Pre-check The night before the trip, I checked the weather channel. Both for the local weather but also the weather in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The low in the park was to be 30 degrees with a high close to 60. I figured I should have my Gerbing’s on for the ride in to the mountains. I also topped off the tank in the bike as well as checking fluids, air pressure in the tires, chain both for correct tightness but for sufficient lubrication. It seems to be running a little hot so I checked the water. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to see the level so I removed the tail section. Everything seems to be ok so I put my tail bag on the back and pulled her back in to the garage. I printed out the first part of the route, from Broomfield to the get together point and then to Granby. I grabbed Rita’s tank bag and put the maps in the compartment. I also went to my touring bag and grabbed the tire repair kit, first aid kit, electrical kit and tool kit. Since the tool kit was for the Harley and the GSXR is a metric, I also grabbed a 12mm wrench and the two hex keys to remove the plastic from my bike. The bags also give plenty of space to shed gear if it’s warmer than I thought. Rita’s Joe Rocket tank bag is large enough that I can rest on it while riding giving some relief to my arms and wrists.
1 Saturday morning. At about 5:30 I wake up. The alarm is set for 6am so I roll back over and then every few minutes I wake up again. Finally at 5:55 I’m up, alarm off and getting ready. I’m scheduled to leave no later than 7am so that I can be at the rendezvous point in plenty of time. Even though I have a map, there are times that I get a little turned around and spend an extra few minutes wandering. I grab my Gerbing’s gloves and jacket liner, ensure I have the thermostat, cell phone and camera, back the bike out of the garage and take off.
The morning is pretty nice, some clouds in the mountains and to the north. Partially cloudy otherwise. It’s light out but the sun’s not up yet. The advantage of living on the plains. I hop on 25 north and get in to the flow of traffic. It’s not too bad and most folks are courteous enough to move to the right as I come up behind them. About half way to Fort Collins another bike is in my rear view mirrors. I wonder if he’s going to the same place I’m going. After a bit, he’s not there any more. As I get to Fort Collins, someone is behind me again. He stays behind me until we get to a big right turn. I’m going straight and he’s turning to the right. That’s when I notice that Rt 14 is a right turn. Ok, so I roll out and come up behind him (cutting off a pick-up; “Sorry”). Somehow we got on the wrong road. We’re going straight just as we see a bike head to the right. We go forward, make a right go down a block or so and then stop for a sec. He’s trying to ask if I’m going to the HSTA ride but I’m not able to hear him well. He leads off and we make a left back on to 14. I swear it looks like we’re heading in to the sun but he keeps on going and we see a Rt 14 7 miles sign.
2 Eventually we get to the left turn, unfortunately we’re in the right lane and there’s a SUV next to me. Slow down to get behind her but she’s slowing down too. Oops, she’s making a left at the same turn we are. I slow and let her in. No sense arguing with a SUV :-). I pull in to the Conoco station and remembering the group ride credo: Always fill up when you have a chance, which goes along with: Always pee when you have a chance credo. I fill up and it’s 7:48am. Man, I must have been really traveling on 25. The lady in the SUV apologizes about making the left in front of me. “No problem; better to let you go than argue with a big truck :-)” I finish filling up and roll the bike up to the lot and park. Jim is riding the Aprilla, the guy who was following me and who I followed to the station. A few minutes later, Matt arrives on a V-Strom. Will and Tom are there. There is a yellow Ducoti, a BMW, another Ducoti (Desmondia) and Dave on a red bike. Annnd, I can’t recall the rest or the names of the other riders or the bikes (this is why I write this all down 🙂
We decide to hang out until 8:35, just to catch any stragglers. No one else arrives so we saddle up and move out. It was advised that the rapids were high and there would be lots of rapid riders out. We might have to make our own passing lanes. Since we’re on pretty fast bikes, we should be able to take advantage of shorter straight-aways and places were we had sufficient visibility to go around where a car might or should not do it. Anyway, while we were waiting, I pulled out my Gerbings pigtail and gloves. By the time I was totally geared up, I was the last one out of the lot. One truck got in front of me but they were nice enough to pull over and let me go by. That was pretty much what happened all the way up. Most people were nice enough to pull over as best as they could.
Now I have to say, this is my first time doing any canyon carving on the Suzuki so I’m happy to be in the back, in case I slow everyone down. Fortunately either I was going at a good speed or we were going slower than necessary. I was able to keep up most of the way on the way to the first stop.