Monday, September 15, 2014

A Bucket list Summer

    This has been a Summer of trying to get as many projects accomplished as possible I guess. Things started off in June with a bike trip with my brother Phil that I had intended to be a really long one, wondering around the West, but I chickened out on part of the idea, and only put on a couple thousand miles. We hit a few states and saw a lot of great scenery, and had a good time.

After we got back, we -Jan and I- hooked up the trailer and drove to Hot Springs, South Dakota, for about a weeks worth  camping. Gen, Sam, Gus, Eli, Leah, and Aaron came out a couple of days later. We had a great time touring around the southern Hills, and showing the younger kids some of the sites we are more familiar with. We had one night with a movie on the picnic table beside the trailer, and some grilling etc..

After we got back from Hot Springs, I loaded up the GS and headed west again, to try and accomplish the route I had tried last year in Wyoming, before bad weather had chased me home. I spent the first night in- where else, but Hot Springs again, and ran out to Lander, Wyoming the next day. Wyoming was just as nice as it was a month before when Phil and I rode across part of it. Out of Lander the next morning I went up into a State park, and over the south end of the Wind River range. It was several miles of good asphalt switch backs and about 20 miles of moderately decent dirt road, until I got back out to the highway. A long run up to Pinedale for lunch and an attempt at Union Pass, which turned out to be longer and rougher than I was willing to abuse the GS, so Union Pass will remain unconquered, unless I can trailer a smaller, less expensive bike out there, but then that will be another story. If you look back a couple of blogs you can get a blow by blow account of the rest of the trip, come to think of it. Oops, I just remembered, before I went west again, we took the trailer down to Lanesboro for the 4th. We were joined by the Theobalds, and Jan and I got to do some riding. We run down there on the 4th, primarily for the firework show that they put on, and it is really great! I wonder how much that display costs, as it goes on for a long time with some spectacular stuff. Jan usually tries to make a reservation a year ahead of time for just that reason. If you look back at some of my earlier blogs, you can get a more detailed account of some of the goings on. Anyhow, toward the end of August, Jan, and I loaded the dirt bike in the pickup and lit off for Colorado. Here we go again, but we spent the first night in Hot Springs, again, for the third time this Summer. The next day was out across southern Wyoming in on and off rain, across a couple of passes, until we got to Craig, Colorado, where we spent the night. Then it was down over Grand Mesa to Ridgway where we had reservations for a couple of nights. I headed up Imogene pass next morning, and luckily the weather was great, the bike pulled all the way to the top, with reserve power. That far above the tree line, engines can get a little anemic for lack of oxygen. I think that this may have been the fourth time that I have made it to the top, and the view from there is so spectacular, it's hard to describe. A few pictures from up there over 13,000 feet will have to suffice. Everybody is so happy, probably just from making it that far, or maybe it's hypoxia. Taking each other's photo standing next to the pass marker is a given. From there it is a tough trail down to Telluride, where there is a pretty important film festival going on around Labor Day every year. A trip out to the airport to look at the private jets parked nose to tail is eye opening as to how the other half must live.

Jan had spent the day bumming around Ridgway, which has thrift shops etc., etc., so she kept busy while I was on the trail. I had planned on trying Ophir Pass after I got to Telluride but I was getting tired after getting down from Imogene and decided to call it a day, and cruised back to Ridgway. We walked uptown and hit another thrift shop just to see the sites, and I ended up with another book. From Ridgway we drove down to Antonito to catch the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad the following day. That was a spectacular all day ride from Antonito to Chama, New Mexico, by rail over a 10,000 foot pass and over a gorge, with a stop for a terrific noon lunch, and a bus back to Antonito. Considering all of what we saw and experienced the $100 fare seems to us, a good deal. I find it a little hard to believe, but the trip covers 65 miles of narrow gauge rail through the plains and over the mountains.

I think that we spent about a week at home mowing the lawn that had suddenly started growing at an accelerated pace, helped along by the several inches of rain we got while we were gone, among other things. We drug the trailer out again and loaded up the GS and provisions for a week in Wisconsin, for our yearly pilgrimage to the back roads of that state. We just got back yesterday-Sunday- and the lawn is deep again. We did get some riding in, but it rained a couple of days and it was cold, so that kind of takes the fun out of it. For once I don't think we took any pictures, so you will have to use your imagination.
I think that the driving force behind this busy Summer has been a realization, that with my cancer scares, and an out patient procedure this Summer at Mayo, that nobody lives forever, and if you want to do some thing, within reason, you had best go for it. So, this Summer, I checked off a few more boxes on my bucket list. It has been a busy Summer so far, and in a couple of days we are headed over to watch the grandsons for a bit, while Gen is in Prague meeting with her sister Rachel. They have been planning this trip for a long time for Rachel's 40th. So take care, leave a comment if you would, so that I know if anyone is out there, please.