Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Happy New Year's Eve!!

What a fun riding year it was! My first full calendar year with the new bike was a year of many miles, lessons learned, and many farkles. Shall we reminisce? :-)


Luggage mounts and crash bars were acquired from a chain gang member. The crash bars are fantastic mounts for the tank bags I bought last year. They are also a nice place to mount my camera for some interesting video angles. My hubby also added a trunk and side cases this year. The trunk he painted yellow and it matches my tank bag and tank panniers nearly perfectly. I love it! The side cases are Hardigg storm cases. Both the trunk and side cases have DIY mounts done up by the hubby. He's awesome!

And many miles......

Solo rides to Rocky Mountain National Park, I always wonder why I don't visit there more often, several "I'll be back." rides on lunch breaks at work, a work related ride to Pueblo, at the time my longest day ever, a little bit of dirt roads (not trails, roads), those were all fantastic. But the most fantastic trip of all was the ride to Devils Tower with my hubby for our 3rd wedding anniversary. We are already making plans for our next anniversary moto road trip. Utah is being bounced around (and library books have been checked out for our research).

Lessons learned.....

In March I completed the MSF Advanced Rider Course. At the time, I was just hoping to become more comfortable on the new bike. I think I had about 4,000 miles on it at the time. I remember that because as we went around the room doing introductions, and each guy (I was the only girl) talked about why they were there, most had fewer miles on their new bikes than I did. It was a great course. I hope they offer it again so my hubby can take the course. We had a near close call on one easy ride out for lunch one day. That was unsettling but reminded me how invisible I am. And, I no longer use my cell phone at the gas pump. (Grrrrr. That still makes me mad at myself. So stupid of me!!!)

I paid off the bike just before my one year anniversary (bikerversary). That was a goal and a promise made to my hubby when I bought it. I think I rode less than I would have if I hadn't started training for a half marathon this year. But, all of that training has definitely helped my endurance and comfort on the bike as well. (Who knew?!) For my birthday I almost signed up for a dirt bike class in Atlanta but decided to just spend that time with my family instead. Maybe another time.

What will 2011 bring? I'm hoping more of the same - lots of miles, lots of miles with my husband, more training, and more farkles! My goal for 2011 is to remember my recommended service and get that done on time. I hope to have this bike for a long time. I absolutely love it! It fits me wonderfully. It inspires me to learn more and also inspires confidence as I'm learning.

And since it currently looks like this outside, and is about 10 degrees....

I'm going to call it.... 12,186 miles at the end of 2010. 9,941 total miles ridden in 2010.

Happy New Year everyone! Ride safe and ride often! Woot!! :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Half Marathon update - Not Moto Related

My goal was to finish the half marathon within the 4 hour time limit. And I wanted to have some energy left over at the end for the after party. And to have fun. Those were my only goals.

I finished in 2:49:03! Woo hoo! It was so much fun I might even run another one some day. I was quite happy with my first half marathon.

And since this is a motorcycling blog, I'll say that I plan to ride a lot more now that I'm done training.

I was hoping we'd eat here but we didn't. Maybe next time. :-)

Rock on!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Long time no blog...

Hello!! It sure has been a while since I've blogged. :-( And, I'm sad to say, it's because I haven't been riding much. Not sure why. Nothing much has been going on. No snow on the ground. Only one icy day. I think it's all the training I've been doing for the half marathon. Training, even though it has helped me to be a better rider, has also made me too tired to ride. But, the end is coming! The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon is this Sunday! Hooray! I'll be so glad to finish it!!

I did manage to ride to work today and yesterday. Today was sort of funny. My father has been in town so I wanted to spend the day with him today. But, I needed to go to work as well. So, this morning I decided I'd leave work early but I'd still ride in, mainly just for the ride. :-) Luckily, when I got to work, the servers were down. I think I spent more time on the moto than I did at my desk. That's a good day! ;-)

Well, hopefully, when I return victorious from the half (and by victorious, I mean with a smile on my face because I finished it) hopefully, I'll be riding again more than running.

Rock on!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Carhartt Quilt-Lined Waist Overall

I found these fabulous overpants at TJMaxx for about $30. They are currently in the Carhartt online outlet store for $48. The women's quilted waist overalls come in dark brown and sandstone. (They only had sandstone at TJMaxx.) They also come in various lengths. At the time I hadn't considered these as riding overpants. I was just buying them to throw on when I needed to shovel snow. (My hubby's thinking, "When you shovel snow??) I would have selected the longer length if I had but they work well on the bike too. I wore them for the first time this morning over my draggin jeans. I wish I'd considered this option before I bought new winter Olympia pants.

