Part II – Denver to Santa Fe

Family Loop Tour, Part II

I failed to mention in my Denver report, the importance of drying out all your rain gear as thoroughly as possible. When I arrived in Denver, my rain jacket and bike cover smelled of mildew. After a good washing and drying all was well again.

I purchased a rain cover from Rider Warehouse before the trip and decided to use it as a security precaution. In the early am when I tried to dry the cover on the bike as best I could, it still took me almost 10 minutes to stuff that slightly slippery cover into its stuff sack. After this I did not use the cover again. Too much time and trouble.

I also purchased the Triple Digit rain gloves from Rider Warehouse and these worked great. The trick here is that you have to put your gloves into the rain covers while your hand is out of the glove.

In Kansas I used my rain gloves and jacket for both the rain and wind protection. My rain jacket also has a hood which easily fit under my helmet to keep my neck dry and warm.

As I have a digital voltmeter on my bike I was surprised that the heated grips in either setting did not lower the voltage while riding. My last bike (99 R1100RT) had a one to two tenth voltage drop when the heated grips were on. Also the voltage while riding on my GS went as high at 14.4 volts while riding and usually stayed at 14.3/14.2 during the day until. The warmer it got the lower the voltage readings would get until they reached 14.0 volts.

I checked the voltmeter readings with a Fluke voltmeter and it was within a tenth of a volt, close enough for me.

As my son needed to be back in Santa Fe by 1pm on Monday, a group decision was made to leave Denver at 5 30 am.

My son made the trip to Denver in slightly over 6 hours, but I told him that this would not be possible for me as I needed to make a few rest stops to remove clothing and give my body a break. It was made clear that he could continue on to Santa Fe and I would meet him and my wife later in the afternoon.

The “good old weather channel” had predicted light winds for the surrounding area, and by golly they nailed it! So it looked like the ride was going to be “a piece of cake”. You would think by now that I would learn my lesson and not get too carried away by the good riding conditions.

What a dumb shit!! About an hour into the ride the temp dropped 6 degrees to 49 and mother nature opened her bag of tricks and let out the friggen wind again. I wondered if those fools at the weather channel knew this and just wanted to surprise me again!!

Well this time the winds got real tricky and were moving my bike around a lot. It got a lot harder to tuck in behind the windscreen as I using up a lot of my driving lane going side to side and the distorted view of the highway made things worse. At one point I when I was passing a truck, I went on to the 18″ rumble strip on the left side of the left hand lane. Fortunately, I got right back into my lane. With these shifting winds, whenever I would pass an 18 wheeler, my handle bars would shake like it wanted to do a tank slapper, but it never did.

At my second rest stop I suggested to my son that he just continue on and I will just take my good old time and show up later that afternoon, but he elected to keep an eye on dad and he stayed with me for the entire ride to his place.

The 407 mile ride took us 7 1/2 hours for my 6.7 hours of moving time. My overall average mph dropped to 65.

When I arrived at my son’s place he needed to get going right away and he rounded up a key for me to get into the house with. My wife went with my son and I was left alone to rest.

Since my son has been living off campus during his college days, his choices in rental places leave some thing to be desired and this place was questionable. A co-worker managed to talk him and his construction worker room mate, Tom into temporarily taking care an injured dog. God only knows how many years this will last. After my nap, Tom came home while I was in another room and took the dog with him. I went to open the front door and realized Tom had locked me in the house as there was a lock with a key on both sides. I surveyed the house and found a window that I could climb out of in an emergency.

Later when Tom returned we shared a good laugh.

The small software company that my son works for is very involved in a non profit community building. The building was just renovated and they did quite a spectacular job on this building. All the walls inside and out are adobe and are two to three feet thick and all the computer wiring was put under the new hardwood flooring. The place was lighted by loads of skylights and very small diameter fluorescent lights. Real high tech.

The next day we went searching for some additional padding for my but pad and I purchased some bubble wrap with the small diameter bubbles. I placed about 6 layers of bubble wrap under the sheep skin pad and it helped a little bit on the next leg of my journey.

As I had planned to do some riding while I was in Santa Fe, I put my plans on the back burner because my son and his friend asked me to help them with a project they were working on in this building as they were responsible for getting it ready for an art show the following weekend.

That evening a few of his friends and I went over some route options for next leg of my tour, riding to Sea Brook, TX which is southeast of Houston. It seemed that the lesser of the evils was to head south to I40 and then east to rt 287 which goes southeast through the Texas panhandle. As it was getting late and I wanted to get an early start, I neglected to see what the jokers at the weather channel had to say about the weather for my route options.

Let the journey continue.

Happy Trails