Labor Day Plans Out The Window
I have had a fubared Labor Day Weekend, I was supposed to ride down to New Mexico and go camping with my sister, but she called and said that my Niece has come down with the flu or something and my Nephew looks like he has it too! Kids are in Bed and mom needs to take care so camping was out!
That is what friends are for!
My buddy Dan says he got a few guys lined up to go riding half day down to Bishops Castle, since I am out of plans why not go along. I ask him is it a spirited ride? He tells me nay just a couple of squids who have never been on a mountain road before on a bike. So I get there and none but one of his buddies show up, and hes a complete noob but the three of us regulars are there and thats all we need! Dan, Craig, Dans Noob Friend (sorry can remember his name) on his R6, and myself go hunting for a Dragon!
A click here a click there
You have read the Robert Frost Poem "The Road Not Taken" a poem I seem to be living as of late. Deep into the twisty part of Greenhorn Highway 165 I found myself being pursued by Craig rather closely, and that has been rare of late as I have not been hunted so closely by him or Dan in the past year or so while on the vfr (dirt-bikes are another pokey story), but sure enough there he was, and soon he was going ahead on past me as I struggled with the bike, bouncy as all get out! I felt like I had lost my nerve on those long extended twists around Bigelow Divide and well getting passed while your going as fast as you feel you can go is always a bit of a let down! OH well I cant ride fast all the time.
It was later at a gas stop I decided to soften up the suspension on the Ohlins a bit and see what that would do!! OMG I was back to my old self again in no time, the ride back up the mountain had me going much faster in and in far greater comfort than I was feeling before! A click off - and that has made all the difference! I was in third and found it no problem to keep up this time, and after passing some Labor day cage traffic it was a snap to speed up and charge a turn or two and be right back up there with the two of them! It was amazing the transformation!
Bishops Castle Parking four bikes Labor Day ride
Craig Buttons up his gear
Bishops Castle In full glory - SEE THE DRAGON!!
Mr Bishop was out and about, a smallish sort of dude with huge muscular arms and claws for hands, talking about his rights as usual and complaining about the state of Freedom in America - as usual. It seems to be a favorite topic in the San Isabel area since we ate at the restaurant at the lake and found all sorts of signs on the wall with the same sentiment. Mr Bishop has been building that castle alone since he was 18 years old, and now almost in his 70's he still labors every free moment he as building it, now he is building a dungeon walled tunnel all the way around the property which will connect with the buttresses of the castle. I reached out and shook the mans hand as he was explaining his plans for the tunnel - its not a moat he maintains! The dude has huge hands!
Dan and Craig walk the plank
Labor Day it was Crazy
I had never seen so many people on that road, usually we are on it alone virtually with a car here and there along the 30 or so miles of Greenhorn road. Mostly the traffic is along 93 going to Westcliff near Hardscrabble mountain! I love that section of road near the Mountain its so rugged and twisty, but lots of gravel in the turns cause of all the dual wheeled pickup trucks running short and kicking up gravel. Pickups and SUV's are requirements of living in Westcliff I guess?
Like I mentioned before we where having to make a lot of passes to ride our normal pace, the poor guy Dan brought along was overwhelmed with the road and just decided to poke along way behind the rest of us, we waited for him at key places - a nice kid who for the most part rode a very mature pace for a guy so young, although I attempted to ride sweep at a few points I guess it made him nervous, even though I kept my distance, he ran way wide on a tight section but did not go off road! I decided to go ahead on ahead and let him ride undisturbed. I did not think I was pushing him but sometimes you just have to feel a new guy out before you figure out whats the best way to ride with him. He seemed to be having an OK time, if not then he was going to jittery all night from the adrenalin shock we gave him! We all tried to give him words of encouragement and told him to ride his own pace Don't let get sucked in and ride faster than your ready to ride - which he did not - thank goodness, but the running wide incident got me worried for sure! So I let him go ahead and take up the rear with no pressure of me following him!
San Isabel Lake Four riders
Hardscrabble Mountain as seen from McKenzie Junction
right before we stopped at the Junction and waited for the R6 I passed a Goldwing pretty fast on a downhill section doing about 90 or so, I knew it was either pass or get stuck behind him for all the good turns, so I gave him uber wide berth while passing and jammed it into the turn about 100 yards ahead of him, and low and behold waiting for the r6 we never saw the Goldwing at the bottom of the hill? Did the new guy make a pass on another bike? I guess so! I mean it took him an awful long time to catch up to us at the junction, I actually dug the camera out and took that picture of Hardscrabble Mountain and had it put away for a good 3 minutes before he rolled on down, still no goldwing? When I passed the guy he was doing at least 70 in the sweepers maybe he turned around for another go?
Dan was riding like a banshee cause he was supposed to be home at 2pm, and the woman was waiting for their thing together! His buddy brought along a cell phone so he called and you could hear her yelling at him over the phone HEH life as a young sudo married couple! Dan decided to top speed the flat section near the Supermax prison. I saw him pass me, he was about 500 yards before he disappeared down the hill, when I got to the crest of the hill he was already a mile away! Damn!
It was great to get my riding back into the comfort zone! I was hanging out with my pop for a while later and he asked me where we went riding, I told him Bishops Castle, he said "you have already been down there once this week on your dirt-bike" then he said "you do that ride at least 10 times a summer'? - some people will never understand!