So far they are very comfortable on the bike. They didn't bunch up at all during my morning commute. They blocked the wind very well too. The material is pretty heavy duty as expected from Carhartt. There even seems to be room in the knees if I had some armor in my pants (which I don't). I bought my "true" size and they still fit well over my jeans. By true size I mean I didn't purposefully buy a larger size in anticipation of wearing them over my regular clothes.

I should probably not pass judgment until I've put a few miles on them but so far so good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spot Personal Tracker

I've heard lots of motorcyclists talk about the Spot Personal Tracker device. It uses satellites to track your location, create maps of your routes, send emergency alerts if needed, calls selected personal phone numbers in non-life threatening situations, and other things depending on the unit. I've always liked the idea of being able to track my route because I have such a terrible memory. Those I-wonder-where-this-road-goes trips are especially difficult to put down after the fact. So, when I happened to find this:
on the 70% off table at the Eddie Bauer Outlet Store, I couldn't resist. I haven't subscribed to the satellite service yet so I can't tell you anything about it. But, this link tells you all about this particular unit. It looks like the basic service is about $100 a year plus $45 a year for the tracking service. I can't wait to try it out. :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010


So, my birthday is coming up in about a month. I've really been wanting to take a dirt bike school class through the MSF or some other organization. Oddly enough, here in Colorado, there aren't very many close to the Denver/Boulder metro area. That still surprises me. I would think in this state, they'd be very popular. Anyway, one place I'm considering is going to Atlanta. My brother and mother live there. In Atlanta, there is a Honda campus that offers the MSF Dirt Bike School classes. And there is a class the day after my birthday. And, best of all, I have enough frequent flyer miles to get a ticket! I think my brother will take the class with me. That will be the most awesome thing ever!! Stay tuned....

Hehehehe! :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Close Call

Nothing eventful has happened since my last post. Which, by the way, was only a one day time out. I just hadn't been very inspired to blog lately. This half marathon training is really taking up all my time. But this weekend seemed to make up for that.

The hubby and I went for a lunch ride on Saturday. We hadn't been on the bikes together in a long time. So, we were overdue. We decided to ride out to Famous Dave's BBQ in Thornton. It's more or less a straight shot up Wadsworth but Wadsworth is hardly ever a straight forward drive. It is a heavily used multi lane highway that runs north and south through town. I generally avoid it but some times it is the most direct route to take. It is an alternative to the super slab when heading to points north. Another thing that made the ride a bit more hectic is that I didn't bring my headset. So, we couldn't talk to each other as we traveled.

The first incident happened about 30 blocks into the ride. Hubby was leading and came to a stop at a yellow light. It wasn't a quick stop but apparently the car behind the car behind me wasn't paying attention. That car nearly rear ended the car behind me - squealing and smoking tires and all. In my mirror, I could see it all develop and I watched the offending car swerve to one side, into the already occupied left lane. Fortunately, he or she didn't hit anything and we all carried on. I don't know how much my hubby could see in his mirrors but he certainly heard the squealing tires. We weren't in any danger, or it didn't appear that way anyway. It certainly wasn't the first time we've had squealing tires around us. At any rate, it would have been nice to have the headsets to check in at that point.

About 5 blocks later, the three lanes of traffic merge into two.

Another 30 or so blocks later, we were approaching the US-36 overpass. This intersection can be quite frightening. The speed limit drops from 55mph to 35mph within a few blocks. Within that span, there are several stoplights and traffic is merging on and off of US-36, as well as the frontage roads running parallel. There is also a small airport nearby, a regional transit park and ride, and a shopping area with a Target store. Lots of activity. Oh, and of course, some construction thrown in every now and then making things interesting. Most of the construction is done but the merging lanes and such have been recently redesigned. We were traveling in the right lane. Traffic in the left lane started backing up because the light was red. Our lane was gradually slowing. Yes, a recipe for disaster. As we are slowing but before I had to put my foot down to stop, I checked my right mirror and see an SUV behind me that doesn't appear to be slowing. In an instant it seems, the image in my mirror became very large and close. He wasn't going to stop.

It's amazing to me the number of thoughts that can go through your mind in an instant. It's especially amazing to me because I have such a bad memory. I think it's genetic and I've told my husband to prepare himself for our future - me asking repetitive questions and him calmly answering them over and over.

