Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My First Year in Colorado

On October 1st I celebrated my first year in Colorado. Even though I love it here and never ever want to leave, it’s been a tough year. I moved to Colorado after getting laid off work in Illinois. I moved to Northern Colorado without a job and it’s been very tough finding work here, especially in this bad economy.

This past summer I finally found a job, but unfortunately the job didn’t work out as I had hoped. After a very short time of being employed I ended up leaving. If there was any way that I could have endured it to stay longer, I would have.

Fall colors in Loveland, CO - first week of October

There were only two good things about this job I had. It was only 2.5 miles away from where I lived and I got off work at 3:30PM, leaving me lots of time after work to do other things.

So financially my first year in Colorado has been very bad, but I still made the best of it by hiking and riding my motorcycles whenever possible. When times are tough, it's good to have an escape, something you really enjoy. Something that lets you forget about all the bad stuff.

October 7th - first snow of (fall) 2009

But what is all this white stuff on the ground? I think the riding season might be coming to an end. This is an El NiƱo year which brings lots of moisture, they are predicting lots of snow this winter in the southwest. It is only the beginning of October and we already have snow on the ground.

Fall colors and snow, what an odd combination

Monday, October 05, 2009

A stop in Estes Park

I took off in the early morning and headed toward Boulder. It was a beautiful day and I decided to cut my ride short and take in a short hike in Estes Park at the Twin Owls / Gem Lake trail head. I was not in any hurry today and on the way back home I stopped to take some pictures of the Stanley Hotel, where the movie The Shinning was filmed. It's an impressive building.

Devils Gulch Road, Estes Park

Devils Gulch Road, looking toward Gem Lake Trailhead

Parking lot, Gem Lake Trailhead, Estes Park

Amazing rock formations, Gem Lake Trailhead

Looking toward Rocky Mountain National Park

The Stanley Hotel

Highway 34

Highway 34

Today's route 133 miles, roads taken: I-70, Hwy 36, Devils Gulch Rd, Hwy 34

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Steamboat Springs: Fall Colors Part II

Before heading out to Steamboat Springs, I read on the internet that Winona’s had the best breakfast in town. I read many great reviews on line and I also read that the place would be packed - and it was. There was a line of people outside waiting to get in, Winona‘s didn’t have a lot of tables. We put our name on the list and waited, half an hour later we were seated. I ordered the crab cake eggs Benedict, the best I’ve ever had. It was so worth the wait. After breakfast we hit the road.

Downtown Steamboat Springs on a rainy morning

The middle store front with the black car in front of it is Winona's

Waiting for a table at Winona's

Best Crab Cake Eggs Benedict I have ever had

Huge cookies and muffins at Winona's

Fall colors in Steamboat

Fall colors off of highway 131

We left Steamboat on Highway 131, which we took to 134 over Gore Pass. Great roads but there was lots of sand in the corners on 134 already - which means they must have been getting snow here already - and it was pretty cold at the top of the pass. Too cold to stop for pictures.

Highway 131

Highway 131

Highway 131

Highway 134

Highway 134

Highway 134

Highway 40

Highway 40

The next road was highway 40 through Winter Park. South of Empire we jumped on I-70 heading east for a little bit until we took the exit for Golden and Highway 6. Then back on the interstate. The weather was cool today, cloudy with rain in the morning. In the afternoon the wind started to pick up, and it looked like a storm was coming our way. If I was going to head home to Loveland, that would be an additional hour or more on the road, so I headed to Strasburg instead, and decided to take the long way home tomorrow.

Highways 131 and 134 over Gore Pass

Highway 134 and 40

Today's route: Highways 131, 134, 40, I-70, 6, I-70

Winona's giant cookies - oatmeal raisin was very yummy

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Steamboat Springs: Fall Colors Part I

I wanted to do a fall colors weekend ride this year. Unfortunately being new to Colorado I wasn’t sure when the colors were supposed to peak on some of the roads I wanted to ride. I was hoping I didn’t miss the peak of the fall colors while I was in Chicago last weekend.

Highway 103

Highway 103

I rode down to Dalton's yesterday so we could start out from Strasburg early this morning and head west to ride highway 103. I just discovered that road last month and since Dalton hasn't been on it yet, we were going to ride 103 before heading to 131 and Steamboat.

The lake that sits along highway 103 was partly frozen

I love the scenery here

The bikes parked on the side of the road, near the lake

Ducks walking on the ice

Fall was definitely in the air this morning. The temperature was a brisk 20 degrees. I flipped on my heated grips, cranked the Gerbing heated liner to hi and we took off. Just a few miles from Dalton’s house we pulled over for gas and Dalton was already feeling cold. Since this was his first season on the VFR and touring, he hasn't acquired heated grips or heated liner yet. He also didn’t have a balaclava, or glove liners. Even his feet were cold.

A stop along highway 6 just southeast of 131

Fixing helmet hair

Highway 6

We stopped to warm up two times before we hit highway 103 and once we started climbing in elevation, it really got cold. Of course the only time I felt cold was when I got off the bike to take pictures. From 103 we took I-70 west to 131 north. 131 is one of my favorite roads that I discovered early this year, but the last time I rode it, it was under construction. I found out that it was finally finished now so of course I couldn’t wait to ride it again. By the time we hit the sweet curves of highway 131 it was getting a lot warmer. By the time I stopped to get my last layer off it must have been close to 65 degrees.

Steamboat Springs

Dinner at the Tap House

Best fish tacos I've ever had

As much as we wanted to camp this weekend, the night temperatures were looking pretty chilly and Dalton had a free motel room to use. So why not. We pulled in to Steamboat Springs, found the Comfort Inn, unpacked the bikes, changed our clothes and went back outside to catch the free shuttle in to town. We didn’t have a proper lunch today, just had an energy bar on the side of the road, so we were ready for dinner. We went to eat at the Tap House. I ordered the fish tacos and they were the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. After riding 264 miles, a big dinner and a couple of beers, it was time for bed.

Todays route 264 miles: highways I-70, 74, 103, I-70, 6, 131 and 40