Errands With Stallion

I recently enjoyed an awesome evening of doing errands with Stallion.

The cool evening air coming in off the mountains combined with the sweet smell of freshly cut fields. Ahhhhh…perfect!

MV

Choosing Adventure in the Face of Uncertainty

On Saturday, May 27th, the Black Forest Riders embarked on the first group ride of the season. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go. The destination was Breckenridge, and the weather report was calling for 100% chance of rain and storms throughout the entire day.

That didn’t sound like fun. In fact, it had been a long week and I really wanted to sleep in on Saturday and do nothing. But that was because of the weather forecast. Inside, I wanted to ride! On Friday evening I made half-hearted plans to go and got the camera and gear ready. I was still skeptical of the weather, and anticipated waking up to nasty skies, and then going back to bed.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny with gorgeous blue skies! I texted Jeff (our group leader) and he said we were on for the ride, and if needed would adjust the route as we go. Less than an hour later I met up with him and his wife Carol, and another member of the group (Mike). Then we were off to meet up with another rider and his wife!

We met Kerry & Jenny over at Rudy’s on the south side of town. It’s a convenient place to get gas, but I was disappointed in their “Convenience Store” that only offered soda and candy (and extremely limited selections at that). Nothing even remotely healthy to snack on. Oh well, at least I had my water bottle!

The group smiles as Jeff announces his bid for Presidency in 2020!

Part of Garden of the Gods in view – looks like a great morning to take Stallion for a trip!

We headed up Hwy 24 through Woodland Park, and then made a stop at Wilkerson Pass!

The group was small in number, but high in spirit and having fun as always!

Jeff came to the rescue by offering me a snackĀ to tide me over until lunch…very kind of him! šŸ™‚

Wilkerson Pass is always a beautiful place to stop!

The VFW was up there offering free coffee and cookies, but they weren’t too friendly so I just walked away. I guess it’s the thought that counts.

While Jeff made a quick pit stop, Mike announced his intention to be the group leader through a hostile takeover. Carol wasn’t too happy…

From there we rode to Hartsel, CO – so named because it is at the geographic center of Colorado! The view towards Breckenridge was NASTY…it looked like lots of snow, ice, and rain in the radar. No fun. So, we headed south on CO-9 which was an AWESOME decision!

CO-9 is a fantastic road that leads down towards the Royal Gorge area, and it is a joy to ride that road through such a pretty area!

Looking in the mirror, you can see part of the nastiness behind us (north) that we rode away from!

We made it to Canon City and were loving this beautiful morning! All of us were hungry, so Bunkhouse Burgers was a great place to stop! They offer Colorado, grass-fed beef and even have gluten free buns! Good food and good service!

All too soon it was time to hit the road for home. However, storms were on the horizon. Jeff and Carol check the radar to calculate our odds of survival…

TheĀ Bird MillmanĀ sculpture is going to need a lot more than that little umbrella for the amount of rain that was on the way!

But, we couldn’t leave the area without taking a quick ride over Skyline Drive!

We headed for home, and finally, hit the rainsĀ that we been avoidingĀ all day. It only rained for about the last 30 minutes of the ride, and although it wasn’t horrendous, it certainly wasn’t fun either (mainly due to all the other cars cashing wash back). We all made it home safe and sound, and it really was a great ride.

But, one thought stuck out in my mind…what if I hadn’t gone? What if I had just stayed home and let the weather forecast win? I would have missed out on a lot of fun with friends, and a beautiful time chasing roads through the mountains!

 

Choosing adventure in the face of uncertaintyĀ is a risk worth taking. I’m already looking forward to the next ride…andĀ I may not even look at the forecast before hand!

MV

An Afternoon Adventure (Or What Happens When Rides Don’t Go As Planned)

Last Sunday afternoon, my friend Eric and I had planned on making an epic ride on some dirt roads out behind Pikes Peak. With the weather forecast only showing a 20% chance for rain in the mountains, it was looking like a great day to ride.

However, as is usually the case with Colorado in the Spring, the weather couldn’t make up it’s mind. In fact, I would argue that the weather turned into a mix between a moody adolescent teenager and a restless psychopath. You’ll soon learn why!

We headed out after church. This picture sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: “So a KTM and a V-Strom decide to go for a ride….

The weather was a little overcast and cool in the Springs, and we dodged some small rain clouds as we headed up to Woodland Park. Just outside of Divide, CO we ran into some light rain, but it didn’t last long.