I began to accelerate. I was positioned in the right part of the lane following behind my hubby who was traveling in the left part of the lane. There was plenty of room for me to pull up next to him quickly. As I began to accelerate, the SUV driver hit his brakes - squealing tires and smoke. He also pulled over into the left lane, fortunately, not hitting anyone there. Later, it seemed to me that he (or she) realized he was about to hit me and decided to pull over to hit the other cars instead of me.

Hubby didn't realize the near miss. At the next light I pulled up next to him and told him we needed to pull over. I was shaking and pissed off.

In that instant before I accelerated, these are the things that went through my mind:

1.) He's not stopping.
2.) He's going to hit me.
3.) I'm going to go flying into the air right past my husband.
4.) He's probably going to hit us both.
5.) Then I had a vision of my wrecked bike and that really pissed me off.

As soon as it was over and I/we were out of harms way, I managed to look back at the driver to glare at him. Of course, he couldn't see my glare under my helmet and that was ok. I just wanted to see where he was so that I could stay away from him as we traveled on. Actually, I wanted to scream at him - "Are you out of your fucking mind?!" - but that wouldn't have accomplished anything. Then, I had an adrenaline rush and started shaking and we pulled over.

Hubby still wasn't sure why I needed to pull over. But, I more or less calmly explained it, or not so calmly, I don't remember that part. He said he hadn't even noticed which I think made him worried. I just needed to vent and calm down before we carried on. If we'd had the headsets, I would have more easily explained to him what was going on but pulling over was probably better anyway. We considered going across the street to the McDonald's for lunch but once I calmed down everything was ok. We carried on, paying more attention to the cagers, and made it to our destination without any further incident.

Over lunch we talked more about it. We are pretty good about taking these experiences and learning from them. We like to talk things out and go through them step by step. What did we think happened? What would we have done differently? That sort of thing. I was amazed and quite happy to know that the training from those motorcycle safety classes kicked in. I don't practice those things even though I know I should. I just feel more comfortable practicing and getting feedback on what I'm doing. It's a lame excuse but true. But, I didn't even think about accelerating out of harm's way, I just did it. Wow. That made me feel good. I was able to see the situation, evaluate it, and execute. I am so taking a class every year from now on!

For the record, this is what I look like from behind. I had hubby take this photo after we got home so I could put it in this blog post.

I think I look pretty obvious but apparently, it doesn't matter to anyone who isn't paying attention. The first incident wasn't even because they didn't see me. It was because they didn't see the car behind me. Fortunately, that put me on high alert. Being aware of the conditions and potential dangers on the road we were on also helped. I was anticipating the situation we were in after the first incident. That particular intersection and stretch of road is some times part of my commute. Actually, it is no longer part of my main commute for that very reason. It's very dangerous.

After lunch, we came home via the super slab I-25. It was better because there wasn't so much stop and go. But, it's still the interstate with all of it's inherent dangers. We made it home safe and sound though.

Oh, when we got home, hubby says, "I think there's something wrong with my rear brake. It's not stopping."

What a day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motorcycling Time Out

I can't believe I did that!!!!

So, I went to fill up yesterday morning and had a mishap at the pump. No, I didn't drop it. The pump didn't click off as I was filling. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

To make matters even worse, I wasn't paying attention because I was texting!! How horrible is that!?!?!? OMG! I can't believe it. So, today, I am in a motorcycling time out to just take a break and think about what I did. Seriously, I drove today.

Here's the story. I pull up to a gas station I've used a few times. I do what I always do - take off my gloves, flip up my visor, grab my credit card, put in the pump and lock it to fill up. Then, as I also always do, I pulled out my iPhone to open the Gas Cubby app where I keep track of my fill ups and service. Ironically, I was just bragging about this app to tbolt on her blog post about tracking service. (D'oh!) I usually just punch in the info as it's filling and then when it's done, I punch in the remainder, then go on about my day. On this day, as I pulled out my phone, I coincidentally also received a text from my brother. The Saints had won the night before so we were eager to discuss that topic. I sent him one, was reading his reply and then turned back to face the bike. Gas was gushing all over the place. Holy crap!

I turned off the pump handle and stood there in disbelief for a second before going inside to alert the guy of the spill. He was very apologetic, but it was really more my fault than his. It still would have happened but if I'd been paying attention, I would have seen it right away. He gave me some soapy water and more than enough towels to clean off the bike. He even offered me a plastic trash bag to cover my seat, which I declined. I wasn't far from home so I headed back to change clothes, call work, and settle my thoughts. I also called my husband a couple of times before I drove off to have him tell me what to do.

