Saturday, March 26, 2011

Riding with Scooter in the Sticks and also meeting RichardM

A happy confluence of events led to my meeting two fellow moto-bloggers yesterday and today.  Steve of Scooter in the Sticks fame and RichardM who writes about riding in Alaska on his Airhead Beemer among other subjects on Richard's Page.

In Steve's case, he was attending a conference of magazine editors here in the Denver downtown area this week and had blogged about it.  A few postings/emails later, we'd arranged to meet on Friday afternoon after he was done with the conference.  He took the light rail to the station closest to my home and I picked him up in Martha's BMW cage.

A cage you ask!  Yes, for when I asked Steve what size helmet he wore, he said it was XXL!  I had nothing like that and didn't want to risk picking him up via the Ural sidecar and not having my spare helmet fit him, ATGATT you know.

I made it up to him though as I had still some work to do after we got back to my house.  I turned him loose on Vikki, the V-Strom after ascertaining my spare helmet did indeed fit him and my spare riding jacket would fit as well.

Scooter in the Sticks, pioneer moto-blogger and photographer par excellance!

Steve asked when I wanted him to return home, I told him 4PM, which would give him an hour with Vikki.  It would actually be closer to 2hrs before I'd see Steve again, he managed to get himself "lost" in the cookie-cutter neighborhoods amidst which I live.  : )

Still, it was time on a motorcycle, I am sure it was not time wasted.  Hmmm, come to think of it, was he really lost?  : )

My loving wife fed Steve and I dinner and then she headed off for a meeting with friends.   Steve and I, after he'd found out he didn't have work in the morning, headed off  on the Ural so I could show him that not all sidecar rigs were bad things to ride.

As we were taking pictures of a nearby photo-op spot, a rider on a 2003 Royal Enfield had spotted us with the Ural and he came over to get a closer look.  He seemed quite excited about Natasha, and looked her over while Steve and I took a closer look at his ride:

Note Steve's stylish riding gear, he was only in a helmet as he was riding Monkey.

As night arrived, I had him get a feel for riding Natasha in a local school parking lot, and once he seemed comfortable with her quirks and noises, he rode her all the way home from the school while I rode Monkey.  Steve did great and commented how much smoother the ride was on the Ural.  Noisier and tractor-like of course and yet a better experience than on the Piaggio with sidecar rig he'd recently tried out.

Steve was now free to spend the night at my house but we needed to retrieve his stuff from the hotel.  So of course, we set off on the Ural and cruised into the Denver Downtown area via side roads.  Steve seemed to quite enjoy riding monkey and he did a great job of leaning outwards on right-hand turns as I would slide towards him to counter the centrifugal forces involved.  Or perhaps he was trying to just move away from me?  Hmmmm.

We rattled and rolled our way to Steve's hotel, the Grand Hyatt on 18th and Welton Street.  The valet seemed quite interested in the Ural and we chatted as Steve went to get his stuff and settle the bill.  My pictures of the area in front of the hotel entrance didn't turn out, go see Steve's blog tomorrow for a picture of Natasha in front of the hotel.  He won't get home till late tonight so I doubt he'll be blogging when he gets there.

I got us lost on the way back out of the downtown area and elected to use the I-25 super slab, on a Friday night, to speed our way back towards the suburbs.  It was a bit nerve-wracking as I was the slowest vehicle out there that night but thankfully we were on the southbound side, the northbound side was all clogged up with construction!

Oh and as Mr Jack Riepe had commented in Steve's blog that he figured we'd be out carousing "all the way to even 10PM), here's a picture for him:

It's past 10PM Jack, heck we were up till almost Midnight!  
(the scantily clad girls were in the other room, Jack, really...)

All the above was Friday, on Saturday we woke to beautiful blue skies and somewhat brisk temperatures.  After breakfast, Steve and I headed out towards Red Rocks Park as he had a whole morning to kill before his flight in the afternoon back to Pennsylvania and the snow.

Steve elected to ride on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Airhead Beemer because she had heated grips.  The temperatures were slightly below freezing so I understood completely.  I rode Vikki, the V-Strom and we made our way across Denver using US285.

Less than an hour later, we cruised through Morrison just shy of 9:00AM, past the 20 or so BMW motorcycles parked in front of the Red Rocks Grill (meeting time/place for the ColoradoBeemers Club) and onto the entrance to Red Rocks Park just past the edge of town.

I signaled Steve to take the lead at this point and we would spend the next hour or so slowly wandering about the park, Steve stopping where he wished to take pictures.  Here's some of the shots I took while he did his thing:
 Vikki at the rock tunnel leading to the North Parking Lot at Red Rocks

 I believe the above is Picnic Rock

 That's Lookout Mountain in the background.

A view of the valley from Red Rocks Park.

A short video of Steve, riding in Red Rocks Park, his riding jacket is underneath the stylish plaid jacket in order to stay warm.

