My idea was to head to the western side of Denver and follow route 40 up the Continental Divide towards Steamboat Springs, maybe stay overnight in Granby. In reflection I probably should have jumped off I-76 at Logan and gone across highway 14, a slower but surely more interesting route.
I remember thinking about that as I rode I-76 and watched the temperature climb towards 100, finally hitting the magic number at around 12:30 pm. The question I posed to myself was would riding at a slower speed, say 55mph on a back road be more comfortable than riding 80mph on the slab? My thought was it probably wouldn’t matter so I elected to distance myself as far and as soon as possible from the heat wave area. I finally yielded and stopped to put the swamp cooler vest on; it felt immediately cooler and I was good to go for at least another hour or better.
While passing along the outskirts of Denver I spotted a shopping mall with a shoe store and a huge sporting goods store so I swung off the slab for a look at their boots. The first shop was run by a family of furringers…folks with funny accents and all very eager to sell me stuff. I liked their style but couldn’t find anything that would do so I moved onto Dick’s sporting goods store.
They had a great selection of hiking boots but no one to wait on you. After two trips all the way up to the front of the store to ask for help they finally rounded up their “resident expert”. “She knows everything about all the stock we carry” I was told by one of the cashiers. “Even men’s boots” I asked? “Oh yes, she’s very knowledgeable” she replied.
She meant well but didn’t know squat about men’s boots; other than what she hurriedly read from the tags. So much for expert advice I thought and told her I’d muddle along on my own from that point. She beamed with the knowledge she’d been able to answer all my questions. I chose a pair made by Danner Shoes, an old Portland firm and one of my old clients from years ago. The only other pair I own was sold to me by Mr. Danner himself in his original little store in Portland. I mentioned that to the resident expert and her eyes began to glaze over. Too much data to compute I suspect.
Anyway the main reason I picked the Danner’s was a simple test; I ran my hand back and forth over the soles to see how sticky they felt. I did this with several brands and only two passed, Danner’s being one of them. After anteing up I wore them out of the store and they made a gigantic effect on ground contact; slipping hasn’t occurred once with them so I think the problem is solved. As long as it doesn’t rain that is.
Back on the slab again, the temperature crested at 102 degrees so I stopped to refresh the water in the vest. Having none available other than two bottles of store-bought high pedigree stuff I gargled down some of the near boiling fluid and doused the vest with the remainder. It was money well spent, the vest was back in top form and my torso was a happy slab of bacon.
During the return to the slab I was routed through several back streets that had been heavily tarred in places, probably repairs to heavy cracks. The intense heat of the day has softened the tar to the point it acted like grease, something I'd never experienced before. It was mighty slippery and reminded me of wet railroad tracks; not much fun.
So far the Yellow Peril hasn’t exhibited any serious problems; there are always a few things to get used to and the only one I’ve encountered occurs during takeoff in low gear. With 100 hp on tap the beast wants to bolt out of the gate which makes for some jerking departures. This issue is compounded even more when an immediate turn is included in the mix. Last night I got to thinking about it and it struck me with all those ponies on tap I could probably start in 2nd gear so I tried it today. Bingo, problem solved. I still use first gear for uphill starts but on the flats 2nd works best and it’s smooth as can be.
I arrived in Granby around 5:00pm, very hot and very pooped. It’s a nearly one-dimensional little town, not much going on but at least they have several motels. I rode through on the main drag and none looked too encouraging; all were really old and except for one they looked seedy. I started to ride on but it was late and I didn’t want to go any further so I stopped at the only one that had a fresh coat of paint.
Climbing off the bike, I removed my helmet and gloves and then saw the “No rooms available” sign stuck to the front door window. Dang it anyway I thought and started to reverse the process of the helmet & gloves thing when the owner gal came out to talk. She’d seen me and the disappointed look on my face had touched her. She pointed to a small brown building across the way and said it was her friend’s restaurant but she also lets out two rooms for a very reasonable $60 per night. “Not much in the way of amenities you understand” she said, “but quite clean and no bugs.” “No WIFI” I asked? “None” she said.
That’s a deal breaker for me unless it’s raining cats and dogs or late as heck but since neither was the case I decided to continue on to Steamboat Springs. The ride was actually quite nice as the temperature had dropped to a refreshing 84 degrees and traffic was much lighter. I arrived in a little over an hour or so and snagged the very last room at the Comfort Inn on the edge of town.
They have a great bar
My dinner companion - not much of a talker
Chili Colorado - I ate it all