Trip out West from Middle TN
A friend of mine from Baltimore was planning a long trip this summer. I knew I wanted to go along but having limited vacation time I wasnít sure how I was going to be able to join her. Having an old 280 processor in my head, it took me a while to realize that if I didnít meet up with her at the MOA Rally and didnít stay at the TOR Rally I could meet up with her some where along the way and be on my way after dropping her off at the TOR. When she shared with me her route, I planned on meeting her in Cheyenne.
So having 4 goals for the trip: Ride the ďTraceĒ a road that goes between Barkley and Kentucky Lakes, meet my friend in Cheyenne and ride with her for a couple of days; take care of some personal business in New Mexico; and improve my mental hygiene, I started Saturday morning around 9:30 (ya ya a late start so what) I made my way through some very nice back roads of Middle Tennessee to the beginning of The Trace. The Trace, while a nice road through an Army Engineer wilderness area, was nothing special and a bit of a disappointment but anyway one goal down three to go. Some how I thought Iíd be able to see both lakes but was not to be. At the end of The Trace I hopped onto I24 for 2 exits and started a wonderful twisty back road experience through MO. I have to say the back roads in MO were a very pleasant surprise. Note to self Ė come back it is close enough for a weekend trip. Now you have to realize at my age notes to self are often forgotten but this one I definitely will remember. So making my way on MO 14 to MO 34 to MO 75 into Rolla, MO I was a very happy camper pulling into my first overnight. And what do I see but a GS and an R bike parked at the Hampton Inn. I register, shower, call Linda, and go get something to eat. A routine practiced every evening. On the way back to the hotel I run into the other BMW riders. The GS rider was returning to Nashville after a trip to Alaska. The other rider had purchased his bike on e-bay and picked it up in Colorado Springs and was also riding back to Nashville. Small small world sometimes.
It rained pretty hard that night but thankfully it stopped by the time I was ready to leave. (7:00 if anyone is wondering). My plan was to go north on US63 to catch US36 across KS into CO. Sunday morning no traffic but US63 was less than interesting fairly straight and the speed limit was 65. So I turn onto US36 and head east. It was hovering around 99. Mostly because of the speed limit and being able to stay in the saddle longer than I thought, I arrived at my second planned stop around 3. Looking on the GPS there were no other hotels along the route to go a bit further so I pulled in and registered. Walking back to my bike to unload, a HD rider pulled in and said Ė couldnít take the heat anymore. We chit chatted for a while he was riding from MA to Denver. So I cooled off in the hotel and took a nice long nap. Wasnít much in town, so I ate dinner at a fast food joint across the street.
The next morning the HD rider was off before me but I did catch him and pas him a couple of hours latter. There is no good way to go east or west in Kansas Ė but US36 was once again 65MPH and no traffic and went through very few towns. I think our tax dollars have done well with the repairs and improvements on some of the US routes across the country.
My original plan was to overnight once more prior to Cheyenne but the roads were good and I was making great time so I called the hotel in Cheyenne to see if they could put me up another night. I rode east on US39 into Colorado and headed north on US385. I picked up CO 14 and this was certainly the most isolated road Iíve ever been on. For those who donít know this part of CO is really high desert and you canít even see the Rockies but the road had some great curves, no traffic (donít think I saw even one vehicle). So I hop onto US85 to arrive in Cheyenne. Having been there once I see no point in returning (well perhaps they do have 4 for 1 happy hours)
Now Iím one day early in Cheyenne so I check into the hotel do the same routine Ė call Linda, take a shower, find some place to eat. The next morning I figure Iíll just explore Cheyenne on the bike and for the most part take a day off riding. Well it didnít take long to explore Cheyenne so I took of to Fort Collins to visit one of the University of Colorado campuses. I had a reasonably nice visit and a great lunch. On the way back to the hotel I decided to gas up and be ready to ride the next morning. I look over and there is my friend from Baltimore (helmet still on) gassing up her bike. So I walk over and tap her on the shoulder. We ride to the hotel together Ė her room isnít ready so I give her my key and tell her to go ahead and shower up, - believe me she really needed one. So after wards she meets me back in the lobby where catch up as we havenít seen each other for a while. Finally her room is ready. We decide to take a cab to town for dinner rather than ride the bikes but alas no cabs in Cheyenne but there is the Cowboy Shuttle. So we take the Cowboy Shuttle downtown and decide to eat at the Lucky 7 Steak House. The food was pretty good, actually the soup was pretty darn good; however, the wine was so Ė so. We did the obligatory tourist walk around town and took the Cowboy Shuttle back to the hotel.
We rode through Rocky National Park on US 34 the park is absolutely awesome. Linda and I had been camping/hiking in the park 25 years ago (back when everything we owned fit into the back of the Subaru station wagon, and a two person A frame tent was all we needed) This brought back very fond memories of our trip. Riding though some of the towns that were on mountain lakes I couldnít help but think about a summer home some where along here. 2nd note to self Ė bring Linda back and look for property.
I have to mention how friendly folks were pulling over when ever possible to let us pass. The only thing that could make the ride better is if there were more places to stop and take pictures.
After saying good bye to my friend at the TOR, I head south to the town of Delta about 30 miles south for an over night. The Best Western had a restaurant attached and the food was fantastic. I really enjoyed both my dinner and breakfast.
Next morning I take US50 east to US550 south. US550 is a fabulous road. Iím not sure how many mountains you go up and down but the temps varied from 42 to 80. I highly recommend this route. A very twisty hairpin mountain pass road. I took US550 into New Mexico Ė completed my personal errand and hooked up with US60 east. Now US60 is one of those roads your not sure if it runs north and south or east and west as it is all over the place. When it started getting late and no reasonable hotels were in sight I decided to head into Amarillo for the night. Once again having the GPS to help find a hotel and make the reservation is a real perk. I ended up staying at a Marriot Court Yard as most the other hotels were already booked up. They donít give a military discount unless youíre on official business so I donít usually stay at them. Anyway next door was the Texas Barn BBQ house. The brisket was so tender it melted in your mouth and the sauce was just right for me, not sweet, not vinegar, but slightly hot. Great dinner! So this evening Iím thinking do I want to continue my course on US60 or get home perhaps one day earlier by jetting across on I40? Well I get a bad case of ďhomeitisĒ and decide to take the interstate. So across TX, OK, and into Little Rock AR where I spend the night. The next day Iím home in TN and take some of my favorite back roads to the house. In total 4,200 miles. Oh and I almost forgot my last goal of improved mental hygiene Ė well you guessed it greatly improved Ė for a couple of days anyway.
Here are some shots I took with my little pocket camera:
Last edited by rclimerjak; Jul 31st, 2007 at 11:08 am.