Originally Published in my column for RoadRUNNER Magazine on: 7/3/2014
Heading Home (End of Part 1)
Ben arrives in time for dinner and once again the chef does not disappoint. Southwestern cuisine, in the form of cattleman steaks, is on the menu tonight and it’s soon in my belly. As we work through out steaks, I spy two riders rolling up outside. One on a KLR and the other on a 1200 GSA, just like Ben and I. They are covered in dirt. I cannot help but jump up from the table and run out to greet them and to see if they are on the TAT as well. It turns out they are and we agree to meet up after they have had a chance to shower and wash their bellies out with beer.
After dinner we exchange some notes on how we all got to our current point on the trail. It turns out they too avoided much of the Oklahoma crisscrossing. They did, however; meet up with the Norwegian couple I have been trying to find since I left Tennessee. I still hope to cross their path at some point. They are apparently going quite a bit slower and are now behind me. Perhaps after my week in Colorado they will catch up and our paths will cross. As for our new friends here at the inn, it turns out they are only going a little further before heading home. The coast is not in their future this time around.
The next morning Ben and I are in no hurry. Even with the detour to Salida, we can easily be back in Denver by late afternoon. We wish our fellow riders well as they get an earlier start. When we do hit the road, as always, the scenery does not disappoint. Even though I live in Colorado I never tire of the trails here. Majestic and breathtaking are two words added to the English language perhaps just because of Colorado. As for the purple mountain’s majesty . . . it really does exist. This place is incredible. We eventually catch up with the riders from the morning. Their early departure has provided us scouts as they have turned around due to fenced off roads. This saves us time as we explore detours and continue on. One such route inspires a shameless selfie at Hermit Road! Thanks detour, this will go great in the scrapbook!
After one more quick side trip we stop to fuel our bikes and ourselves, before breaking from the trail and heading home to Denver. It is a strange feeling, being gone for so long. I’m in the final stretch toward home where it’s been business as usual for everyone else. It sounds like a cliché, but life really does goes on. Whether we are on a spiritual two-wheeled journey, a long vacation, or recovering from the loss of someone we love, life continues. It may not always feel pleasant but for those of us left behind, it is a fact. It may not get easier, but the road is still there—and as long as it is there I am going to keep riding.
When this wild adventure continues I will be meeting up with my new riding partner, fellow RoadRUNNER contributor Luke Swab. It will be the first time we are meeting. He has purchased a bike from a guy in Salida and will be flying in from Michigan to join me as we head toward Oregon together.