Monday, June 18, 2012

Pride 2012

Karla rode her own bike for the first time in the 2012 Denver Pride parade! I am very proud of her! Motorcycle start just about every pride parade in the nation, and Denver has the 3rd largest pride celebration in the country. Such a fun weekend.

Every year we go, we say "hey we should have decorated the bikes!" This year, we actually did. A few bucks at the dollar store goes a long way. Ha, that was fun. We were very festive.

Getting ready to start the parade

Karla and I staging with everyone

Parade was a hoot, Karla is a real crowd pleaser. Got ourselves parked downtown with the rest of the bikes then spent the next few hours enjoying the celebrations. We were able to spend time with our friends Dan and Liz and also found Doug who drove his Jeep in the parade! Once a year at pride we also always see some friends from up in Fort Collins and Loveland. I wish we lived closer.

Madame Lou Bunch Day June 16

This is the first year we made it up to Central City for the Madame Lou Bunch Day. What an odd and entertaining celebration! Very little info was available online, I just knew they would race a bed down mainstreet, there would be costumes and live music. Yep! Some pretty good beer too! Very small turnout, seemed to mostly be locals. Central City is a small little town though, overshadowed by Black Hawk that's for sure. If we don't have any plans next year I imagine we will go again.

Got up just in time for the rain to hit. Or, we thought the rain was going to hit, it never did!

Belly dancers. Not sure what they had to do with madames during the gold rush, but hey...

Karla did a spectacular job manning the camera today! I enjoyed not being behind the lens, actually.

The official Madame Lou Bunch leading the parade

Unlike the coffin races in Mantou Springs or Nederland, the teams here race one team at a time on a provided bed. Here it is:

Practicing for Pride the following day? Ha.

Setting up for the bed races

Nice costume

So each team has 2 guys and a girl. The woman stays in the bed. One man rides in the bed on the way down the hill while the other guy guides the bed. At the bottom of the hill they switch. There's even a "bed shirt" the guy who's pushing the bed has to wear. LOL it's pretty darn funny. Those beds are hard to steer and the hill is pretty steep!

Best picture EVAR! Karla rocked the camera today.

Thanks to a random stranger for this picture

There were two "high school reunion" teams, here's one of them with the high school mascot

Loved this woman. It was almost like today was the day she dressed like she was supposed to, and every other day of the year she was in costume.

How about some bed surfing!

Pretty flowers

Loads of dogs out, check out these two cuties

The MC was a great entertainer.

These two were rocking out

Another great outfit

Her little brother sat in her lap, wrapped in a boa, for over an hour.

She was pretty awesome. Dig the turquoise.

Fun times! Hope you enjoyed.

Full slideshow of 75 photos

Monday, June 11, 2012

Memorial Weekend ABQ trip

Karla and I made a beeline for a certain 5 star hotel (aka the Chesnut residence) in Albuquerque for Memorial Weekend to celebrate our 4th anniversary. Huge thank you again to Mom and Dad for generously hosting us! We enjoyed their company as always. This was Karla's first trip on her new bike, so a good shake down ride to see what needs changed before California.

Thursday after work we buzzed down to Raton, NM via the interstate.

At our gas stop on the way down, our planned gas station's credit card system was down. Well, we were in Trinidad, and I knew there was a gas station a bit down the highway. I usually stop at that farther one, but my gas light had been blinking for a while so I stopped earlier. I could see the exit and my bike starts cutting out.... Uh oh... I flip on the bluetooth really quick, "uh honey, I'm out of gas here, can you watch my backside?" Hopped in the right lane and was able to milk the bike, cutting out all over the place, to the offramp. Top of the offramp is a stop sign! Way better than a stop light. But there's a car in front of me. Karla's got to be howling in her helmet as she hears me yelling, "go on! Just roooollll through that stop sign! There's no one coming!! Goooooo!!" LOL!! The bike got me to the pump without dying. Now, a 2006 Ninja 650R is supposed to hold 4.1 gallons of gas...

