I hooked up with the Colorado branch of the Honda Sport-Touring Association and went for a nice Saturday ride.
The night before, I gathered all my normal gear; electric, tire, tool, and first-aid kits. I put my camera and cell phone in my tank bag and put the Colorado map in the view pouch.
The weather called for early rain and later scattered thundershowers so up until Saturday morning, I wasn't sure if the ride was on. Without notice I expected to be at the jump off point at 8:30. I checked my e-mail one last time and headed off at 7:30.
I got to the organizers house with about 10 minutes to spare. I hit the bathroom and grabbed a donut before heading out and snapping a couple of pics of the group:
The ride began in Loveland. We headed over to the gas station so folks could fill up if they hadn't already. Then we headed up to Masonville taking 27 up to Poudre Canyon road.
The ride up 27 was great with some gravel in a couple of the turns keeping us honest. The morning was great and certainly didn't look like it was going to rain.
We got to 14 and made a left heading up to Cameron Pass. The twisties were pretty good. There wasn't much in the way of traffic and a couple of the cars actually pulled over to let us by.
In Indian Meadows, we passed a group of sportbikes out front of an eating establishment. We waved as we went by them. About halfway to the Pass, we also passed a group of Harley riders on the left in a parking area gathered around chatting. One of the guys waved at Blake but he was already past and didn't see it.
One of the problems I've been having on group rides is that I tend to run up on the person in front. I was aware of this and have been trying to be better so I was paying attention and keeping back. I saw several members of our group in my mirrors and then someone blew by me pretty quickly then dropped a knee going around the next curve. I didn't recognize the gear but we did have 11 or so riders. Then a couple of others blew by. Oh, it's the sportbike group heading up to the Pass.
When we got to the pass, I parked and saw about a third again as many riders as I remember from the beginning. Ah, it's the sportbike group. They're taking a rest here as well.
And here are most of our group. A couple hadn't caught up yet and two or three were behind me.
The funny part is that while we were chatting with them, they commented that they'd been caught last year on the stretch to Walden doing 170mph. Better keep a throttle on that throttle :)
The ride to Walden was pretty cool. The two groups headed out from the Pass at about the same time so we were somewhat intermingled. One of the other riders headed off and I was right behind him. We passed a couple of the leaders of our group and we were flying on the way in to Walden. We caught up with the rest of the group just as we got to Walden. We topped off our tanks and headed north to Wyoming.
We saw the clouds building up and rain coming down in the distance. At a couple of places, the road was wet for a mile or so. Nothing too bad but it did throw some spray up.
We were supposed to head over to Battle Pass at the Riverside Encampment but we were running a little behind schedule so that was dropped from the ride.
We headed up to Saratoga Wy for lunch and stopped at a Cantina. We basically took over the place :) with 15 or so folks trooping in with their gear. The waitress kept good humor throughout lunch and the other patrons (including a police officer; "we didn't do it; no, it was the Gold Wingers :) " were eyeing us. She didn't get a chance to bring out the bills for most folks. We knew what we owed and left it on the table for her. I suspect we left a bit more than she would have expected :)
We headed back south to get in 130 East to Snowy Range Pass. I believe this is Medicine Bow Peak although it's rather far away.
On the way up to the overlook, I snapped some pics of the snow still on the ground. Not much in the way of ground visible. Just where the sand and salt drained over from the road.
And here's the Snowy Range at the first overlook. We stopped for just a couple of minutes then headed up to the next overlook. I'm not sure how I got my finger in the pic. That hasn't happened before :)
I tried to get a good shot of the Hayabusa but for some reason, I kept getting my thumb in the shot. I think it was because I had my Gerbing's gloves on since we were just there for a few moments.
And here's a shot of the Snowy Range from the second overlook where we took a 15 minute or so break.
And a shot of the group from a little platform a little bit away from the parking lot.
As we headed down the pass to Centennial, I was able to have some fun on the sweeping curves. I had recently gotten my springs set up and found the bike to be much more solid. I was taking it easier than normal since we'd encountered gravel and sand in a few of the roads but I was still able to have some fun.
We went through Centennial and headed off to Laramie. The roads were pretty clear and we occasionally passed someone.
In Laramie, we all stopped for gas at Rt 80 and decided we were going to head down 287 to "Ted's Place", the Conoco at the intersection of Poudre Canyon Road (Rt 14) and 287. We got on 80 for an exit and got off at 287 south.
Up to this point, I'd been keeping at the proper location with regards to other riders but I was getting a gigantic headache from the effects of the exhausts and from the lack of caffeine (minor withdrawal) so when I could see the road was nice and clear, and that there wasn't anyone in front of the group, I hit my signals, shifted over and headed on past the group. After about 30 minutes, my headache subsided and when I got to Ted's Place, the group wasn't more than a couple of minutes behind me.
At the end of the ride, the organizer invited us back to his place for a cookout. Unfortunately I needed to head home since my wife wanted to go somewhere today. So I headed on south on 287 while most of the rest of the group headed back down 14 to 27 and down to the cookout.
I went through Ft. Collins with one of the group members on a BMW coming up behind me. We made the turn on 14 and he got stuck behind a couple of cars. I hit 25 south and headed home.
The ride was pretty good on the way home. Traffic wasn't too bad (considering I've ridden in Northern Virginia traffic :D ). I was able to keep my speed up and there was enough traffic that I wasn't too worried about encountering a cop.
All in all it was a pretty nice day for a ride. The rain never really materialized although we did get a couple of spatters here and there. The Snowy Range Pass was awesome and the amount of snow was cool considering that back in Virginia, I'd be dealing with allergies, 80+ weather and 100% humidity. I'm much happier here in Colorado.