Category Archives: Motorcycle Mama

Bikes and Bikes

I didn’t really want to delete this pretty lilac photo, so I’m leaving in the first part of this post, even though it was written a few weeks ago and is COMPLETELY inaccurate now. I’m afraid after realizing I didn’t have a few of the photos I wanted, I put it on hold until I could get out and take a few more, but I took longer than I had intended to get back to this. My apologies! (I’ve added a few corrections and comments to make it more current):

The lilacs are mostly finished . . . (DEFINITELY long gone now)Lilacs. . .  but other flowers have come into their own. I do love the last bit of spring, when the weather feels almost like summer, but we’re not actually roasting (Um . . . we are now officially roasting). The evenings on the deck are getting to be standard fare, but not quite enough that the mosquitoes anticipate our presence and get there first (I’m afraid they’re starting to catch on).  We’re making plans for all the great things we’re going to do during the summer and not yet dreading the crammed fall schedule. Anything seems possible (hence, the now-crammed SUMMER schedule),

Ah, well. Love it. Summer officially arrived Monday evening, and we plan to take full advantage of it.

One of the things we missed while in France and on our extended east coast road trip was taking Harley trips with our neighborhood friends. The first overnight trip of the summer was a few weeks ago, and although we didn’t go for the overnight, we did ride up the Poudre Canyon with them as far as the Arrowhead Lodge Visitor Center . . . ↓Arrowhead Lodge

This fabulous place is now a National Historic Site and a Forest Service Visitor Center, but it used to be a  guest resort with log cabins and was the childhood home of our dear friend, Christy French. Can’t believe I didn’t get a shot of anything but the sign. Sheesh. Sorry!

After we waved goodbye to our friends and let them continue on up over the pass, we headed back down the road a few miles for lunch here . . . ↓

Best burgers around
Best burgers around

It may not look like fine dining, but the quirky set of characters manning this trailer serve amazing burgers and, if you’re lucky, keep you entertained with running commentary on the birds, the bears, the weather, the tourists, and most amusing, each other.

After lunch, we decided to take a longer, scenic route home — in France called le chemin des écoliers (literally “the route of schoolboys” meaning of course, the longest possible route), which took us behind and eventually up and around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir . . . ↓

Horsetooth Reservoir
Horsetooth Reservoir

We also recently bought bikes (with actual pedals, requiring exertion by the rider) . . . ↓

Our Bikes -- Arty Photo Version
Our Bikes — Arty Photo Version
Old Town Fort Collins -- One of the pretty alleys
Old Town Fort Collins — One of the pretty alleys

. . . to add some variety to our exercise options. The same day as this first long Harley ride, we decided to try out our new bikes. Really poor planning. Our . . . um . . . nether regions were NOT HAPPY. We went back to the bike shop and bought padded shorts the next day! Now we can ride all the way to Old Town, and generally do, every Saturday.

Sam's Just Like Dad Haircut
Sam’s Just Like Dad Haircut

But now, I very much wish I did not have to tell you about one person who, in a perfect world, would be riding his bike this summer, but is not currently able to do that. I’m sorry to report that Sam Glossi’s cancer has come back and he is in the middle of a series of chemo treatments and enduring the brutal side effects.

←Here he is just after his pre-chemo “Just Like Dad” haircut.

Sam Happy About BreadAnd here he is excited to be able, finally, to eat bread after a tough week of no solid food. →

Love this photo, because he’s seriously adorable, obviously, but also because I routinely have that exact same emotion about the prospect of eating bread!

His smiles are tiny moments of respite and joy, but I know you understand that this is a really hard summer for the entire Glossi clan. Please keep Sam and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love . . . .   ·Mother Theresa  

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing. ·Mother Theresa

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.  ·Desmond Tutu

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. · Mahatma Ghandi

Wishing you all, and especially Sam, comfort, healing, peace, joy.

Stone Soup

I love the children’s book Stone Soup–how it starts with nothing but stone and water and ends with everyone joining together to share what they have, resulting in a delicious soup for everyone. I’ve been thinking about stone a lot lately. We’ve received the parts of our cast stone mantel, one of our final settling-in projects. I was assured that anyone could put this together, but it is HEAVY, and both David and I would strongly prefer that it not fall off the wall onto anyone. Therefore, I’m delighted to report that it will be assembled tomorrow by Actual Professionals. So far, it looks great. Here’s a detail shot of one of the legs . . .↓

IMG_8693It’s just what I was hoping for as a reminder of the beauty of La Rochelle . . .

