2020 In Review

Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast: 2020 in Review-Riding Through a Pandemic

Hello Motorcycle Touring Enthusiasts!

I want to take a few minutes to reflect on this past year of Tours. The pandemic has made this a difficult year! It has been a stressful year! And it has been a frustrating year! I’m not the only one who has had challenges and issues this year, I know, we are all in this together. But even though it’s been difficult, there have also been some good things that came of this year as well. One thing good, I have received my 200,000 mile patch from HOG! And mind you, that’s just the miles that I’ve accumulated since I purchased a Harley Davidson and become a HOG Member. I’ve been riding motorcycles since pre-teens and none of those miles are included!

I started this page shortly after I lost my job (due to Covid-19 shutdowns) and had time on my hands. I picked up a GoPro and started recording and documenting my rides in the Spring. Throughout the year I shared routes, pictures, videos and experiences of my tours so that you would get excited about riding, touring and exploring new interesting places. My site provides resources and links for booking hotels and motorcycles, mapping routes, checking the weather, and even shopping links. This site is meant to share my experiences as a Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast and offer a One Stop Site for all your touring needs.

Due to Covid-19, I was not able to go to all the places I would have liked to go, like Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, or even Canada, which is a bucket list ride for me and was in the plan for 2020. But there were a lot of places I was able to go once hotels and restaurants opened back up, like a bunch of my favorite places here in Colorado, Texas, and the California Coast, which was also a bucket list ride. I’m hoping for an even better riding season in 2021!

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I didn’t let this virus and restrictions stop me from “living” my life. Riding my motorcycle was the only thing that kept me sane! I was alone on the road, social distancing, wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart and following all the guidelines. I trusted that the hotels and restaurants were following them too, and it appeared they were. I survived because of wind therapy, the open road and my trusty bike, April. Riding my motorcycle is like breathing, for me, if I can’t do it, I may not survive.

Moving forward into 2021, I plan on continuing my touring adventures, writing about them, sharing them and hopefully inspiring you all to get out and ride. But, I have started working again, not in my professional field of study as a Systems Administrator, yet, but it takes up a lot of time in my day and I may not be able to ride and post as much as I have this past year. I will get back into my career path, but for the time being I’m looking for ways to supplement my income.

Somebody once asked me, “If you could do the one thing that inspires you the most, and make a living, what would it be?” This is what I would really love to do…RIDE My Harley! If you would like to go for a motorcycle ride with me to get some wind therapy, practice being a good passenger, experience how it is on the road with two wheels, or maybe you’ve ridden a lot and miss being out on a bike, just shoot me an e-mail. And come Spring and Summer next year, if you want to ride with a group, take a weekend trip, or even a week long motorcycle tour, let me know, because if you have the time, the passion and the finances for the motorcycle tour, I’ve got the bike.

For me, once I got that soul stirring feeling of being on the open road on my bike, I knew that this was the way I wanted to travel and tour this beautiful state of Colorado and this country. I’ve traveled by car, plane, and train so I can honestly say, for me, the experience is 100 percent better on a motorcycle. And YES, Even in the winter season we can get some beautiful days to ride. If I can spark a passion for motorcycles into somebody by giving them a ride, well then, Let’s Go For A Ride!

So, here’s to bidding farewell to 2020 and bringing in 2021 to make a fresh start for a better riding season!

Thank you for following me on my motorcycle tours and reading about my adventures! Leave me comments or send me an e-mail with any questions, comments or concerns.

And remember, Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

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Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast

South Central Colorado – Alamosa

Two Day Tour to Great Sand Dunes

South Central Colorado has some great places to visit, Alamosa is one of them. This is the first over-niter I’ve been able to do since the COVID-19 lock-down. The Great Sand Dunes have just Re-opened so I thought I’d go check it out. The hotels are open, I stayed at the Best Western, and some restaurants are open with restrictions.

I took the HWY 285 route all the way up to HWY 17, which took me right along the San Juan Mountain range where the Great Sand Dunes are nestled up to. HWY 17 runs right into HWY 160 and that took me right into Alamosa, CO. In route to Alamosa I road over Kanosha Pass (10,001′), which is exceptionally beautiful in the fall, and Poncha Pass (9,101′), just South of Poncha Springs. Also, on the way to Alamosa, if you like to soak your weary bones in natural hot springs, there are a few you can check out that aren’t very far from Alamosa. Of course, I’d recommend calling for reservations and be prepared for possible “clothing optional” locations also. Joyful Journey Hot Springs and Spa and Valley View Hot Springs, clothing optional, are just a couple to mention. If you enjoy watching bats leaving their cave, there is a nearby viewing area not far from Valley View Hot Springs called The Orient Mine.

