12 August 2015

Horizons Unlimited--Grant, CO

"Going around the world on a motorbike is just the most amazing fun!" This was the first thing Lindsay Knapkin said in The Acheivable Dream: Ladies On The Loose, a film produced by Grant and Susan Johnson--Horizons Unlimited. I bought this film a few years ago, not long after I read Lois Pryce's books, Lois On The Loose and Red Tape and White Knuckles. It is a hilarious and inspiring film, and it made me want to get to know this huge group of people who also think traveling by motorcycle is the best way.

Horizons Unlimited has numerous events around the world each year, mostly dedicated to bringing travelers together for seminars and presentations pertaining to traveling the world by motorcycle. The Colorado event is slightly different than all the rest--it is a riding event. Thought there are presentations in the evening, the point of the Colorado event is to get out and ride. This year, base camp was at the Terry A. Gross (Geneva Creek) campground in Grant, CO. Most people came in on their bikes--of ALL varieties, though adventure touring bikes made up the majority--checked-in, and set up camp Friday afternoon/evening.

Loaded up and ready to roll. It was in the 90s when I left Denver--I was ready to get out of town!
Thumper on the right, Grant and Susan's new-to-them GS on the left, and a Harley in the middle.

The campground has a beautiful area, across a rickety bridge, where we were able to set up tents along the river. They didn't allow cars across the bridge, but we were told we could ride the bikes across, and by the end of the evening, the was nothing but motorcycles and tents as far as I could see. For future reference, please note the campground has pit toilets but no water--campers must bring their own.

I mean, come on! This is a beautiful site!
Josh drove the MINI that weekend because we were dog sitting. Oliver got to go camping with us!

Friday night, after we had all eaten bar-b-que made by the locals, Fritz Sampson gave a presentation on his trip from Ireland to Mongolia. He had some nice pictures and fabulous video which accompanied his stories of being on the road, meeting people, and conquering the dreaded border crossings.

This guy rode his Harley down with some friends, but before they left, he decided he didn't have enough space for everything he wanted to bring. So, he fabricated this box for his bike.
Ready to roll Saturday morning. Several of these riders split from us at Jefferson, and we rode on to catch a larger group at the summit of Boreas Pass.

Saturday morning, we awoke to a beautiful day. I would only be able to ride part of the day as I had a wedding to attend that evening. Listening to where people would be riding, I decided I wanted to hop in on the Boreas Pass ride. The group would be going on to do other riding, but I would be able to blast home in time to get cleaned up and go to my friend's wedding.

This is Charlie from Boulder. This pic shows that Boreas is relatively smooth, but I was still amazed to see Charlie bumping down the pass. Pic by Fritz Sampson
Wide open, easy road. Beautiful scenery abounds on Boreas Pass and I loved every minute of it. Pic by Fritz Sampson

Boreas Pass goes from Como, off 285, into Breckenridge on highway 9. It is an easy pass to ride, even if you're on a chopper. This is a pass I could easily do in a top gear, but it tends to have traffic on it. Any car can make it easily to the summit and back down, as it is well maintained. There is even a place in Como where one can stop and pick up a guide for a self-guided tours. Numbered markers along the way correspond to different historical facts, and this is a popular place to escape to for a weekend drive.

Fritz Sampson--this was his first real riding since breaking a bone in Mongolia and having to end his trip early. We had a really nice day on our F650GSs!
Plan B--1150GS
Fritz and I have cousin F650GSs--mine is the older, more beat-up cousin.

When we got to Breck, we rode over Loveland Pass to the Loveland Ski Area and on to Georgetown. I had never ridden that pass, but I thought it might be a nice substitution for the interstate. It was a great road, and the summit had amazing views. In Georgetown, Fritz and I had lunch together, before we went our separate ways--Fritz over Guanella Pass to camp and me back to Denver and a wedding.

After the wedding, I managed to get back for two presentations, one being Grant and Susan's story of riding around the world from north to south. They had many pictures and good stories to tell. For being a couple of mild-mannered Canadians, they sure know how to have adventures! As the presentations ended, a number of us hung out around the campfire, enjoying beer and some music by two people I'm not sure any of us knew.

Wanda on her nearly new V-Strom. She went from a Yamaha V-Star 650 to the DL650, and is just getting to know her bike. But, it sounds as though this woman likes to ride as much as I do!
Stephen--he rode Mosquito Pass on his Super Tenere. When I asked him about the ride later that evening, he smiled, shook his head, and said it was a challenge. After riding Mosquito recently, I am super impressed.

Sunday was the end of the event, and people packed up and slowly headed out. It's hard to describe the feeling I have as I see campgrounds emptying and people rolling out, but I usually feel a heaviness in my heart. I know that I will see some people again in the future, and I know that I will have enjoyed the company of people I may never see again.

Luckily, I was able to hook up with three other people to enjoy a fun ride home--Livio on an 1150GS, Sawyer on a DR650, and my friend Dusty Wessels on his 1200GS. We rode over Guanella Pass into Georgetown, where Dusty and Livio traded bikes for a short time. The plan was to ride the frontage road, missing Sunday I-70 traffic, into Idaho Springs, where we would pick up Oh My God Road.

On the frontage road, since we weren't riding very fast, I rode with my visor up. Boy was that a bad idea! There I was, pleasantly riding along, when all of a sudden a large insect hit me square in the nose and exploded on my face. EXPLODED! I could feel bug guts all over my skin, and they speckled my sunglasses. Thankfully, Dusty pulled off the road a few minutes later and I was able to examine the carnage. Whatever color the bug was on the outside, he was bright orange on the inside. There were streaks of orange guts across both cheeks, and covering my nose. I hastily wiped it away thinking, "Ew, ew, ew eeeewwwwww!" When I tried to wipe the lenses of my sunglasses clean, the sticky orange guts spread across the plastic in a film, and I had to resort to spitting on them to get them clean.

Ah, the glamorous motorcycling life....

As planned, we picked up Oh My God Road in Idaho Springs. If you live in Colorado and have never ridden it, you should. It is a short road which, paired with Two Brothers Road, takes you into Central City. The views are magnificent, and I imagine that if it is done in a car or large truck, one may say "Oh My God!" as they look over the steep drop offs. On a motorcycle, it is just fun to ride the road looking across the valley and at the beautiful color of the rock and mineral on the sides of the mountain.

Dusty and I split from Livio and Sawyer in Blackhawk, and rode on to Nederland. The Sunday traffic was annoying, so we cast aside plans to continue on the Peak to Peak highway, and had lunch in Nederland at a brewpub. As we perused the menu, I said I was ordering nachos and Dusty said he was ordering wings--let's share! We agreed, remembering we had decided on the same thing in a brewpub in Moab last April. It's becoming a thing. Following our lunch, we rode to Lyons together, and then split, heading in opposite directions. It had been a good day, and a nice end to yet another fun Colorado summer weekend.

Sawyer, Dusty, and Livio in Georgetown. Guanella had nearly no traffic on it, and we had a fun ride heading over the pass.





1 comment:

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