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Thread: Another Gillette Thread

  1. #1
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Another Gillette Thread

    So now that I've been home for over a week, I guess I should finally catch up in the fora and post my report.

    The first day was a long savage burn across TexSux. Not much remarkable during this long dull hot ride, except for a stop at Cadillac Ranch.



    But once into New Mexico things get more interesting. On Capulin Volcano with Sierra Grande in the background:



    Between Capulin and Folsom. Thank goodness they fled when I moved forward:



    The first night's stop was in Trinidad CO, a nice tidy 600-mile ride from home. I wish I could remember who here suggested Trinidad Lake State Park- I stayed there and it was the nicest state park I've ever seen, and WORLDS better than any SP in TexSux I've visited!
    Got a nice camping-spot with the tent secluded up in the trees from the parking:





    The town of Trinidad itself is rather charming, and definitely has a gentrified quality in many parts. It's tiny, but it is obvious that classy people with money are moving there.
    My search for food led me to the East Pike Pub, where El Cupacabra got to hang out with a rat/6:



    The place is run by two young brothers who grew up less than a mile from where I currently live! How's that for a small world? Then again, I understand that 3/4 of the people in Colorado used to live in TexSux.
    Anyway, East Pike Pub is worth a visit- good selection of microbrews and their food ranges from yummy burgers to tapas to Indian. It was this good:



    Day two coming up...
    Last edited by The_Veg; 07-29-2008 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Cuz I cat'n splel
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  2. #2
    Rally Rat Sue's Avatar
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    don't stop now!
    Sue Rihn #43753
    BMW MOA Ambassador
    Sometimes it's the bend in the road that makes life worth the ride.

  3. #3
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Day two- Colorado

    Slept beautifully at the state park and broke camp much more quickly than I thought I would, then headed to a cafe I'd spotted which looked promising for breakfast.

    The regulars at Bob & Earl's Cafe:



    Had a tasty omlette then aimed west on CO 12, a nice loop between Trinidad and Walsenburg with lots of great scenery.

    Some stuff along the way:





    12 Passes some really gorgeous lakes.

    Monument Lake:



    North Lake:



    The road goes over Cucharas Pass, and from there you can take a dirt road up to over 11000' at Cordova Pass.







    You GSers need not get too excited though, as the road is well-packed and easy- even a Corvette could make it through up there.

    Back on pavement, from Cucharas Pass down to Le Veta is such a nice twisty run that I had no choice but to turn around at the bottom and take it uphill. It was one of those GREAT roads where you can leave it in third, stay on the power and tear your way through the turns as you climb. YEEEHAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!





    Saw this along the way and I'm still wondering what the hell it was about:



    Found a really interesting used-car lot in Walsenburg. A Small town in CO is the last place I expect to be able to choose between a pair of Lotii,



    and old Studebaker,



    and a highly modified Datsun 1200 truck!



    They also had a robins-egg blue MGB.

    Nothing remarkable for the next 150 miles...just a long hot drag of I-25 up to Denver, where I spent three nights at my best friend's place.
    Shortly after arriving, I had the very great honour of giving my best friend's daughter her very first motorcycle ride! My best friend and I unhesitatingly think of each other as brothers, so that makes this kid family in my book so it was all the sweeter to be so trusted with such an important mission. He borrowed a helmet from a friend of a friend and luckily it fit her. Off we went. My friend lives in downtown Denver, of which I know nothing. We mostly just stayed on one street for a while, then cut off through some prettier neighbourhoods NE of Capitol Hill. The kid was an EXCELLENT passenger! She was very quiet at times, and amusing at other times- like when she told me that we couldn't turn onto one street because her other uncle's evil domineering girlfriend lived there! I assured her that we couldn't turn there anyway because it was a one-way street.

    Of course we had to stop for a picture or two:





    Looks like she's almost big enough to reach all the controls! Might be a GS in her future. She did say before the ride that she wants a motorcycle someday, and when I asked her afterward if she still wanted one, she smiled and did not hesitate to say yes.

    More to come...
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  4. #4
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Days Three and Four: More Colorado!

    So I had two days in Denver. My best friend is still dreaming of getting a bike 'someday,' so he didn't take those days off. While he was at the office, I was out playing in the countryside.

    The first of those two days I made the kind of dumbass move that is typical for me...I left my camera at my friend's place. As I am fond of saying, it just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!

    So, with only my phone's camera to document the adventure, I headed for Pike's Peak. By the time I got to the turnoff for Pike's Peak Highway, it was starting to rain a little. I saw two other GS's under a shade and pulled in to say hi and see if they knew the conditions up top. The guys turned out to be brothers, one living in Michigan and the other in California. Great talking to them, and they assured me that the road up the mountain was not too muddy (I've got mostly-street tires on my GS). We wished each other safe travels and I headed for the toll-booth.
    The ride up was GREAT. I'd been there before in my car, and since then I'd wanted to do it on the bike. The experience on two wheels DEFINITELY lived up to the expectation! For those who don't know, the Pike's Peak Highway is now mostly paved- but two unpaved sections remain, one around 3/4 the way up and the other right before the summit. Neither was too tricky in the drizzly conditions- just hard-pack with a little bit of slickness in spots.

