West coast #2 (Free stuff, mountains, and more!)

I awoke to a long day of riding! Just about 540 miles to Denver. (or 870 kilometers for my viewers outside the U.S.) It started out quite overcast and rained for just a little bit on my way to the Western and flat part of Kansas. 20170428_090853

The weather got nice out in the middle before getting closer to Colorado, but it became super windy.  20170428_101144

When I was pulling off to get gas one of the other guys in a car commented how it must be tough riding today and it really was. When I would pass the semi’s, the wind would cut out for a minute and as I got near the front of the semi, I would lean pretty hard into the wind so I wasn’t pushed off the road. The first time it happened with a big gust of wind, I was pushed over to the rumble strip before correcting. It wasn’t too bad but did take some getting used too.

The hours kept going slowly as the highway kept reminding me with signs of the hundreds of miles left. When you don’t take the highway, there is normally a lovely variety of small towns you come through to contrast the scenic sections. I had no desire to see the back empty side of Kansas and pushed on at 75 mph (120Km/h) on interstate 70. I kept an eye on my odometer to gauge when I needed to get gas. I could go roughly 150 miles before getting gas. 2 hours at 75 mph on the highway is plenty of time before stopping the bike for 5 minutes.

I had easily 20 miles left that I could go before starting to be concerned about fueling up when my bike suddenly shut down on the highway. With a calm head and my blood really pumping I pulled over and switched my tank to reserve. I was not near any major towns. My bike started back up and I got off the first exit and looked for a gas station in the wide open plains.

The only gas station I could find caught my attention with old pumps and sign on the door that said “This station guarded by shotgun three nights a week, you guess which three.” Unfortunately, no one was even at the gas station. The front was locked. : /. I started the bike back up and went towards the next exit. Not knowing how far I can go on reserve, I held my breath, but shortly found myself pulling off and getting to a gas station after asking a local in a pickup where to go.

The rest of my ride was less eventful as I learned my lesson in how wind can seriously compromise gas mileage. The “Welcome to Colorado” sign had me smiling and I pulled in to grab gas. I had heard about snow coming to Colorado that weekend and the temperature had dropped a lot from Kansas. My hands were cold and my stomach was hungry. I made a little bit of small talk with the gas station lady while warming up and started looking for warm food. The only thing I saw besides a hot drink was those incredibly “high quality” gas station hot dogs. Ehhhhhhh.. I guess I’ll try it. I grabbed one and asked the gas station lady how much they are? She told me to not worry about it and just take it for free. It couldn’t have been to expensive but an act of kindness is an act of kindness and I was very thankful. (It tasted alright. I was thankful for the snack and appreciated it more with it being free.)

Soon enough I made it into Denver and the chilly air certainly seemed cold enough for it to snow. The city was a nice change from the empty countryside, as the different shops and places to eat kept my eyes interest. Lots of Marijuana shops kept popping up too. It was shocking at how many homeless people were at the street corners and all around the city. The street for the Mile high hostel slowly and eventually came up with the Denver traffic and I walked in. It was a beautiful house with different rooms on three floors, and I parked my bike in the back as the snow started to come down.

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The morning showed the effects of it snowing all night.

I had even been brushing it off the motorcycle the night before. : / All that time in Puerto Rico and I still couldn’t escape the snow. Oh well. The whole street and downtown did look beautiful with the snow and it wasn’t too cold while wearing all my jackets.

While originally planning to go to my friend in Fort Collins, it was STILL snowing off and on! Over much deliberation on if I should try and go slow on the back roads I decided to stay one more night in Denver to be safe and got to take full advantage of a very fancy bidet at the hostel. 20170429_102023IMG-20170429-WA0003 (1)

Heated seat, automatically opening toilet seat, drying, and more. I am sure you can see in the close up picture.  : P A few of the others at the hostel weren’t adventurous enough to use it as a bidet. Would you have?

One of the guys staying at the hostel was going to see the very well known Red rocks amphitheater in his car and we set off together!

After doing some more exploring in his car, we went back to the hostel for dinner. The hostel was having a potluck that night. The night was filled with meeting new friends, playing some euchre (card game), and talking with other travelers. A few guys were actually doing the opposite of my trip and had just come from California.

The next day I was able to set off and got excited seeing the now visible mountains with the snow finally stopping. They had me catching my breath and gazing with an almost dangerous fixation while driving. They set a special scale in person that is incredibly difficult to capture in pictures BUT I will try my fine readers…. I will try.  20170430_110737

I showed up to my friends work and gave him a big hug, and worked on my blog while he finished work before heading to his house.

At his house, he hopped on his bike and we drove to the start of the mountains less than 15 minutes away! : P   20170430_183025

Part 3 coming very soon!

 

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