Denver to Alamosa

I left about 8:30 AM and I arrived at the Best Western in Alamosa around 1:30 PM. Check-in was at 2 Pm but they were able to get me into my room a little early. Upon check-in is when I found out that there will be NO hot breakfast and they will be serving a “brown bag breakfast” for takeout. This was a disappointment since I called the night before to check on pool/hot tub availability (NOT OPEN) and if there was any other information I needed before I arrive. The brown bag breakfast had a banana, granola bar, water, and a mini muffin which was not the egg breakfast I would normally eat. I wish I would have checked the iHOP next door to see if I could get breakfast there. The room wasn’t as clean as I expected and the vending machine gave me a very stale candy bar. I’m not putting down Best Western, I’ve had great experience with them before, but I think the takeaway is that amenities and staffing may not be up to par yet.

Great Sand Dunes from Alamosa

The weather on the way out was perfect, except for a little rain in the afternoon (to be expected in Colorado), which made for a great ride. It was still cloudy and windy until about 4-5 PM, but when it cleared up, I decided to head out to the Great Sand Dunes! The sun was out and the temps had cooled off since the rain and clouds, so the ride to the sand dunes was great. The ride from Alamosa is only about 45 min, there was very little traffic, and the park was not charging an entry fee! The park has plenty of places to pull over and take some great pictures of the dunes, camping is open, the visitor center is still closed, and surprise, there is a river running running between the parking lot and the dunes! I’d never seen this before, never been here this early in the season, but it happens due to the snow melt runoff from the mountains (https://theknow.denverpost.com/2019/06/03/great-sand-dunes-waves-beach/216254/).

Great Sand Dunes_06-06-2020

I did not trapes through the water to get to the dunes, but I did take some pictures and video, it was a pretty cool sight to see. Oh, and the mosquito’s are hungry! I have been here before and climbed up the sand dune mountains, and let me tell you, climbing a mountain of sand is a challenge, but I’d recommend it to anyone who visits the Great Sand Dunes. I rode back to the hotel and had KFC for dinner then figured out my route home.

Now that I’ve had my brown bag breakfast, I’m ready to saddle up on my steel horse and ride North for home. I found out that HWY 82 opened and I can run Independence Pass, so off I go! This turned out to be one of my better decisions! I can also see this road would be a great fall colors ride too, it has a ton of Aspen trees! Anyway, I picked up HWY 82 from HWY 24 so the first vision of natural beauty was the Twin Lakes on the left and massive snow capped mountains straight ahead! This was a beautify ride all the way up to the summit! I stopped at the summit for a little break and to take in the raw beauty. Oh, and it was COLD with a lot of snow on the ground! There was a path that went further up for a view point, but the clouds are rolling in and it can still snow up here, so I passed on the hike and headed down to Aspen.

Independence Pass 06-04-2020
Alamosa to Denver via Independence Pass (https://goo.gl/maps/EJVF23uiuoxc7buF8)

The ride down to Aspen did not disappoint! There was very little traffic, a lot of twisties, and plenty of spectacular mountain views all the way to Aspen.  Aspen was busy and it’s been threatening rain all the way down the mountain…my luck ran out and here comes the rain. Fortunately the showers are scattered and I’m not getting soaked so I kept moving through Aspen. I’ve never had the chance/time to spend in Aspen, but it looks like a great place to visit.

From Aspen I stayed on HWY-82 and headed to Glenwood Springs where I will fuel up, take a little break and then hit the road for the final stretch home. If you have the time and ever get the chance to check out this place out, I highly recommend it!

Glenwood Springs is where I picked up I-70 East to Denver. The ride through Glenwood Springs on I-70 is probably one of my favorite highway rides. Steep canyon walls, tunnels, and the rushing river all make for a beautiful ride. Be aware, there is road construction going on, so it’s not as nice as it usually is, but the traffic isn’t too bad so I’m rolling right along. From Glenwood Springs it’s about 160 miles and roughly 3 hours away from Denver. There’s some road construction just after Georgetown through Idaho Springs, other than that, it wasn’t a bad ride. But, a word to the wise, I-70 can and will get very congested during weekends, holidays and practically all summer from late morning through early evening…plan your trip accordingly if you don’t want to sit in hours of bumper to bumper traffic. Once again, if you have time on your way down I-70, there are several towns you should check out. On the way down to Denver along I-70, you’ll go over Vail Pass (10,666 feet) and through the Eisenhower Tunnel (11,158 feet).

