I have been waiting 3 long years for this day to arrive. This is not a trip that I have chosen lightly, but rather it slowly became an obsession. Whenever my days were not going well, I would dream about taking my big tour. Well, that day is finally here.
After being so excited that I could barely get to sleep, I awaken at 5:00 AM. After I took care of the "last minute details”, I left 3 hours later, at 8:00 AM. Why are they called last minute details?
Alright, I am finally off to see the USA. First stop just 2 miles later at the Heartland Cafe for breakfast, because they always serve up a good meal with friendly service.
Next I am off to Estes Park, CO., which is the gateway to Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park and the highest continuous road in the entire country. This is the long way to I-70, but it has a good 80 miles of twisties. Trail Ridge Road is one of my favorite rides and reaches a height of over 12,000 feet and runs above timberline for over 11 miles. The only problem is that by the time I finally hit I-70, it is already afternoon. ½ day into this tour and already running late. Not a good sign, but as long as I make all four corners in 21 days, then this ride will still qualify.
I choose to ride thru the Colorado National Monument which is located near Grand Junction, Co., for some scenic relief. After a quick tour of the area, I headed west towards Utah. As I was getting close to the state border, I figured that I had enough gas, but forgot how sparse the towns become as you head west. I slowed down and lowered the RPM’s to increase the mileage per gallon. This meant that instead of my normal fast pace, I was getting passed by the majority of other cars. Since I was going slowly and traffic was sparse and the highway was straight, I decided to try and beat my own personal record of riding without any hands. 28 miles later, I set a record that will be hard for me to ever beat again. I probably could have gone even longer, but being low on gas, I found a station where I could fill up and get back into the groove of my ride.
By this time it was starting to get dark and I ended up stopping at Richfield, UT., instead of my planned stop in Mesquite, NV. This puts me over 200 miles and 4 hours short of my intended goal for the first day.
One thing I like to do is to count something as I ride along to help pass the time. Sometimes I count hawks, or sometimes license plates with expired tags. On this trip, I plan to count the number of motorcyclists who return my wave. You will see a cumulative count of waves at the end of each day's summary.
Cumulative motorcycle return waves today: 64