Stonework, La Rochelle, France
Stonework, La Rochelle, France

If you look closely, you can see almost the exact same detail on the two vertical pieces on either side of the center crest. I didn’t even notice until I put this photo in the post. How cool is that?

We’ve seen a lot of other stone as well this past weekend, on another Harley trip with our friends . . .Psykos August 2015 . . . okay, obviously NOT the official posed photo we all lined up for. Sorry. The rain was threatening, urging us to get back on the road, and I didn’t want to annoy everyone after they’d already posed for Janet.

Aside from that pause, there was not a lot of stopping for photos. We had a lot of ground to cover. Mostly we went over . . .↓

Over the Pass
McClure Pass

. . . between . . .↓

Glenwood Canyon
Glenwood Canyon

. . . around . . .↓

Gateway Canyon
Gateway Canyon

. . . and even through various portions of the Rockies . . . ↓

Glenwood Canyon Tunnel
Glenwood Canyon Tunnel

. . . At the top of a mountain in Glenwood Springs, a few of us even went inside . . .↓

King's Row Cave, Glenwood Springs
King’s Row Cave, Glenwood Springs. Gondola ride required to get up there.

It turns out that huge swathes of southwestern Colorado are absolutely gorgeous. I had no idea. Definitely want to go back.

David and I started and ended the trip on our own, to have time for business responsibilities, which had the added bonus of allowing us to ride those days at our own preferred pace. We love easy cruising, savoring the full sensory experience, the warmth of the air, the smell of the evergreens, the beauty of the wildflowers, the majesty of the mountains, the unexpected thrill of a wildlife sighting. And since we were on our own the last day, I even got to stop to get a decent photo of the Nokhu Crags . . . ↓

Nokhu Crags
Nokhu Crags

Of course, our pace is not everyone’s preference. Others love the adrenaline rush of quick curves and speeding straightaways. We can’t keep up and don’t want to. But here’s the Stone Soup part. At the end of the day, we’re together, eating and/or drinking something fabulous, and usually laughing. We all have something to contribute to help each other enjoy the experience.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. ∼Khalil Gibran

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! ∼Dr. Suess

Whether you prefer the speed or the savor or a bit of both, may your friendships be strong as stone and broad and beautiful as the Rockies.

 

High Points

Fort Collins, at just under 5000 feet altitude, is a bit lower than Denver, the “Mile-High City,” so we don’t actually live in the mountains, rather next to them. Nevertheless, David and I have spent a great deal of time lately REALLY high up. Like here . . .

Shot from the Visitor's Center of Rocky Mountain National Park--Altitude 11,834 feet
High on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

and here . . .

Rocky Mtn. National Park, 11,986 feet
From Visitor’s Center near the top of Rocky Mountain National Park — 11,986 feet

and here . . .

Elk Grazing on High
Elk Grazing on High

These were all from Wednesday, June 17th, when we took some house-guests up to see the top of Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in North America, reaching up to 12,183 feet. I never get tired of these views. It’s even pretty gorgeous all the way, like here (shot out the window of the moving car) . . . .

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

I did get out of the car for this guy, who started ambling over to give me a close-up . . .

Elk Approaching
Elk Approaching

. . . but David insisted I get back in the car before we got really up close and personal. Probably wise!

Then Saturday, the 20th, we headed out on the Harley with some neighborhood friends up to Saratoga, Wyoming, via Highway 287 . . .

. . . and the Snowy Range Scenic Byway (summit 10,847 ft.) . . .

Our usual picnic spot on top was still snowed in–brrrrrrr–so we found a slightly more hospitable spot a little way down the other side. Then on to Saratoga, Wyoming.

Even at an elevation of 6791 ft., the afternoon was too hot to go anywhere near these . . .

Extra-hot Hot Springs Mini-Pools, Saratoga, Wyoming
Extra-hot Hot Springs Mini-Pools, Saratoga, Wyoming

In fact it was too hot to do much more than stand in the hot springs very-slightly-cooler main pool with a cold beer. Still, a fun time with good friends.

The next morning we hit a bit of a low point when Terry’s bike would not start . . .

. . . but eventually we were on our way, this time via Walden and Poudre Canyon, past one of my favorite views, the Nokhu Crags at the top of Cameron Pass . . .