Turns out everything is fine. I didn't blow up or even catch on fire, thank goodness. I was able to get to work and wasn't even too late. I did ride to work because I had a service appointment that day. But, today, I'm in the cage.

Maybe I just need a break anyway. I've been awfully tired these days with all the exercising and training for the half marathon. And, I'm not 20 any more. Yes, a break will be a good thing. I'm also taking a break from fitness boot camp today.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Invisible Rider

The other day I drove to work and this motorcyclist was in front of me. As I followed behind, I couldn't help but notice how invisible he looked. He was on a black motorcycle, had black saddle bags, a black jacket, and a silver helmet. We were on a black asphalt road and as we traveled along the barely sloping road, he would literally disappear when the road ahead was as high as his helmet. When he needed to brake, his tail light lit up but beyond that, it was hard to see him. And I was right behind him and was looking for him. I took a photo of him with my iPhone.

I've seen this phenomenon before. The first time it was a silver motorcycle, silver gear, and the guy also disappeared as he traveled on the silvery road. At that time, I was on a silver motorcycle, with silver pants and a silver jacket as well. It was startling to know that I was just as invisible as he was. It was shortly after that I started buying hi-viz gear and also had my hubby add more lights to my motorcycle. And I already love stickers to I added some reflective stickers as well.

Today I ride a black motorcycle. I still have my silver pants but do wear my hi-viz jacket. And when I wear my silver warm weather jacket, I wear a hi-viz vest over it. I haven't had any extra lights added on just yet but it's on the list. I also have a yellow top case and yellow tank saddle bags. My side cases are a dark army green but I have lots of reflective stickers on them including large yellow panels on the sides. (The plastic side cases weren't the right kind of plastic to paint them.) And I'll always wear a white helmet, unless I find a hi-viz or yellow one that fits.

As the days get shorter I try to keep in mind all of these things. I am of the better safe than sorry crowd so will continue to add more to myself and my bike to make myself more visible. If I could get to the Aerostich warehouse, I'd probably invest in a hi-viz Roadcrafter suit. But there is no way I'm spending all that money without trying one on. Hmmmm.... sounds like a road trip might be in order....... In the meantime, I'll probably stick with the ladies Olympia AST Jacket and Promax pants. From Motogear Outlet of course.

Shiny side up everyone!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Motorcycling Fitness

I've been participating in a fitness boot camp since April. We workout 3 days a week and I've been doing it now for 23 weeks. That's about 69 days, give or take some days I've missed for travel. I tried this program last year for a couple of weeks and it worked wonders. But, I didn't keep it up. In fact, I stopped working out pretty much the day I got this new motorcycle. What a weird coincidence. ;-) Folks will often tell you to reward yourself for sticking to a workout program. When I first started, I told myself the new GS would be my reward. I was thinking big. But, that sort of had the opposite effect in the end. This summer, I told myself I really needed to stick with it and have been quite happy with myself. I've even registered for a half marathon, which was a sort of new year's resolution. I almost ran out of time to complete it this year. I'm doing the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 5th. I'll reach that goal just in time for a new resolution.

I didn't sign up for this fitness boot camp for any specific motorcycling health related issue. But I can certainly tell the difference when I ride. Mostly, I can tell because certain muscles are sore and I can feel it when I ride. But, I can also tell the difference in my core (abs and back) strength. I don't get fatigued as quickly. I sit up straighter. I feel more aware and alert on the bike. When we did our Devils Tower trip, all those days in a row of riding was a lot of fun and not very tiring at all.

I'm hoping I can keep it up for as long as I can afford the classes. Maybe I'll add that cost to my motorcycling expense fund. :-)

Yesterday, one of the exercises we did was holding a 6lb medicine ball over head while jumping on our toes in the sand. Holy smokes! I had no idea I used those calf muscles so much on the motorcycle. Riding to work this morning I was much more aware of the effort to downshift, which happens a lot more often during the ride than I ever really thought about before. Yikes!

Here's to being 40-something and in shape for the ride!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recent pictures...

I've taken some photos on some recent commutes to work. Here they are in no particular order.

This was last Thursday. You may or may not know I was born and raised in New Orleans and, born a Saints fan. Thursday was the first game of the NFL season, traditionally played by the Super Bowl champion team. This year that champion team is the New Orleans Saints. :-) So, I wore my Drew Brees jersey over my motorcycle jacket on my ride to work. :-) Who Dat!!

On the way home one day there was a pretty cool rainbow. It faded before I was able to pull over and get a good shot of it. But, here it is.

