Our push north through Colorado has been all about the weather thus far. The scenery is beautiful, but with 60mph winds, rain, snow, hail, and freezing temperatures, have made it a big challenge.
And to look back on this, now that I'm writing this on a comfy hotel bed in a warm room, I realize Sash has barely a 1 1/2 years riding experience, with only a little in the cold and rain.
We didn't make it to Denver like we had hoped. We got as far as Canon City instead. All we had to do was ride north along US-285 from Monte Vista, and it would take us right into Denver. But even though we bundled up with all sorts of cold weather gear, we could only ride in this stuff for so long until it bore into our psyches.
Leaving Monte Vista in the morning, we rode up US-285 with 60 MPH winds hitting us on the side, causing us to ride leaned over. The temps were in the mid-40s.
By the time we got to Poncha Springs, temperatures dropped to 34 degrees F, and snow was falling nearly horizontal in the wind, though not yet sticking to the ground. We pulled into a market/deli to get some hot tea.
"We just came from Fairplay", one of the other customers said. Fairplay is a town about 60 miles further north on the US-285. "It's about 10 degrees colder there, and the snow is blowing even harder."
We decided taking US-285 was no longer an option.
Poncha Springs was right on the intersection of US-285 and US-50. We could take US-50 east to the I-25, and ride the interstate up to Denver, which should be a little warmer. So that's what we decided to do. But we found more snow fall, more chilly temperatures, and more wind. We got as far as Canon City, and decided we had had enough.
In my college days, I used to ride a motorcycle in 40 degree temperatures. I remember hugging my motor at stop lights to warm my hands. I remember years ago riding through the Sitgreaves National Forest in March, in 20+ degree temps, and feeling my hands on fire. I remember riding the ALCAN under a heavy downpour for some 100+ miles, soaked through my gear, just to get ahead of the storm so that I could set up my tent before it caught back up to me.
I had become used to riding in the cold and wet. I don't enjoy it any better, but I've learned that it's always temporary and that somewhere ahead is a warm dry place, even if it's a mummy bag inside a Coleman tent. And when I look back through my life, I've always saw it as trying to prove something to myself, if I couldn't prove it to others.
But this is really the first time Sash has spent some significant miles through bone-shivering weather. And she took it like a trooper, taking on fierce crosswinds, snow flurries, rain, and even some hail, while also dealing with a sour stomach from a bad meal at a restaurant in Monte Vista.
However, it's not to say that she got through it unfazed. It wore her out. It wore us both out. There's an emotional toll to it as well, and it really tested the bonds we developed over our three years together thus far.
The women at Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit really helped her through it, however. Thus far on this road trip, she's shared her experiences on their Facebook Group, and received overwhelming support and encouragement to keep going.
So tomorrow, Day 9 of this journey, we head into Denver via US-50 to the I-25.
|Sash bundling up at a Conoco station in Saguache, CO|
|Looking at Hunts Peak, Red Mountain, and Bushnell Peak, US-285, Colorado|
|It's snowing in Poncha Springs, Market/Deli|
|US-50 eastbound along the Arkansas River|