Ha, I've officially pushed that boundary farther than I ever want to again! (Ugh, and man the price of gas along interstates is terrible! Yet another reason to stay OFF THEM)

Anyways, we threw on some layers in anticipation of Raton Pass and we were in Raton, NM within the hour. There I had a motel waiting for us and we made a dinner fit for royalty. ;-)

Sun is up Friday morning, time to hit the road. Interstate the rest of the way to ABQ this morning so we could meet Mom and Dad at our favorite cafe for a late breakfast.

Karla completely missed this big ice cream cone in the parking lot on the way in last night. Lol!

Stopped in Santa Fe for gas and had a nice chat with a middle aged man on a easter egg green 125cc Vino style scooter. Nice guy, local, fun to talk with. Highlight of the conversation:
"I pulled into a gas station one time, filled with Harley riders.
Went up to one of them and asked, 'do you want to join my club?'"

ROFLMAO! Great guy. Glad we stopped to chat. Only another hour down to breakfast at the Flying Star in ABQ. Yummy. We made it before the wind kicked up as well.

Dad took very good care of Karla and I. After we finished breakfast he walked out with an eclair! These things are monsters at Flying Star. Made fresh and some of the best I've ever had.

We leisurely unpacked, showered and spent some time with Mom and Dad. Went to Cycle Gear (motorcycle gear shop we don't have at home) and Karla picked up a few things. A delicious dinner back at the house rounded off a great day. The Whitewater-Baldy fire was burning in southern NM while we were down there, with wind blowing the smoke north. It ended up being the state's biggest fire ever (over 450 square miles)! Made for a beautiful sunset.

Great picture my mom took:

How about some hang out time on the patio before hitting the sack?

Mom's cat Jilly says Mom is too far away.

Saturday we had hoped to go for a ride, but the forecast changed our minds! It called for 38mph sustained winds with 60 mph gusts bringing up loads of smoke! Mom got this nice picture of us, thanks Mom!

Karla looks GREAT with her new bike!!

Late morning we headed up to Santa Fe with Mom in the car, and man was it windy already. Enjoyed walking around the old town plaza and Mom showed us this awesome new salt and vinegar shop. Hundreds of options, and you can sample everything. I didn't walk away empty handed! Lunch at La Fonda of course too, delicious. Thanks Mom!

Next stop was Trader Joe's for some 2 buck Chuck! Ok, ok, I know it's not $2 a bottle anymore, but it's still super cheap and their pinot grigio makes for a great summer wine. Then with my salts and balsamic and Karla's new set of beautiful turquoise earrings, we headed back south to ABQ. Wow were we glad we took the car. The car was tossed everywhere on the road with the very high cross wind. I am not sure we would have been able to safely ride. As we got farther south we noticed this:

Which got closer

And then we were firmly in the smoke. Did I mention we were happy to be in a car? It takes a lot for me to say that!

For obvious reasons spent the rest of the day inside! Great to spend more time with Mom and Dad.

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful! Perfect day for a ride, even the winds were normal (25mph or so).

Packed a lunch and headed out, first stop was the National Veteran's Cemetery in Santa Fe to give thanks.

Love this shot (no, we don't know the soldier), then I found Karla. Lol.

Spent some time walking around picking up flags that had blown over in the wind yesterday.

When we were ready to head out, we realized the young couple in the area next to us had followed suit and were walking around "replanting" flags. Awesome!

Decided to run the GoPro on photo mode, so I'll toss some of those in too. Testing the GoPro:

Next stop was the Abiquiu Reservoir, which just kinda popped up in the middle of nowhere!

It makes me proud that Karla has strong feelings about always wearing full gear when riding! She looks great!

What a beautiful area. I haven't ridden out here before. Very open desert, but enough going on that you're not bored. Fun roads with some twists and turns and beautiful vistas. Zero traffic, hardly saw anyone else at all. Weather was cool, wind wasn't too bad (normal for spring in NM) and plenty of sunshine!

