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Monday, August 26, 2013

Back from a ten day road trip

August 26, 2013
Colorado USA

Ten days, over 2600 miles, five states, great rally, new roads, amazing landscape, endured a little rain, a little heat, a little cold, sun burned, wind burned, consumed far more bacon, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, burgers and beer than is considered healthy, spent more money than is considered prudent, ignored politics and other annoying news of the day and didn't miss it.

Tim at the Grand Canyon

Vik at the Grand Canyon

End result = S'miles. Lots and lots of s'miles. We would roll out again tomorrow if not for our old nemesis "reality".

P.S. Proved to Tim that it is entirely possible to take over 16GB of photos - lol! Stay tuned for the day-by-day and the photos - editing in progress.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

All gave some... some gave all

August 18, 2013
Colorado USA

Day 3 and we are on the road but not without a backward glance - Salute to American Veterans Rally is the perfect launch to a road trip... stay tuned.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Road Trip Day 2 POW/MIA Ride and Vet Rally

August 17, 2013
Colorado USA

POW/MIA Recognition Ride and Salute to American Veterans Rally - Cripple Creek CO

We were up early and eager to make the short ride to Woodland Park CO where we would stage at the high school for the 26th annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride to Cripple Creek. This is the inaugural run for the ride along what is now known as the POW/MIA Memorial Highway, that being the highway between Divide CO and Cripple Creek CO. We did not have rain overnight in Colorado Springs. Given that the area is prone to flooding near the burn scars, that's a good thing and the first time we can remember a night in the Springs when it did not rain. It was cool and we rolled out under dappled skies about 7 am with the temp near 50 degrees.

There was a good crowd already in line at registration for the ride. Every year a few more of us show up early because we know what a headache it will be when the rest of the world arrives. This is one of those events that would likely benefit from online or at least pre-registration of some sort but organizers haven't caught on to the idea of that yet. You roll up and wait, then you get off the bike to pay, sign the waiver and get the pin, then you get back on your bike and wait for others to get back on their bikes, then you roll to designated parking. This year was no exception to previous years. There were bikes still trying to get registered as we were rolling out on the ride.

We finally rolled into our tight (and I mean just about too close for comfort) spot in row 4 of the lineup and after sorting our gear out, we strolled over to get our annual dose of rubber pancakes and sausage. The pancakes were not as bad as last year. We rolled our sausage up in it and had a pancake burrito of sorts and a cup of coffee. The price is a donation for the fireman/emt/first responder cooks so it is for a worthy cause. The other item the organizers have not figured out is there never seems to be enough port-a-potties so we took care of that bit of business early. Sure enough - when it came time to roll, people were still in line for pancakes and port-a-potties.

Arriving early also allows us to watch the other bikes roll in. There was one minor accident this year. Someone connected with a curb trying to make a tight turn in a crowd to park. Nobody was hurt and the bike was ok. The ride coordinates with how the parade is flowing in Cripple Creek. Bikes are supposed to arrive in Cripple Creek as the parade is winding down. This year we rolled out slightly later than usual after a law enforcement official (with a bad megaphone) told us how we would ride and how we would be parked when we got to Cripple Creek. All the announcement elicited was a resounding BOO from those of us who actually heard the announcement. Most did not hear it. And so organizers and law enforcement learned that (and I learned this from Dad) trying to herd bikers is much like herding cats. Impossible.

This year, organizers thought it would be a good idea I guess to take two rows of bikes which is how we roll out of the parking and out of town and expand it into four rows of bikes when we hit the four lane part of Hwy 24. From our perspective in the thick of things - it looked sloppy and did not flow. We wondered if organizers realized that when we got to Hwy 67 which is only a two lane that four rows would have to choke back into two rows for the duration of the ride. Instead of flowing at a moderately low speed, we had starts and sudden stops and bikers riding in groups trying to stay in groups rather than riding safely as individuals. Those of us who showed up early to get a decent position lost that position during the course of the ride. Organizers perhaps did not take into consideration that not everyone who signs on for this ride is accustomed to riding in large groups nor does everyone know the rules of riding in large groups so hand signals meant nothing and virtually no one in our line of sight practiced staggered riding especially on the mountain curves. Two abreast to four abreast and back to two abreast is bad form in our opinion and unsafe. Not only that, the leaders of the ride were going so slow that we were nearly at a crawl in the middle. At some points we probably could have shook hands with the knots of spectators who line the route to cheer us on with clapping hands, thumbs up and waving flags. The new parking idea which most did not hear brought us to a stop and walk in Cripple Creek so once again, the ride did not flow well and it was not as enjoyable for us or the crowd. Where they wanted us to park is how and near where we normally park but many bikers were upset about not being allowed to park on the main drag. As a result of how convoluted an experience it was this year -- if this is how they plan to roll next year - we will rethink our participation.

