From Denver I returned to Grant to do my presentation with Horizons Unlimited. While I could and maybe should have done a presentation about my rad amazing extreme ADVENTURE on a 250. I chose a far more humble and left field with the subject: Yoga for Motorcycles. Yoga for motorcyclists is a topic that I picked up in the Ripley event in the UK years ago and has helped me out so many times on the road. I have since developed some of my own stretches that seemed more appropriate to myself which is a combination of yoga with physio stretches.
Horizons Unlimited Colorado 2016
I was greeted with various folk and was made to feel very welcome. It wasn’t long before I realized this was not going to be anything like the UK meet, the atmosphere was wholly different! Only one presentation at any given time. This was good as you always got to see everything, the bad thing is that they’re back to back and you may have been left starving hungry and you miss out on one presentation or another.
I somehow got roped into playing and discussing some of my youtube videos, I was fortunate to have my hard drive with my youtube videos with me, and didn’t need my laptop to play them.
The following is one of two things that later worked out to being mistakes with severe consequences.
On the second day of the weekend I decided to hike up to one of the nearby peaks. I don’t wish to profess to be a genius, and that’s an understatement. There was nobody to go with me, and no given trail up. So I b-lined to the top. In so doing I scratched myself up, left right and centre. I thought nothing of this at the time, I washed off and carried on with my manly business. Read the next article to find out why this was serious.
Grant onto Cheyenne
I had agreed with Gabby to meet in Boulder the day after the event as her work was also over by then. I decided to take a shortcut to Boulder through Rollins Pass. This is where ladies and gentlemen, I made my next mistake.
Rolling Pass by all accounts is an impassable road by motor vehicle, however, there’s many places I’ve taken Ursula and figured with my arrogance that I’d be able to make the quarter-mile of dirt just fine.
I left the Grant campsite very casually and late in the day and figured that the few miles I had to go, that I could optimistically ride the pass and set up camp nearer to Boulder for a casual ride in the next morning. What I had not expected was; that at 12,000 feet, the amount of big rocks on the trial, the barriers, snow and the cold, the lack of oxygen, the few hours left of daylight all amounted to a cluster-fudge of poor choices I made.
After crossing the first few signs saying no vehicle beyond that point; one would think you’d take heed. I did not. After quarter of a mile, I had crossed two rickety bridges, a few width restriction posts and now at what looked like the last hurdle a metal barrier with big boulders placed in front. I assumed without checking, that I would be riding down the mountain from here. I was wrong. After what felt like an eternity hauling the bike over the boulders and pass the barrier, I strapped the luggage back on the bike and started rolling down the hill when I met the monster of all monsters: a concrete wall blocking off the tunnel that the road went through. I was confused. I walked up and down looking for a way through. There wasn’t one! I turned round and now had to repeat the process of the barrier with the boulders except this time round was uphill! Daylight was fading, I was sweating, exhausted and constantly short of breath. It took me almost an hour to heave the bike out. I was dead!
Looking at the landscape around me cross referencing with my GPS, I saw that there was another trail that lead me down. What I didn’t expect, was that the angle of the slope and the softness of the ground was going to be a near impossibility to ride down. I started down and figured that by hook or by crook I’d make it. I hadn’t even made it a stones throw from the trail where the hideous barrier was and had already dropped the bike about 5 times. I figured I’d take the meandering path down which was longer but less steep. Again, still dropping the bike, having to unload the luggage pick the bike up, put the luggage back on, soon to drop the bike again. I rounded a bend and found myself with a snow drift. The snow was hard like ice, I tried digging my feet in and walking down a little way but it was hard just on my two feet. I couldn’t imagine doing it with the bike and luggage!
The sun now had set, and I now had to turn the bike round on a tight trail, with soft ground and try and ride the bike up hill. The tyres just ate into the ground! My spirit was broken, I was physically and emotionally exhausted with so many failures. The darkness was now creeping in and a fog started setting in. I was filled with fear!
I couldn’t see a tree to pitch my hammock, the sweat on my back was starting to feel very cold. I sat drank some water, took things into perspective started to do things a little more sensibly. I left the bike unloaded and slowly but surely walked her up and then in 3 more journeys returned for my possessions. I was so close to pressing the SOS button on my Spot device. I was running on empty from the barrier, by now I was demoralized, hugely overdrawn on my energy levels and I was getting a deep chill in me. I still had at least 10 miles to backtrack to get to the tree line once I got back on the dirt road I was on back at Rollings Pass.
I was after 10pm when I got back to the tree line, it was foggy and dark. I was frozen. My clothes were wet from the dense fog and my sweat combined. I found a pull off from the trail and hung my hammock, soon after stripped off and found dry clothes to get into. There are no words to express how angry I was at myself.
Reunited with Gabby
The following morning; I had to backtrack all the way I had come from to get onto the I70 freeway to get me round to Boulder. I arrived with enough time to get breakfast. I also had to buy a new USB charger which I also managed to mangle in the exploit of the evening before. I found myself waiting in a coffee shop for Gabby and she arrived soon after. We headed north on the back roads to Wyoming where the new adventure began, the plan was to head to the Badlands in South Dakota and see Mount Rushmore.
We rode to Cheyenne where a storm was brewing all along the way, and the landscape offered very little trees to camp. We took shelter in a motel for the night and had the most spectacular sunset in Cheyenne before night fall. Gabby and I were getting far more comfortable with each other at this point and we could make decisions about staying in motels without it being too much of a plan.