The Great White North - Day 1 - "Out of Dodge"
Day 1 (7/11/19)
Going to work this morning was quite possibly one of the hardest things I had to do, knowing we had this amazing trip only hours away. The morning went by quickly though since I had a lot of things to catch up on, meetings to go to, babies to kiss (?), etc…but no one cares about any of that business, so finally early afternoon rolled around (let’s be real, it was noon when I jetted out) and it was time to head home and swap out the truck for the bike for an ELEVEN DAY RIDE!
I’d spent the majority of the week leading up until now getting everything packed and loaded onto the bike, triple checking everything, attempting to contain my excitement, going back and checking the bike bags, making sure the GPS was about as accurately loaded as it was going to get, still trying to settle the excitement to a semi-normal level, and then checking the bike again. When I got home from work I knew I was all set so I gave the fiancee a kiss goodbye, the dogs some pets, and I was off to meet Bob at the designated gas station to fuel up and hit the open road.
I’m calculating mileage from when we met at the gas station as the starting mileage since that’s when I snapped the first picture, rather than from what it was at when I left my house…with the amount of miles we had ahead of us, the few that got missed between home and the gas station really aren’t a big deal. So we’re going to start at 12,368 on the odometer, GPS ready to go, fuel gauge still leveling itself out, and the time being about 1:30pm.
I had gotten some bluetooth headphones to listen to some music as well as the GPS from within my helmet. It’s kind of a handy setup with the GPS, you can connect your phone and the headphones through the Garmin and then use it as the main control so you don’t have to worry about having your phone out too. Well of course less than a mile into the ride I was having some issues with those headphones staying in my ears which was quite annoying…maybe my head is just misshapen, but luckily I brought along a backup pair of wired headphones that worked amazing for me the rest of the journey.
Once on the road it was pretty easy sailing since we got out of town before any rush hour traffic hit. The wind beating on us, the roar of the engines, the open-ish road, it was all here and felt amazing. We cruised all the way to Glenwood Springs where it was time for a break and some fuel. We got the bikes parked and secured and headed into our favorite little bar in town, Doc Holliday’s Saloon. If you’ve never been it’s definitely worth checking out. Not a fancy bar by any means, it’s exactly our style…a semi-shitty dive bar with a good atmosphere, shifty patrons, friendly bartenders, and cold beer. What more could you ask for? We had some brews, closed out, fueled up, and got out of there on the road to Grand Junction where we’d spend the first night.
It didn’t take long to get from Glenwood to GJ, but it still felt good getting into the hotel room, knowing we were now into the trip, and equally out of the July heat. For some reason the hotel pool was closed though which wasn’t ideal so we just relaxed in our room for a while. Our Aunt Doofie had very recently lost her battle with cancer, and so in her memory I brought along a bottle of scotch as that was her drink of choice. We poured a glass and toasted our Aunt: to you and the impact you left on all of us and everyone you ever met – you are greatly loved and missed.
Since it was so hot going through western Colorado we were due for a shower before dinner as we were both decently sweaty and stinky so we got all cleaned up and went out for a bite to eat. We found a brewery/restaurant called the Rockslide Brewery which turned out to be pretty good. Definitely worth checking out once but had more of a larger, chain feel similar to Rock Bottom Brewery which I’m not a big fan of…but it still got the job done filling our bellies. There was also some sort of street art/festival going on that we went through in Historic Downtown GJ, but by the time we arrived everyone was pretty well cleared out and the vendors were packing up. All the better as to avoid masses of people. Downtown Junction is a pretty nifty spot, kind of hipsterish but that’s fine. I’m not very tall, 5’9″ on a good day when I’m all stretched out, which makes the F800GS semi-difficult sometimes, and the slightly higher and wider seat I put on didn’t help my cause. Well we found a bike a little taller than even my bike that of course I was going to climb on…let’s be real for a moment here, I’m still just a child in a 32 year old’s body.
Overall it was a great day, we were able to take advantage of the half day and get some miles under our belt which was nice to make the trip that much longer. No problems from the bikes, no problems with the weather, and the journey was underway!