Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pressing On to CO then Home to Houston

Yesterday my travels took me from Altus OK to Washita Battlefield National Park in Cheyenne, then to Fort Larned in Kansas and then to Dodge City for the night.

I was in a quandary this morning. Here I am in Dodge City KS...do I ride into town and do a little bit of sightseeing or do I head west toward Colorado? The time zone change is in my favor...I have some time. Or do I lounge around a little bit. Lounging seemed very appealing, coming off of a very aggressive trip the previous week with early morning starts and long days that ended well after dinner time each day. Lounging won out, so guess I'll need to get back to Dodge City another time.

Sitting in the saddle, riding west with the morning sun to my back, the landscape unfolded to my front as I rode toward Colorado. The miles slipped effortlessly by. I took a late breakfast break at a nice large gas station plaza somewhere on US-50. The temperature was cool but comfortable as I stood along side my FZ6 eating some crackers.

Back on the road, I passed through Lamar CO and so had a chance to scout the restaurant where I'd be having lunch later with some other riders.

Fifty more miles to Bent's Old Fort, where I'd be meeting up with another Houstonian and with an MTF member who lives near Colorado Springs. A few miles east of the national park, I came up upon a flock? a gaggle? a brood? of pheasants standing in the middle of the road. As I slowed down, I honked the horn, but to no avail. These guys held their ground. Afterall, they got there first. I slowed further and, finally! When I was within a couple of feet of them, they scurried off to the side of the road. They were big birds! Maybe a foot to foot and a half tall.

I got to Bent's Old Fort a little early and took the opportunity to remove my riding pants and boots and slip on my running shoes for comfort. Within about 15 minutes my fellow Houstonian - who'd been riding the Colorado Rockies for the past week or so - arrived. A few minutes behind him, the MTF friend from Colorado Springs pulled in with another rider in tow. I thought, at first, it was his wife, but instead it was a friend of his.

We toured the fort, I bought another book, got my Passport book stamped, and we returned to the bikes to head to Hickory House Restaurant in Lamar CO for a late lunch. Rumor had it that we may be joined by another MTF member who was returning home to TX after finishing the Iron Butt Rally. We ordered, we ate, we kicked tires for a little bit in the parking lot, but by 1:30 we all agreed that it was time to get back on the road and head in our respective directions. I learned after I got home that the MTF rider did arrive and that my Colorado friend did a U-turn and intercepted him for a brief chat.

Back on the road and heading south, my Houston friend and I made good time to Amarillo TX where we stopped for the night. In the morning he would be heading in a different direction: Toward Austin to visit family. I rode home to Houston.

The trip was a success: Several more national park stamps in 3 different states. And the Bill Mayer saddle was everything I knew it would be!

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