Rockies Gold & Beyond 2015
(Goldwing Road Trip)


Road Trip Background …


My big Road Trip west on the Wing this year will once again include many of my fellow Goldwing Riders and friends. Had such a great experience and time last year riding with this group we decided to do it again. Here are the Riders that I will be sharing the road with this time around … Paul joins the group for the first time this year officially making us the Fab 5 …

Monk - Bob (Arkansas)
5thgear - Craig (The Virginia)
Onan - Gene (Missouri)
Paulb269 - Paul (Indiana)

We will all be meeting up on September 6th at Bob's place in Morrilton, Arkansas and will mount up and roll west on Sept 7th. We should arrive in Montrose, Colorado on Sept 9th and stay in that area attending Rockies Gold Ride In and exploring roads around there through Sept 13th. Sept 14th we tackle the "Beyond" part of the road trip by heading west through Utah, California and parts of Oregon before turning towards home. Here's my SPOT tracker below if you want to see our route and the roads we ride.

SPOT Tracker Link Click HERE

Want to know and see what it's like out there on the open road? You're invited to follow along with me on our adventure by scrolling down this page as I will post nightly my thoughts and photos here. These will be words of mine … voices in time.

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Friday - Sept 4' 2015

~~Donnie's Recipe for Adventure~~


Ingredients

the air
the cycle
the moment
the road and me.

Directions

Mix gently together then stir quickly while adding increasing throttle over a curvy road until sunset


If ever a more simpler formula existed for a highly combustible exciting adventure to occur I have not found it in all of my 64 years. The correct mixture and preparation of the above ingredients happens rather simply if we just let it. I did. I traded away my ordinary tomorrows for a few extraordinary ones instead and by doing so I found myself on the road heading west out of Dover, Tennessee this morning on a day of long great anticipation. My Rockies Gold 2015 & Beyond Road Trip was finally underway. We have ignition.
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Time to blast off …

I was so happy to be back on the Wing riding again the day could have been heavy rain with severe thundershowers with lighting all around and I wouldn’t have even noticed. Instead it was sunny, beautiful and smoking hot but I was riding again and that was all that mattered.
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Kentucky Lake, Tennessee near Pairs Landing

I was grinning from ear to ear as I sauntered down the highway for the first time in a long time. I was actually going somewhere for a change this time down the open road away from familiar surroundings and into the unknown. The road was going to lead me to somewhere else that was going to lead me to somewhere else …. and on and on it goes as the adventure is lived. Excellent Roads, Good friends and Good Times lie ahead.

With the bike sporting new shoes front and back, plugs, oil/filter, washed and waxed I was a sparkling beacon of motorcycle engineering and cleanliness as I rolled down the road. We all know how short lived that clean bike feeling will last but at least for this moment in time it was so and I could fully appreciate it.

The Wing hummmmms along effortlessly and I’m feeling pretty good and just a little bit proud of the fact that no parts have fallen off the bike yet as my maintenance skills always come into question when I do some of my own work prior to a road trip. I have improved some on this second Goldwing which is just beginning to break in now after 2 years at 50K. By the time I get home from this run it could be pushing towards 60K.

I made my way over to Morrilton, Arkansas without to much fanfare and found Bob’s house by mid afternoon. This is our rendezvous point for Sunday night with the rest of the gang arriving then. I was getting an early start figuring Bob and I could wait out the weekend together waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive.

Time to pause over this Labor Day weekend and just reflect and savor the moment and what is to come. I will pick back up my journal on Monday the 7th when we all head west from here.

Resting tonight in Morrilton, Arkansas

Monday - Sept 7' 2015

Gang's all here!!! arriving Sunday afternoon. After a steak dinner Sunday night it was pretty clear we are an excited bunch of old guys ready to roll west. As per normal I was so excited I was unable to sleep very well. In fact, with what little sleep I got I think I actually dreamed about not being able to sleep right before a big road trip. Yeah … that makes sense.
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Morning shot just before KSU (Kick Stands Up) at 7:00 a.m.
Left to right … Paul, Craig, Gene and Bob … hummmm seems we have a bike with no rider … I'll take that one.

Roll we did at 7:00 a.m. with a full day of Interstate with temps predicted to reach 98 degrees along our route. Destination for this first leg of the journey is Amarillo, Texas. We figured to knock out the most boring part of this journey quickly via interstate to get us within striking distance of New Mexico and Colorado tomorrow.