Vik at staging area for 26th Annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride

Tim at staging area for 26th Annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride

Getting ready to roll


Slide show of POW/MIA Ride = 86 photos
Alternate link to this slide show
Video coming soon

We enjoy the atmosphere of the Salute to American Veterans Rally, the veteran recognition, the patriotic program and music. We had a great chat with Colonel McPherson beside his restored Huey. We shopped the vendor booths, admired bikes and people-watched. This year lunch was a giant slice of pizza and a Pepsi at a sidewalk table from Sweet Baby Georges. Then we walked into the arcade and had a cone of soft serve ice cream.

Tim at Salute to American Veterans Rally - Cripple Creek CO

Vik at Salute to American Veterans Rally - Cripple Creek CO

We strolled through vendor tents for a while but knowing we wanted to get an early start in the morning we rolled down the mountain arriving in Colorado Springs about 3 pm. I called and checked in with the Folks and gathered most of our gear together before we went in search of something to eat.

Mo's Diner

Burritos smothered in green chili - yum!

We found a couple of beers and a smothered green chili burrito at Mo's Diner. We usually dine at Mo's sometime during our rally visit. It is a short stroll from the motel and the food is always made to order and while it is not fancy - it is always good. They have a great green chili - some of the best we've ever had.

Afterwards we chilled at the motel and called it an early night. Tomorrow we have a bunch of miles to cover.

Today's Mileage = 87

Slide show of Salute to American Veterans Rally = 72 photos
Alternate link to this slide show

We will never forget...

August 17, 2013
Colorado USA

This is the most awesome experience, a combination of honoring our POW-MIA Veterans and a gorgeous mountain ride with thousands of like-minded individuals (many of them Veterans -- all of them American Patriots and proud of it) and this year is special because it is the inaugural ride for what is now known as the POW/MIA Memorial Highway (Hwy 67 between Divide and Cripple Creek CO). The ride culminates with arrival in Cripple Creek rounding a corner to the sound of thousands cheering and waving ol' Glory in downtown Cripple Creek -- guaranteed to send chills down your spine and put a catch in your throat.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Road Trip Day 1 - Vet Rally Friday

August 16, 2013
Colorado USA

The ride to Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs

Road Trip! We rolled out of the drive about 6:30 am under clear but hazy skies. We are kicking off this summer's second road trip with the Salute to American Veteran's Rally in Cripple Creek so while we were eager to ride out, we were in no particular hurry. Of course, the first stop was breakfast. We had thought to stop at a favorite eatery, Aunt Alice's Restaurant in Longmont CO but they were closed (vacation I think). We rode on and found ourselves near a familar Denny's in a Denver suburb so we started the day with a Red, White and Blue Breakfast.

Sure, you can ride I-25 from our neck of the woods straight through to Colorado Springs and arrive in a couple of hours if the Friday morning commute through Denver goes smoothly but where's the fun in that? We chose to ride along the foothills to Hwy 285 and on to Hwy 67 at Pine Junction where we turned south and followed the lazy and scenic route through Deckers to Woodland Park.

Scenic Ride along Hwy 67 and the South Platte River is a great way to kick off a road trip.

The Blue Jay Inn in Buffalo Creek, CO is a historic 1880s boarding house listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1974). Last I heard it was being restored but renovations appear to have stalled. This is one of those places that comes to mind when you think - if I ever win the lotto - ha!

In Woodland Park CO we turned west on Hwy 24 and then south again on Hwy 67 at Divide CO. Although we have ridden this road many times before, this is our first trip along it as the POW/MIA Memorial Hwy (the stretch of highway between Divide CO and Cripple Creek CO) designated as such recently by the state due to the efforts of local veteran organizations.

Little Ike Tunnel, once an old railroad tunnel converted to a vehicle passage was bypassed in the early 1990s when Cripple Creek legalized gambling and tour buses needed a better route. Prior to that it was a one lane tunnel that required stop and honk before passing through and later it had a stop light at each end... It is now closed at both ends and is reportedly deteriorating. It seems a shame to let a beautiful historical structure go to waste.

We arrived in Cripple Creek before noon and just in time to score (for the first time ever) free Red Friday T-shirts. I grabbed the last medium size available. Wearing a red shirt on Friday signifies support for our troops.

On the agenda for the day -- purchase our Rally shirts and rockers to avoid long lines tomorrow. We stood in a fairly long line today but it moved quickly and now we have shirts for the POW/MIA ride first thing in the morning. We strolled the town and shopped a few of the vendor booths that were already set up.

About mid-afternoon, as the usual clouds started to build we rode down the mountain to our accomodations in Old Colorado Springs. We travel along Highway 24 through the canyons bearing burn scars and stay in a motel about a mile from where all the serious flooding happened in Manitou Springs just a few days ago. I couldn't get a good picture of it but I got a good visual of the horrible damage on the west end of Business 24 in Manitou Springs. The recovery will be long and expensive and this is only the first year after the wild fires.

