Sunday, July 4, 2010
Cross Country Trip, Part 3
As I rolled into colorado, I was getting pretty stoked. The landscape was finally changing drastically & I knew shit would get real rad in a hurry. I was jamming along rt 50 at this point & it was a blast. I saw the rocky mountains on the horizon for most of the morning but before I knew it, I was climbing up through them. I stopped to check out the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world thanks to mike47s recommendation. What an insane time that was. It was super windy & the bridge which is just wooden planks like the boardwalk at the jersey shore, was twisting & pitching all over the place! The people walking across were holding onto the railings because it was moving around so much. Obviously riding a fully loaded bike across was pretty damn strange as well but thankfully I made it across without any trouble. Its amazing how long the bridge has been there & how much it moves. After that I went through some more amazing landscape & killer twisty roads.
I ended up crossing the continental divide at monarch pass - at over 11k feet elevation, I was higher than I've ever been on a bike for sure. Since my bike is carbureted and tuned for sea level NJ, she was workin a bit harder up high since the air is so thin. Still ran pretty strong, so I wasnt about to lean out the carbs, because I knew I'd just be heading back down soon anyway. At this point, the scenery was really blowing my mind. I had never seen so many mountain peaks from one place. I took the ride up to the summit & they had a lookout tower up there. Damn it was windy & cold! There was snow on the mountain tops all around. What an amazing spot though. I still couldnt get my mind around the fact that I had gotten myself to that point, riding my bike from my house. Sometimes I relate going for a cycle ride to when I was a kid & went exploring on my bicycle. Just jumping on & trying to find a place that I had never been, especially when that place turned out to be awesome. Well throughout my many years exploring on two wheels, this trip was really turning up the most amazing spots for sure.
I was the last guy to ride up so the dude operating the lift rode down with me. He saw my gear & started talking bikes. The guy was an ex flat tracker from the 70s. Raced for HD. He said once the Kawi two stroke triples came out - he had to have one. He said one night he took a chick out for a ride, flat out at night - going 130 down a dark road and the headlight went out. It was pitch black & couldnt see shit. The chick freaked out & gripped him hard which made the bike tank slap & he thought they were going to die. Somehow he kept it from going down & got the bike stopped. He was too freaked out by super fast bikes so he sold the kawi to his good friend. He just wanted to ride trail bikes then. So the friend with the Kawi ended up killing himself on it & this guy seemed to still carry a lot of guilt & sorrow over it. This happened in the mid 70s so thats a lot of years to have that weighing heavy on you. Felt bad for the dude but hell, people die on bikes all the time, its no ones fault but the rider or the driver who crashed into him, maybe a big animal here or there too I suppose.
I came down from monarch pass & the riding was just epic. I cruised up through the canyons & vallies, cresting mountains left & right only to see more & more mind blowing views. The sun was about to set so I found a sweet campground on the bank of this huge beautfiful lake at the Curecanti National Recreation area. There wasnt a cloud in the sky so I left the rain fly off my tent. Without the cover on, my tent is nearly all mesh so its pretty awesome for stargazing. There was a sweet warm breeze so I laid down just as the sun ducked down behind the mountains to the west of me & passed right out. I ended up waking up in the middle of the night, maybe 12 or 1 - thankfully because I got to see the most amazing star filled sky Ive ever seen in my 31 years of life. The sun had gone down & there was no moon and not one single cloud anywhere. Holy shit is outer space amazing when you can actually see it. We dont have skies like that here in NJ. I climbed out of my tent & just hung out on my knees in the dirt, staring into the sky. It was dead silent. I actually felt like I was floating in space because there was just so many stars to take in. I saw a shooting star every few seconds. No planes, or cars or any of the bullshit we have out here. I tried to go back to sleep for a while but was just blown away by the sky. I finally did get to sleep & froze my ass off a bit. I piled my leather jacket & some of my other gear on top of my sleeping bag & warmed up. I woke up to the sun rising up over the lake. Time to reload the bike & roll on. (to be continued...)
Check the link in Part 1 for all the photos.
Posted by Zito at 11:12 AM