I dodged rain clouds exiting Laramie, but it wasn’t long before I was on I-25 southbound looking at heavy storm clouds and being bounced in the wind. I wear an Aerostich one piece suit and suffer from the dreaded Aerostich crotch leak. I really hate stopping, so it’s good most of the time, but before the rally I’d decided to try waterproof hiking pants under the suit to deal with the crotch leak. My thinking was that on a cold day I would want an extra layer anyway, and these could be worn all the time unless it was really hot. As opposed to a rain suit which could really only be worn in the rain. The ones I got are Marmot Full Zip Precip pants, that can be put on without taking off my boots. I put these and a warmer top layer on, changed out my gloves as well and rode off into the storm.
It was one hell of a storm. No lightning at least, but a pretty torrential downpour. Sadly the pants didn’t keep me dry. When you’re sitting in a puddle of water it’s just going to seep through. The storm was letting up as I was navigating through the Fort Collins area and all of a sudden my good friend Ian McPhee was beside me. I had met Ian at the start of Butt Lite VI. BL6 had started at a motorcycle resort and we had been assigned to the same cabin. That had been an odd start to a rally, being in a cabin with 3 other men that I’d never met before. Ian was from Australia and BL6 had been his first time riding in the USA. His US geography skills had been a little lacking on that rally, so it was fun to answer his questions as he was trying to plan his route! We’d also ridden in the 2013 IBR and BL7 together. Ian’s wife and 20-year-old son were in the country for the IBR and had been heading to Los Angeles and then San Francisco while Ian was riding. I’d told Ian’s wife Colleen to that she’d make the perfect anniversary present for my wife and to drop in on her. My wife would be happy to serve as San Francisco tour guide.
I didn’t have Ian’s cell number but had Collen’s so I fired off a text to her asking for Ian’s number. She replied with it but apparently he didn’t ride with his cell phone on. I told her that he was just in front of me. She then called me back. She guessed correctly that I was a little bored and in need of human company. She’d missed her morning call with Ian so they actually hadn’t talked and was glad that I ws reporting in on him. She was in LA still but had discovered just how big it is and was tired of the traffic. I encouraged her to contact my wife and head north. We chatted for a good 20 minutes until I had to turn off I-25 on to US25.
Working through Fort Collins my urban riding skills were at the forefront and Ian and I collected another IBR rider at the outskirts of town. He was a little more prudent than Ian and I were on the mountain roads and soon he was far behind. I was surprised that Ian let me lead as he’s a much more competent rider than I am, and after about 15 miles he finally passed me. However at Estes Park my urban skills once again had me passing him.
Half a mile before the Rocky Moutain visitor center there was a large crowd of people that were looking at something on the right side of the road. It was a herd of deer! I see deer everywhere! Luckily they stayed put and I motored on by. Pulling into the lot I spotted Eric Lipps and Eric Bray! They both were having a good run and were energized by their rides. I asked them where they were heading and they were both going west. I wished them well, as I knew that was a much more aggressive ride than I was doing.
I relayed Ian’s wife’s messages that she was doing great, their son had whooped her in go-kart racing, and she had somehow managed to turn off her ringer this morning and that he could call at any time. Ian was having a little bit of a rough ride as he had misinterpreted the rules and thought that as you needed 50 parks in 25 states that meant you had to have at least 2 stops in each state. Only on day 2 had he discovered his mistake and so he knew his leg 1 route was less than ideal. Ah well, it was too late to do anything about it.
There were some rally fans there and I’m sure the young man that held my rally flag was in many a bonus picture!
ROMO – Rocky Mountain National Park
201 Miles since Fort Laramie Arrived: 20:23 Departed: 20:28
Ian left before me, but took a wrong turn, and was soon back behind me. A few seconds later we almost collided. There was a crosswalk that had a stop light so people could cross, I wasn’t expecting a light without an intersection so when it turned red I stopped very quickly. Ian too wasn’t expecting to have me stop and so he slammed on his brakes as well. But all was good and we continued on; into really slow mountain tourist traffic. Going down back into Fort Collins seemed like an eternity as we followed a car that was going 5 under in the straights and 10 under in the curves. However, the line of cars was so long and the road so twisty that even my passing skills weren’t any help. Just as we reached the foothills the sunset.
I think Ian went south on US-36 as I turned off onto CO-66. My GPSes were disagreeing on the right route to take and I’d had a slow drive on US-36 once so I was looking to avoid it. It was a bad choice as I ran into really slow road construction back in the Longmont area. Eventually, I made it back to I-25 but is was a real slog.