Colorado Trip #3

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 ;).

Getting there

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.

Looks almost like Iowa/Nebraska, but I've only just started! Packed about as tightly as I could. There's a little bit of extra space...

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!

Good sizey room, that jacuzzi was great after that long day of riding.

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.

I'm not sure they know how to build windmills in Iowa. This is not how they work.

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…

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Comments

  1. Tian says:

    Wow, this was an epic post indeed. You’ve inspired me to plan another road trip! It’s unfortunate that I missed you just as I was gearing up for NDK. That was a good time, and somehow I completely missed all the flooding. Anyway, great photos as usual. You’ve really gotten a knack for sweet landscapes and outdoors photography. Hope to see more!

    • Aka says:

      Yeah, it’s too bad it didn’t work out, but I’m sure I’ll be there again next year or something. Too many things I’d like to ride still.

      Landscape photography is so much easier than people photography lol. You can just keep shooting until it works out, people you have to catch just right or ask them to pose etc… I feel the same way with dolls as well, have to really think out the pose, which I didn’t do too well on the trip. I think I got better as time went on but maybe next time I’ll be good.

      Missing out on the flooding isn’t a bad thing, especially if when you returned your place of residence was fine too.

  2. Smithy says:

    Looks like you had quite the adventurous trip!

    Gorgeous photos of that stunning scenery and some lovely shots of Horo too. Impressive!

    • Aka says:

      It really was quite an adventure. I still think it’s crazy how much ground I covered though on my “Big Trip” part, it was just destination after destination after destination. Was really hard to piece it all together after the fact, the only way I managed was I’d saved the GPS tracks so I could track back each day and break them apart.

      Hopefully next time I go, I’m a little bit more competent with my posing and can make Horo look a little bit more into the trip than sitting all the time. Still, I like the photos, it adds something over just plain landscapes I think.

  3. Rajura says:

    Great pics man!

    Looks like you had you had a great trip!

    I loved the Horo shots… I was kind of scared for her in a couple of them, but I know you made sure she was safe before you left to take them.

    Also, regarding your experience with the kid, I am glad to see there are other males out there that like her fluffy tail almost as much as me.

    Pros of your shots: It’s Horo, shots from behind… loved seeing her tail in all its glory and that she was unabashedly showing it off, new outfits for Horo.

    Cons: Human ears visible at times (that’s the only con… doing pretty good there)

    Oh, and those images are coming your way soon.

    • Aka says:

      Was a great trip indeed! I miss the state already.

      I did try and take as much care as I could with all the placements, but once I walk away there’s no telling what could happen. Would one of her joints give way, would the wind pickup, I am on mountains after all where weather changes rapidly. So many uncontrollable variables, I just had to give way and try anyway.

      As per your con, I’ve actually become to accustomed to the ears being there, that I don’t notice at all or even try to hide them ever. It’s just not something I care about so much at this point. Perhaps in making her ‘perfect’ in the end, but right now I care more about getting her tail attached properly and perhaps better matched to her hair, and shrinking her ears and putting magnets in them so that they’re easier to deal with on the road. The human ears really are the last thing on the list since it’s such a destructive mod.

      Interestingly, the people who seem most disapproving of Horo (and Dollfies in general) are anime fans and figure collectors. They seem to feel the doll is too much of the uncanny valley or RealDoll vibe. Which strikes me as really odd, since every doll meet I attend, and every outing I’ve been on, average people seem so interested and complimentary.

      • Rajura says:

        Wow, that is weird… my philosophy… the more real Horo looks… the better!

        I would that “average people” liked her more than a niche group.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Aka says:

          The more real the better, yes. But in terms of what’s more important to me right now, the human ears are like the bottom of the list. Her tail and animal ears bother me more that they’re not right. The human ears require destructive modification that can’t be undone.

          Think you missed a word in that second line, not sure what exactly you meant. Could go many ways if I try and read into it.

          • Rajura says:

            Sorry tried to go a little long more older style on that comment… read it as “If I had my way, more average people would be interested in her.”

            Also, the “weird” part I mentioned pertained to your comment about people who were seemed more likely to not like the current approach to Horo. Keep up the good work; fix those wolf ears and that tail to your standards.

          • Aka says:

            Ah I see. I’m alright with anime being a niche thing. I don’t think it’d be as fun if everyone knew.

            As for the weird, I think there’s just some stigma about dolls, and they don’t want to be caught liking one.

      • CptNerd says:

        Beautiful job, the few times I’ve been to CO the scenery was fantastic (I was there during the flooding, my great-nephew was supposed to get married that weekend in Estes Park). As for your Horo doll, you have to understand that every person has their own “uncanny valley”: for example, I have no problem with the CGI “Appleseed” movies, but my friend can’t watch more than a few seconds of them, because they fall into his discomfort zone. Your version of Horo is okay by me, but there are some aspects that are just on the edge for me. I have to say there are quite a few dollfies that I’ve seen that I can’t see, they’re just too far “into the valley” for me. But then I was always creeped out by the “sad kids on black velvet” paintings…

        • Aka says:

          I find they’re far less creepy in person. That added dimension I guess really helps. And once I’d seen them in person, I found most of the photos to be less creepy than they were beforehand. I think it’s the unfamiliarity perhaps.

          I suspect I’ll be making a habit of visiting Colorado… I just hope there isn’t a disaster every time. There were the fires, and then the floods… what next?

          Anyhoo, glad my Horo is ok by you! 😀

  4. Otakusan says:

    Have been seeing all your instagram pictures ^^ looked like you had a lot of fun this trip ^^

    • Aka says:

      Started taking the shots with my phone just to get the GPS coordinates of each location. Ended up posting them on Instagram because I couldn’t wait to share haha.

  5. B-Sabre says:

    The air base is Buckley AFB (http://www.buckley.af.mil/) and is home to the 460th Space Wing (Air Force Space Command). There’s also Colorado National Guard and Air National Guard units based there.