American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver

The air was perfect for riding this morning. Slightly chilly, so that it woke me up as it ran through my sleeves. Dewey and fresh, so that I wanted to take big nosefuls of it just to smell the world. The light dew still hanging in the air settled on my face, not wet, just clean.

The road out to the park winds through the same brown rock canyons that I had ridden through at the end of the day yesterday; it runs along shallow dark creeks and hills topped with tinny smelling pines that released their fragrance as the sun warmed them.

When I hit Estes Park, CO the tall snowy peaks of the park came into view. At the park entrance, the ranger warned me that over the summit, the roads were under construction and they were advising motorcyclists to not travel beyond the point where the pavement ends. “Eh, I’ve seen worse,” I told her.

Mountains beyond valley.

Entering The Park

The road rose the moment I entered the park and despite the slow moving traffic, I was soon riding along a ridge that exposed the entire valley below.

Mountain View

Rising Elevations

Valley View

Valley View

A few more miles down the road, both the pavement and the trees ended, and I found myself among snow covered mountain tops, on a terrible dug out road. Once I reached a turn out that seemed like the summit I stopped, took in the view and headed back down the mountain.
Mountain Peak

Near the Top!

View of Mountains

The Payoff!

The views here are dramatic and it is definitely worth a visit; I gotta tell you though, for my money, I would have spent the entire day riding the smaller, brown mountains just outside of Boulder. The earth just feels more alive there, maybe less dramatic, but more beautiful to my eye. I took the long way home along highway 7, then 72 and 119.
Road through mountains

The Scenic Route Back

View On Route to Boulder

On Down The Road

I rode through Boulder one last time before I headed out to Denver.

Downtown Denver looks remarkably like downtown Bellevue, WA; it’s filled with the same highrise glass towers that plague most metropolis sky lines. There are the older monolithic squared off shapes mixed with the newer generation of slightly cuved surfaces that I can only imagine are intended to impart some character to the building. For the record, I’m all for this trend. The worst thing that can happen to a metropolis building is efficiency. Packing as much square building into a square plot of land results in ugly, glass boxes that kill my soul. Kill my soul dammit!

I visited the grounds of the Colorado state capitol and stolled through downtown. The real reward of the evening came when I visited The Great Divide brewing company and the Mercury Cafe down the street. The Great Divide serves fantastic beer in a small cramped taproom and sadly, closes far too early. The early close was not in vain though because the walk back to the hostel I was staying in, led me past the Mercury Cafe, a funky artistic space that I fell in love with instantly. I believe I’ve mentioned my fondness for hippies and places with character. Here I found both.

I may have had a bit too much to drink tonight, but I’m going to bed happy. Tomorrow I head out to the great plains and Kansas.


4 Responses to “Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver”

  1. You’re pretty much my hero. Could you include more pictures of you? I really miss you.

  2. It was great meeting you in Clarksdale – catch up on your blog! You know you’ll never remember or take the time for the great stories you are collecting if you don’t journal it often!! Be safe! Carlie and Chris

    • The big plan is to get caught up while I sit and drink beer on the beach in Key West. Then hopefully, I’ll be able to stay up to date … hopefully ;0

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