Friday, 9 August 2013

209 Into Colorado

Sunday 4th August
Miles Today 0   Total 16,265

We woke this morning to find out that the rain we had just missed last night whilst getting here, had in fact been a really serious storm, and 7 tornadoes had touched down in the area around Denver.  We made the decision to hibernate for the next two nights, so mileage was minimal.  We slept, a lot and just relaxed.

Tuesday 6th August
Miles today  36  Total 16,301

We were back on track today and headed on into Denver.

Over view of central Denver

Walking through into Downtown Denver. It was a very pretty city center.

We did a bit of sight seeing, and a bit of shopping, replacing kit that has actually become too cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear.  Mission accomplished, and we arranged to meet up with a friend of Ray's, (from his motor cycle site) a Colorado Police Officer called Joe.  After a few "keep missing you" phone calls, we headed out to meet him at his house.
We arrived and were made to feel very welcome, and had  great chats on how to put the world to rights and finding out a bit about each other, before going out for an evening meal, where the conversation was rudely interrupted by a quiz night, but we still coped.

Ray, Valentino (chillin !) and Joe.

Joe has been through an awful lot health wise, after an injury at work, which left him in a wheel chair, and being told he would probably be there for life. You can see on meeting him, that his attitude to life, has got him through that, and the support of his wife, who unfortunately we were not able to meet.   He is a most relaxed,  yet quietly determined man, with a zest for life, and motor cycles.  Another great evening, and the generosity again in putting us up for the night.  Thank You Joe.

Wednesday 7th August
Miles Today  154  Total 16,455

Joe had to go to work this morning, but kindly went in a wee bit later, waking us at about 5.15am.  It was a bit of a shock to our happily retired bodies.  However it was lovely getting the chance to talk a bit more, before Joe gave us some new routes which would take us to our next destination, but just make it a bit more interesting.
This is 0630..and we are can see why Joe is holding me up.

Sadly our time was up, but we followed him down the road, before we peeled off to get petrol.  We were heading to Colorado Springs, via Joe's  suggested routes.  Again, lovely scenery and we ended up going into "The Garden of the Gods".

Wallace in the Garden of the Gods.

Girls from the USA Para Olympic team. The tandems have a blind rider on the back.
It is a large piece of land, that has many rock formations.  It was originally owned by one man, who allowed visitors to come on his land in the early 1900's, as they couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  On his passing, his children gave it to Colorado as a park, on the condition that it remain so, for everyone to continue to enjoy.  We passed the USA  Para Olympic Cycle Team training there.
piccy of cyclists

From there we headed down into Colorado Springs and saw a sign advertising "Ghost Town" Wild West Museum, so we checked it out.  It was quite entertaining and passed an hour.  I even got my fortune told.  Apparently I am going to meet a tall dark stranger and come into money.  You'd better shape up Ray........
An old Smithy shop.

Karen being told that I am tall, dark, handsome and rich. They lie, these things.

Off to meet her tall, dark  etc....blah...blah ...blah

The reality of life. The drunk leaving the saloon. She's a lucky girl.

We again had a series of phone calls missing each other from another contact on Ray's motor cycle site, a guy called Jim Rowley. Again we were trying to meet up with him and his wife.  Circumstances took over and Ray and I decided to get a motel room and then go to the pictures.  We found one called "the Best Inn", unfortunately we didn't check the room before accepting it, and I should have known better when the woman at the reception raced off to the room we'd been given before I got there.  She was exiting our room as I arrived, with a can of spray and a duster in her hand, a big smile on her face and a greeting of, "your room's good".  Yeah, if you are a bottom feeder.  It stank of cigarette smoke, for a non smoking room, the bedspreads were manky, (dirty), and anything that should have worked didn't.  We had no one to blame, but ourselves, so we decided to stay out of it for as long as possible.  We went to the pictures and watched World War Z in the Imax cinema, sitting looking great in our 3d glasses.  The phone rang whilst we were in there and it was Jim, and we finally arranged a meeting in a Vietnamese restaurant close by.
Jim and his wife Lisa have just lost everything in a wildfire in The Black Forest area of Colorado and are living in a caravan until their house can be rebuilt.  They did manage to save a few bits, but lost over 30 years of personal belongings from their marriage and children's lives.  Tragic.  Apparently 480  homes were destroyed.

Karen, Ray, Jim and Lisa. They are putting a brave face on their problems.

They were with friends, Gwen and Ray and we enjoyed meeting up with them and putting faces to names, from the blog.  Jim did manage to save his bikes.  Another lovely couple. 
We returned to our flea pit, and strangely enough, we did manage to sleep.

Thursday 8th August
Miles Today 165     Total 16,620

We were up and ready to get out of the motel, pretty sharpish.  When we went to give the key back, the woman was smiling from ear to ear, but we soon managed to wipe that off of her face when we told her what we thought of her Best Inn and Ray recorded all the details from her license..  We left feeling a bit better.
We are on route to Aspen and again there was some lovely scenery.  However on just getting to the outskirts of town, we got caught up in a hailstone storm.  It was banging off our helmets and stinging our legs so we hid in a garage until it passed.  One of the locals said they were only small stones, they felt big enough though.

The hail was kinda impressive.

We stopped in a little place called Buena Vista for coffee, and managed to avoid most of the rain as we went over Independence Pass and down into Aspen.

Neasrly at the top of Independence Pass.

A view over the pass.

What are you doing back there ?.... None of your business !

This video of part of the ride down Independence Pass toward Aspen has been speeded up so do not send out search parties for kidnapped Smurfs.

We are in the Annabelle Inn, and it is lovely, though more expensive baring in mind that this is a Ski resort.  We are awaiting delivery of the parts for the bike that finally arrived in Salt Lake City, they forwarded them on, and also two new tyres.  We have managed to get 16 thousand miles out of the front tyre and about 8 and a half thousand, so far, on the rear.  We were too late to collect them tonight, so that's tomorrows chores.

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