer is that tomorrow morning when you see the beautiful day before you, that your spirit lifts and you have another safe glorious day! Take care.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I think some of your stress is having to report to all of us. While we appreciate your day by day photoblog you have probably undertaken too large of a job while on the road. Instead of relaxing and enjoying yourself you are thinking of the video, how your photos are going to be displayed, what words to write. You cannot relax. Your mind is always working.

Right now you are a videographer, reporter, historian, tour guide, rider and publisher. Relax, enjoy yourself see what you want to see, not what you think you should show us.

For now, enjoy your ride and safe travels

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

bluekat said...

That is quite a ribbon of road! I've never been afraid to drive anywhere, but I can imagine freezing on the motorcycle. Wonder if the Ranger would ride it back down for me? :)

Beautiful pics of the cars. I love the Thunderbird with the reflections.

I can imagine having down days on a trip. Even an awesome trip has to get tiring some days. I imagine it will pass. Of course, what do I know...I barely travel and get homesick after 1 day away from home! Wishing you renewed energy and a return to good times while traveling!

Motorcycle Philosophy said...

Yeah the back aches is what really plagued me on my Alaska trip, particularly in the last week of riding. They ought to come up with an "Iron Back Association".

iansolley said...

Hey keep it up Gary - and if you get a bit bored - then change your route and meet me in Vegas on October 2nd!

In The Wind Adventures of William and Mary Ann said...

Sounds like you're just a bit homesick Gary.
Hang in there pal. You'll be sitting back at home soon enough with a big smile on your face and thinking to yourself "I DID IT!" I've been just awful about posting comments for a while, but I do check in on you regularly. Great photos! I visited Pikes Peak decades ago, it has probably changed a lot since then. Did you also visit Center City and Tiny Town?
Take care,
Mary Ann :-)

Radar said...

Gary, I'm surprised the Leading Ladies are not jealous of all the beautiful curves around them!

I don't care if it is business or pleasure, being on the road for 80 days is tiresome. When you think about it, you've made the blog a full-time job, albeit a very fun one. Nonetheless, perhaps you need a day off just to relax? What am I saying, if you are not already so relaxed there is no hope for you.

Thanks for sharing the adventure...it is quite inspiring.

biker baby said...

When will you be meeting up with Jackie? That will make the world right again. It sounds like you have a great relationship. For her to go along with your dream, she obviously loves you allot…who wouldn’t miss that kind of love?

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Cripple Creek. To just ride through, it is not spectacular. We did the mine tour, museum, and rode the local roads into the mountains. Since Rich's family has second homes there, we had the benefit of being in a house on the mountainside with a hot tub and all the comforts of home for one day and the rest of our 3 day stay was in his Uncles condo on a hillside in town. We also had the benefit of being told what was interesting to see and do by locals. It’s an interesting little town if you like history and if you head into the nearby mountains.

Circle Blue said...

I am not much of a traveler and so being out 80 days with only a few down days is a marvel to me. It sounds like your back is doing better. I'm sure a back rest couldn't hurt and just might help.

I enjoyed this post particularly.

~Keith

Donna aka Froggi said...

Sounds like you need a couple of hotel/spa veg days to relax...do nothing, sit outside on the patio/balcony and read. I did that every two weeks when I was on my 10 week ride. Can't imagine doing it for as long as you are without some non-riding breaks.

My late husband and I used to live in Co Springs. Stu and I have visited it as well. Gorgeous area. Hope you found the Harley dealer.

Story about Pikes Peak...there is a hiking group that climbs up every year and sets off fireworks from the peak. http://www.adaman.org/

Our first year there (our 5th anniversary), hubby was invited to be part of the 4x4 group that brought the hikers and their gear down. I told him to go for it, a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was snowing so now fireworks but he had an amazing time.

Axel said...

Gary, after 80 days you have all the rights to be down, but for a short period only please, have a stiff drink and a good rest. To cheer you up I want to send you a little something by Royal Mail, see separate email.

Jackie, the Wife xx said...

Hi MD:

I miss you lots too .xx

I am so sorry that you are having a bit of an upside down day. Hopefully, a nice long sleep with bring you a much better day.

Only a couple of more months and you will be heading home. YEAH !!! hehehe

Wishing for you, a lovely and happy day tomorrow..... ..!!.. :-)

Sleep well...

PS: Can’t wait to go riding with you through Arizona….

Kz ..........

Jackie, the Wife xx said...

By the way…..

The turquoise / white convertible car is a Ford Fairlane 500 … I am guessing the year is around 1958 – 1962 ???

Oh….. and about the Chevrolet Nomad… < SMILE >

We could have one of those please and in red would be great. hehehe

Kz……………………

Charlie6 said...

Gary, beautiful pictures of your time on Pikes Peak! Ditto for the cars....some of them were real beauties.

You did look a bit road-weary when we bumped into each other in Woodland Park, here's hoping you get in better spirits soon...perhaps riding on Skyline Drive will do the trick.

dom

Redleg'sRides

motoroz said...