Nokhu Crags
Nokhu Crags

. . . which are stunning, especially traveling east to west, when they suddenly appear before you at a curve in the road. It feels like the edge of the world. Eastbound, they tease you a bit longer, slowly emerging out from behind other peaks, so the view is not as startlingly awe-inspiring. And unfortunately, they’re not easy to photograph from the back of a moving motorcycle on an away-turning curve. Sorry about that. I forgot to request a photo stop.

Further down Poudre Canyon, the lingering damage from the 2012 High Park fire was sobering to see . . .

Three Years After the Wildfire
Three Years After the Wildfire

. . . but under a brilliant blue sky, it’s impossible to miss that some green is returning.

So . . . highs and lows, hot and cold, burning and greening, engine trouble and successful repairs, incomprehensible evil in the news and adorable baby announcements in the mailbox, and so much in between. What a crazy quilt this life can be.

I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands. ∼Zora Neale Hurston

Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. ∼Theodore Roethke

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ∼John Muir

Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord . . . .  ∼Psalm 98:8

Wishing you comfort in the hard times, ears to hear the mountains singing, and abundant opportunities to wash your spirit clean.

 

 

 

Bishop Castle 2012

Packing Update: I’ve now packed all the fiction — 40 boxes total. Woohoo! Next up Memoir / Biography.

I promised more about Bishop Castle a couple of posts ago, so here you go. Our neighborhood Harley group did a weekend ride to southern Colorado back in June of 2012, and one of the stops was a place unlike any other I’d ever seen, all built by one man during the very short summers that an altitude of 9000 feet offers.  Be sure to note the iron sphere, the highest accessible point, at least at the time we were there.

Bishop Castle, Colorado
Bishop Castle, Colorado

You really have to climb it to fully experience this place, but I was able to get a few quick snaps whenever I could convince my fingers to loosen their grip on whatever handhold I could find. Terry, one of the riders in our group, had no such qualms:

DSCN3722

Yeesh. I hyperventilate just looking at the photo. Plus — added bonus — the whole thing shimmies with every footstep ANYONE takes ANYWHERE on the iron part of the structure.

Safety precautions at Bishop Castle
Safety precautions at Bishop Castle

I think you should consider this a dead end and choose another route.

In case you can’t really tell how high this is, check out our Harleys in this photo shot from inside the sphere. Go ahead and get your magnifying glass. I’ll wait.

From inside the sphere atop Bishop Castle
From inside the sphere atop Bishop Castle

That’s the dragon to the right, unfortunately (fortunately?) not spewing flames when we were there. Rumor has it there’s a plan for a new burner that would be able to shoot flames 30 feet. Not sure how you get a permit for that in a state with annual raging wildfires. Hm.

Here’s another shot of the dragon:

DSCN3724

The drive alone was spectacular, along the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, and this place must be seen to be believed. There seem to be several Bishop Castle websites, so just Google it and take your pick, but whatever you do, find a map or directions so you can start planning your very own scary climbing adventure!

Bon courage!

Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway 2013

It’s snowing like mad tonight, which made me decide it is the perfect night to sit in front of the fire and remember summer. Here’s another post about Sturgis 2013:

Besides shopping, Sturgis week is about scenic rides, of course, and as a passenger of a rider I trust, I was free to enjoy the scenery.

Iron Mountain Road, near Keystone, South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road, near Keystone, South Dakota

All week long we rode past photographers snapping away, always with a big sign letting you know which website to check in search of your photo. I bought this one, because it absolutely captures our riding experience: me relaxing on the back, David eyes forward with laser focus. The road you see in the background is where we just were about three seconds before this shot was taken. Iron Mountain Road is stitched together with little curliques of wooden bridges, which I loved–David, not so much.

All in-motion riding photos are taken with my little pocket-sized Nikon CoolPix. Love my Canon DSLR, so it lives in a case until we STOP.

Iron Mountain Road, South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road, South Dakota

Needles Highway was similar. The passengers were snapping photos non-stop. The drivers were white-knuckling it through all the hairpin turns, trying not to overbalance and lay down the bike if someone ahead happened to stop suddenly. There was a lot of traffic, mostly Harleys, but also a few dazed-looking out-of-towners in sedans and station-wagons, no doubt wishing they’d picked a different week for their vacation. So there were occasional sudden slow-downs and you REALLY did not want those to happen in the middle of a hairpin turn. It wouldn’t have been catastrophic, because speeds are so low on sharp turns, but it wouldn’t have been fun either, and there’s a fine line between too fast and too slow on a curve when you’ve got 1200 leaning pounds of Harley, luggage, passenger and self.