A quick stop in Cuba and it was about time for lunch. We turned east on NM 126, which I knew would put us into some National Forest.

The turn from Cuba to 126 felt like we were almost turning into someone's driveway. Always a good sign!

126 was looking good! I knew it wouldn't be pavement the whole way, but man was it some nice pavement!

Keeping an eye out for a lunch spot, I turned off on a forest road.

Then found this faint 2 track. Perfect, lets go!

Here's the view from the top of the little path where we stopped for lunch just around a corner.

Oh yeah, that'll do! Out of the breeze and in the sun. The warmth was welcomed!

Full and ready to get going before we needed a nap, we headed back to the pavement. GoPro testing:

Karla's dirt experience really shines in stuff like this. No trouble at all, even on this new bike.

How about some more twisties? Oh yeah!

Now, I knew the pavement would end and had warned Karla of this. At home you almost always get a "pavement ends" warning sign. Not here! Came around this right hander and in the next straight BANG the pavement ended. Thankfully there was a cattle guard just before that slowed me down, and we were only doing 5 over anyway.

What a beautiful area! Near here was my first introduction to the outdoors. The elementary school I attended owned a small cabin up here and every student went up once a year. It was the start of a great relationship with the outdoors!

The road was well maintained with little washboard and only a few rocky bits. Having the bluetooth communications in the helmets really took the stress out of doing roads like this together.

Well about 10-12 miles in the dust started to pick up. Really fine dust.

I warned Karla and slowed down to almost a walking pace, looking for the fine sand that must be causing this.


Well, I found it!!!


Nice close up shot...


Dropped her nice and gentle. You can't travel on roads like this if you're worried about dropping your bike! It just adds to the fun! Karla admitted later she was a bit tense and not having the best of times, that was until I did this. Haha!

Well we got the bike back up and Karla noted I broke the sticky GoPro mount off the fairing. Whoops! Does it still work? (LOL)

Then I realized we forgot to get the proper picture necessary when one drops their bike! Doh! Well, better put it back down again. LOL!

Now 2 guys in an explorer came around the corner at us, slowed down and beckoned me to their window. Young kid at the wheel with Dad in the passenger seat. Kid says, and keep in mind I've got the bluetooth on so Karla can hear,

"What are you doing out here with that rocket?!?! 
That's such a shame you treating that bike that way! That doesn't belong here!"

Hahahaha I about had to turn my bluetooth off cause Karla was laughing in my ear!! Guess I need to finally take those "Ninja" stickers off my bike... Anyways, the guys warned us there was loads and loads more of this fine silt-like sand ahead, a half foot deep in places. I thanked them for their warning and they went on their way. Karla, clearly in a better mood now that I had broken the proverbial ice, was up for the challenge. "Lets try it!" Woohoo that's my woman!

Ha, that kid wasn't joking. That sand got deep! Easily 6 inches all the way across the road. We battled it uphill for miles! I wish I would have stopped to get a video of Karla coming up, but there just wasn't a good spot to stop! I was worried about getting all that sand in the camera too, so even when we did stop I stuck with just pictures. Thankfully with the bluetooth I could tell Karla was still having a great time, as was I. We crested the top of the road to find two bicyclists on what looked like hybrid dirt/road touring bikes fully loaded. Very nice middle aged couple from Vermont! Man, they were hardcore! We hadn't been complaining much, but seeing them definitely shut us up. We let them know it was all downhill from here, and they thanked us.

It was all downhill for us too! I sensed Karla was tensing up a bit again, so I did the honorable thing....

Bwahahahahahaha! Karla had a harder time finding a place to put her kickstand down this time! She managed though, had to get the right picture! Hahaha, we were all laughs.

Found this "motivational poster," thought it was a great fit:

A bit further down the road we realized we were both roasting! We had put our liners and heavier gloves on at lunch. Thankfully the road leveled out and gave us a bit of a shoulder to stop on. Still very deep sand though, atleast for street bikes with street tires. Pulled over so we could strip layers and take a break. Got some pics too, hopefully this helps show what we were dealing with! All in good fun, thankfully. We make a good team and we will talk about this adventure for a long time.