Eighties at eight … in other words …. it was already 80 degrees by 8:00 a.m. in the morning. It was clear from the start we had some serious heat to deal with during today's ride across the vast flat nether lands of Oklahoma and Texas. As a motorcyclists I've often wonder if we should just lobby to cut out the middle section of the USA that is as flat as a pancake and rejoin the other two parts together. Since we can't do that we opted for the next best choice. Put one of the guys with a radar detector up front to lead and throttle through it as quickly as we could.

Unfortunately, the forecast was wrong for the predicted temps along the route today. Let's bump that up to …
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Yuck … This was around 2:00 p.m. Bob said he even saw 103 degrees at one point. I hate to think what the heat index was. We all tried our best to stay hydrated as much as possible. We all carried extra water in the form of a camelback or some other container that we could sip on steadily all day. We supplemented that with more frequent and slightly longer stops to cool down occasionally. Nevertheless …. it was a smoking hot ride. One of the hottest Bob and I can ever remember when coming along this route.

Gene and Craig experience some drama around mid afternoon with a semi truck blowing a tire very close to both of them. They were bringing up the rear of our group. Craig had just barely passed the truck in question and Gene was coming up next to do so when one of the tire exploded and spewed tire pieces across the lane in front of Gene. Fortunately, he was just far enough back to not get hit but had to brake and maneuver through the maze of rubber strewed out over the road. The truck made it to the side of the road and Gene made it through ok but said the explosion from the tire was extremely loud and there was no prior warning what so ever. Scary stuff right there as I know all of us fear such an event while riding a motorcycle near a large semi-truck. Best practice is not to loiter around large semi-trucks ever. When you got to get around one make short order of it and throttle around it quickly. Even that's no guarantee you still won't be in the wrong place at the wrong time when one goes but I believe it will increase your chances of possibly avoiding an event like this.

We rolled by some familiar landmarks in Groom, Texas that I'm sure you've seen if you have traversed this way.
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Yes the old Water Tower is still there and still leaning like it's going to fall at any second.
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Giant Cross - 19 Stories high

We rolled into Amarillo, Texas around 5:30 p.m. and checked into our motel. This was one day we were all very glad to get behind us. Tomorrow holds out much better hope for some twisties on the way through New Mexico and into Pagosa Springs tomorrow night.

Resting tonight in Amarillo, Texas

Tuesday - Sept 8' 2015

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Sunrise over Amarillo, Texas from the rear of the Wing as we put this stop behind us and looked forward to a much cooler day today and one with some twisties and real scenery mixed in. We deserve it after riding through that oppressive heat yesterday.

As we made out way over to Tucumcari, New Mexico we stop at Russell Truck and Travel Center just pass the state line and saw that they had this on display in the place.
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First year 1975 Goldwing 1000cc …. This picture should put to bed the discussion on the forum that the Goldwing never changes from year to year. I can see some slight changes … granted they took 40 years :-)

It was Tucumcari, New Mexico that we were FINALLY able to get off the cursed Interstate system. Plan was to angle our way northwest through Santa Fe and Carson National Forrest by starting up Highway 104. It was a welcomed change of road, scenery and the most blessed of mild cool temperatures. Bob was sure breathing a sign of relief as he's not fond of the heat. As far as rain … yeah it was around here and there but we only got spit on a couple of time throughout the day and that was it.

Once we got on Highway 518 pass the little town of Mora we were just about to open things up to enjoy the twisties at full throttle when a cage (newer model white Chevy Malibu) put in a sudden appearance and issued a challenge. I was leading the group today and just after we got out of town and the speed limit bumped up all of a sudden this guy comes barreling around our entire group going like a bat out of hell and passed us all on the straightaway just prior to the start of the twisties. It was so quick I didn't even see him coming up and since I wasn't on the CB the guys in the rear couldn't warn me. As he roared by me I got the message loud and clear …. he wanted to play. I obliged and cranked on the throttle in hot pursuit with the rest of the guys right with me. As we entered the twisties I was right on his tail … my first message to him was … no way is a cage going to leave me in the twisties. I stayed there awhile in his rear view mirror for the message to sink in before passing him a few miles later when the opportunity presented it self in a short straight section. The guys followed my lead and soon he was a distant memory. At our next stop we all surmised he must have confused our little group of Goldwings with a bunch of Hog riders that he probably didn't want to get behind in the twisties. We all know what's that's like to get around. Anyway we all had a great belly laugh. I think he will think twice before doing that again if he sees another Goldwing on the road ahead of him. That was great great fun … and kinda satisfying.

Much improved scenery today … check it out …
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Gotta love this part of the country … we are so blessed to live in the USA!

