Monday, September 06, 2010

On Mount Evans with The Leading Ladies

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow moto-blogger Gary France and his beautifully painted Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle, aptly named "The Leading Ladies".

Gary writes the thoroughly enjoyable blog: Garys USA Tour on a Harley-Davidson.  The man lives in Great Britain, flew his 2005 Harley-Davidson Road King over and has so far racked up 23 of these United States on a four month+ tour!

Note: This posting is also located on So what's the difference? I get paid per # of hits on that site, so if you feel like helping my fuel budget, read the article there instead: LINK

Just one of eight of Hollywood's Leading Ladies pictured on Gary's motorcycle
note: not photographs, the artist airbrushed them onto the motorcycle by hand!

I showed up at the Red Rocks Amphitheater along with my co-worker friend Oscar and his family and rendezvoused with Gary at the top of the amphitheater itself.  It was a blazingly sunny day here in Colorado and quite warm by 11:00 AM.

After the initial pleasantries and introducing everyone around, we spent a few minutes gazing at the people who were exercising by running up and down the stands of the amphitheater.  Soon though we were on our way towards the park exit and onto Bear Creek Canyon Rd.

We twisted our way through Bear Creek Canyon's high rocky walls, in pretty heavy traffic since it was the Labor Day holiday weekend.  Still, we made it to CO74 and the town of Evergreen with no incident.  I was in the lead, Oscar in the middle on his vintage 1975 Honda CB360 and then Gary brought up the rear on his Road King HD.  The rest of Oscar's family followed the three motorcycles in a Jeep chase vehicle; for you see, Oscar had just "resuscitated" the bike which he'd bought as a "barn find" and the carburetors were still giving him some issues.

We cruised on up CO74 till we got to the Squaw Pass Road turnoff, a brief pause for Gary to mount his Hero GoPro camera onto the right side engine guard and we were off!  The ride up Squaw Pass Rd to Echo Lake was pretty smooth though it turned out later I should have slackened the pace up as Oscar's Honda was having fuel/air mixture issues and the thinner air at Echo Lake was not enough.

So Oscar had to stop at that point to await the chase vehicle and let things cool down as the smaller engine on his motorcycle had some issues keeping up with Brigitta and the pace I had been setting coming up on Squaw Pass Road.

Gary had gone on ahead as I made sure Oscar was alright, then I went up as well, telling Oscar I should be back within an hour or so.  I was to be mistaken in that time assessment.

It was the last weekend before the close of the Mt Evans Road for the season and I think half of Colorado had the same idea we did!  I'd never seen so many cars on the mountain and this lead to many delays as folks would stop and block the road to take pictures!

I made it to the top, found Gary's motorcycle and parked Brigitta next to his Leading Ladies.  Gary walked on over as I was getting the helmet off and we proceeded to look over the "nation's highest parking lot" as Gary put it.  Conditions were quite windy at the top, but not too cold for either of us.

Here's Gary, looking every inch the daring moto-blogger, near the summit of Mt Evans

The Leading Ladies and Brigitta wait patiently for Gary and I to finish taking photos
Note Gary's signature helmet proudly displaying the Union Jack

Here's Gary at one of the several small pullout areas with a view to the south I think

A small portion of the over 14 miles long Mount Evans Road 
leading from the toll booth at Echo Lake to almost the very top of the mountain

Gary brought along the good weather it seems, I'd never seen such clear sky conditions as that day.

Looking towards the east I believe, Gary and the girls

One more of Gary and The Leading Ladies, just before Summit Lake
as we were heading down from the top of Mount Evans.

An isolated mountain lake on Mount Evans

We made it back down to Echo Lake with no issues in spite of the maddening hordes of cagers on the road.  I searched for Oscar and his Honda but they and the chase vehicle with the rest of the family were nowhere to be found.  I figured they'd gone ahead and returned home and I would be proven right later on.

So, Gary and I, smoothly rode our way back along Squaw Pass Rd back towards CO74 and the towns of Evergreen, Kittredge and Idledale.  We bypassed the town of Morrison as we neared it, electing instead to head south a bit to US285 which we then took to the C-470 southbound slab.

After the 41°F at the top of Mt. Evans, it really felt much warmer and windy down in the front range, and I for one was glad to get off the slab at the US85 or Santa Fe Drive exit.  From there it was County Line Road, under the I-25 slab and we were back at my home at 5:00PM or so.  

You see, not only did I have the pleasure of riding with Gary but he had agreed to overnight with us on his way to points south in Colorado.  We had an extremely enjoyable evening talking and sharing experiences, staying up late solving the problems of the world.

Gary sure is a lucky fellow being able to do what he's doing, the Chang Gang wishes you continued safe travels my friend!  See you online.


motoroz said...

That is so awesome that you were able to meet up with Gary. Glad both of you got to ride up Mt. Evans. What a great day.

SonjaM said...

Good for you, that you guys could meet. I find that Brigitta and the Leading Ladies make a graceful pair.

bobskoot said...


It was great that you were able to meet up with Gary. You had good weather at Mt Evans too. Sunny and windy is better than cloudy and rain anytime.

Wet Coast Scootin

cpa3485 said...

Sounds like you had a great ride and time with Gary. I did too last month and found him to be very fun to be with. He indeed is a very lucky guy to embark on a tour like he is doing. I am sure you had just as much fun riding with him as I did.
Those leading ladies sure are nice!

Gary France said...

Hi Charlie6 - Thank you very much for the great ride up Mt Evans together. It was a real pleasure to meet you and your family a few days ago - I had a really good time and thank you for your hospitality. It was great fun seeing your bikes and riding in Natasha - that famous bike that I have read so much about. Best wishes.


chessie said...

I've never met Gary, But I found him and his blog months before he left on his great North American Adventure. I've been following him ever since. What a pleasure it must be to ride, converse and share so much with him. Reading his writings are seamless (as are yours), and so full of information and just plain goodness.
I won't get to meet him on this voyage...but perhaps...we will shake hands and ride some nice curvy road some day in the near future.
Thanks for putting this out here...another nice, informative read.

Chris Luhman said...

Great you guys were able to meet up. It sounds like you enjoyed his company as much as I did. Great photos too.