Monday, July 12, 2010

Tantalizing Clouds

All morning, while riding through eastern CO, heading north then northwest toward Cheyenne, I could see a bank of fluffy white clouds way off to the west. In all other directions the sky was a deep and clear blue. I knew what those clouds represented...

It was while riding along US 34 northwest toward Greeley that I could begin to separate the mountain peaks from the clouds on the horizon. We were officially in Rocky Mountain territory!

At Greeley our route took us north along US 85, where the road paralleled railroad tracks and passed through small grain elevator towns every few miles. The towns were tiny, hugging the railroad sidings and featuring a tiny derelict gas station or so, maybe a homegrown hardware store, and one giant-ass grain elevator. After passing through a half dozen or so of these tiny little towns, the road opened up, the landscape fell away, and we were navigating through some high and hilly - and very windy - terrain in north CO and south WY.

At Cheyenne, we stopped for lunch, chatted up a couple on a triked out BMW K1200LT with a Hannigan trailer behind, and then got onto I-80 for what was most definitely one of the windiest rides I can recollect. We were pushing strong headwinds for 250 miles, all the way to Green River WY, our stop for the night. As the road took a bend, the head wind became a strong side wind. We stopped at a rest area about an hour east of Green River and when I brought the bike to a stop, we were faced broadside to the wind, I couldn't hold the bike steady enough to deploy my side stand. Friend Mike was oblivious to my predicament until I screamed to get his attention. He grabbed the back of the bike then moved around to the side and got my side stand down for me. WOW! I knew it was windy, but didn't realize just how strong those winds were until coming to a stop. Mike had to move my bike so that it faced into the wind before we took off.

When we got to Green River, I pulled into a gas station next door to the hotel and we found ourselves in the middle of an apparent crime scene. The parking area was covered up with police cars - maybe 6 or 7 of them - many uniformed officers and some plainclothes men in suits. A few of them had on blue rubber gloves and were going through a pickup truck parked against the building. Very odd....and very interesting. They gave an occasional look our way, as if to say, "Hurry up with your business and vacate the premises." Believe me, I hurried!

Tomorrow: I have a great route planned out to take me to 3 national parks and on what promise to be some interesting and entertaining roads.

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