A motorcycle tour of Colorado – Day 7

For day 7 of our motorcycle tour of Colorado we were joined by Craig who was from New York and he asked if he could join us for that particular day and the three of us had a blast!

From the start we had great motorcycling roads, the first being the ride from Aspen over Independence Pass – it was beautiful with the road climbing to 12,000 ft.  We had a photo stop at the top of the pass and were joined by some others from the tour group and an inpromptu press up session was undertaken to see who could hack it at that altitude and on the Continental divide at that……  Independence Pass

 

 

 

 

The three of us set off after the headrush of exercise! and headed towards Buena Vista which certainly lives upto its name.  We rode through stunning scenery before joining some 65 miles of tarmac which were made for motorcyclists.  Our climb over Monarch Pass was just awesome, huge open sweepies and very little traffic.  After the ascent to just over 11,000 ft we started to drop into valleys and vast open plains wth remote ranches dotted on the horizon.

We arrived in Gunnison in time for lunch where we were able to sit outside enjoying a “pulled pork” hot sandwich with barbeque sauce – delicious!  This set us up for an amazing stretch of road – 100 miles of open roads, mountains and canyons along The Silver Thread highway which followed the Rio Grande.

Mid afternoon we pulled into the town of Creede for a refreshing drink of lemonade at Kips Grill.  Creede used to be known as the roughest mining town in Colorado!!  fortunately for us times have changed and we had a great welcome.

We left Creede to head for Pagosa Springs and more fantastic motorcycling roads through Wolf Creek, arriving at our hotel late afternoon to be welcomed by the aroma from the hot sulphur springs which were at our resort.  Just what you need after a day on the motorbike – a hot soak before dinner!  Pagosa Springs

“Millionaire” motorcycling……..

We’ve entitled this blog as “millionaire” motorcycling purely for the fact that when we went for a ride out around North Wales on Tuesday of this week that was how it felt!!

The day started with brilliant blue skies and we never saw a cloud all day long.  It was cold but with the sun on your backs all day (and heated grips!!!), it didn’t matter a jot.  We rode to the Ponderosa cafe on the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen and were amazed to be the only motorbikesPonderosa 19-2-2013 in the car park…. usually that place is rammed with motorcyclists making the most of not only fantastic views but also a very hearty breakfast  :-)

We continued along the A5 towards the Snowdonia National Park and encountered virtually no traffic, it was perfect for motorcycling A5 19-2-2013in this beautiful part of the world.  As we approached Llyn Ogwen a RAF fighter jet flew alongside us and down the valley turning on its side as it banked over between the mountains and down the pass towards Anglesey – we felt as though we were extras in the file “Top Gun” for a few seconds!!!!

Llyn Ogwen itself was like an “infinity pool” – as calm as is possible as you can see from the attached photoLlyn Ogwen 10 19-2-2013T.

We rode on from here towards Anglesey and over the Menai Bridge and after a welcome cuppa from a friend at the Bulkeley Arms we headed back along the Welsh coastline through Colwyn Bay and Abergele.

Certainly a very memorable day of motorcycling around North Wales and one to whet the appetite for the coming year.

Mid Feb motorcycle ride out

We’d had a few days away in Northumberland checking out some of the great motorcycling roads in that area ahead of our tour there at the end of May.  Due to the weather we had gone in the car which was no bad thing given the amount of snow which fell on the Wednesday!  We had the experience of being behind a double decker bus on the outskirts of Rothbury with a steep ascent in front of us……. yes! you’ve guessed it the bus got stuck half way up and as it started to reverse to try and get traction it started to slide – we soon had our car in reverse and got well out of the way!!   Luckily all was well and eventually the bus (and us) made it to the top – thank goodness we were not on our motorbikes that day…..

We returned home to the promise of a decent day on Saturday and so we rolled the motorbikes out of the garage with blue skies and temps of around 6 degrees.  Mind you by the time we’d changed into our gear etc., the cloud was coming in and temps were down to 3!!!!  Thank goodness for motorcycle heated grips…..

We had a great ride through Shropshire and over to the Village Coffee stop which has newly opened on the A49 then onto Craven Arms before heading towards Bridgnorth when the sun came out and temps started to rise again.  We met up with some friends at the biker cafe at Quatford and as you can see Quatford there were plenty of motorbikes out taking advantage of the “warmer” winter weather.   It’s a great place to stop off for a coffee and they do great chips too!!

We had a terrific ride back through Eccleshall and although it made riding a little difficult at times, it was good to have the low winter sun with us.  As with any motorcycling at this time of year the only draw back is the mud which tends to give your bikes a good coating!! So on our return home bike washing had to commence!!!    A great day of winter motorcycling, bring on the warmer weather and lighter evenings…….Jan bike washing

A motorcycle tour of Colorado – Day 6

Great to have met the rest of the group last night who will be on this 12 day motorcycle tour of Colorado, Utah and Arizona.  The tour has been organised by a great guy called Frank who we met in 2008 on a tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.  Frank runs FCMotoTours – well worth taking a look at if you happen to be over in America and looking for some great motorcycling roads to ride.

