Anne’s bike is purring as we leave Santa Fe heading north at lunchtime. What a change from last week. We are “back on the road again” as Anne likes to sing often as we leave in the morning. The open road beckons and we are back on highway US 285 heading for Taos. We want to make good time as the afternoon thunderclouds are starting to build. This is a normal occurrence here, but it’s better to avoid the storms if we can.
We make good progress until, yes you guessed it, Streak starts to play up again. The intermittent loss of power creates a real problem as we limp towards Taos. The issue seems the same as the one we had before. What a bummer. We push on slowly to Taos and arrive before the rain. We will see what tomorrow brings.
Since we had no problem with Streak for the first 35 miles or so, and it started to occur after Streak stood in the hot sun for an hour, we will see what a cool morning brings, plus as we head further north to higher altitudes, hopefully the temperatures will drop. Dinner is obtained from a Walmart store across the road and we feast on carrots, humous and low fat biscuits. A change from some of the high calorie meals we have been eating.
We start the next day with some trepidation, will Streak perform and for how long? We take it easy as we head north, the spectacular landscape unfolds before us, we have always enjoyed this part of the USA and it is great to be back in summer. We have decided that will take the back roads to avoid the high speeds of traffic on the interstate highway if we have to limp along. Some backroads! Great two and four lane lane roads take us northwards. All good so far plus the temperatures seem lower today.
The air seems so fresh and clean, the smell of the pines is wonderful and when the thunderstorms start to develop that scent that heralds their arrival fills the air. We like the smell of the ocean and the smells of the mountains. It would be a hard call to choose a favourite.
We stop at Fort Garland, one of a series of military forts established in the late 1850’s to protect miners and settlers in the San Luis valley. The fort was only in use from 1858 to 1883 after which the westward movement of people and the removal of the indians made the fort redundant. It is interesting to see one aspect how the west of the USA was developed over only 25 years.
As we swing west smelling the clean air, snow cooled by the still covered peaks even though we are progressing through summer, we enjoy the wide open spaces with mountains, what a great place to ride.
We have always tried to support local businesses back home and while we use the larger chains such as Hilton for accommodation when it makes sense as we get benefits due to our Diamond status, elsewhere we look local. We find that the staff at local cafes and hotels seem to go that little bit further, maybe because they have the flexibility and individuality that the larger chains do not have or foster. In Salida we found both a great motel and breakfast cafe that we really enjoyed the service of and would recommend to others.
Our route from Salida northwards on US285 then onto US24. High plateau country surrounded by snow-capped peaks soaring to over 14,000 feet, twice our hight on the plateau. We are looking forward to returning to this country after visiting Denver.
Manitou Springs is a small historic touristy town just outside Colorado Springs. We spend a relaxing evening walking the town and enjoying the local brewery’s food and ales. Our ride out to Denver will take us via the ‘Garden of the Gods’. The name came in 1859 after one Colorado City surveyor thought this would be a good location for a beer garden, before his colleague suggested that this could be a ‘Garden for the Gods’ and the name stuck.
One year on the road today, what a milestone. It would have seemed unlikely when we set off from Verwood in June 2014 feeling like frauds on shiny new motorcycles. ‘Riding round the world’ really! I think some of those other riders on the cross Chunnel train would have thought so. But here we are a year later after so many adventures and having met many wonderful people, we are very lucky.
We arrive at BMW of Denver in Aurora and Streak and Storm are handed over for their 24,000 mile service and hopefully the diagnosis and solution to Streak’s throttle lag (the spluttering and dying not having occurred again for the last two days). Time will tell… Now for a relaxing weekend with our friends Mike and Karen.