September 15, 2003 GMT
DAY 12

Day 12

Westminster, Colorado to Westminster, Colorado

257 miles

2758 Total Miles

We assembled at 10:00 in the hotel parking lot. The skies were crystal clear and the temperature was moderate. It looked to be a great day for riding. Today would be a little different because Bill would be carrying a passenger, his wife Laurel.

The three stooges?

We hit the road at 10:30 and drove to Golden, Colorado on route to Estes Park. From there we took the Golden Gate Canyon Road through the Roosevelt National Forest. In Estes Park, we ate a mediocre lunch at Nicky's Restaurant. After Estes Park the ride got really interesting. We soon arrived at the Rocky Mountain National Park. The national park annual passes we purchased from Herr Burman at the Florissant Fossil Beds a couple of days ago came in handy.

Father photographing his daughter, a future Cosmo cover

The park road featured a series of severe switchbacks and, as a result, we gained altitude quickly. Heavy traffic made the ascent a little slow but the scenery was some of the best we've driven through. We continued to climb and climb. The view got better and better (we're running out of words to describe the views). It was another case of the scenery being almost too good for our own good as we tried to watch the road while driving our motorcycles up a very twisty, very scenic road. Once again were had no guardrails and the drop-offs were deep. We were on the Trail Ridge Drive, the only road that crosses the entire park. It is the highest paved road in the United States.

Views from Trail Ridge Road

We negotiated switchback after switchback, each one revealing another incredible view. The air became noticeably cooler until it dipped to the mid--30's. Finally, at 12,200 feet we reached the crest. Well past the tree line, the terrain was a monochrome of tundra and rock.

A hidden valley on our way down the mountain

We began descending rapidly and the switchbacks were now all downhill. This was challenging riding for two guys who have been on motorcycles for only 16 months. Bill faced the additional challenge of carrying a passenger, something he rarely does.

Shortly after leaving the park, we stopped for gas. That's when we learned the tragic news that the Colts beat the Titans 33-7. After a moment of silence in honor of Steve McNair's dislocated finger, we gassed up. It was a good stop, however, since we met Lloyd Curry and Larry St. Clair from North Carolina. They've been riding buddies for 11 years and have logged thousands of miles riding together. Bill and Bo thought it took them only a short time to drive from Tennessee to Colorado until they heard that Larry and Lloyd drove from North Carolina to Colorado via New Orleans in just five days. These guys are real road warriors.

Larry and Lloyd with thier bikes

We said goodbye to Larry and Lloyd and drove on through Winter Park, Colorado, which like Aspen and Snowmass, is busy in preparation for skiing season.

It was then time to return to Denver. By this point we were back to a bit over 10,000 feet. Our route downhill took us through the Arapaho National Forest, which contained tremendous stands of Fir which led up to a treeless ridgeline. The road, Highway 40, was a newly paved four-lane, with a wonderful series of twisties and long sweeping curves. It was an unexpectedly fine ride.

Our last 40 miles or so were uneventful and we arrived back in Denver at 7:30.

Although she never protested and was a trooper all day, Bill and Bo probably gave Laurel more of a ride than she needed on her first day in Colorado.

Married with children

Cruising the West

Posted by Bill Thompson at September 15, 2003 04:55 PM GMT

Go girl....You two look wonderful.....the views are incredible...I can only say I wish I were there

Posted by: Beth on September 15, 2003 06:09 PM GMT

We are enjoying your log!! Pictures are great.
Enjoy your trip.

Posted by: Jerry and Audrey on September 16, 2003 02:31 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!