Sunday, November 19, 2006

Trying out the Electric vest by way of the Santa Fe Trail

So for today's ride I thought I'd ride the part of the fabled Santa Fe trail that traverses the SE corner of Colorado on US50. Tthe area features a National Historic Site called Bent's Old Fort. This was an old trading post with Mexico back when it was located at the border of the US territories and Mexico. Located near the town of La Junta, CO, the fort was a commercial waypoint and trading post till 1849 when it was burned and destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1976 by the park service using blueprints drawn by a LT Abert of the Western US Army back when he resided at Bent's Fort. More information here if you're interested. It was a cool place to check out, got there in about three hours and spent almost two hours touring the place.

The trip to La Junta and points beyond were a great opportunity to try out the electric vest I'd just gotten through Ebay. It's the Widder Lectric Vest and it came with a BMW power hookup so it was a natural fit on the motorcycle. The temperatures ranged from the low 30's to low 50's as the day progressed and my torso was nice and toasty whenever the temperatures warranted the vest being turned on. My arms would still get a bit cool but nothing to the point of cold or bothersome.

Here's my route:

I skipped SR86, electing instead to stay on I-70 to get home.

After touring the fort, I returned to the RT where I met a fellow rider on a beautiful blue and silver K1200LT getting ready to go tour the fort. He belonged to the Buffalo Soldier's Motorcycle Club chapter out of Colorado Springs. We chatted for a bit about our motorcycles and he told me he was scouting the area for historical stuff for possible inclusion into a trip for his club. Nice guy, Charles was name and he said he went by C.B. I spotted a Colonel's sticker on his motorcycle and he told he was assigned to Peterson AFB near the Springs.

After we parted ways, I rode over to this nearby sign:

It was a bit tricky getting Maria in position since the area in front of the sign was just gravel, and lots of it.

I traveled onwards, heading East towards Las Animas and turned North after Wiley onto US 287 heading towards Eads and Kit Carson. I had hoped to see more historical stuff at Kit Carson but it and Eads both turned out to be merely what I now call Junction towns, places with a small population gathered around the junction of area major roads. Lots of straight line riding today through the state's Eastern was sunny and cool, little to no traffic, and Maria performed beautifully as usual.

One thing that struck me about this part of Colorado was the plethora of junked out pickup trucks that people gathered on their ranches located East of Pueblo; they just sit there, rusting in the sun. I guess this is the area where old pickup trucks come to die, I'm talking stuff that looked like it was built in the 40s and 50s! There were many ranches along the way with their own collections of rusting hulks. I should have stopped and taken pictures of some of the larger collections!

I covered about 418 miles today total or just slightly more than when we took the trip up to Custer, SD to see Mt Rushmore! Long day but I was able to move my legs around on the motorcycle in order to minimize the cramping of the knees. It's still there but minimal so long as I don't stay in one position too long. I figure it was about 6 hours of saddletime and quite enjoyable.

I was starting to get a bit chilled, except where the vest covered me, by the last hour of the ride since it was getting dark. The sun was just setting as I pulled into my garage, tired but having enjoyed a very nice long ride.

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