    Along the way up- Bigfoot, meet El Chupacabra!



    Up top it was cloudy. I enjoyed walking around a bit and tried to call my dad from the summit, but the signal was too sketchy. I knew he'd love to hear about it- Dad led an academic/clinical life and is always eager to hear of my adventures, despite how much it must break his heart with regret that he didn't do such things. He surely would have loved the way the sound of thunder echoed around the summit as the clouds came lower and lower...
    At one point a tasty smell got my attention. I followed it into the gift- shop, where I found some VERY tasty donuts! They claim that these donuts cannot be made at low altitude. Beats me, but what I do know is that they are a light and fluffy version of a fried cake-donut and are OH-SO-DONUTLICIOUS!
    After that I walked back to the bike and thought about hitting the road. A guy with an upper-midwest accent walked up and compliemtned the bike, saying that it's his dream-bike and how he'd like to get one if it weren't for his house fulla toddlers. During the conversation it starts SNOWING! I don't mean a gentle flurry either, I mean flakes blowing hard with a purpose! I decide a that point to get the hell off the mountain.
    So down I go, making my way down the road, thinking to myself that I have now been snowed-upon in July! The snow is sticking to my faceshield, but opening the shield makes the flakes slam into my eyes...might be good to stop for a sec. It also might be a good time to take a picture. That whiteness on the windscreen is not glare; it is SNOW:



    The next day I make bloody-well sure to bring the camera...

    And the next day takes me southwest out of Denver through Morrison and Kittredge and Evergreen, where I stopped for lunch:



    That big ol' decadent burger was every bit as tasty as it looked! the fries were *phenomenal* too!

    From evergreen I took CO 103 toward Mt. Evans.

    This bodes well:



    103 Was lots of fun!



    Lots of good natural scenery:



    El Chupa digs Colorado!



    My best friend says that Colorado is God's Country...he may right. I can't get enough of these views!



    More dirt-road action! This side-road didn't go very far...just a couple hundred yards up to a radio-relay station.



    Lots of scenic picnic-areas along 103...got off at one particularly nice-looking one and was rewarded with some great exploration:









    Didn't know it at the time, but that's Mt. Evans behind me...and I would have a blast up there shortly!



    The sign is a bit misleading. Up at the end of the road, another sign says that the parking lot is at 14130', and I think the summit is at 14286' (you have to hike the rest of the way).



    Stay tuned...
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  5. #5
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Promises of things to come:





    Lots of marmots on Mt. Evans:



    A picture that does no justice to actual scale. The mountain road winds around this valley, which has VERY steep sides and is truly gigantic. Lincoln Lake at bottom is (according to MapQuest) about 1200 feet in length and the tiny green things near the shores are full-size trees. The edge toward the valley had no guardrail along the road, and no useful shoulder even for a two-wheeled vehicle- and the edge of the pavement toward the valley was collapsing in places.
    Heading back down the mountain, you can lean your bike over the edge of the steep valley sides if you go fast enough.



    The summit is to the left in this picture:



    Summit Lake. If I had to guess, I'd say that this used to be a glacial basin:



    Countless tiny kettle-ponds near the lake:



    The road starts looking like this near the summit:



    El Chupacabra rules the mountain!



    The highest parking-lot in North America:



    Summit Lake seen from the summit:



    Proudly representin' up top!



    Rocky mountain hiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG GGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Echo Lake seen from Mt. Evans road:



    Parting shot of Mt. Evans seen from 103:



    A favourite spot to stop and climb the rocks, remembered from an earlier trip:



    This is one of my favourite pictures from the whole trip!



    Another old favourite roadside spot:



    Stay tuned for more...
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  6. #6
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Wyoming!

    Due to highway construction I could not get a picture of the state-line sign. I guess the welcome-center will have to do:



    I had been to Wyoming fifteen years ago, but the part I visited then was a lot prettier. This part looks more like Mongolia:



    Eventually, after a few hours of slogging through the steppes (OK I'll stop with the Mongolia stuff!), I arrived at the rally.

    This was the first thing I gawked at. I wonder how much performance is added by the little fake jet-engines?



    Got camp set up:



    Dos UniGos. These are both friends of mine from my local club.



    I really should have asked about this:



    For Mike, who could not attend:



    I poked my head into a seminar room one morning and HOLY CRAP! It's Ted Simon!



    I would later embarrass myself with Ted...I was serving the micros in the Beemer Saloon and I managed to spill beer on Ted in the process of trying to serve him a nice tasty cup of the good stuff. He was very quiet and Englishly reserved about it, and I felt SO terrible.

    One of Greg Hutchinson's AMAZING custom-built GS's:



    I met Greg on the way to West Bend last year when he offerred me the empty half of his room in a sold-out hotel in Missouri and I am eternally grateful for that.