LOL, love Karla in this one

Good spirits all around!

Serious dust, we'll be cleaning our air filters!

Another couple of miles and the deep sand disappeared, replaced again by a normal dirt road, then back to pavement! We stopped at a nice pulloff to lube up our chains, throw on some layers again (it was still pretty cool!) and chat about the day!

Oh, and before I go any further, I must mention... Everyone noted I fell down twice right? TWICE! Has everyone noted the number of pictures of Karla's bike on it's side? Yep, that'd be a big fat ZERO!!! Way to go Karla!!

Check out how this fine sand acted like water and clung like mud to my pipes and radiator. Never seen sand like we did!

I failed to mention last night Karla thoroughly cleaned her bike with Pledge and microfiber. Her ZR-7 was all nice and shiny! I did the same with the Ninja....

Strange, water-like sand clung to everything!

Karla relaxing with the flowers. Reminds me of Eeyore.

Made our way back home through some nice twisties and two lane roads. What a beautiful area.

Mom tried to brush off the bulk of the dirt when we got back.... Yeah that didn't happen.... Thanks though Mom!

First thing's first!

Showers next.... Then time to pack! Lets get that case of wine on the back.

Another spectacular dinner at home topped off a spectacular day that we will not soon forget! 

Up early the next day for breakfast at the Flying Star.

We split Flying Star's southwestern version of an egg benedict (*drooling) and hit the road. Plan was to skip the interstates today in favor of some great 2 laners. This is usually how we go to/from ABQ, but splitting it into two days on the way down and leaving after work was a great plan this go around. Mom even packed us a lunch for the ride home. Thanks again Mom!

We left a little later than planned (isn't that always how it happens at the end of a vacation?), but still had plenty of time to loop around to Madrid, NM. What a great little detour this is! I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't know about this road until after Wild Hogs came out! We love doing it. Got a picture at Maggie's, the "diner" in the movie, of course! Karla's holding up 2 fingers, the number of times we've come through Madrid. Hopefully sometime soon she'll need both hands!

Beautiful, beautiful day. Not too hot. Very little wind in the morning. When it did pick up in the afternoon it was mostly at our backs. We both know this route very well, so it's quite relaxing and we already know the good spots to stop for lunch and gas. Just south of the Colorado border was our lunch stop today! Had this little forest road all to ourselves.

The cicadas were out in full force!

Look what Karla found!

Evidently we were having fun with shadows today...

The colors turned out a bit weird, but I really like this picture. How could anyone be luckier than me??

Made our way up to Antonito, CO where Karla turns on the bluetooth comms saying, "hey, look right!! Do you see that shiny building?? To the right??" Yeah, I don't see it. Really! I couldn't find it! Haha, so we turned around and she told me where to turn. Oooooooh there it is! Being able to talk to each other is awesome! People build weird things...

I'm glad Karla said something! I've probably been through Antonito 40 times and never noticed the shiny house... Haha! Didn't really get any more pics until, thanks to the bluetooth communications, we decided to stop for dinner in Bailey at this nifty hot dog joint. We ride past here all the time, I even have pictures of the place with my last bike, but we've never actually eaten here. MmmmMMmmmMMmmm am I glad we stopped!

They were packed with folks coming out of the mountains back to Denver from the holiday weekend. I'm sure they were slammed all day. That being said, they were friendly, efficient, all the orders were correct and everyone waiting in line was fun!

Great spot

Ooooo yeah. Not the cheapest, but I will say the quality of food was surprising given the volume and speed of service!

From Bailey it was an easy hour home, even with a little holiday weekend traffic. We were home well before the sun set, greeted by some very happy pets! 

Thank you Mom and Dad for your generosity and company! Great long weekend for us.

Full slideshow of 90 camera photos

Full slideshow of  GoPro photos