Friday, June 25, 2010

Half day ride!

Here's my better late than never ride report of my half day jaunt home from work.

I found a fantastic route, one I'd never been on before, directly out of Boulder (where I work) and in a round about way, to home. Here is a screen shot of a google map of the route.Baseline Road west out of Boulder is beautiful! It's one of those roads that makes you stop to think, why have I not been on this road before?! As soon as the road curves a bit south, it gets very twisty, and has fantastic views. There are folks hiking and cycling all around. The speed limit is 20mph. I had to stop myself from looking at the views so I could focus on the road and the ride. Fantastic! I'm definitely doing that again!

About 10 or 12 miles later, I turned off onto Gross Dam Road which is dirt for about 8 miles. And by dirt, I mean sort of rocky. It was also way cool! I really need some instruction for riding on those roads. I keep thinking I'm going to slow and that I might stall the bike. I'll have to ask my dirt riding coworkers about that. Anyway, this road was really fun, had great scenery and was populated but not terribly well traveled. If I'd fallen over or something, I think I would have been found but there wasn't so much traffic that I had to worry about it. Downhill hairpin turns on a rocky dirt road are very interesting. I wanted to stop for pictures but there wasn't really a good place to do that. So, I did stop at this parking area that was the start of a trail head to the rapids below. Awesome!

Here is the road soon after I first turned onto the dirt. I pulled over near a view of the dam.

Here is the dam behind me. (I need to practice these self portraits.)

Another shot of my parking spot near the dam.

Me and the GS. :-)
A view of the dam.
It was really a lot of fun and I am very glad I took the time to take this ride. It had been a long week and I was about to travel again for work. Even though it was only over the weekend, that meant I wasn't getting my weekend off. So, it was nice to have this relaxing break. :-) The whole thing was about 35 miles which isn't much longer than my commute. But it did take more time than my commute. But, this could be a nice long way home route in the evenings. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Half Day tomorrow

I'm taking a half day tomorrow so I can be home when my aunt and uncle arrive for a visit. I'm planning to leave work after lunch and take the scenic route home. Maybe something like this:Or maybe this:I've never been on that road before.... hmmmmm....... some of it is dirt too.... hmmmmm.......


Monday, June 21, 2010

Non-Motorcycling Trip to Germany

Last week I went to Germany for a work-related conference in Bremerhaven. Even though I didn't do any riding, it sure made me think about how fun and easy a trip here with motorcycles could be. The town is a small harbor town on the north sea. Not so small that there aren't big city accommodations and amenities. But small enough not to feel rushed and to be able to walk almost anywhere you needed to be. Oddly enough, I didn't see very many BMW motorcycles. Lots of Japanese motos like Honda, Suzuki, and others. Saw Lots of SVs too. Almost every rider I saw was fully leathered up. Very cool. This town seemed to be a good place for the start of a moto tour I think. Light amounts of traffic, close to Bremen, close enough to Hamburg, and about 4 hours drive from Amsterdam.

It was a fun visit. I wouldn't mind going back as a vacation trip some day.

After being away from home for about a week, this morning I threw my leg over the GS to head off to work. Ahhhhh.... this bike sure does fit me like a glove. :-) I was so glad to be riding again I threw my fist on the air to celebrate! :-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pueblo, CO

Last Friday I traveled to Pueblo, CO for a work related meeting at the Rawlings Public Library. And even though the temperature that day was supposed to be 100 degrees in Pueblo, I decided to ride there. :-) As if there was a question....

My route there was direct since I'm not an early riser. It's about a 2 hour drive without traffic and I wanted to be there by 9:00 am. So, I hit the interstate, pointed the GS south and settled in for the ride. My strategy for riding on the interstate through town is to quickly move into the fast lane. I have the same strategy if I'm in my car. I feel more comfortable going with the faster flow of traffic and also feel as though I am in less danger because there is only one other lane that traffic can move into my space from. I also like having that emergency lane to my left as an escape path. I don't think Denver traffic is as fast as say, Atlanta's traffic. The interstate isn't as wide either. But, people seem to be more unpredictable in Denver than in the Atlanta traffic. At any rate, I'm not afraid of being on the interstate on the moto, any more than I am in my small car, but given the choice, like most I think, I'd rather travel a different road. But, with a specific time and place to be, it was the most efficient route.

The traffic luckily was very light all the way there. Even through the mousetrap and through downtown Denver wasn't too bad. Colorado Springs was like driving on a Sunday morning. Sweet! That meant I wouldn't be late and could relax a little and enjoy the ride. I'd decided not to use my tank map bag. It is pretty bulky and I've gotten used to riding without it. And since it doesn't lock, I'd have to bring it inside. I also didn't really need to put anything in it. So, instead I taped a map to the bike. :-) I also wrote in larger letters, the directions. It was very simple to locate - I-25 south to Pueblo, exit at Abriendo, go right about 6 blocks and it's on the right. :-) I am directionally challenged so was glad for the simplicity of this location.

130 miles from my driveway to the library parking lot. :-)
Towards the end of the meeting I started thinking about the ride home. I wanted to take a more scenic route for sure but wasn't sure the heat would agree with me. Ever since returning from the Peace Corps (back in '95) I've had trouble dealing with the heat. The longest way home would add an hour of travel as well and I didn't want to get home too late or be in the heat that long either. So, I opted for this:
The road that travels behind Ft. Carson (115) is very easy with beautiful red rocks along the route. I'd never traveled this way before in the car or on the moto. Not surprisingly, the base isn't marked. And it wasn't until I got home and looked at the map that I realized I'd actually ridden very close to NORAD. I hopped back on I-25 in Colorado Springs all the way to Castle Rock. From there I took hwy 85/Santa Fe Drive to C-470 and then home. Nothing really to report that was unusual or dangerous along the way. I saw one deer. I can't even remember where. Again, traffic was very light. Taking the round about way from Pueblo to the Springs allowed me to miss the rush hour traffic.

I didn't stop to take any photos. I'll have to remember to put my camera in the tank saddle bags before leaving. Before I left home, I removed my trunk and used my laptop backpack bungeed to the seat and rack. Everything fit just fine in there including a change of clothes. It was warm enough (and casual enough) that I just threw some flip flops into the bag to wear at the meeting.

162 miles from the library parking lot to my driveway at home. :-) That's a grand total of 292 miles. My longest day yet! Although those miles weren't all at once. Still, I think my previous longest ride was only about 150 miles so the ride home by itself beat that record! :-)

Some points to note.

My engine puts out a lot of heat. So much that it burns my leg through the mesh pants. I wore tights on the way down but left my shorts on for the ride back. To avoid the heat, I pulled out the passenger pegs and put my toes on those. The angle kept the heat away from my leg and was a nice change as well for my riding position.

I'm getting about 200 miles per tank lately. Very nice!

My throttle hand falls asleep on these long interstate or highway rides. The cramp buster helps a lot but I'd like to get different grips I think. Cushier ones might help a little. I think a lot of it is the vibration.

My feet also fall asleep. Weird. Also partly due to vibration. I've been told by another GS rider I should get Fastway Footpegs. Might have to look into that.

The bike handles great. I think on I-25 heading to Pueblo, I held it at 75 or 80mph most of the way. (The speed limit is 75mph.) I could pass uphill without any trouble. And I like sitting up higher (higher than the Rebel and my car) so I can scan traffic better. I could see and anticipate more things.

I should have worn my tights on the way home though. Sitting on bunched up shorts for 160 miles wasn't fun at all. Sigh. Lesson learned.

I also passed the May Natural History Museum on hwy 115 near the Springs. That would be a cool destination for the hubby and I this year. :-)