On another trip home, the rising moon was quite stunning. My crappy little camera could not capture it very well.
On Monday, a forest fire broke out up the canyon from Boulder. While it posed no threat to Boulder, or my workplace, the smoke settled in town for much of the rest of the week. I took these photos on my way to work. They were taken from the same spot as the photo at the top of my blog.

Velcro Brush

Here is the velcro brush I mentioned in a previous blog post. It's a very small thing that I bought at a local hardware store in Boulder (McGuckins). It isn't anything special really. I don't use it very often but it cleans the velcro pretty well. Then I have to clean the brush by picking out the lint with my fingers or tweezers. I use it the most after visiting my sister-in-law. They have 4 dogs. :-)

One Year Anniversary!

Today is my one year anniversary with the GS! Woo hoo! I rode away from the dealership with 13 miles on the clock. Today there are 10,093 miles! My goal was 10,000 miles and having it paid off in a year. I met both of those goals this month!! Woo hoo!! Oddly enough, I didn't ride today. I have family visiting so, that takes priority. But, I did make sure to ride enough to reach that 10K mile mark. I actually rode an extra 3 miles around the neighborhood on Wednesday so that I would get to exactly 10K when I pulled into the driveway. :-) It was easier to take the photo that way. :-)Yay!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Many Miles?

As my one year anniversary approaches, anyone wanna guess how many miles I'll have on the GS? There were 13 miles on it when I rode away from the dealership on September 11, 2009. :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Questions about gear

A friend of mine, who is looking to buy her first motorcycle shortly after taking a motorcycle safety class, has been asking me all sorts of fun questions. It's great to think about how far I've come as a rider and how much fun it still is to ride. It also helps me to think about all the stuff I still have to learn. Today we talked about gear. I'd been thinking about gear and the question of whether or not the gear has a shelf life or mileage life span even before she and I started this conversation.

For example, I've had my boots since August 2008. I think when I bought them I was told three years was a good long life for them if I only wore them on the bike and not for walking around in or at work all day. I do wear them at work but not very often because they are so hot and bulky. They are pretty scuffed up and most of those scuffs I really can't explain. The toes for some reason are quite scruffy looking. Is that from debris on the road?? I can't think of any other reason they'd get that way.

I've also had my mesh Olympia jacket and pants for a long time. The pants I've had since at least September 2007. The jacket since April 2008. The jacket is in pretty good condition. But I don't wear it year round like I do with my boots and even the mesh pants. The pants are looking a bit worse for wear. I've had one of the belt loops repaired and now another has come undone. The piping on the side of the legs is wearing thin. There's a hole in one of the front pockets. Oh, and they are stained and pretty filthy looking. But, by using a velcro brush that I bought recently, they still function just fine.

I'm planning to buy some winter pants this year. I'd also like to get a new Olympia winter jacket but my Tour Master still works just fine. It fits a bit tighter than I remember for some reason. Mostly I like the Olympia gear and I can get a hi-viz color too.

So, dear readers (I think I'm up to three now), how often do you buy new gear? Assuming no unexpected get offs, will gear wear out?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lessons Learned on the Devils Tower Road Trip

We couldn't have asked for a better first road trip. The weather was perfect. The bikes were great. The destination was great. The company was perfect. :-) We even ended up having a house guest to stay in our house while we were away.

We didn't camp so we didn't have to carry nearly as much stuff as we would have otherwise. For our first trip and only a week of travel, I just thought it would be better to spend the extra bucks for our own bed, shower and some air conditioning. Turns out, the chalet was only $4 more a night than the KOA. So, that was a no brainer really.

All of our gear fit inside our side and top cases. Hubby's GL650I had two rear side cases, a top case and a tank bag. My G650GS had two side cases, a top case, a tank bag and two tank panniers. We only had to bungee stuff to a seat once, when hubby's latch got stuck locked after we unloaded on the first night. Fortunately that happened after he had taken everything out of it. He also was able to repair a couple of nights later.

The bike-to-bike communication was a great investment. We bought them just for this trip and I think we did only one test ride. Or maybe we just walked around the house with our helmets on to test them out. At any rate, it was not something we were used to having but is now something we will probably never ride without. That was another good reason not to camp. We needed to charge them each night. Having the ability to talk to each other during the ride enabled me to be the lead rider throughout the trip. I have very poor sense of direction. Hubby can almost always figure out where we need to go. But, when he leads, he told me he constantly checks his mirrors for me. Not for any particular reason but he just does. This slows him down, which really annoys me. I tend to ride up on his back wheel when he's leading. With me in the lead, I can set the pace and he can see me all the time. It works great! :-) We were both very content with that arrangement. With the ability to talk to him, I can ask for directions and not lead us astray. We can also discuss where and when to get gas, when and where to stop for food, when and where to stop to pee, etc. It makes the ride so much easier and more relaxing.

