Adventure Bike Week

Lunch stop on day one heading toward Del Norte


After months of planning we’re on adventure!
My friends Mike and John launched out of Cuba NM about the same time I left out of Fruita and we met in Del Norte, CO.

Mike riding upright in New Mexico

Day one for me was a hair-raising experience. I’ve likely never ridden more than 25 miles of pavement at one time in my whole life and my first day on the road lasted for 250 miles of pavement and more than half of that at 70 MPH. The Honda Africa Twin is a heavy bike (I’m guessing about 600 pounds plus me, so 760-ish on the road?) and it handles well on the highway.

The rocks defeated John on their first day crossing New Mexico

I left on a tuesday and traffic was very light. I mostly had the road to myself and less than a handful of people caught me from behind. I managed to figure out how to handle the bike while it was going 7 MPH or more. Under 7 MPH it gets very heavy and if it starts to tip over it’s going to finish the job.

John, Mike, and Darren custom-bending the new copper clutch lever

On day one Mike and John rode a rough dirt section of trail in New Mexico and both of them had a date with the dirt. I got to see the battle scars when we met up. Mike broke a side case and John picked up some new scratches

Custom clutch level. Steam-punk edition

We all met up at the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte. It’s a nice place. Fully remodeled: A/C, hot & cold water, nice bed, nice people. The only down-side was the sloth-like pace of the people running the restaurant. I should have eaten before I went down to dinner. Breakfast was even slower. It took an hour to get two scrambled eggs and some potatoes out of the kitchen

This place rocks! Darren had the fix for a broken clutch

We stopped for gas at the corner station in Del Norte and John was attacked by a gravity storm and went down. Broke the clutch lever on his VFRX 1200. We called a few places looking for a replacement with no luck. Then John had the bright idea to stop at Kens’ Tire and Automotive where Darren had the solution. We hammered a section of copper pipe on the broken lever stub and Darren bent it into a curve. Brilliant! I’m guessing it will last about a hundred years like that

Mike and Mike repairing a flat

After repairs were complete we rode from Del Norte north-bound past Natural Arch then zig-zagged our way through the mountains on dirt roads to Sargents, CO. Mike ran over a nail and got a flat tire just past the arch. While we were fixing the flat some people stopped by to chat and offer extra tools. Adventure bike people are nice and it was fun to meet and chat with the folks who stopped

Mike and Mike posing for the camera. We’ve been doing crazy stuff together since 1984

It took all day to go ~100 miles and we ended the day at the Monarch Mountain Lodge on the east side of Monarch Pass. The hotel’s hey-day was likely in the 1970’s. The building has that Swiss-chalet look that was popular oh-so-very-long-ago and now it has a sort of Tammy Fey Baker make-up sagging off the facade look to it

Break time on the side of the road

They served dinner, but only the stuff that could be cooked in the fryer. There was only one person both cooking and serving and she was 10x faster than the Windsor restaurant. Next day we got up hoping the restaurant would serve breakfast like the desk-guy said they did, but no such luck. Apparently pillow-cases and breakfast were in short supply. We powered up to the top of Monarch Pass and ate at the gift shop. Very tasty breakfast sandwiches were had by all

Break time in Ridgway CO

Day three took us down the Gunnison River playing tourist at all the beautiful spots. Blue Mesa, Cinnamon river, and then over to Black Canyon where we rode down to the bottom and had lunch at the rivers edge. My upright motorcycle luck ran out at the entrance gate to Black Canyon N.P. I fell over at the gate house and LOTS of people were in line behind me. SO embarrassing!

The Handle Bar logo cut into the top of their chicken pot pie

After our canyon adventure we rode pavement west then south through Ridgway, Ouray, and over the Million-Dollar highway to Silverton. There were SO many avalanches in the mountains this past winter and the amount of broken trees is staggering! The area has that fresh pine scent that only comes with millions of snapped-off pine trees oozing sap in the spring

Mike, Mike, and John at Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P.

We arrived at the Prospector Motel to find that the office had been converted into a room. We had to walk a block down the road to check in at the quicky-mart then walk back. The Prospect Motel peaked in about 1980 and while it was clean, had both kinds of water, and was quiet, I wouldn’t book my next vacation there

After getting cleaned up we set out in search of a meal and met some people who have been coming to Silverton for 40 years. They had some fine recommendations. We ate dinner at the Handle Bars food and saloon (look for the mustache) and the next day breakfast at the Brown Bear Cafe. Both good choices!

Day four we split up and went different ways. I headed back north over Red Mountain Pass and down valley to Grand Junction. Mike and John rode toward Durango and back into New Mexico where John had another go at falling down. Sand got him this time

All told it was a fun ride with great friends! I arrived home exhausted yet unscathed so I call that a win!

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Friends in town to Ride

Chuck at the top of Hawkeye


Chuck stopped in town for an overnight and we ate mexican food and rode bikes! YaY!
We started climbing Hawkeye before 7am, then across to Mac ridge, and completed the loop on Troy built. It’s a great ride early in the morning. Finished before 80*F

Me at the top of Hawkeye early in the morning

That night was Fruita’s big fireworks display and they set the rabbit brush on fire within the first 5 minutes of the show. Lower Valley Fire had it out in less than 5 minutes so YaY! fire fighters! The show was 15 minutes long so I’m glad I didn’t stand in any lines to get in (or pay any money)

All things considered it’s a good show for such a small town to put on and about a gazillion people came to watch it (and drink beer and play corn-hole)

All Hail Summer Solstice

Hanging out at the Pavilion

Small hail, medium hail, freezing over-night temps and rain. Much rain. MeadowFest 2019! YaY!