After checking into the motel, Tim made a gas (and beer) run while I checked in with the Folks and got our belongings squared away in the room. We topped the day off with a mile long stroll along Fountain Creek (the one that just flooded - signs of that all along the way) to our favorite eatery - Savelli's - in Manitou Springs which miraculously survived the flooding. A couple of beers and a dish of the best eggplant parmesan on earth made us happy campers. We spent the evening lounging in front of our room and talking about the roads we will ride in the coming days.

Today's mileage = 213 miles

Slide show of today's ride/rally = 93 photos
Alternate link to this slide show

It's Vet Rally time again!

August 16, 2013
Colorado USA

We're off like a dirty shirt - stay tuned...

Monday, August 12, 2013

The sign is up! POW-MIA Recognition

August 12, 2013
Colorado USA

Hwy 67 between Divide and Cripple Creek Colorado - will see this for ourselves in a few days.

The Road Crew erecting the sign

Photos compliments of Jim Wear - Salute to American Veterans Rally

Thursday, August 8, 2013

POW-MIA Recognition Ride 2012

August 8, 2013
Colorado USA

Sharing the 2012 video again as we get ready to roll out to the rally in a few days...
Link to Salute to American Veterans Rally 2013

Video slide show of the POW-MIA Recognition Ride from Woodland Park CO to Salute to American Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek CO - Wooooo-Hooooo!

POW-MIA Recognition Ride 2012

Click here to play

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Purple Heart Recognition is the order of the day

August 7, 2013
Colorado USA

Today is Purple heart Recognition Day. This is me voicing my appreciation to all who wear this particular medal as well as to all who have served this country well.

The award known as the Purple Heart has a history that reaches back to the waning days of the American Revolution. The Continental Congress had forbidden General George Washington from granting commissions and promotions in rank to recognize merit. Yet Washington wanted to honor merit, particularly among the enlisted soldiers. On August 7, 1782, his general orders established the Badge of Military Merit:

"... The General ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit directs whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings, over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding."
Source: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

One of my heroes Ray aka Tex (begging his pardon for the exposure) Vietnam Veteran, Blue Spader, Purple Heart, J4J Texas 3, Patriot Guard Ride Captain and friend to my all-time favorite hero - DAD.

Ted aka Frosty and Ray aka Tex 2011

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Get the new off the tires ride + picnic + magic

August 4, 2013
Colorado USA

Today was just a short ride to wear some of the new off the tires before we head out on the highway in a few days. We managed to make a picnic ride out of it, stopping for sandwiches in Johnstown's small park. We enjoyed our tuna salad sandwiches under a small pavilion and were packing it up when a couple of local boys (age 9 or 10) walked up and asked if they could show us a couple of card tricks. We said sure. They showed us three different tricks and pulled each one off really well. We thanked them for our impressive picnic magic show and they walked away looking mighty pleased with themselves. Ha!

The Ride

Tim waiting on me like one dog waits on another

Vik - I love picnic rides

The following are pics of our little card sharks entertaining Tim.

We saw much of the damage from yesterday's storms as we rode along. Gardens and cornfields were stripped bare. Trees were missing leaves and limbs. All kinds of debris had washed up on the roads. It is monsoon season in Colorado so we did not stray too far today. Yesterday's monsoon weather brought tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds and torrential rain to northern Colorado. I thought for a while I was back in north Texas near the Red River. We made a parts trip to Thunder Mountain and back yesterday in a cage once we got a look at those clouds. We had not been home but a few minutes before all hell broke loose. I hope the Sturgis-bound riders we saw at the dealership rode smart and safe. Cheyenne WY less than 40 miles north (if they could find a room or a restaurant) was probably as far down the road as they got for at least a couple of hours because there's not a darn thing between here and there.

Clouds gathering over the mountains earlier are now rolling over

Yep - time to ride on home

Terry Lake - we are thinking we will be lucky if we get in dry - ha!

Anyway, today, because of the clouds and the severe weather threat, we rolled in much earlier in the afternoon than we normally do. We took the service road north on I-25 for a few miles and got a kick out of seeing all the grinning riders headed north. Ride safe to Sturgis and back people! We rode in just as it was beginning to spit and spent the rest of the day tinkering around the house and grilling shrimp kabobs and drinking beer on the patio while we talked over plans for the upcoming road trip.

Yesterday's clouds looming to the north for Sturgis Riders. It took about half an hour for the skies to go dark and get nasty.

Today's ride = 88 miles

Happy Birthday Nezzie!

August 4, 2013

A slight departure from ride posts... wishing my lovely Mom aka Nezzie aka Punk a happy 76th birthday - if not for her love and encouragement - none of us would be riding today... A friend of ours (Willie) said to me a long time ago that my lovely Mom had to have been the inspiration for Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". I could not agree more. We love you Mom!

Video Version Scrapbook (with music) Slide Show
Happy Birthday Nezzie!

Click here to play

Updated Scrapbook Slide Show of Inez (no music) through the years = 38 slides
Alternate link to this slide show