Journey Notes
September 06, 2003 GMT
DAY 2

Thursday, September 4, 2003
Alton, Missouri to Joplin, Missouri

315 Miles

708 total miles

So far this web site has been clearly less than advertised. We've grappled with poor phone service and a busted iBook power adapter. But now we're ready to roll.

billphone

AWAKE and READY TO RIDE

Day 2 started late. Your travelers were beat after 300+ miles in the rain the day before. After sleeping late and eating a fine country breakfast in Alton we took off for the Mark Twain National Forest.

It was a day full of sunshine, no humidity and wonderful rural Missouri roads. Although our goal is Colorado, we wasted several hours in some great twisty back roads. The Ozark foothills were a surprise. Southern Missouri is a pretty place.

bo-bike

No, I'm not looking for my keys. I never lose anything.

Once back on track, we headed to Joplin. Somehow, we got lost (we have maps, GPS but no spouses to help us out). We ended up in Oklahoma and then back again in Missouri.

No one in Joplin would rent us a house for $40 so we ended us in your basic by-the-interstate hotel.

We would have told you this yesterday but we had no working computer.

luggage

We are not traveling with our spouses because they carry too much stuff.

Posted by Bill Thompson at 02:15 AM GMT
September 07, 2003 GMT
DAY 4

Day 4

Saturday, September 6, 2003

375 Miles

1377 Total Miles

Wellington, Kansas to Lamar, Colorado

Another day in paradise. We got the full Kansas. Miles and miles of never-ending straight-aways, strong winds coming off the plains and lots of agriculture. Our route took us through the southern part of the state. By sticking to secondary roads, we see a lot of small towns. And again, lots of agriculture.

kansas-nd
Is this Kansas or North Dakota?

You may not notice it while traveling in a car, but while on a motorcycle being downwind from a huge cattle feed lot is a not a good thing.

bo-field
Bo flees the feed lot smell

Kansas farms are incredibly big - a house every five miles or so with massive fields spreading out in every direction.

Our travels took us by Carrie Nation's home, the Dalton Gang hideout and onto the Santa Fe Trail.

santefe

The Dalton Gang Hideout Museum is in Meade, Kansas. Susan, who runs the museum, was glad to see us. She enthusiastically detailed the life and final days of the Dalton Gang. I think we were her only visitors of the day. She mentioned that Meade had lost a lot of population lately. We hear that in almost every small town we pass through.

bill-dalton
Susan loved telling Bill about the Dalton Gang

In Ulysses, Kansas, a fellow named Tim told us that water rights are the big issue on the Kansas/Colorado border. Tim lived in Clarksville, Tennessee, for eight years. He likes Kansas but misses Tennessee.

We celebrated our exit from Kansas with a soft drink at another convenience store. In many ways, our trip from Tennessee to Colorado has really been a c-store tour of Tennessee, Missouri and Kansas. We stop about every 90 minutes for gas or a pit stop. The coffee varies in quality quite a bit.

This is physically much harder than we imagined...plenty of sore muscles and newly discovered aches and pains. Ibuprofen resides in the tankbag now. We stayed in the Cow Palace Motel in Lamra Saturday night just because they had a hot tub. It was great this morning!

Day 5 will take us from Lamar to Pueblo, Colorado. It's only about 150 miles. We're tired and need a short day. It looks like another day in the rain.

By the way, the photo yesterday of the luggage was not a joke. That pile of luggage is really piled on our bikes every day and then shlepped cross-country.

Posted by Bill Thompson at 04:43 PM GMT
September 08, 2003 GMT
Day 5

Day 5

Lamar, Colorado to Pueblo, Colorado

128 Miles

1505 Total Miles

It was a late start today as the Cow Palace Inn was too comfortable to leave. Actually, we were beat and decided to make it an easy day.

We departed Lamar at 12:00 and drove a total of 128 miles. But they were good miles.

As we mentioned in our last post, rain was in the forecast. And for once, the weatherman was right. We've got the right gear so it was no big deal.

bikes-rain
Bill unpacking at the fort. Note the rain gear.

Once underway, we resettled into our on-the-road routine. Bill loves to navigate, so he takes the lead. Bo serves as wingman, which means he does little but enjoy the drive.

