Westminster, Colorado to Westminster, Colorado
2864 total miles
Another day of perfect sunshine!
We decided to give Laurel a break and make it an easy day. Our agenda included a trip to Boulder, Colorado.
Power poles painted the same color as the mountains ouside Denver
The route took us past a mysterious Department of Energy facility isolated on a large piece of expensive Colorado land. We thought about taking a photo but decided not to. A few months ago during a trip to North Carolina, we drove into a nuclear power plant site thinking it would make a good picture. The guards, with automatic weapons thought otherwise. We figured that if we tried it again black helicopters would swoop down and take us to Washington for a sit-down with John Ashcroft.
In Boulder we would tour of the Celestial Seasonings factory, have a late lunch and then a couple of hours of light riding through the foothills of the Rockies on our sweep back to Denver.
But first, we thought it might be a good idea to tell you a bit about our motorcycles.
Bill drives a 1998 BMW R1100RT. This is a touring bike, with a plastic fairing covering the front of the bike and the engine. It has a twin cylinder 1100 cc engine delivering 85 horsepower. It is equipped with two hard side cases and a tail case. It weighs roughly 650 pounds fully gassed without rider and luggage.
Bo drives a 2000 BMW R1100R. This type bike is called a standard. It has no fairing and is not actually designed for touring. It has the same engine as Bill's but is tuned for 80 horsepower. Two hard side cases, a tailcase and a windshield have been added so it tours well. It weighs 530 pounds fully gassed without rider and luggage.
The bikes have anti-lock brake systems, which gives us both a lot of confidence on the road. The bikes also have five-speed transmissions connected to a shaft drive.
Both bikes are equipped with Autocom voice-activated radio communications systems. We can talk back and forth quite easily while on the road. We each have Apple iPods connected to our Autocoms. Each helmet is fitted with a microphone and we each have earphones custom made to fit our ears. The earphones also serve to block out wind noise, which can be very loud when at highway speed. Even at highway speeds the quality of the music through this system is as good as either of us have had on our home stereo systems.
To make ourselves more conspicuous on the road, we have each added modulators that make our headlights pulse, rear flashing brake lights and front fork mounted motolights that, coupled with the headlight, creates a big triangle of light.
For comfort, we have each added custom seats, a second set of foot pegs that are located about a foot in front of the regular pegs (used to stretch out a bit when on a long highway run - they were a blessing in Kansas) and a device that allows us to rest our throttle hand a bit while on a long highway run.
Now, back to the journey.
The ride from Westminster to Boulder was only about 18 miles. Boulder, home of the University of Colorado, is a typical college town. UC has a large campus, so students on bicycles were everywhere.
Bill used his GPS to take us directly to the Celestial Seasonings corporate offices and factory. The factory, which is not all that big, produces every bit of the Celestial Seasonings products sold worldwide.
Everyone taking the plant tour was required to wear a hairnet. Those of you who know Bo will recognize the irony in that. The tour started with a short video which detailed the history of the company and also engaged in some not-so-subtle salesmanship. After the video, our tour guide, Cherie, asked the group which Celestial Seasonings tea was the biggest seller. Bill raised his hand and answered, "Sleepytime." Cherie was pleased and Bill won a book on herbs authored by the founder of the company.
Cherie at the tour's start (before the book)
One of the best things about the tour were the smells. Herbs and spices from 35 countries are stored in the factory. The smells were overwhelming, but very nice. We then entered a sealed room called the "peppermint room." They store peppermint and spearmint separately because their strong smells would cause the other spices and herbs to acquire a peppermint and spearmint flavor. Within seconds of entering the room our eyes were watering and we were literally breathing peppermint. No one who works in the peppermint room has a sinus condition. We lasted about a minute in there. The production floor relied heavily on robotics. The plant floor looked like a great place to work. We couldn't help but notice the music blaring over the loudspeakers: Sweet Home Alabama.
After the tour we enjoyed their herbal tea tasting room and were then on our way.
Our next stop was Lucile's, a local cajun restaurant. The food was really good and the homemade ketchup was a real highlight (when living on road food the little things - like homemade ketchup - have added significance).
We exited the foothills via Clear Creek Canyon, a beautiful steep walled rock canyon through which ran by a beautiful fishy looking stream. The repeated tugs at our fly rods seem to be consistently overpowered by the allure of gasoline and rubber. We keep riding. We'll fish later...maybe.
Clear Creek Canyon
For dinner we went to a really good mexican restaurant owned and operated by three generations of an asian family. The teenagers were waiting tables, the parents were working the cash register and the barefooted grandfather was sitting at a table working on a laptop computer and bouncing his happy baby grandchild on his knee. Only in America.
Tomorrow we head for southwest Colorado and the San Juan Mountains.
Posted by Bill Thompson at September 16, 2003 05:26 AM GMT
Sunset from our hotel's deck
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!