We grabbed lunch and continue on and then there was a different kind of excitement around mid-afternoon further up the road on some twisties on Highway 64. As we were chewing up the curves up ahead there was a vehicle pulling a camper with two axles and I tapped my brakes to let the wingers behind me know we had another slow mover to pass. Well, just as I came up behind him to pass there was a slow turn to the right and all of a sudden I see this tire rolling at high speed down the road next to the camper by itself. Off it goes over the rail and shoulder and bounds into the woods a considerable distance bouncing along rather nicely. It had come off apparently from loose lug-nuts I guess. Paul pulled up next to the guy and motioned for him to stop and we all pulled along side and informed the driver he was missing a tire on his camper. He had no idea he had lost a tire. We tried to explain where it happen but it was difficult so Paul told him to hop on the back of his Wing and he rode the guy back up the road where we last saw the tire while the rest of us waited at a pull out down the road. Paul later join us and we continue on having done all we could for the guy. He had a spare but I'm doubting he'll find the tire even with knowing where it left the road because that tire disappeared into the woods and showed no signs of slowing up. Heck, it still might be rolling. I hate to think what might have happen if fate didn't put us in the right place at the right time to be of assistance.

Our Good deed for the day done we motored on in to Pagosa Springs.

Resting tonight in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Wednesday - Sept 9' 2015

A brisk 48 degrees greeted us this morning as we readied our bikes for departure for the last leg into Montrose, Colorado. Quite a departure from the heat of just a couple days ago. One that would require our cold weather heated gear, especially since we would be traversing several mountain passes at elevation where the temps would drop even lower. We had decided to alter our route to Montrose some because of the closure of Highway 550 (Million Dollar Highway) near Ouray during the weekdays. We figured we would save that run until the weekend since that road would be open at that point. We headed east on Highway 160 and then shot up Highway 149 as temps slowly warmed.
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Highway 149 …. Spacing looking good … don't try this at home … you have to get out here :-) Blue skies, no rain, mild temps …doesn't get much better than this … oh wait there's tomorrow, and the next, and the next …. too much fun.
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North Clear Creek Falls …. a very beautiful Waterfalls … I did good on this picture don't ya think? It's located just off Hwy 149 between Creede and Lake City near the summit of Spring Creek Pass.

We trekked on up to where Hwy 149 meets Hwy 50 and then jogged back east to Gunnison to grab some gas and lunch.
We then moved back west towards Montrose passing some great scenery around Blue Mesa Reservoir …
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Picture Perfect.
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Next stop since it was still early and we had the time … Took Hwy 347 off of Hwy 50 into The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument. This was a steep decent down to the river … 16% grade but the reward was this …
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Riding along the river.

Climbing out of that hole was tough on the Wings moving so slowly with not much air flow to the engines for an extended time. Our temp gauges actually moved up to the 3/4 mark until we had climbed all the way out and got our speed back up. Bad news is that Gene's Wing seems to have developed a coolant problem as he smelled coolant once back on top. After checking it out at the motel later Paul and Gene added some coolant but we'll have to monitor it closely during tomorrow's ride as apparently he is leaking coolant from some where and the pressure of this climb seems to have caused a leak somewhere.

Some more shots from the Visitors center before we headed to the motel.
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Rolling back out to Hwy 50 we proceeded on into Montrose, Colorado which will be our home base for the next several days.
Awesome ride today with no drama for a change of pace …. Just good clean fun riding and soaking up the beauty.

Resting tonight in Montrose, Colorado

Thursday - Sept 10' 2015

For our first full day of riding out of Montrose we had a great route planned back towards the north along Hwy 92 and 65 including routes through the Grand Mesa National Forrest in the morning and Colorado National Monument in the afternoon. Temps were cool but not as bad as the day before and it warmed up fairly quickly. Our first break was at Pioneer point overlook just after getting on Highway 92.
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Pioneer Point overlook on Hwy 92 overlooking the Morrow Point Reservoir

Craig and Gene decided to ride with another group today and we picked up Russ from Indiana and Clair from Pennsylvania.
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Left to right - Paul, Bob and our new riding partners Clair & Russ

By late morning we were up on Hwy 65 heading towards Mesa.
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45 MPH …. Really???

What a great stretch of road once the curves kicked in. It contained two of my most favorite atttibutes …
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# 1 … Lots of curves
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# 2 … breathing taking scenery

Speaking of breath taking scenery … check these out from our run through the Colorado National Monument after lunch in the afternoon …
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Very nice drive along Monument Drive

Back down Hwy 50 to Montrose and day one in the books. As we pulled into the parking lot more and more wings and riders were beginning to show up.

Resting

Click here for next day —> Friday - Sept 11' 2015