Shortly after leaving Lamar we saw a sign for Fort Bent, a reconstructed fort from the old west run by the National Park Service. We were spoiled by the Dalton Gang Museum but knew this would be a letdown. But we decided to make the detour anyway and check out the fort. To our great surprise, it was great. Apparently, it was a privately run fort that served as a trading center and, according to the guide, "the western version of a five-star resort." Complete with billiards table, casino, bar and restaurant, it may well have been the inspiration for today's Ritz-Carlton.

boys-fort
Room service is a bit slow here.

fort
If you want to know more, then click http://www.nps.gov/beol/home.htm

After Fort Bent, it was clearly time for food. La Junta, Colorado, boasts a genuine chinese restaurant on the court square. It was....ok. Road food has been a disappointment. You pretty mcuh have to take what you can get and pickins' has been slim at times.

bait
We've been saved by vending machines more than one time!

As we approached Peublo, CO we raced an incredibly ugly thunderstorm off ot our east that kept getting closer and closer. THe mood was tense. At the last minute the road turned west and led us away from the storm as the foothills of the Rockies began to appear on the horizon. It truly was an omen of good things to come. We offer thanks tonight and plan some type of sacrifice.

Back to the luggage picture: we have too much stuff. Tonight we decide what we each can live without and tomorrow we mail it home.

We're in the Wingate Inn tonight. Much to our pleasure, it has a broadband internet connection in each room. That makes the task of writing and posting this much easier.

Tomorrow, after a short trip to Mailboxes, Etc., we depart for Gunnison, Colorado. On the way we plan to take a detour over some fine scenic, twisty Colorado roads. After the Ozarks, the straight roads of KS have us longing for curves and dips again. Several weeks before we left we took a motorcycle racing/riding course at Road Atlanta. It was very challenging and helped both of us tremendously in terms of our riding skills. Motorcycling is a blast on the twisties. We are in a fabulous place for that.

Posted by Bill Thompson at 12:48 AM GMT
September 18, 2003 GMT
Day 15

Grand Junction, Colorado, to Moab, Utah

209 Miles

3393 total miles

Our prayers were answered.

At 8:55 am we arrived at AllSport Honda/ BMW and sought out service manager Bill Davis. He looked Bo's bike over for a minute and asked that it be driven into the service area.

29 minutes and $29.33 later Bo's bike was repaired and we were once again on the road. It turned out that the highway pegs on Bo's bike, which are connected to the cylinder head covers, caused a washer connected to a bolt to come loose and allow oil to leak out, At least that's what Bill Davis said. What could have been either a very time consuming or expensive disaster turned out to be no big deal.

jimdavis
Jim Davis at All Sports Honda/BMW in Grand Junction

We took Highway 50 out of Grand Junction and then turned onto Highway 141 to Naturita, Colorado. This was our first experience driving through canyons. The roads were extremely twisty. The winds were also extremely fierce. These were by far the strongest winds we have faced on this trip. It was often hard to enjoy the ride because we were concentrating so much on dealing with the wind.

delorescanyon.jpg

Stupendous Dolores Canyon

As usual in this part of the country, be went up and down several steep grades. The views were different, however, as we entered an area that was more red rock and craggy mountains than the heavily vegetated areas of previous days.

delorescanyon2
More of Dolores Canyon

A highlight of today's trip was a high altitude stop to view an old mining flume that was built in the 1800's. Stretching over 13 miles, the flume was built by workers who were literally suspended by ropes over a 500 foot drop-off. The flume, made of wood, was able to handle 2.4 million gallons of water a day. Parts of the flume remain on the mountainside.

While viewing the flume, we met Chuck, from California, who was on his way back home from an extended motorcycle tour. He offered helpful information about road conditions.

We drove through Bedrock, Utah, but only came within a mile of Paradox.
We reached Moab, Utah, mid-afternoon and decided to check out the Arches National Park. After Bill entered the park, Bo stopped at the gate to show his park pass. After doing so, he put his bike into gear and was immediately hit by a 30 mile per hour plus wind. The wind pushed the bike two feet toward the edge of the road and gave both riders reason to believe that the park would be best viewed on another day. We immediately returned to Moab, where shopping and dinner were our new agenda.

holenrock
Utah Kitsch

The fatigue of two demanding driving days hit us hard once we returned to Moab and checked into the motel. After securing gifts for the families, we had a quick dinner and an early evening.

billmoab
Bill outside Moab

The winds are expected to be just as strong tomorrow, so we might rent a jeep and tour both the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands National Park.

Posted by Bill Thompson at 03:05 PM GMT
 



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