We headed south on COĀ 67 and enjoyed a great break in the weather. In fact, the sun was shining and it was gorgeous when we stopped at the overlook just aboveĀ Cripple Creek!

The two bikes were getting along quite nicely

Stallion always has his head in the clouds…dreaming of the next adventure!

Proof that aliens do exist….and that yours truly really does go on these rides

The view from this area is beautiful! On a clear day you can see forever. Well, at least to the beautiful mountains near Westcliffe…

Eric was enjoying the ride!

There’s gold in them thar hills!

This was Eric’s first time visiting theĀ Heritage Center. If you’re in the area, I would highly recommend taking 30-45 minutes to take a look through the extensive information here! The lady at the visitor’s desk was super friendly and helped us with some maps for the dirt roads.

This is a scale model of the Mollie Kathleen Gold MineĀ which is truly impressive. Its main shaft goes down over 1,000 feet into the earth. That’s the equivalent of more than the Empire State Building height. Oh, you can go down in the mine on a tour if you’re up for it.Ā 

Now, we were only in the Center for about 30 minutes or so. Long enough to pay the water bill, and look around. So we step outside to gear up, and see this…

What in the world! That is what “20% chance of rain” looks like? Must be nice to have a job and not worry about only beingĀ 20% correct!

We checked the radar on our phones. At this point, we realize that plans are about to change.

What you don’t see is the MASSIVE red blobs to the south of Canon City that were headed our way. Or rather, we were headed their way. Or both. Anyhoo, we decided that common sense won over valor, so we decided to head back north and look for food.

Before we left the parking lot, there were two big bolts of lightning on the hills behind us! We quickly donned our rain gear and sped out of there. We made it about a mile down the road before the rain started. Then it got heavier. In quantity and mass. HAIL! We were getting pelted by hail! 30 minutes ago it was 65F and sunny!

We slowed down, and then watched with slight wonder as the hail turned to snow along the backside of Pikes Peak! After about 20 minutes of this indecisiveness, the hail/snow turned back to rain as we descended down into Woodland Park.

Wanting to get out of the rain and quiet our rioting stomachs, we decided on the Hungry Bear! I had a massive breakfast burrito with green chili, and Eric had a burger, guacamole, melt thingy. It was pretty good!

Notice the legal disclaimers…

After getting some food in our bellies, we promptly stretched out on the floor and took a nap. Okay not really, but we felt like it! As we looked out of the window while eating, we had noticed that LOTS of RV’s were heading back to the Springs and were clogging up Hwy 24. Not wanting to get stuck in that mess, in the rain, at 20mph, for the next hour….Eric suggested we head north and ride back on dirt…Mt. Herman Road! That turned out to be an AWESOME suggestion!

Now, there was one *minor* incident where someone took an unplanned ejection from their bike on a soft corner. I won’t name names, but he rides a KTM.

Fortunately it wasn’t a big deal at all and the wreck only caused $1000 worth of improvements to the look of the KTM. Just kidding! Had to throw a KTM jab in there while I could. In all fairness, that bike absolutely smokes the V-Strom on those back roads. It really is completely in it’s element up there and is extremely capable. Still, Stallion did pretty good up there too!

At this point, the sun kept poking out from the clouds, and the temperature starting going up!

Great views of Monument and Black Forest!

We made it safely down to the base of Mt. Herman and stopped here to peel off our layers. From here, it was only 10-15 minutes to home!

In the end, our route looked like this – we left from Black Forest, made it to Cripple Creek, headed back to Woodland Park, then headed home by way of Mt. Herman Road!

It was a great adventure, filled with a little crazy weather, good food, one non-injury-sort-of-cool-looking crash, and lots of great conversation with a friend.

I can’t wait for the next ride already!

MV

A Perfect Evening

I decided to take the long way home last night…and I’m sure glad I did. You could taste summer in the evening air as a cool breeze helped keep temperatures perfect.

It felt good to ride out on country roads towards the mountains. There was nothing but Stallion and I, a bunch of deer, and one lone elk off in the distance.

As the sun started to set, I turned back towards home, and just sighed. It was a perfect evening.

Riding back in to our neighborhood, I could smell the grills going, with faint laughter and activity in the air. I put Stallion away, and started the grill for our own family dinner.

It really was a perfectly, perfect evening!

MV