Hope you find that backrest. The pictures were great. I hiked up Pikes Peak from the west side (shorter than Barr's Trail on the east side.) It is so pretty up there.
Get some rest.

Eve said...

Wow wow wow! That is some road and some views Gary!! I love that Z28! That's my pick and that works out well cause we won't have to fight over the cars! I don't blame you a bit for that slump...I'm just hoping you get over it so you can enjoy yourself a little more. Sometime tomorrow I'll be posting and there may be a car in there that you'd enjoy.
Love the video with the LL's way down on her own. And what a small world after all!!
Cheers!!!

bluekat said...

@ Eve,
lol - I'll fight you for the Z! Ron had a '72 Camaro when we met. Not a Z28, but not stock either! ;)
Wish we still had it.

Sorry Gary, didn't mean to hijack the post!
Ok...back to our regular scheduled ride report!

Gary France said...

I would like to say thanks to everybody that wrote about me feeling a bit down. You will be pleased to know that it didn’t last long and I am back to feeling good again. Normal service has been resumed!

Beck – You say the nicest things. Thank you for your very kind words. I find it very easy to make friends with people in the USA because almost everybody is so friendly. People smile at you, wave and are genuine decent people. I don’t know of anywhere else in the world that this happens to the same extent. Just today I was riding down a back road, hopelessly lost, in a rural farming area, I suspect far from where strangers normally drive / ride. The few people that were around all waved at me. Every single one. What great people!

Bob – Hmmmn – maybe you are right, but I don’t really worry about those things too much while I am riding. Having now mastered the art of one-handed riding, I use a small dictating / voice recording machine to save my thoughts on and this helps me greatly in not worrying about having to remember stuff. I honestly don’t worry too much about my blog when I am riding. I do enjoy just looking around and seeing what is out there. I don’t really know why I got a bit down, but I certainly wouldn’t put the blame in the direction of needing to worry about my readers.

bluekat – Now you have got me wondering - I should have asked the Ranger if they ever have to ride motorbikes down.... surely not! I was very happy with that Thunderbird picture. Thank you for your good wishes!

MP / Steve – I stopped at a H-D dealer today and asked about back-rests. I would need a new seat, a back-rest and a fixing kit. Total price $550 dollars. I will buy more pain-killers!

Ian – Tempting, but I will stick with my route!

Mary Ann – I am pleased that you check in regularly. Comments are nice to get, but the important thing is people are reading my (almost) daily ration of what I have been doing and seeing. No, I didn’t get to see Center City and Tiny Town. Now I wonder what I missed!

Radar – That is a good line and I wish I had thought of it! I am very relaxed normally. After 80 days I can notice the difference in my riding style depending on just how relaxed I am. It flows nicely when relaxed and feels un-easy if I am tense. The real problem of course comes if I am tired and then become too relaxed – I normally stop riding very soon after I notice this, but luckily it hasn’t happened too many times.

Gary France said...

Biker Baby – Jackie will be joining me in about 8 or 9 days time. I am looking forward to that! I am very lucky to have her – she was very supportive of my need to fulfil my dream ride across the USA. I think you hit the nail on the head about Cripple Creek – being told the best places to go is a huge benefit, which this time, I didn’t have the benefit of. Sometimes I am lucky and meet people who say “You must go see......”. I like it when that happens because invariably, I do take their advice and rarely regret it.

Keith – With the high cost of a back-rest, it will have to wait. I didn’t want to spend that sort of amount of money before at least trying one to see if I liked it. I think I am lucky that I have so few down days.

Donna – The most I have done so far is added an odd day here and there, mainly to catch up with my blog posts and videos. I guess that doesn’t really count as relaxing though! I did find the Harley dealer, but it was a Sunday and they were closed. It is a strange thing that in the UK most dealers are closed on a Sunday, but most I have seen in the US are open on a Sunday. Letting off fireworks on Pikes Peak on New Year’s Eve sounds great fun. I read on the website you suggested about using mirrors to signal friends and families in the Colorado Springs area, but I wonder if people can see the fireworks they let off on the summit?

Axel – I like the idea of being sent something to cheer me up. I will reply to your e-mail soon with an address.

Jackie – I can’t wait to see you in Arizona as well.... ! I must try to work out the best day for you to arrive! As you know from our telephone calls, my feeling down didn’t last long.... I agree about the cars!

Charlie6 –It was so funny bumping into each other – what a surprise. Yes, Skyline Drive helped a lot – see my latest post!

Oz – I want to try a back-rest first to see if I like them. I have never ridden with one, so I am trying to find a H-D dealer with a back-rest already on a bike that I could take for a short ride. Wow – you hiked up! That is impressive!

Eve – I liked that view of the leading Ladies too. It was quite a climb up the rocks to get that shot, but it was worth it. That’s OK, you can have the Z28! I am feeling much better now, thanks!

bluekat – You are not hijacking at all. Good luck with the fight!