We set out down Woodmen Blvd and made the first turn—onto Interstate 25. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. I think “this is it, we are finally on our way”.
Del is leading and Karla riding wing. I’m third and Sandy is riding sweep. I’m in the lull of riding—the drone of the engine in the background and the music of Aida is filling my ears as we head towards Monument Hill. It’s always cold going over Monument Hill—the elevation is over 7,000 feet. I give brief thought to the cold and then think of the cellular trees that are along the pass—it is a scavenger hunt item. Oh well, I’ll catch it on another day, I think.
The ride up to Denver is uneventful, and I follow along with no issues. We make the merge to I-76 and it’s all about riding. Just four bikes rolling down the interstate. Somewhere along the line, I notice something odd about Karla’s saddlebag—it’s open. I ride up beside her and point to her bag. She reaches down and slams it shut. I hope she hasn’t lost any gear.
Our first stop is Fort Morgan, CO and it’s around 5:00 AM. We’ve been on the road for about two hours. I think the operative word is COLD! Yikes! I am seeping cold air somewhere and can’t figure out why. I check my zip vents and they are all closed—or so I think. I give a small thanks of prayer to switching to my other leather jacket. I’m not sure how well I’d be faring if I had not done the switch.
I get off the bike and I look at Karla…she has a concerned look on her face—of course, I’m visibly shivering. Our scheduled stop is only 10 minutes…I need far more than that. I finally get a bit warmed up and back on the bike. I’m thinking if this is what the rest of the ride entails, I am going to be in trouble. We press on.
The second stop is no better. We get off the bike and I’m again shivering—along with everyone else. We are in Ogallala, NE and Del says we passed were around 35 degrees. I am cold but I’m also aware that I’m hungry due to the tremendous energy I have to expend to stay warm. We laugh at each other because of the sheer insanity of the trip so far. The thought of “we are crazy” is in my mind…but the other thought of quitting is never brought up.
I also decide to take another look at ALL the vents in my jacket. Seems that I didn’t check my sleeve vents and they are wide open. No wonder I’m leaking air! I close them and notice an immediate difference! Sheesh….
Oh, and Karla finds out she has lost one of her winter gloves.
We talk about range on the gas tanks—Sandy is on a Honda 1,100 and so her fuel range is a bit shorter. We agree that the stops have to be modified to accommodate her tank since her range is a bit shorter than everyone else’s bikes. No problem, we’ll stop every 120 miles or so.
We also switch over leading. After each stop the wing takes the lead and we rotate around. Everyone gets the practice of leading and a mental break from being the front bike. I’m riding wing to Karla leading and we are headed east—into the early morning sunrise.
Not only am I still cold, I can’t see where I’m going! I don’t really understand why this is so funny, but it is! I guess I had to hold on to the humor otherwise I’d be crying. Oh, wait, I’m too cold to be crying!! LOL…
The stops meld into brainless stops…pull in for fuel, gas up, note the mileage, grab a cup of coffee or take a potty break and then back on the bikes…I lead, then Sandy…we just keep making our way east.
Somewhere along the line, the sun does get high enough that it isn’t blinding anymore and the air warms up. Thank goodness. Unfortunately, we have another problem…a pounding headwind!! It is so bad that Sandy, making about 120 miles before flipping to reserve, runs flat out of gas with reserve at 90 miles!! Thank goodness the gas station is right around the corner!!! Someone is indeed smiling down on us!
It is our lunch break too, so we stop and have a bite to eat, call everyone to let them know we are still alive and complain about the cold. I put more layers on—I’m still trying to get warm from the morning. At this point, it is around 10:00 AM
Again, we are back on the road, the miles continue rolling and I’m feeling better and actually starting to enjoy the ride. I settle back into listening to Les Miserables and watching the scenery go by. I’m finally one with the motorcycle and the scenery. It is indeed a zen moment.
The stops fly by--it is pull in, gas up, note miles, quick drink and snack, talk a few minutes with each other and the gas station attendants, then back on the road. Wash, rinse, repeat.
At York, NE our journey takes us South on Hwy 81. This portion of the ride really is quite nice; everyone is in the groove and the scenery is really beautiful. We cross the state line into Kansas. It is heartwarming to be crossing this point—as it is the halfway mark of our journey.
We’ve been in the saddle ten hours already.
The next five hundred miles await us.
Keep the Shiny Side Up….
~The Rainbow Wahine