Samantha (my daughter) and I have been planning a couple of rides for the past several months. She attended a motorcycle repair school down in Florida and has ridden standards and cruisers a bunch of times so has some experience. This will be the first time on a sport bike, my Hayabusa. Other than a few parking lot rides of course 🙂 She also didn’t have her endorsement for Colorado so she attended a BRC put on by a local place, passed, and has her endorsement now. Good job!
There are two rides. One out to California, up the Pacific Coast Highway, over to Glacier National Park, then south through Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, and whatever else might pop up on the map during the trip.
This is also a meet and greet with cousin Holly and her hubby Jesse, aunt Merrie Ann and Frank, and whomever might be around to chat up.
After some discussion, I plan on taking the Mustang Convertible and the Hayabusa. Samantha is somewhat sensitive to cold so I figure heading up the coast might be an issue and we can simply swap so I’m on the bike and she’s in the car. In general though we’ll ride and swap half days throughout the trip.
But to test it out, I figured on taking a short Memorial Day ride. Just a couple of days to see how Sam handles the Hayabusa and see if she is up to longer rides than the couple of hours she’s done, per ride, in the past.
One of the things I did with the bike was replace the headlight. It was pretty scratched up from years of riding and man did that make a difference. The headlight is nice and bright now.
As part of that, I also cleaned and checked the bike out. It seems to be leaking a little oil and I’ll need to track that down. Plus it’ll need a new rear tire before going on a longer trip.
I also cleaned the Concours as I’ll be riding that during the Memorial Day ride. Made sure all the fluids were topped off and we’re ready to go.
I spent a little time with my checklist and gathered together all the necessary gear and got the two bikes packed up and ready to go.
For Saturday morning, I told Samantha we weren’t in a great hurry. Just to let me know when she was coming over. She’d tried to do a swap but it didn’t seem to work out so she worked half a day and got off late. She headed over after midnight (after shift) and crashed on the couch. I woke her up at 10 and we had a pancake breakfast before heading out.
It’s a bit of a tight turn up at the top of the road so I took the Hayabusa up and got it parked with Samantha walking up. Then I headed back down to the house and grabbed the Concours. I headed back and we were ready to head out.
I had originally planned on a ride up to Cameron Pass to Walden, Steamboat Springs, and spend the night in Craig, but due to being a little later starting, I decided to head down to Nederland and then up to Black Hawk and Central City, take the Central City parkway to Idaho Springs and stop there for gas.
Of course, being Dad, I had a lot of wisdom to impart. Take it easy on the corners, ride your own ride, be careful on Interstate 70 when we get on it. I said I’d stop if I got ahead at a light, don’t freak out 🙂
And we headed out. I kept it easy going. We had all day to get to Grand Junction where we’ll be stopping for the night. It was a nice cool day. I’d checked the weather forecast for Grand Junction and other places on our tour and it was supposed to be in the 80’s plus or minus so it’ll be a pretty nice ride in general. I of course packed all the necessary gear (see checklist) including rain gear and warmer gear because Colorado will surprise you 🙂
We got to Black Hawk without any trouble, cruised up through Central City to the Central City Parkway and headed to I70. It’s a pretty nice ride and yes, I did pass people and Sam did a fine job keeping up. The headlight looks nice and bright behind me 🙂
We made the turn on I70 and headed west. At the Mt Evans exit, I signaled and pulled off to the gas station that I pretty regularly hit when I’m going this way and we stopped for gas and a quick break. And she disappeared! I spent several minutes looking for the ghost of Samantha! She eventually came from behind the store. She’s not comfortable with tighter turns yet so I headed behind the store and brought the bike back around to the parking lot next to me.
One of the things we did a few weeks back was chase down a helmet that fit Samantha better. This is quite a bit nicer, although the black can be a bit hot I think. And Samantha was noticing that on a sport bike, the leaning forward position was putting a little stress on her back muscles. Something she’s not used to using.
After hitting the bathroom, grabbing a soda, and gassing up, we headed west. I do have a tiny bit more experience with the bikes so getting on the freeway and hauling ass is something I’m used to. She did catch up, no problem and we moved along.
It did get a little cooler as we approached the Eisenhower tunnel and of course the ride through the tunnel was an experience as always. On the other side we scooted on down towards Silverthorne. I tend to stop every hour or so for a break and we stopped at the Vail Pass rest area. It was unfortunately closed but we took a break anyway and chatted about the ride so far.
After resting a bit, we headed off yet again. It’s a bit cool and windy but still comfortable and no need for warmer clothes. We next stopped in Eagle for gas and a bathroom break.
And again, after taking a break, gassing up, and grabbing a soda, we headed out again. Probably one more break before hitting Grand Junction. Again, it’s a bit overcast and cool with some wind to deal with. Traffic hasn’t been all that bad honestly.
At the next rest area in Parachute, we stopped again just for a break. The parking lot is at a bit of an angle, not something I typically think of because I’m a big guy and generally able to muscle my way up slight inclines. If it was too steep, I’d back the bike in or pick a different spot. In this case it didn’t seem all that bad. To me at least. Samantha pulled in but decided she’d try to back it out.
Unfortunately, she had a bit of trouble while backing it up and BIKE DOWN!
Awww, poor baby. Fortunately we got help from the rest area care taker and we got the bike back up on her feet. Damage was minimal which is good, all things considered. Humorously I’d been looking at replacement gear shift lever, brake lever, and the gear shifter and rear brake lever but hadn’t actually purchased them (yet).
Note the end of the lever is now gone. But Samantha is sufficiently apologetic 🙂 Unfortunately she did get a “slight” ding on her left leg for some reason. We figure she hit the left side rider’s peg and scraped her shin a bit. It’s not too bad looking but certainly something to remember the ride by.
After checking the bike to make sure she was okay, I backed the bike out and we were on our way to Grand Junction.
I’d called Jeanne to have her check for hotels in Grand Junction and she found a Studio 6 on Horizon Ave. It’s a Motel 6 for longer term “renters”. We pulled in, checked in, and got our room just around back by the pool.
Samantha had been Jonesing about having an Outback steak and I happened to find that Outback had a place in Grand Junction so we headed over for dinner. I’m less a fan of Outback’s steaks but I do like their Bloomin Onion. We ordered dinner and relaxed (although there was some annoying kid next booth over).