Needles Highway, Keystone, South Dakota
Needles Highway, Keystone, South Dakota

But when the traffic stretched out a bit, it was just plain beautiful.

Iron Mountain Road, South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road, South Dakota
Needles Highway, near Keystone, South Dakota
Needles Highway, near Keystone, South Dakota
Needles Highway
Needles Highway
Stretching Break!
Stretching Break!
Lots of time for self-portraits!
Lots of time to practice self-portraits!

Sturgis 2013

Yes, I know I should be adding to the category “Countdown to Departure” but that’s mostly packing, and packing is BORING, and TEDIOUS, and a lot of work . . . and . . . I haven’t actually done any packing yet–David is the hero who has done all the packing so far.

I feel super virtuous simply granting permission for something to be donated or thrown away.

So instead, I thought I should create a new category to document our various Harley adventures over the past couple of years, because dear reader,  we went to STURGIS this past  August — How many people can say that? (Well, actually, hundreds of thousands, but not people WE know.) And we loved it!

Main Street Sturgis 2013
Main Street Sturgis 2013

Sturgis turned out to be an absolute festival of people-watching and talking to those whose paths we might otherwise never have crossed. One of these was a young woman tending bar in downtown Sturgis, who is a grad student at DU (Denver University) the rest of the year (lured to Sturgis week by promises of huge tips). Her response to the question, “How much do you get for serving body shots (Google it) to all these drunks?” — “Not enough,” delivered (and received) with a small shared grimace. It was a tiny moment of connection with another human trying to get by. Decided to give her a big tip, no body shot required.

Stretching Break on the Way to Sturgis 2013
Stretching Break on the Way to Sturgis 2013

The scenery itself was stunning, but more on that later.

Self-portrait -- Iron Mountain Road, Sturgis Week 2013
Selfie — Iron Mountain Road, Sturgis Week 2013

Another memorable non-riding adventure was catching the shuttle bus (not stupid enough to ride a motorcycle with alcohol in the system) out to Full Throttle Saloon, widely known as the largest, most famous biker bar on the planet. The door attendants were collecting the $10 cover charge with metronome-like rhythm, as bikers continued to stream in, and we wondered, exactly how many people can fit into this bar? We needn’t have worried. It was the size of a small town, complete with multiple live-music venues, indoor and outdoor seating (and mostly standing), even an aerial trick-riding bike show. For the cover charge, we were entitled to a “complimentary” (read “pre-paid”) shot of “S’loonshine” which was available in various flavors. I recommend the peach. Strawberry was disappointing. I didn’t try any others, so can’t offer an opinion. Two was enough for me, even riding a shuttle bus.

We weren’t actually there very long, because we had to catch the shuttle back to Sturgis in time to catch another shuttle back to Deadwood (where we and the rest of our group had hotel rooms). But we were there long enough to allow one of our group (not me) to check off a bucket list item by dancing (fully clothed, I promise) on a bar at Sturgis. She actually earned a few tips and many cheers and smiles. (Regardless, still not on my bucket list.)

Trudging back to the rendez-vous with the shuttle bus in the pouring rain through an unpaved parking lot (mud) gave me a vicarious Woodstock Moment (too young to have been there in ’69) and made me feel edgy and cool, but mostly WET and uncomfortable and rather chilled, to be completely honest. Whatever. It’s not bad as a (slightly edited) memory.

The next day we did actually ride the Harleys into town (see photo of David above, where we scored a parking spot on Main Street). Mostly, besides showing off your Harley,  drinking, and wearing rather less clothing than is generally considered appropriate (I’ll let you ask Google for those photos), Sturgis is about shopping.

Suggested Sturgis Wear -- I confined my bling to my belt.
Suggested Sturgis Wear — (I confined my bling to my belt.)

David and I both bought patches for our leather vests. Check out this photo of the grandmotherly type sewing patches on at her sewing machine with SKULL affixed to the side. Excuse me? What? (That’s my vest on the back of her chair, next in line, and David’s under mine.)

Sturgis 2013
Sturgis 2013

We do love experiencing the unexpected, and Sturgis was definitely that. To paraphrase Arnold, we’ll be back.