It would seem that it’s becoming an annual tradition to travel down and visit my favourite state in ‘murica. Three years running I’ve visited the “colorful” state of Colorado, each year with a different idea of how to tackle the state. This year I chose by motorcycle and it was easily the best visit yet. I covered a lot of ground and probably did so too quickly, which of course just means I’ll have to go back ;).
Initially, having limited vacation time I’d decided to ride down as fast as possible taking only two days to arrive at my destination, as I didn’t want to waste my precious vacation time on states like Nebraska and Iowa. However things didn’t quite go as planned, in some ways they went better than planned, but that’s a matter of perspective. Before the trip even started I was laid off from my job of many years employment, effective immediately. For most people this was decidedly a bad thing™, but for me it meant ‘unlimited’ time on my vacation in Colorado. Never the less, I still didn’t want to waste time in boring states so I proceeded with my two day plan.
The two day plan worked out well but those were a very long two days. Google says the traveling time is around 22 hours, but of course that doesn’t include stopping for gas, stopping to eat, stopping to rest/walk around (which you will do on a motorcycle), or any other kinds of delays such as construction or traffic. But what I did have on my side were time zones and a friend. The time zones meant that each day I gained an hour of daylight. The friend, well he booked my hotel at great discount which both saved me money as well as gave me a known target destination to pace out my day by. Which allowed me to relax more on the ride as well as at night in a nice hotel. And, once arriving I had another good friend who’d recently moved to Colorado to stay with free of any charge whatsoever. In fact, he and his wife fed me every day, essentially making my trip only cost the gas I used and the occasional meal I was able to sneak payment in on. Talk about a good deal!
I’d say the biggest downside of the trip down were the two states I wanted to avoid sticking around in, Nebrask and Iowa. Nebraska more than Iowa. Iowa at least had free WiFi at nearly every rest stop on the Interstate. Nebraska is just one big 550 km hill. Not the kind of hill you go “oh that’s a big hill” no, the kind where you don’t notice it’s a hill at all. The state appears to be flat in it’s entirety, but if you watch your elevation as you travel across it you’ll notice it continually rises and rarely drops. Other ways you might notice this is in your fuel economy, as if the 120 km/h speed limit on the Interstate didn’t already give you bad fuel economy the constant hill you were travelling up would make it worse.
My V-strom is not bad on gas at all, in fact it’s quite good on gas, even with all the weight and drag the boxes attached to my bike provide. None the less Nebraska allowed me to achieve the single worse tank of fuel I’ve ever had on the motorcycle, at just 6.25 L/100 km (16 km/L). Normally… Normally the V-strom gets around 5 L/100 km (20 km/L) at similar speeds, so this was a noticeable limitation on the distance that tank could provide, and since there’s pretty much nothing around for ever I did wonder if I was going to run out of fuel and eventually got to the point where I decided it would be best to draft behind trucks and conserve as much fuel as I could. Turns out the truck I decided to draft behind was a mover (not a moving truck, but he moved really fast for a truck), he sped across the whole state with me in tow and even used his 4-way flashers to warn me of debris on the road. He turned out to be a pretty cool guy and I appreciated it, so when I finally pulled off to get fuel I passed him and gave him a wave. Was all I could do.
I’d say if I learned one thing on my way to Colorado, it’s that truckers aren’t so bad, not the long haul guys anyway. Over the course of the trip a lot of them helped me in various ways. It’s the short haul guys who are soulless bastards.
Arriving in Colorado
At the end of the second day I arrived at my friends new house in a suburb of Denver. I was of course completely exhausted and quickly found out his road and driveway were quite slanty in awkward ways for a motorcyclist. To make a long story short, it took me way too long to park due to the combination of tiredness and Colorado designed roads and driveways. I’ll also mention their curbs are horrendous, you do not want a low car living in Colorado. Also due to my exhaustion, I didn’t ride the next day and helped my friend with some chores he had to do as he’d just moved in to the new place. I also had a wonderful bruise-like mark on my forehead thanks to my helmet. A reoccurring issue that seems to happen on extended trips like this one and my previous trip around lake Michigan. I guess that means my helmet doesn’t fit right, but it’s such a nice helmet and it’s so comfortable generally…