Monday, September 13, 2010

Uraling in the Ride for Freedom Service Dogs Poker Rally

Another beautifully sunny day today here in Colorado, perfect weather for riding one's motorcycle in the 2010 Freedom Service Dogs Poker Rally Ride with friends.

I again was fortunate to have James Briggs as my "monkey", riding in the sidecar rig which I call Natasha.  I'd met James during this Spring's Ride for the Kids put on by the Pediatric Tumor Foundation.

I invited a fellow Uralista, Craig H. and he rode his Ural Arctic Rig.  This allowed James' brother Lachlan to also get a sidecar ride in while their father Terry rode escort on his Triumph America motorcycle.

Rounding out our little group was a neighborhood friend, Bob T. who is new to motorcycling with his Suzuki Cruiser; he brought along his son Andrew riding pillion.

We all met at the Festival of the Bastardino in Centennial Park, in Englewood, CO which was the starting point for the Ride for Freedom Service Dogs Poker Rally.  I must say, the event organizers did a great job getting everyone registered, checked in and moving in the right direction!  A very well run event!

We all were on the road a bit before 11:00 AM and the route had us cruising south on US85, the four of our motorcycles riding together of course, with most of the riders way ahead of us already.  This was fine as I was setting a comfortable pace that would allow us a safe and scenic ride.

We took US85 south out of the Denver Metro area until we got to the small town of Sedalia where we turned right onto CO67 for a brief passage through the town.  Soon we turned South onto CO105 and were riding smoothly towards the town of Palmer Lake.  Did I mention the weather was gorgeous?  It was some great riding conditions that accompanied us the entire day.

Our first poker card stop, where one draws the second poker card for one's "hand" which is turned in at the end of the ride for prizes.  The stop was the Rock House Ice Cream shop in Palmer Lake, most of us got some ice cream cones and it was a nice place to take a break during the ride.

photo: Craig H.
Lachlan and Craig near the Rock House Ice Cream Shop

This rider shows there's other ways to bring one's dog along besides a sidecar rig!
photo: Terry B.

Soon though we continued heading South on CO105 until we got to the town of Monument, here we turned eastward.   Our route had us heading towards the junction of CO105 and CO83, aka Parker Road.  Turning south once more on CO83, it was less than 25 miles until we reached the outskirts of Colorado Springs.  A brief sprint on I-25 was performed with no incident and soon I was leading our small group onto the Garden of the Gods Road exit.

The trading post within the Garden of the Gods Park, with its beautifully sunlit gigantic rock formations, was the next stop for a poker card drawing.  There was good parking for the many motorcycles that comprised the riders of this rally and a small lunch was provided by the event organizers.

The crew lines up for hot dogs
photo: Craig H.

After the quick lunch and some rest, we meandered out of the park and go on westbound US24 after unintentionally transiting through Manitou Springs, my fault, I missed the turn.  Still, it was only a short delay and soon we were winging our way through the winding canyon roads west of Manitou Springs heading towards Woodland Park and CO67.

The "Balancing Rock" in the Garden of the Gods
photo by Lachlan

The scenery along US24 (I think)
photo by James

The published fuel stop for the rally was the "Loaf and Jug" in Woodland Park but I elected instead to stop short at a different gas station.  It was kismet, for who walks up to me at the gas station but Gary France!  I mean, what are the odds of our meeting again like this?  He'd just come off of riding to the top of Pikes Peak and he spotted me pulling up to fuel up!

Gary France and the Leading Ladies
Fresh from the top of Pikes Peak!  

After tanking up, we all rode together for a little bit and parted ways at the junction of US24 and Northbound CO67.  You see, Gary was headed for Cripple Creek and the Shelf Road to Canon City; we were heading west on CO67 towards Deckers, the next stop of the poker rally.

The road was mostly empty and we made pretty good time.  The hillsides along the way are still showing signs of the vast destruction wrought by the Haman Fires of not so long ago.  Natasha, my Ural Sidecar Rig, must be quite the smooth ride for the passenger as James managed to catch a few winks as we rode along.  I was kind of worried about his helmeted head weaving back and forth so I slowed the pace down a bit.

We got to Deckers with no problems and everyone enjoyed the break from the riding while getting some drinks and snacks.

Some of the motorcycles which took part in the Poker Run
photo: Craig H.

The crew at Decker's
photo: Terry B.

We left Deckers at around 3:30 PM and headed north on CO126's nicely twisty roads, slowly climbing up from the valley floor carved out by the Platte River.  Natasha was doing well though still only managing speeds in the high 40s on the steeper portions of CO126.

We got to Pine Junction and turned east onto US285 and it was a quick, twisting at times, but uneventful ride all the way to the town of Morrison where the rally ended.

Last shot of the crew at rally's end

I took my leave of this merry crew at this time, as I had work to do which required me to get on the Internet. So they went off to the end of rally festivities and I went to work.  Found myself a nice shady spot right about the time the work conference call started and got to work.  I'd brought along my laptop you see, and almost 90 minutes later, we were done.

Got home just before 7:00 PM, a bit over 200 miles or so of riding done, with no incidents but some ongoing carburetion (I think) issues with Natasha.  Still, she performed like a champ!

On a non-motorcycling note, I was given a present by James as a token of his thanks for his ride with me this Spring, he gave me a copy of his newly published book!  Yep, James Briggs, 12 years old, is a published author of this book:

Image Source:

I was quite touched by this gift, and very impressed with this achievement by this young man.  I plan to read it as soon as possible!  Thanks James, I do appreciate it very much!  Note, James has finished his second book and its currently being edited.

A picture of me after receiving the book from James, that light you see isn't 
the sun, it's the flash of realization that James was the author!  : )

1 comment:

Circle Blue said...

I can only imagine what a pleasant surprise to look up and see Gary. I love all the little conincidences that seem to be part of riding. I'm sure these things happen in other areas of my life, but must admit I don't seem to take note of them as much.

Great ride report. And, good on James the author!