Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 5 of The 202 Motorcycle Tour PIKE's PEAK!

Dear Family & Friends,

One of the nice things about traveling on the road is you forget all about daily responsibilities and schedules..  I actually had to go on line to look up the fact that today is Friday!
First I have to thank my wonderful and competent wife who gives me the freedom to do these adventures and can step in at work and solve just about an issue that comes up.
I also have to thank the entire staff of XKs who come to work reliably day after day and make it all happen.
Finally I have to say thank you to Colleen our restoration shop manager. For 25+ years I have hired man after man for this position and they have all failed miserably. Colleen runs a tight ship, keeps the customers happy and just finished billing a record month. Even selling the work too!! She is by far the best shop manager I have ever had! So just remember if you need a man’s job done correctly, hire a woman! She does have a very able assistant too, Thanks Jen.
So this morning was a lazy morning. Duane’s Buell has slowly been shaking itself to bits and was in desperate need of repairs. Luckily there was a shop next to our hotel with a welder.
So I left Duane to his repairs and I went into Old Town Manitou and relaxed over  good cup of coffee and a muffin. Made me feel like my normal routine except without the good friends and conversation I enjoy daily at the Black Horse Coffee shop in SLO.
By noon Duane had the Buell running again and we went to lunch at the local Dennys. They advertise it as the “Highest Dennys in the Universe”.. Of course this is Colorado so I wasn't sure if they were referring to the altitude or just getting high… The people that worked there did seem overly happy to be working at a Dennys….
After lunch we headed over to Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is a mountain over 14,000ft high. It has one road leading to the very top and once a year they hold a famous race to see who can get to the top the quickest.
When we got there I was a bit surprised. I expected it to be more remote and rugged but it looked like the entrance to an amusement park. We paid our entry fee and started our ride to the top. I was going for a world record in speed. I won’t tell you how fast I went but I now hold the unofficial worlds record for Pikes Peak climb in the Senior, heavy weight, Jewish motorcycle rider class, from SLO, Corbett Canyon district.. It is an honor…
As you get about 2/3 up you pass the tree line.. The point where the air is so thin trees don’t grow. The road also has VERY steep drop offs. You don’t want to go over the edge because it is a long long fall before you stop suddenly. Last month a motorcycle racer was killed there when a lightening bolt him and he went over a cliff. When fate has your number it does not give up easily…..
We finally reached the very top with an elevation of over 14,000ft. It was funny that the entire time coming up the mountain I did not notice it, but as soon as I got off the bike it was really hard to breath and I suddenly got very light headed. Also as soon as we reached the summit the sky darkened and the wind started blowing, large hail started coming down, and lightening start striking all around us. The park rangers told us to head for shelter ASAP so we went in the tourist shop, the only building at the top. We sat out the storm and when things started to calm down a bit we went outside took a few photos and head for our bikes. By this time the altitude was really starting to bother me. I was getting very lightheaded and sleepy and was wondering if I should  ride? When I was a child I had a serious douse of altitude sickness so I knew it was not fun. I did manage to carefully ride down the mountain and as soon as we crossed the tree line I started to feel better. Finally got a full dose of oxygen!
There was also about a 30 degree difference in temperature from the top to bottom. When you see my photos you will get a feel for how high we were, but remember the valley in the photos that looks so far down is at 7000ft altitude too!
After our mountain adventure we headed into Colorado Springs for the night.. We ended up in a real dive motel.. A fairly shady neighborhood with bars, strip joints, and run down businesses all around us but the rooms were actually surprisingly nice in a quaint old fashion way. We rewarded ourselves with a diner out at the local Chinese restaurant where I got a surprisingly accurate fortune in my cookie…. I think??

Now it is time for some rest before we set off on another adventure.. 
I also want to thank you readers that having been emailing me positive feedback on my reports. I enjoy doing them but it is nice to hear that people are actually reading and enjoying them!

Master Buell The, Duane enjoying a morning with his Buell
Is this the "Highest" or "Highest" Dennys in the universe???

Ready to tackle Pikes Peak!

Welcome to Pike's Peak

About ready for my record speed attempt.!! ;)

Its a long ways down so best not to go over the edge...

The weather in Colorado changes very fast!

Even record speed attempts require a rest here and there....

Confident I had a new record at hand I stopped for a quick rest.. 
Sky not looking good.... :(

That's looking 8000ft down and even then the elevation was 6000ft+!

Record breakers!

From sunny to hail in 5 minutes...

You can see how abruptly the weather front changes.

This man had the right idea... a fast, warm car to drive to the top..

Our route..

Some show offs riding bicycles up the mountain!!

Some of the racers don't make it...and are never found again.

My fortune cookie tonight... I don't think it is 100% accurate..

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