Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Man Without a Plan

It's always strange waking up in a tent after the first night camping.  I slept intermittently through the night, being randomly awakened by a couple of owls carrying on a loud conversation and by the bovine procession that continued through the night.  The movement wasn't loud.  It was the occasional calf that found itself separated from the herd and then proceeded to call mama with a genuinely sad MOOOOO!.  Mama cow would mooo back in the distance and the calf would trot off towards the sound of her voice.

I actually managed to sleep in till around 7am and then laid there a while listening to the cacophony of birds up for the early worms.  I crawled out of the tent to take a few photos and figure out how I was going to get out of this place.  Pulling in was not difficult.  It was dirt, but downhill and I managed to pull Hester into a good spot for parking.  As I surveyed my surroundings, it was clear that I would have to fight my way up the hill and out.  Speed and momentum would be key, but you don't just throw around an 850 pound motorcycle towing a 330 pound trailer.  Turns out you actually do and I made it out, remaining vertical.

My camp spot was near the top of a mountain pass that separates Angel Fire and Taos.  I rode the rest of the winding mountain road down and meandered into Taos for gas and a small nut and bolt.  The rough roads have taken a toll and a few minor repairs were needed.  53 cents later (thanks Ace Hardware), my tour pack was secured and I was off to Durango.  While stopped at the Colorado state line sign, I noticed my center stand was dangling loose underneath Hester's frame.  It had been there eleven years.  I suppose i should have checked it at least once in all that time.  I was able to remove the bolt without tools and stashed the assembly for installation later.

I stopped at the Durango Harley-Davidson dealership that sponsored Shark Week VIII in 2018.  The manager actually remembered me; well Hester.  Our group left a positive impression with that dealership and it was cool to reminisce with the staff about our week there.  From Durango, I headed north to Silverton and Ouray.  The ride to Silverton is great, but the ride from Silverton to Ouray is nothing short of epic.  It is extremely technical and challenging with a bike alone, much less tugging a trailer.  My clutch, brakes, and arms got a real workout.

I took the easy way out and set up camp at a KOA campground outside Ouray.  It's crowded, but I feel too lazy to search for something else and I really need a shower.  I need to decide where I'm going on Friday.  Red Lodge is on my list, but they've had forest fires and the status of the Beartooth Highway is still in flux.  I have an overnight stop planned somewhere between Ouray and Red Lodge.  Perhaps an extra day will allow them to get the fires under control.