Another invaluable accessory was the evaporative cooling vests, also purchased just for this trip. Wyoming in July is so very hot. Turns out we arrived at our motel in Hullet on the hottest day that year. The vests work in a similar way to the cooldana. You soak them in water for a few minutes so the absorbing gel gets saturated. Lightly wring them out so they aren't dripping. Put them on under the mesh jacket and off you go. Instant A/C! We soaked ours and then put them into over sized zip locked bags and stuffed them into hubby's trunk until we needed them. They stayed wet and we didn't have to find a place to soak them on the road.

We both learned that our stock seats are not so comfy after a hundred miles or so. I learned that I really needed some highway pegs to stretch my legs. (That's already been taken care of by my love!) We had just enough space for all of our stuff - probably more than enough if we really thought about it. We road at night only once but wished we'd had our reflective vests when we did. I think we had a lot of electronic gear but I'm not sure we had too much. All of the chargers and things take up a lot of space. We used a lot of faux packing cubes which made packing and finding things much easier.

The trip as planned worked well for the amount of riding per day. Being our first long trip we wanted to have relatively short travel days without making us too worn out each day. On the way home we rode the most miles to get home on Friday instead of Saturday. That was also a good decision giving us a full weekend to recover before going back to work.

About the only thing I would do differently was to bring a small cooler to keep cold drinks. We wore camelbak packs but it was hard to drink with a full face helmet while riding. I would have liked to have cool drinks once we stopped but that was a minor detail really. Stopping for cold drinks was a good excuse to stretch the legs and resoak our vests and some times even sit in an air conditioned store.

Other than that, I would not have changed one thing! It was a fantastic trip! Happy Anniversary my love! Where should we go next year?? :-)

Lunch ride

Last week I needed to get away from the desk for a bit and decided to take a lunch ride up to Nederland. Nederland is about 16 miles or so up Boulder Canyon (Hwy 119). I've done this route a few times. It's a nice quick and easy ride, depending on the traffic, to shake the days worries off during or after work.

I didn't have a lot of time. I had a meeting at 1:30. I decided to run into the supermarket to see what I could round up for a quick bite. I'd never been in this market before. We always stop in the parking lot when we ride through Nederland. The public library is in the strip mall in this parking lot and has a clean bathroom. Turns out there is a deli and also hot food in the market. Lunch was an elk burger, fries and a lemonade. Yum!

Even better, when I sat down to wait for my food, I checked my email and saw that the person I was meeting was going to be about half an hour late. Good thing because I didn't even order until almost 1:00 and it takes at least half an hour to get back to work. :-) That was the best burger I've had in a while. Maybe because I was just enjoying the day but I think I'll have to stop here with my hubby the next time we are in the town riding through around lunch time.

It was a so-so day made much better by the ride and the meal. Yay! :-) And I made it back in time for my appointment. Woot!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 6 - Heading Home

On day 6 of our Devils Tower vacation, we headed for home. Since our original plan was to get to Hot Springs, SD, we thought we'd locate a cafe there and have a small breakfast before hitting the road. Hot Springs isn't a large town but we were surprised to find that there wasn't much open this morning. There seemed to be plenty of places but we were just out of luck for some reason. As we drove through town we came upon this small drive up and walk up coffee place. You can see our motos across the street parked in front of the post office.
And here is my lovely hubby standing next to his moto. That's the coffee shop in the background with the rainbow umbrellas.

He got coffee and I got juice and we each got a muffin.

While waiting in line, we met a couple from Rapid City (I think) who were on vacation in Hot Springs. Coincidentally, they have kids living in Colorado, one in Loveland (I think) and one in Arvada. Cool. :-) They asked us if we'd gotten caught in the storm last night. We said we'd just missed it, that we checked in to the motel in Custer just before the rain came. They then mentioned the big storm that had come through Hot Springs last night. Lots of wind, lightning, thunder, hail and rain. Trees were down and the power was out. They told us we were lucky we weren't in Hot Springs.

Well that explained why so many places were closed that morning! And it also explained the note taped to the door of the post office saying they could only sell stamps and not mail packages due to the power outage. And to think we almost pushed on through to get to Hot Springs the night before. It seems our luck continued to hold throughout the vacation! Wow.

This photo is of the library across the street from the coffee shop and post office. You can see the downed branches in front.