Alamosa_Left – BuenaVist_Right

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

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COVID-19 and Motorcycle Riding

How to Ride and Avoid COVID-19

Is Motorcycle Riding Legal During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

The short answer is, Yes. You can ride your motorcycle in Colorado. There are still restrictions of groups no more than 10 people gathering and you must still practice social distancing. People from the same household can ride 2 up. It is still recommended that people wear face masks or bandanna’s, wear gloves when touching things, don’t touch your face, and thoroughly wash your hands. If you stop to go into a store or gas station, you’ll still need to wear your face covering. Be aware, there are still gas stations that do not have restrooms open to the public. If you live in any other state, other than Colorado, you need to be sure of any restrictions IN YOUR STATE.

I can’t stress enough, this is only my view and opinion from what I’ve seen, read, and heard from the same State, City, and County officials that you’ve heard it from. But I tell you what, if you have the virus and don’t know it, you give it to somebody else and they get sick or die and it’s traced back to you, well that’s on you! I don’t want to be the person that somebody tries to blame for a virus related death! Is the risk worth the reward? I’m extra careful about keeping my face covered around other people while I’m in public places, I wear my gloves when I get fuel, I stay at least 6 feet apart from others and I wash up and change clothes when I get home! I would recommend the same for my touring buddies! This is all about being safe and avoiding COVID-19 and not spreading the virus while riding.

I’m not sure and won’t really speak about dirt riding or back country riders on dirt bikes or ATV’s. From what I’ve seen and heard, there are still a lot of closures to public, state and national forest areas. It is best to call or check the official website of the area you want to ride. A couple weeks ago I rode through Red Rocks (paved roads) and this week, they have it closed off. So be prepared to change direction or plans during this time of uncertainty.

Also remember, just because there is less traffic on the roads and more breathing room, doesn’t mean we can be speeding and driving recklessly! This is the time of the year when people are getting out on their motorcycles and our numbers are growing but those driving cars and trucks aren’t watching for us yet. I am surprised how much speeding I hear on the roads near my home!

Motorcycle Riding To Other States?

As quoted directly from the CDC.GOV website, “The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America (Official document- https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/) plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html)

So, what it boils down to is you can travel across state lines At Your Own Risk, but you better check the state, city and county’s you’re traveling into for any restrictions before you leave. Don’t travel if you’re sick! If you get sick while you are traveling, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent spreading the infection. Some medical facilities may be closed or overwhelmed with patients in areas that you’re traveling as well. If you are planning an over night stop, be sure to check if there are hotels/motels open in the area before you leave. Also, there are many local, state, and national parks that may be temporarily out of service. The planning and preparation for traveling long distance on a motorcycle is very important to begin with, now it’s going to be critical! Me, personally, as bad as I want to start traveling, I will not do it… yet! I don’t want to get stranded somewhere that has a major outbreak while I’m hundreds of miles from home! There are plenty of places nearby where I can get my wind therapy!

Motorcycle Riding To/From Neighboring Countries?

Well, let me put it this way, you should check before you try! From what I’ve seen, Canada and Mexico still have closed borders. All I can really find is that everyone is saying “Essential Travel Only”.

Canada’s official website states specifically “How COVID-19 is affecting applications to visit, work or study in Canada; If you meet the criteria for the travel exemptions, and you want to apply to come to Canada, there are changes to the application process. Learn more (and be sure to read the #1 footnote at the bottom of the page). You can travel to Canada only if you are exempt from the travel restrictions and are coming for an essential purpose”.

Wrap Up

It is not Illegal for you to ride your motorcycle in Colorado or even out of state. But you would be going against the request for “only essential travel”. Is getting wind therapy “essential”? It is for me! There are a lot of things you can do to and places to go that you can be safe, keep distance and still reduce your chances of getting the virus, but it is everywhere, so travel at your own risk. Check out my Shopping, Resources and Tools page for great get away ideas.

As I said earlier, this is only my view and opinion based on what I’ve seen, heard and read. I’ve provided many links to data for you to check and decide for yourself if you want to go for a ride or not.

At the time of this post, Colorado was entering into a “Safer at Home” phase that eased up on some parks, cities and counties but there are still restrictions for restaurants, bars and other businesses, so check for any news or changes before you head out on the road. Remember, you don’t want to be surprised and get turned around or get a fine for being somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, and Ride On!

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