Lots of campers and few tents for MeadowFest 2019

We spent a lot of time under the protective roof of the pavilion eating, singing, and drumming. It was great to catch up with all my pals and spend time together

A little bit of sun to take the edge off all the rain

Spring – Sprung!

Nice parcel on the road to the Kokopelli trail


The first signs of spring are in the air. The water is back on at the camp sites, two days of riding in shorts, and campers in the park. (Later that same week) The temperature dropped to 25*, the water got turned off again, and it started raining and snowing. Mud season!

PFFeeww – Whirrrrrrrr
Damage control to the bridge!
We suffered a failure in our primary Dihydrogen Oxide containment system. Luckily I was in an adjacent compartment when the line blew and I heard it go PFFFffffffew, then the pump came on. I jumped into action and shut the pump off then cleaned up the mess in the storage compartment.

An increased pressure in the heating tanks caused the compression fitting to let go of the PEX tube in my handy-dandy shower hot water re-circulation system. I likely didn’t get it tight enough the first time. I corrected that oversight during the repair phase

Friend is in from out of town so we meet up in Glenwood Springs and made faces at the camera

Lets cut that open and see what’s inside!

These are Zurn water hammers. They gave their all for the cause and we cut one open to see what is inside. Turns out it has a bellows in it. Fancy

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Beacon Station, CA

Beacon Station petrol stop since 1924


This place reminds me of Radiator Springs! I was wondering around and met Paco. Paco has been here for 20 years now. He drives the local tow truck (yup, Mater). He told me the place was founded in 1924 by a family who ran it until 1980. Back then there was no I-15. Highway 93 (maybe) was the route from Barstow to Vegas and it was a bit more bendy and followed the curves in the desert. Paco said back then there were gas and repair stations about every twenty miles. He said that was because twenty miles was as far as a car could go before needing repairs.

Not to scale
Looking up runway toward the gas station

Now there are three families living and working at the Beacon Station Shell gas store. The current owner also has a plane which occasionally lands here. There use to be two runways, but now it looks like only about half of one runway is still useful. They got a water well when the new owners took over, before that they hauled water in.

Looking down runway at the useful part

A walk around the desert was a trip back in trash-time. There are cans strewn about the desert many of which are oil cans from a time when oil came in cans. There are drink cans which were opened with a church-key, drinks opened with removable pull tabs, and modern cans too. Some of the vintage cans are all-steel, while other have an aluminum top. The aluminum top lasts way longer than the steel can.

The wind-sock has seen happier days

It’s amazing how long trash lasts. I hope a hundred years from now people will be as interested in old starbucks cans as we are in old oil cans. On the other hand diapers from 1930 decomposed long ago. Not so diapers from the 21st century.

It snowed two nights ago. Now the grass is growing so fast you can see the difference from morning to noon
Smokeless tobacco is known to the state of California to burn semi-trucks to the ground
All the brown spots are piles of old oil cans
Drink can on the left, Oil can on the right, floating in a sea of beer-bottle glass. Multi-media circa 1940
Old-style drink can opened with a church-key
Steel can with aluminum top. Old pull-tab style
Modern aluminum can with captive pop-top. Thanks Starbucks!

Cotati to Still Water Cove

It’s a vineyard! The little sticks are the tops of the vine supports

A little coastal flooding did not keep us from driving up the Pacific Coast Farm Road (They say PCH, but it’s a farm road!) to Still Water Cove where the water was anything but still. A big storm blew inland the day before we headed out to the coast. The forecast was for perfect weather the day we were planning to leave so we brought lots of firewood and food!

Our weekend home

The Russian River was above flood stage as we drove along side it toward Jenner and many of the vineyards were under water (literally, not financially). As we wound our way up the PCH (farm road) we passed a few land slides and downed trees

tMy camp site #9

The camp ground was very green and mushy. It’s about 200 feet above the ocean and I was wondering if a tsunami could sweep it away. There is easy access from the campground to the beach and also a bluff overlooking the ocean. I spent a fair amount of time on the beach or the bluff enjoying the crashing surf

After more than an hour of climbing I found a bridge that was not washed out

I did some hiking up the canyon from the campground and managed to hoof it up to where the sun was shining. Next day a group of us hiked over the river on some downed trees and up to the old school house.

It got cold enough to hail on Saturday
Hanging around the camp fire while David dances the canopy up
A meditation spot along the PCH
Didn’t see this until I was done with my morning swim
Still Water Cove
Pam and Jimmy bravely cross the fallen tree
More natural bridges
Can you see me now?

Winter is coming for me!

The hills east of Cotati, CA

I barely escaped being snowed on here in warm and sunny* California! The snow level came down to about 400 feet! Eeek! Next morning there was frost on the pumpkin! Eeek!

Over the weekend we had a camp-out in the back yard. I remember doing that as a kid. Pitching a tent on the back lawn and sleeping under the stars – good times! As an adult we circled the RV’s around the garage, built a fire in the driveway and hung out in the garage when it was raining and around the fire when it was not.

Jimmy and Sandy enjoying the camp fire

Some family members camped out with us while others came and went as the beer-tide ebbed and flowed

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*It’s cloudy about half the time