September 17, 2003 GMT
Day 14

Westminster, Colorado to Grand Junction, Colorado

320 Miles

3184 total miles

We neglected to mention it because it is so painful to think about, but yesterday marked the half-way point in our epic journey. At 12:00 noon on September 15, while enjoying homemade ketchup at Lucile's restaurant in Boulder, we both realized that the rest of the trip is downhill. It was such a sobering thought that we quickly put it out of our mind.

Today is the first day of the rest of our trip. And it was a fine day.

Bill said goodbye to Laurel and we loaded up our bikes and headed west.

We broke one of our major rules when we set up today's route: avoid the interstate. However, the only way to reach the western part of Colorado quickly, which was our goal, was to take I-70 out of Denver.

We avoid interstates for a simple reason: we don't like sharing the road with 80,000 pound trucks. It worked out OK because the route took us up and down extremely steep grades. The trucks stayed in the inside third lane creeping up the mountains and slowly burning out their brakes while descending. The other two lanes were open for cars and smaller trucks and, most importantly, motorcycles.

I-70 took us along the edge of the Arapaho National Forest and through the White River National Forest. The Glenwood Canyon Section of the White River National Forest was among the choicest drives we have taken. This narrow canyon contained a double-layered interstate (the east lanes below the west lanes), railroad tracks and the Colorado River.

Glenwood Canyon

We drove through several tunnels, the most impressive being the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Naturally, we blew our horns in every tunnel we encountered.

We exited I-70 near Vail, Colorado. After a fine lunch at a local deli, we headed to McClure's Pass. We crossed the pass a few days ago going in the other direction. Once we reached the 8,755 foot crest, we began a descent that rated among the best roads we have driven yet. It was a 30 minute downhill full of sweeping curves and tight twisties.

Vintage Mercedes 300SL north of Vail

We stopped at Hotchkiss, Colorado, (which has a big H emblazoned on a hillside, a Colorado phenomenon that we don't understand). Bo noticed a little oil on his right saddlebag. A closer inspection revealed a slow oil leak from his right cylinder head. The bike's oil level was still within factory specifications so we continued on to Delta, Colorado. We stopped in Delta to check on the oil leak and saw that it would need professional attention. Since we were in the middle of nowhere, this could be a major problem. Maybe not. Your faithful travelers were lucky. Grand Junction, Colorado, only 30 miles away, is the home of AllSport Honda/BMW Motorcycles.

So, rather than turing south toward Telluride, we turned north to Grand Junction. We are now in a nice hotel and plan to visit the BMW dealer tomorrow morning. Let's hope they can fix Bo's bike, and fix it fast.

Fabulous arid scenery south of Grand Junction

We've run out of superlatives to describe Colorado so, in the interest of good reporting, we now plan to head for eastern Utah. There we plan to visit the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands National Park. Hopefully, we will spend tomorrow night in Moab, Utah.

It all depends on the mechanics at AllSport Honda/ BMW. Let us pray.

Posted by Bill Thompson at September 17, 2003 06:00 AM GMT

Dr. Thompson,

Utah is beautiful. The mountains and rock formations are fabulous along the drive through. Chet and I went to Vail last May also. I loved it out West and I know you and Bo are also loving it.

Posted by: Angela on September 17, 2003 12:46 PM GMT


I can tell you are having a great time. I enjoy seeing the photos and reading the narrative. You and Bo remind me of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Not sure which of you best fits who.

Enjoy your ride.


Posted by: Jim Farris on September 17, 2003 08:31 PM GMT

Hey there Bill&Bo; see that you're thoroughly enjoying yourselves, as though you would do anything else. I wish that I would get those vista that you're getting, I know they must just be stunning. Since you're out on the road and can't get to a thesaurus readily, I thought it might be nice to give you a few more adjectives for those views. You might have used a few already, but here's what I've got: stunning. awing. majestic. sweeping. gorgeous. humbling. mythical. fantastical. imposing. picturesque. exquisite. magnificent. regal. grandiose. striking. remarkable. amazing. sublime. impressive. unforgettable. moving. grand. commanding. monumental. lofty. glorious. opulent. eminent. venerable. lush. beautiful. palatial. There. Hope that helps you out some. Sorry to hear about Bo's bike; I'll see if I can't get a hymn together for you. Claire is having a good time at school, even though she vehemently denies it, and Colin is as usual. Laurel is in a great mood since she came back, and mopes not quite so much about not being able to see you. Generally, Nashville remains stable and peaceful, though I wouldn't give it anymore than another few weeks before it starts to wobble towards total chaos without your eminent presence. Have fun livin it up on the open road!

Posted by: Andrew on September 18, 2003 02:57 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

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