Ahhhh...the last day on the road.....has the "great" day of riding come?
We are up at our usual "too darn" early in the morning. Pack up, breakfast, socalizing. Have pre-ride meeting, talk about what the mission is. Have prayer. Oh, I registered and got in line too--remember the previous day was out on my own with friends. I'm looking forward to this day.
The day starts out cold. After all, we are in Eagles Nest, elevation 8203 feet. No worries, it's a clear day and I'll take the cold on its own. I have gear on.
It's time to go. I saddle up and we get out on the road. The ride is beautiful and finally (!) it is the ride that I worked so hard to get to!!! I kick back and enjoy the ride, concentrating on riding and enjoying the challenge of riding in formation.
First stop for the day is Cimmaron, New Mexico. There is a short on highway ceremony. I'm too far back to really see what's going on, but I do enjoy the break. We stay on our bikes and I take the opportunity to "adjust" riding gear.
The ceremony ends and The Ride starts again. Our next destination is Raton. Again, uneventful and I'm enjoying the ride. Whooohoooo!! This is what the ride is all about!!
We cross the town limits of Raton. It is great to see all the folks line up to welcome the riders in! If any of you have the opportunity to ride with The Run and can only do a section, I highly recommend the ride through New Mexico. The support from all the residents is quite amazing and the work done by the state of New Mexico is incredible as well.
Raton is a fuel stop. Again, if you have the opportunity to ride with The Run, the experience is amazing--fuel stop is also included. At this point, there are several hundred motorcycles and they are pushed through for fuel in less than a half hour!!! Thanks to the fuel crew and their organization.
This is a stop as well, so I get the time to visit with the other riders in my group. There are quite a few that are "FNG"s (you'll have to look up the acronym). They welcome me to the group, we exchange names and talk about the ride so far. The reasons of riding are as varied as the motorcycles.
Every one is fueled up. I have a snack in my tummy and an empty bladder so I'm ready for the next stop: Trinidad, Colorado. Again, the ride is uneventful.
We parade through Trinidad. Waving at all the folks that turn out and seeing the support of eveyone is amazing! I ride with a tear in my eye and shivers up my spine as I wave back. Yes, it is a great day on the ride.
I'm thinking that this is the day for the ride--the day that is worth all the trials and tribulations I "suffered" through.
Wishful thinking, that is.
As we leave Trinidad--I meet the monster for the day--the crosswind. If anyone has ever ridden on the plains of Colorado, I know that the word "crosswind" is understood. Not just for Colorado, but any of the plains states. Grrrrrrr...
Unfortunately, we fight the crosswinds all the way through the ride from Trinidad to La Junta. La Junta is the next fuel stop and our lunch stop. I eat my lunch and process the ride so far. I'm feeling the mental and physical work from riding in a permanent "lean" in the winds.
I am less than enthusiastic when the riders saddle up, but I decide to press on. I discover about 20 miles down the road that I should have gotten out. I don't feel too badly about the decision since I know I would have still had to ride home, but I know I'm reaching the end of my rope of formation riding.
The remainder of the segment was a challenge. I can't tell you much about the ride to Limon except for my battle on the bike. The mental and physical fight to stay in formation in the crosswind takes all my energy. Focus, focus, focus.
As well pull into Limon, I find make a decision. I'm done. Limon is about an hour north/east from Colorado Springs and I'm ready to go home. When the bikes pull into the stop I pull out of formation and park my bike in the side lot. I have a twinge of "maybe" but I know that it's the right decision for me.
I walk over to the my group Platoon Leaders and thank them for leading. I wish them well and a safe ride for the remainder of the trip with a goodbye hug. I also walk through the platoon and thank them for riding and wish them a safe ride for the remainder of the trip.
As with any stop, there is a good bit of commotion going on, so take leave of the group and quietly walk away. My heart is sad for the time to leave, but my head knows it is the right decision--I am mentally and physically spent.
My good friend Dozer finds me and we stand together and watch the bikes pull out, waving to all the riders. The next stop is Burlington, only a few short miles down the road. Yes, I know I could have stayed with the grouup. I also knew that I still had the ride home ahead of me. If I was going to do any more riding, I'd rather be riding home than ride to Burlington then have to ride home.
Dozer and I saddle up and we head out. He is out taking photos for the "Going Postal" ride contest that the Mountain Shadow Riders have going on. There are a few post offices between Limon and Colorado Springs, but I don't mind the stops--since it breaks up the sixty or so miles home.
Home. What a great sounding word. We pull into the Springs and I am happy to see home.
This was an "adventure" that was only a few days....there were quite a few POWs that were gone much much longer--and some that are still missing. While my experience doesn't even come close to theirs, it is all that I have. I think I get a small understanding of why the ride is so emotional.
I pull up to my house and am happy to be there. Even with all the trials and tribulations, I'm home safe and sound. The ride is what it is and while not under the most ideal circumstances, it was an adventure worth noting. Most importantly.....
All's well that ends well..........
Until the next time...
Keep the Shiny Side Up!!
~The Rainbow Wahine