Day five was first time experience for me. It was day one of an overnight trip on Stallion! Shawn had told me that overnight rides change the dynamics of a motorcycle trip significantly. He also mentioned they open up options and opportunities that we would not otherwise have if we had to rush home on the same day.
And he was right! Choosing to spend a night in a hotel really made a huge difference in where we were able to go, and what we were able to do along the way.
And so we headed out Wednesday morning for Breckenridge!
Just outside of Woodland Park we saw a huge plume of smoke billowing up against the blue sky. The burning, choking smell got stronger as we got closer, and it reminded me of the horrible Waldo Canyon Fire and Black Forest Fire we had experienced just a few years ago.
Thankfully, we learned that it was a controlled, overgrowth burn and that it was not a wild fire.
Right after Lake George, we headed west on County Road 90 and saw some peaceful ranch lands up against the mountains.
After a quick moto-selfie, it was time to head towards Elevenmile Canyon Reservoir…
The reservoir area is very barren, but has a rugged beauty. It reminded me a lot of Nevada.
Before too long, we saw this sign and got excited!
Unfortunately the excitement was short lived…the road became deep gravel and felt very mushy. I honestly thought I was going to drop the bike a couple of times, but we made it through and back on to pavement.
After a quick breather…we met back up with Hwy 24 and then headed north on Colorado 9. A short while later, we found ourselves in South Park, Colorado.
Yes…it is that South Park (although I never watched the show).
It’s a neat little area just to the west of Fairplay. It’s filled with quaint little stores and buildings where time seems to stand still.
As I was photographing the different buildings, I noticed something quite extraordinary. This older gentleman was sharpening an ax by hand! It was pretty neat to watch him for a few moments.
Someone told me that he has quite a bit of history to share…his grandfather rode with Custer and his antique store features some of his personal artifacts! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to chat with him before our schedules pushed us on.
I parked in directly in front of his colorful and wonderfully decorated store, Mountain Sun Arts…
As I was taking off my helmet and started to take a few pictures, Brion stepped out to introduce himself and chat. Over the next 20 minutes I learn a little bit about his remarkable life, experiences he had, how he came to live in South Park, motorcycles he had ridden, and much more. It was truly an enjoyable conversation and I was thankful for our time together.
As we prepared to leave, Brion personally invited me to spend a few moments behind his store. “Just walk through the alley”, he said. “It’s one of my favorite places to be.”
And so I walked through the alley and saw this…
And then enjoyed this spectacular view!
I reflected on what a wonder it was to meet such amazing people on this journey. I really do believe that sharing the human connection with others – the conversations, the kindness, the excitement, the interaction – is almost as amazing as the ride itself.
We mounted our bikes and began the ascent up to Hoosier Pass (11,542 ft), and once again, the views were spectacular!
If you like gentle twisties then this is a great road for you. Smiles ahead!
And then we began our descent in to Breckenridge
Breckenridge features a free gondola that takes you up to Peak 7 & 8 and I had wanted to go on it for quite a while. I figured that would be an amazing place to go right at sunset and look down on the valley below.
We got checked in at the front desk of our hotel, and then said we wanted to head to the gondola. And then we got the news…
It was closed.
I was disappointed. I told the hotel representative that we didn’t just want to go eat right away and pass up this beautiful evening. Did he have any suggestions for us?
“Well,” he said, “you’re on motorcycles right?”
“Yes”, I replied.
“Then I’ve got a great recommendation for you!”, he exclaimed.
(To be continued…)