Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Stats

There are so many stories rolling around my head that I want to share. I don't know where to begin so I will start with a few statistics. Although statistics may seem dry fodder for a blog, some of it may be useful in understanding fully the stories of the road I will tell later.

By Andy's calculations we put 2,356 miles on our bikes. By my GPS we covered 6,546.7 total miles by bike and car. We went through 5 tires on the trailer. It seems Wal-Mart tires are only good for about 1,000 miles. On our return home, we found a tire dealer that carried our size and had two new ones mounted. These tires had some serious tread and we had no more issues with tires on the trek home. In fact, they look barely used.

The temperatures in July can reach 110 degrees in Arches National Park. This would be the day, of course, that Andy decided to ride without a jacket. By the time we returned to the hotel, Andy had witnessed his flesh bubble and blister. He now looks like a snake shedding it's skin.

The Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park is about 11,500 feet. I found myself light headed and short of breath. Jade wasn't too fond of the altitude either. She coughed and sputtered the entire way. Try doing those serious twisties and hairpin turns with a bike that is chocking and coughing the whole way.

The highest gas price we paid was $4.57 and the cheapest was $3.68. In Colorado, the octane starts at 85%. It's hard to find a decent grade of fuel. I'm not sure why. Some Colorado law possibly.

Jade typically reaches reserve at about 140 miles on the tank. Her worst day was reaching reserve at 110. Judging the tank became a game of chance. If you have never traveled west before, there is no way to describe the expanse of open space. A person needs to seriously calculate their gas tank before beginning any travel to ensure reaching services before running dry. This happened to me at the Grand Canyon, and nearly so in Canyonlands National Park.

The weather covered the spectrum. All in one day you can blister, ride with teeth chattering finger numbing cold, get seriously rained upon and stop for lunch in the warm sunshine. And true to any summer in any state of the union, the inevitable road repair. Here we rode in dirt, loose gravel, loose gravel sprayed with fresh oil, rain drenched dirt turned mud and freshly laid tar not yet packed. That wet mud we rode through on the last day has Andy and I looking at our bikes with jaws gaping. That stuff is so hard and stubborn that the tropical rain storm we drove home through could not loosen it at all. In fact, tomorrow we will need some serious elbow grease to remove the grime. No wonder this stuff screwed with Bill's kickstand safety switch.

The speed limit on I-70 is 75 miles an hour. Jade can do 75 miles an hour and even 80 with the throttle wide open. It gets dicey when the group passes those tractor trailers. Little 650 Jade held her own playing with the big boys. Her rider's knees, on the other hand, threatened to knock a few dents in the tank though. Jade got up to 91 by the GPS on the open road. Speaking of speed, once in Rocky Mountain National Park, a traffic cop stuck his arm out the window and told ME to slow down! Now that's a first!

Home again it's hard to adjust to the fact that our adventure is behind us. I have posted here a number of photos, but it only begins to scratch the surface of the photographic record. I have found myself reliving moments through these photos. I hear, smell and feel the West. At night, in that space of time between wakefulness and sleep, I see, as if a vision, bikes before me, swaying and undulating with the turns and twists in the road. In these moments, I am there still.

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