    Matt Parkhouse's electric airhead-trike:



    I (heart) both of these stickers!



    I was blown away by the technical wizardry of this windscreen-mounting system:



    Finally got to meet the Turbo Fluffies! They were very warm and hospitable, and they make a pretty decent margarita too! Our conversation was cut all too short though when some really savage wind started to come in from the west. Here we see some Fluffies battening down the hatches:



    I went to Devils Tower just like everybody else...



    If you squint just right, the sun kinda looks like the Mother Ship!

    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  7. #7
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Yep, I think the GS can get up that thing!



    I took the walk around the trail at Devils Tower and all the while I couldn't help bu speculate on where the best place was to locate an alien-landing base such as in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Near as I can figure, the area where the visitor center is (how appropriate!) would probably work best. Seems like the movie-people got alot of the surrounding landscape wrong, but I'll have to back and watch the movie again to be sure.

    This monkey looks very content with his ride:



    I'm still trying to figure out if there's some deeper meaning than the obvious here...



    At one point they let me wave to all the pretty girls!

    (photo by Charlie Smith)


    Closing ceremony audience:



    Saw this on the way home. Some people wil drag-race anything!



    At the same gas-station there was a 1937 R12 that had broken down. Luckily he was travelling with a buddy who had a sidecar.



    If the Californian I followed through Denver is reading this, then Hi!



    I returned to Trinidad Colorado for the final night on the road. back to Trinidad Lake State Park, but a less-nifty campsite this time. No worries; it was still good. Of course I had to go back to the East Pike Pub too. the brothers remembered me and were pleased that I had returned.
    This time I had the Korma:



    WOW that was some tasty stuff! Great naan too!

    The final day started out interesting but just got dull after that. I took 72 from raton to Folsom NM (remembering how much fun it was going the other way on the way up), but was really nervous about the amount of wildlife present. I saw a deer and several wild turkey, but no close calls.

    I also saw a dam made of old cars just outside Raton:



    Lonely church on Johnson Mesa:



    All good things must come to an end...



    Four hundred miles of this ahead:



    But at the end of that 400 miles awaited home and a nice refreshing shower and my own bed! It was a VERY hot and dull day, much worse than Day One. It was getting into the golden light of evening when I entered the freeways of Dallas again. I felt sad of course that a trip I'd looked forward to for more than a year was over, and that it would be another year before my BMWMOA family came together again to build a temporary city of happy motorcyclists, but there was one fun thing I could still do before my driveway beckoned...
    As it happened, my local club- the Lone Star BMW Riders (#252)- was meeting in about 45 minutes. So instead of aiming El Chupacabra for my driveway, I went to the brewpub where as expected, the northern end of the parking lot was coned-off and staring to fill up with BMW motorcycles.
    Once I was dismounted and inside, I ws able to proudly hand the club banner back to our president and give a report on what a great time I had on the road. I think I drank about SIX tall icy root beers too!
    I was thankful after the meeting that I live just a few blocks away. This was the first long trip since moving to my current abode and even though I live alone, it felt GREAT to come home here.

    So another International Rally is now history. I'm still in that phase right after rallies in which it feels like if I high-tailed it back to the site, I'd find everybody still there and still partying. But I know that that isn't really true, that you're all safely home now too. But I also know that every day is one day closer to the next rally!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  8. #8
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Almost forgot...

    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  9. #9
    Registered User burnszilla's Avatar
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    Awesome! Too bad we didn't talk more at the rally. You looked busy with your new duties.
    Stephen Burns - 2007 R1200GS
    BMW MOA Lifetime Member
    www.burnsmoto.com

  10. #10
    WDaigle
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    Great ride report Veg. we passed just norteast of Dallas on the way up to Wyoming from south Louisiana on the 12th. We rode US 69 from Tyler up to US 380 on to Denton, then US 287 to Amarillo and up to 64 to Raton. We also stopped at Mt Capulin Volcano on the way. Areally interesting place. The temperature when we left Amarillo on the morning of the 13th was 62 degrees, nice for a while. Glad that you had a good and safe trip. Like you I'm counting down to next year's rally in Tennessee.

  11. #11
    The Pants MANDYPANTS's Avatar
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    I was really hoping to see a bear and a frog driving that old Studebaker on their way out to Hollywood! Oh Kermie!

    Very nice trip report and great photos!

  12. #12
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnszilla View Post
    Awesome! Too bad we didn't talk more at the rally.
    I agree.

    You looked busy with your new duties.
    At times, yes, and add that to the sensory and social overload that comes with the rally... But I'll keep my eye open should we be at the same rally again down the road.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  13. #13
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Thanks mandy!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  14. #14
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Great Ride Report, Ben. Wunna my favorites thus far!

  15. #15
    Amma Holly's Avatar
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    Great Report, Ben

    and nice meeting you at the rally. Hope we have more time to talk next time.

    Holly
    Volunteer for the 2014 Rally in St. Paul. rallyvolunteer@bmwmoa.org

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