Well the last day in Colorado, but what a grand way to exit the Rocky Mountain Empire state. We woke up in Estes Park, met up at 8.30 and rolled out to RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park). This trip has been very relaxing and we have been so fortunate on weather, finding hotel rooms and avoiding local events by a day or two at each stop. For example in Estes Park the “Rooftop Rodeo” started today so I am sure the hotel rooms were going to be going up in price and down in availability, oh well that is in our rearview mirror.
But enough about that – onto the day.
As mentioned we started out the day without any fireworks or setbacks, everything went smooth. On that note, I am very impressed with the team, we have been on the road since Thursday/Friday, close to 2,000 miles under the tires (and six states with 4 more to go) and everyone is having a great time and holding up under the miles. Anyone who has done long distance touring on a bike knows that the impact of the trip is cumulative. Long distance riding gets easier with experience and although the group are all experienced riders they are new to distance riding, you could not tell from the stamina and attitude of the group.
Ok back to the ride again. We entered RMNP at about 9am and the sights were spectacular. In addition to the views we also saw a lot of Elk (when we spotted them we became “those people”, you know the ones that stop in the middle of the road to look at wildlife, oops), some little mountain ground chucks called Marmots, and a few grey headed walker drivers. Our trip through the park took about three hours, entering at the main gate by Estes and exiting on the west (Grand Lake).
Instead of backtracking through the park then heading to Loveland and I-25 north we went west to Granby turned north on CO 125 to Walden (well after a 11 mile detour on US 40, thanks to my map reading skills) then to CO 127 (also known as WY 230) towards Laramie WY. CO 125 and 127 are both nice roads that wind through beautiful mountain valleys and then break out to wide plains. The road surface was good in the valleys but on the plains was a bit washboard, but really not too bad. If you are going to take this route, and I would recommend the ride, be sure you start with a full tank and some water, just in case. I do not mean to imply the ride is no gas or desolate but at one point we did notice a lady on her front porch waving to us like she had not seen other humans for a while.
After getting to Laramie we stopped at the Golden Arches for some “Sweet Tea”, french-fries, and hotel planning. In Laramie we were trying to decide if we should stop in Douglas (larger town with more hotels) or Wheatland, the Fracking boom in Douglas helped us make up our minds. So with Cindy and Dean working the phones and Trip Adviser we ended up with rooms in a new Super 8 in Wheatland – back on the road.
The trip from Laramie to Wheatland was a pleasant ride along US 30 then onto WY 34. The ride was full of wind, Antelope, and the occasional truck. On the ride we had both a crazy chipmunk and an antelope play frogger with the bike, no harm no foul. We arrived safely at Wheatland at about 6pm MST and hit the A&W for diner, started washing some clothes and ended the night with an aggressive game of Nertz, I think Cindy is winning.
Tomorrow we will start out at about 8am and head to Custer, Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore, ending up in Sturgis. Talk to you then.