Ah, yes, another perfect day. The morning hadn’t looked promising. I was completely enveloped in nearly impenetrable fog as I departed Ogallala, Nebraska, but as I crossed the border into Colorado, the fog simply ended. It didn’t fade away or “burn off”. It just plain stopped. One second I couldn’t see 200 feet in front of me, and the next I was cruising in brilliant sunlight and crystal-clear conditions.
It was a startling effect, even more so when I peered over my shoulder at the wall of cloud sprawled across the road behind me. It looked solid, and I wondered what oncoming drivers thought about entering it. Shortly the temperature was hovering in the 70’s and there was little if any breeze. I could not have ordered up better conditions for motorcycling. I twisted the throttle, pushed up the speeds, and settled into the ride.
It seemed only moments before the Colorado Springs city limits sign slid by. I did a double take. What? Colorado Springs? That would be nearly 300 miles run and I hadn’t even had breakfast yet. I glanced at my clock. Oh. Hmm. It was well after lunchtime already and I had lost track of the time. Again. Oops. Hours had slipped by, unnoticed. Yep, a perfect day for motorcycling.
I was headed south to Route 66 in New Mexico, yet I hung a right out of Colorado Springs and headed for Pikes Peak. I’d say that was on a whim, but it wouldn’t be quite true. I do this every time I pass this way. Some say it’s the view. I looked up at the peak and found it completely covered in storm clouds. There wouldn’t be much of a view today. I grinned wickedly and continued on. No view meant no traffic.
Just a few twisty miles out of town is “the road”. Ten bucks and you’re on your way up to the 14,110-foot summit. It’s a challenging ride, but well maintained. The stretches of pavement, gravel and sand, steep grades, and hairpin curves demand a motorcyclist’s constant attention. The spectacular scenery demands it too. “Careful” is the word of the day, but “fun” does its very best to overtake it.
When I arrived at the entrance the friendly attendant tried to warn me off. “It’s storming up there,” she said seriously, “getting cold and probably sleeting too.”
I hitched up the collar on my denim shirt. “Thanks. I’ll be careful.”
She tried again, “There’s really no point. There won’t be any view. Those are thunderstorms, you won’t get above them. There’ll be lightning and maybe even hail.”
I smiled. “Hail huh? Well, ten bucks seems a bit expensive to get hailed on. How about half price?”
Exasperated with me, she waved me by, and I moved fast, before she could change her mind…or before I could. No point huh? I disagreed. The weather would do what it wanted. This was “the road”, and I had twisties to run.
Four hours later, shaking with exhaustion and cold, I came off the mountain, mission accomplished and still smiling. She’d been right, there was no view. Fog, sleet, cold, and ominous rumblings had accompanied me for nearly the entire run. It didn’t matter to me. I’d been right too. There were no cars. There was nothing in the mists but my machine, the road, and me. A view is a fine thing, and Pikes Peak is one of the best, but today this trip was about the road. This trip was about the ride.
I wondered if I had time to run it again.
Nah. I was headed into the back roads of New Mexico. Friends were waiting and I had miles to burn. There were many more roads ahead of me, and as always, this one will be waiting…and calling, when I pass this way again. I expect I’ll make that happen soon.
I grinned, pointed the big motorcycle south, and flew into the wind.
Yep, another perfect day.
I’ll see you on the road.
Index Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Afterword