Even though we were with an organised tour group we were free to ride at our own pace and used the planned routes which Frank had provided to us.  Quite a few were out on the open roads as early as 7.30am – not us!!  We left around an hour later but that still gave us plenty of time to take in all of the 280 miles we had to look forward to that day.

We left Grand Junction to ride over the Grand Mesa – it is the largest flat top mountain in the world and from the valley approach it just appears as a solid barren rock rising high above you, very striking.  But as with so many things – looks can be deceiving and as we rode the 50 or so miles across this mountain top we were able to experience a very lush green landscape with huge sweeping roads and spectacular views.

Wonderful motorcycling roads atop the Grand Mesa

Wonderful motorcycling roads atop the Grand Mesa

We dropped into Delta and fuelled up where Geraint got talking to a couple of police officers, one on his Kawasaki Concours (as they are known in America) –  American State Patrol officerGTR1400 being the more familiar reference in the UK for this motorbike.

Having compared notes on riding police motorbikes in America and the UK, we got back onto the road and picked up the West Elk Loop before riding the North Rim of the Black Canyon – another great road although a “warning” for motorcyclists!!! ….. Chipmunks :-D  they seem to have something of a deathwish and would run across the road right in front of you, interesting to say the least!

We had a fab picnic that day overlooking Morrow Point Lake and even had a couple of cheeky little chipmunks join us trying to pinch some of our lunch!  The temperatures started to rise and so after a great ride down to Paonia we had a fab ice cream to cool us down and prepare us for riding over the McClure Pass towards Carbondale and finally onto our hotel for the evening in Aspen.  Most of the group were there having a cooling beer and after a quick shower and change we joined them as we all went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner – good food and company.

Another fab day of motorcycle touring :-)

 

A short motorbike ride out Feb 2013

January always seems to be a long winter month after the festivities of Christmas and New Year doesn’t it?  Add to that the snow and storms we have had in the UK over the month of January and it certainly dragged for us motorcyclists!

We were lucky to have a weekend away on the bikes 5th & 6th Jan which we wrote about a few “blogs” ago, and we were eager to get out again on the motorbikes the first chance we got and Saturday 2nd Feb did not disappoint!  Brilliant blue skies greeted us as we opened the curtains and after a hearty “bikers” breakfast…… we got the bikes out and went out around the local area to us crossing into the Shropshire borders and through Whitchurch and Wem.  ride out Feb 2nd  Geraint was trying out the new “Grip Puppies” on the VFR which were supplied by Mike of Sportouring.  They are comfort grips which go over any standard motorcycle handlebar and Geraint was very impressed with them.  Although the VFR is not prone to a lot vibration through the bars he did notice a difference using the grip covers and also his hands felt much warmer using them.  If you’d like more details either drop us a line to info@dragonmototours.co.uk or click on the link above and mention us to Mike.

With the bright blue skies at this time of year the temperature inevitably remained low and never rose above 3° !! so riding over to Lynn’s Raven Cafe at Prees Heath on the A49 was next on our route – a great place to stop off for a warming cuppa at this time of year.  As you can see from the photo ride out Feb 2013 there were several other motorcyclists out enjoying the winter sun as well.

Roll on the rest of the motorcycle touring season, we are certainly looking forward to our ride outs.

 

 

 

Motorcycle Touring – Colorado Day 5

This was the day we would be joining up with 20+ others for the organised part of our motorcycle tour which would take us through other parts of Colorado, into Utah and Arizona for the following 12 days.

We woke to some rain but it didn’t last and certainly did not hamper our day.  We picked up the interstate for around 40 miles and what a fantastic section of road it was…… The Interstate went through the White River National forest and flowed through rocks and cliffs with the Colorado river and the railway running parallel.  It was a joy to ride through this canyon and was probably one of the best sections of motorway we have ridden on to date.  (Drop us a line to info@dragonmototours.co.uk to let us know which you think are excellent stretches of motorway).

Our destination for this day was Grand Junction with our route taking us over the McClure Pass which rises to over 9,000 ft.  It’s a pretty route offering tiny places to stop at such as Redstone where we had coffee from the general storeCoffee at Redstone – we also had some of our cinnamon bun purchased from the Brass Ass Saloon in Leadville on day 4 :-) whilst we sat by the riverside admiring the red rockstone appearing through the pine trees.

We continued our ride over McClure Pass and onto Delta and towards Grand Junction, but on the outskirts of the city we turned off the main highway and went into the Colorado National Monument park whch is 23 miles of truly jaw dropping canyons and rock formations.  To us it was like riding the rim of the Grand Canyon only everything was closer somehow!  The rock colour was red with fantastic wind sculpturing on the rocks.

The National Monument itself is a rock pillar formation which has the American flag flying on top of it – a climbers paradise apparently but quite how they get to the top we are not sure!  Colorado National Monument park

It was a fabulous section of road to motorcycle on, very little traffic and so much to see – well worth the $10 entrance fee.  We would have spent longer in the park had it not been for the thunderstorm gathering around us and we were extremely lucky to pull the bikes up infront of our hotel for the night just as the first clap of thunder came in!  Timing when riding a motorbike is everything!!!!

Got to meet the rest of the tour group over dinner and really looking forward to the next 12 days.