2008 Western Adventure


Day 13 - July 2, 2008

I'm excited today because I'm heading for the Rockies, one of the true highlights of my trip.  I set out for the Rocky Mountain National Park, which due to snow had opened the highest parts of the road just recently (12,183 feet high).  As I approached the the majestic Rockies, I came on to a beautiful little town called Estes Park, which was nestled at the foothills of the Rockies.  I was overcome by the beauty, and the higher I went on Trail Ridge Road, the more beautiful it was.  What an awesome experience, especially on a motorcycle.  It's not the place to go for someone that has problems with "Virtigo", but for me it was a little piece of heaven.  The views were unbelievable, and I kept stopping to take one photo after another.  I should have just taken a video of the whole experience.  When I hit 11,000 feet it started to get cold and I was kicking myself for leaving my new riding jacket at home.  I do have a rain jacket, but I toughed it out and before I knew it I was getting warmer, probably from the adrenalin rush.  In many places the snow was still fairly thick.  There was one snow patch on a steep hill that people were sliding down on their backs.  I took a pass and just kept riding.  Speaking of riding, my new Kawasaki Concours 1400 ran like a charm at 12,000 feet.

The descent was also great, but there were fewer trees on the west side of the mountain.  The actual pass through this part of the Rockies is Milner pass, which is on the Continental Divide.  The pass itself is only at 10,759 feet, even thought I had been over 12,000 feet farther back on the road.   It was actually prettier at 10,000 feet because we where below the tree line, and everything was bright green instead of rocks and snow.  Don't get me wrong, the rock formations and snow had a beauty of the own.  After all they are closer to Heaven.  Mile after mile of beautiful scenery.  As I got down to about 8500 feet I got my first glimpse of Grand Lake.  It was a big lake, and luckily the road ran next to it for almost the full length of the lake.  The water had to be very cold, since it's fed directly from the snow, and there was a chill in the air, but there were some brave boaters out on the lake.

Just past the lake I saw a group of horses in a nice green pasture.  For those of you who have seen my travel posts, you know that I have a weakness for horses.  Actually animals of any kind.  I stopped and got a few shots of them doing what they do best....eating, and looking at strange men on motorcycles.  They were all very well fed and had nice shiny coats.  I love to see animals that are well cared for, which is not always the case. 

A little further down the road I hit Junction 40, which I took West  for a few miles and then jumped onto Hwy 9 South.  A few miles after I got onto Hwy 9 I started to see some dark clouds off in the distance.  Before I knew it, the rains hit me hard.  I stopped and put on my rain gear, but was already very wet.  I continued on and the weather got worse.  Lightning was hitting all around me and the winds really picked up.  I was having to lean the bike way over just to compensate for the winds.  I have ridden many time in severe weather, and this was one of the scariest times.  Eventually I came to a fair sized town that had lodging accommodations, so I decided to stop there for the night.  The lack of sleep and the bad weather had drained my energy.  The town is Silverthorne, CO, and that's where I'm at now.

Silverthorne is about 9,000 feet and I am really feeling the affects of the high altitude.  I decide to get a motel and settle in for the night.





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