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A Motorcycle Trip
I'm getting too old to ride a motorcycle. Everyone tells me that, so there must be some truth in it.
When my son, who will soon graduate from college, suggested a weekend ride, I figured I'd better not put it off. We had planned to do it last year, but things came up and we put it off.
My friends were horrified, and predicted (though not to me) that nothing good would come of it. One old friend went to far as to take our picture beside our motorcycles, as we embarked. I suspect they took it so the newspaper would have a current picture to run under the headline: "Deranged Middle-aged Motorcyclist Killed in Head-on Collision with Cattle Truck."
But the doom-sayers were wrong, of course, and we had a wonderful time. We went over Trail Ridge, and, determined to stay off the Interstates as much as possible, went up to Rand, just on the other side of RMNP. There we saw, in a little general store, a marvelous collection of restored wood stoves. A duplicate of the little stove my mother had in her cabin in 1927 had a $595 price tag and a Sold sign on it. The stove originally sold for about $25.
The area around Rand was beautiful and green in early June. We had a great ride to Steamboat Springs, where we took time out to see Fish Creek Falls before going on the spend the night in Craig.
The next day we saw big coal strip-mining operations south of Craig, and visited the Museum in Meeker, the site of massacre in 1879 when the Utes killed Indian Agent Nathan Meeker and the ten men who worked for him. Meeker had threatened to plow up the Utes' racetrack and pasture. He wanted the Utes to become farmers. So they killed him and kidnapped his wife and daughter.
There's lots of stuff about the massacre, as well as about a famous bank robbery (well, it's locally famous) back in 1896. Three men tried to hold up the bank and the good folks of Meeker shot them dead on the main street as they tried to get away. Nothing that exciting has happened since in Meeker.
We went on to Rifle where we had lunch in a restaurant that served Italian and Chinese food.
Turning east, we rode through Aspen, where we both looked and felt poor, and then had a beautiful ride up and over Independence Pass and down to Leadville. There are, by the way, no good motels in Leadville. The next day we visited the cabin where Baby Doe died, and the house where Mr. and Mrs. Tabor lived before he struck it rich, and the opera house. There's too much to see in one day, and we plan to go back. But we had run out of time, so in a few hours we were back in Allenspark.
I learned some things from this trip. I learned that ours are not the only beautiful mountains in Colorado. The state is full of them. I learned that the way to travel, if you want to see anything, is to stay away from the Interstates. It seems obvious, but when was the last time you chose a two lane road over an Interstate?
I also learned that I am indeed middle-aged, but I'm not too old to ride a motorcycle. But the most important thing I learned is that if you want to have great memories, you have to take the time to create them.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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