After our breakfast, as we drove through town, there were signs and trees and branches down all over. Even some small bits of debris in the road. Power crews were out working on down power lines. Wow. We were feeling very lucky indeed to have missed that storm.

From Hot Springs we headed west on highway 18 through Edgemont, SD and crossed the border back into Wyoming. From there we went south on highway 85 to Lusk where we had some lunch. It was another fabulous lunch at some small place in a small town. It was the place to be as the crowd came in just after us. We each had wraps with chips and a drink. Yum. :-)

From there we decided to head for the interstate in order to get home the most direct route. It also continued the theme of not traveling on the same roads twice. :-) The weather looked to be threatening but we made out ok. We did stop to put our rain gear on just before getting to the interstate, but once we hit the super slab, we took off the jackets and it was all clear from there on. You can see the dark clouds that had been chasing us in the photo below.

We stopped to hydrate ourselves and our vests at a rest stop gas station somewhere along I-25. I was starting to feel very ill from the heat at this point so we took quite a long break to fuel up and drink lots.

Once we got into Colorado, we started hitting some rush hour traffic. Cheyenne Frontier Days was also going on and we ran into some traffic there. Once we got south of Ft. Collins the traffic was very heavy. So, we pulled off I-25 at Loveland, had a potty break and more fluids and made our way to hwy 287. From there it was a straight shot home and much less stressful.

We traveled about 385 miles this day, which was by far our longest not only of this trip but, ever! We felt pretty good though and it was kind of weird pulling into the driveway knowing we were done. The next day we still felt a desire to be riding. :-)

Here are the motos safe at home in the garage. :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The 5th Day of the Devils Tower Anniversary Road Trip

On the 5th day we checked out of our lovely chalet in Hulett and said so long (for now) to Wyoming. Our destination this morning was Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. We weren’t sure how far we’d get or which roads we’d travel because we weren’t sure how long some of the twisty roads might take to travel. One of the things I really wanted to see and had been excited to see was buffalo. We joked that I’d sort of been working my way up to a live buffalo – starting with the Vore Buffalo Jump and all the buffalo bones there followed by my tasty meal of buffalo medallions on our anniversary in Deadwood. Next would be living buffalo in the flesh! LOL. But, the more I read about Custer State Park, where there are herds of buffalo roaming around, the less safe I felt about riding the motorcycles to see them. So, Tim and I decided we’d not take the road that runs through the main part of the park. (We also didn’t feel like paying the $10 per bike entrance fee.) Instead we decided to ride to the town of Custer, have lunch and then decide where to venture off to.

Along the way, we stopped at a scenic overlook and took some photos there.

We also passed by Jewel Cave National Monument. Actually, we stopped at the visitor center since it was so close and on the way. That road, we were pleased to find out, was very interesting to ride on. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to mount my camera on the moto so I didn’t get very many photos. In the park, which had motorcycle parking, we wandered through the visitor center exhibits and took a potty break. We drove by Wind Cave as well but didn’t stop there. The skies were starting to look questionable so we pushed on to Custer, SD.

In Custer we drove the length of what looked to be their main street and decided on a nice looking place for lunch. Oddly enough, I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant or our meals. We both had burgers – one elk and one buffalo. They were yummy and so were the roasted red potatoes that came with it. The restaurant had some then and now photos of the area by one photographer who was documenting the changes. He’s put out a book, “The Black Hills Yesterday and Today”, as well. We looked through the restaurant’s copy. Very cool.

From there, after consulting with the waitress, we decided to ride the road that would take us by the Crazy Horse Monument and up to Mount Rushmore. Our goal was to get up there and head back to try to get to Hot Springs, SD to spend the night there.

We got to Crazy Horse and pulled off to take a photo from the distance. We really weren’t that interested in seeing it up close even though we’ve heard the exhibits are pretty cool. We just weren’t going to pay for the entrance fees for each bike at each of these monuments. That was going to add up very quickly. In the photo below you can see the dark skies we were also hoping to avoid. We kept getting a few rain drops here and there and really didn’t want to be caught in a thunderstorm with no shelter.

Blue skies in the other direction.