Once Steve was satisfied with the amount of photos he'd taken, we headed out to Lookout Mountain.  A had myself a "senior moment" however and we ended up taking an hour long detour by way of Parmalee Gulch Road, which while enjoyable in terms of twisty canyon road riding, cut into the time we had left before we had to get back to the house and ready Steve to go to the airport.

Still, I finally found my way to the right roads and up we went to the top of Lookout Mountain.  We took a short break and visited Buffalo Bill's Grave which is located at the top of the mountain.  We then made our way down the "twisty" side of  Lookout Mountain road.  There was some bicycling event going on apparently as the place was swarming with bicyclists.  There were also clueless cagers in the cars, passing said bicyclists on double yellow areas, muscling into our lane as we descended!  Steve handled it all with aplomb.  

Once down from the mountain, we found a gas station in Golden (after I had another senior moment and ended up riding the wrong way on a one-way street); Brigitta had hit reserve in the gas tank while up on the mountain you see.

The rest of the ride was a race home on C-470 and E-470.  No issues, and the wind was noticeable but not making life "interesting" as it can do this time of year.  Got Steve home with one minute to spare and we both piled into the cage for the ride to the airport.

After a late lunch, I said my goodbyes to Steve and he entered the secured area of the airport.  He would be meeting with RichardM who was coincidentally transiting the airport on his way back to Alaska from a conference in Arizona!  

Once Steve left to catch his flight, RichardM was gracious enough to come out to the main terminal and we met up and chatted for almost two hours.  Turns out both of us have something more than Airhead motorcycling in common, we're both Network Engineers.  Richard however has been doing it a lot longer than I have and holds a very senior architect-type position with the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

I asked Richard on life in Alaska, we talked about our motorcycles, sidecar projects we're both working on and just network geek stuff in general.  It was a good time and I was glad to have physically met Richard:

RichardM at DIA

So, a good ride with fellow blogger Steve and a nice conversation with fellow blogger Richard.  Quite the last two days.   I hope they both had smooth flights back home.  


Mike said...

Wow, very cool post meeting both of them! It's always good to read about bloggers meeting. That's really great that the three of you could work out this time together. Well done!

George F said...

It's always nice to meet fellow bloggers, nice ride you guys had and nice pictures. What's with network geeks, I'm one too, deal with computers everyday :-)

Jay said...

We must've just missed each other at Red Rocks.

And to be fair, I have had to study the maps before I go to your house--and I made those maps!

RichardM said...

2:00 AM and finally back home. Thank you very much for hanging around the airport especially on such a nice afternoon. I had a great time visiting. It felt like I've known you for years.


Charlie6 said...

Mike: thanks, it was truly a great coincidence!

GeorgeF, remember..."It's almost never the network"!

Jay: The only other motorcycle we saw was a big 1200RT, who didn't bother to wave would have been great to run into you guys at Red Rocks.

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, it was great hanging out with you....I only wish I could have brought Natasha along.

SheRidesABeemer said...

I LOVE this story. I want to meet some of my blogger & FB friends. It's so cool you were able to make this happen!

Raftnn said...

Great when other bloggers meet. Great read and write up.

Stacy said...

How wonderful! We now know the perfect location for the next International Moto-blogger Conference.

This also makes RichardM the bridge between IMBC West Coast and parts beyond.

Steve Williams said...

Wow. I feel famous. Before it all goes to my head I should comment on the video. I normally don't ride that fast -- I was just showing off for Dom......*grin*

Dom is a patient man to put up with me and all my stopping for pictures. I toned the behavior down a lot in respect for his sanity and the need to catch a plane.

I'll be posting a series of posts beginning today I hope on Scooter in the Sticks to give my perspective on riding in Colorado. Definitely an unexpected plus to my visit to Denver.

Can't thank you enough for the opportunity Dom and the wonderful hospitality you and your family showed me.

And with that I apologize for returning home with your polypropylene wind guarding underwear you were so kind to lend. I'll have to get your address and mail them back.

Oh, and our pictures look exactly alike except you are the subject...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on TWITTER

Charlie6 said...

SheRidesABemmer, Gail....glad you liked the story, it was a happy confluence of events indeed.

Raftnn...thanks for the visit and kind words.

Stacy: Denver would be a good meeting point, mountain riding nearby, passes galore....

Steve, you we're the perfect guest...and you didn't drop any of the motorcycles, always a plus in my book! You'll be glad to know I've adjusted the brakes and they stop Natasha much better now.

Oh, and I found the cause of the hesitation we were experiencing when rolling on the throttle on Natasha, crack in the rubber compliance fitting on the right carb. All better now. Come on back and try her out again why don't ya?

SonjaM said...

Always great to meet fellow bloggers and even more so if one can ride together. Good that you had a bike to spare ;-)
It looked like you guys had a great time.

irondad said...

I'm almost sorry I read this post. Now I feel bad I wasn't there. What a great day and thanks for sharing it with us!

Chris Luhman said...

Cool that you were able to spend time with two moto-bloggers in one day! It fun to put faces with all the words.