From there we headed off to Mount Rushmore. Turns out we came at it from the backside. I kept telling Tim, as we got closer, that I thought we should be able to see it. It just felt like it was right on the other side of the rocks we were riding alongside of. But, there weren’t hoards of cars or people either, which is usually a sure sign you are near the national park. So, we kept going. Then, all of a sudden, we came around a curve and there it was! But, it was kind of behind and to our left so we couldn’t see it very well. So, we thought, we’d have to go into the parking area in order to see it. (It’s great to have the communication devices so we can discuss these things.) I pulled over so we could turn around. We’d gone around another curve at this point so we couldn’t even see it from the point where I’d pulled over. As we pulled back onto the road after making our u-turn, there it was! So cool! We then decided to just pull over quickly on the motorcycle sized shoulder of the road and snap a quick photo or two. Tim had his phone handy but I didn’t so those photos are from him. Awesome!

We were satisfied with the view we had and decided not to pay the parking fees to see the exhibits. Next time. We did pull over to check out the profile view. I snapped a couple of photos there. Then we were on our way back to Custer. We took a slightly different route back which took us part way through Custer State Park. We didn’t have to pay on this road so it was cool to be able to see the wide open space. And guess what! We even saw three buffalo!! That was so cool!! They were each hanging out by themselves so it didn’t seem terribly scary. They are very large animals. Very, very cool!!

As we got closer to town, we thought it might be better to just stay in Custer instead of trying to push on to Hot Springs. The storm hadn’t passed yet and we didn’t want to get caught in it. I remembered seeing a sign at a motel for $39 rooms. For one night, that would do just fine. It ended up being $49 but we were ok with that.

It was also right across the street from a couple of restaurants which meant we didn’t have to gear up but could walk there. We checked in, unpacked the bikes, shook off the road a bit and sat for a couple of minutes before looking outside to see that the sky had opened up. It was raining really hard. Our luck had held once again.

So, we watched some TV and waited for the rain to stop, which, of course, it did just in time for us to go to dinner. The sun even came out. We moseyed across the street to a sports bar like place and had some steaks. They were ok. Mine was very overdone so I sent it back. The beer was cold and tasty. After dinner we walked down main street but most of the shops were closed. But, it was all good. We were still on vacation.

That day we rode about 160 miles.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The 4th Day of the trip to Devils Tower

This day we decided to ride to Sturgis to visit the fabled town (although I suppose it is the rally that is famous more than the town) and to visit the motorcycle museum located there. This would be the only day we would ride the same road twice.

We started the morning on highway 24 out of Hulett headed for Alma, a town whose claim to fame is a really old store that’s been in business since 18-something. It was interesting and really old but, they didn’t have breakfast. The café across the way did, and according to the stereotypical old guy sitting on the porch at the general store, the food was good. He was right. Tim said his French toast was the best he’d had in a restaurant in a long time.

We stopped at the Wyoming – South Dakota border to take a photo at the state sign. (There wasn’t one the day before when we were traveling on the service road.)

From there, highway 24 became highway 34, which took us to I-90 and into Sturgis. Sturgis is not a very large town. How they fit thousands of motorcycles into this town is beyond me. This year is the 70th anniversary of the rally and they were anticipating a million bikers. I can’t even imagine what that must look like.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame is conveniently located on Main Street. We parked there and paid our entrance fee.

There are two levels to the museum. The upstairs is pretty small. Lots of interesting old bikes stuck in small places with ok signage. There was certainly enough to keep us interested for a while. Some of the bikes you would expect to see – Indians, Harleys, Moto Guzzi, etc. And then there were a few one off bikes such as the million mile Harley.

Downstairs the space was much larger. There was even a video viewing room showing a DVD about the history of the rally. There were cases with motorcycle themed record albums on display. There was a room that looked like a rotating exhibit space, with a display about women in motorcycling. And there were more motorcycles too. Lots of dirt bikes, side cars, smaller cc bikes, and a display of Sturgis themed bikes in the video viewing room. If you are ever in Sturgis, I would recommend the museum.

Here is my lovely hubby checking out the dirt bikes.

Also in Sturgis, we visited the BMW dealership there. That was fun and where I bought my t-shirt.

For the ride back to Hulett, we decided we liked Spearfish Canyon so much we wanted to ride it again in the opposite direction. So, the ride took us through Deadwood again, and up the canyon. We’d missed the turn off for Spearfish Falls the first time so made that the destination on this trip. It was a lovely hike just off the highway in Savoy, SD. The waterfall was pretty impressive and had lots of cooling mist coming off at the bottom. The hike looped around to the top of the waterfall but we didn’t figure that out until after we turned around and went back the way we came and walked around the parking lot to view it from the top. We laughed at ourselves about that.

From there it was a nice leisurely ride back to Hulett. We had dinner that night at the Ponderosa Café again. There were quite a few more folks there this night which was nice to see. I’m not sure where they came from but there they were.

The total for this day was about 170 miles.