My short trip to Colorado
Unfortunately itís been a while since I have posted. Things look and work a bit differently now than they did. Somehow all my previous posts and information has disappeared. Iíve filled in all the necessary profile information and hope that the emailed posts will continue to flow.
I would like to express my appreciation to Dick and Grif for their offer for help a few days ago when I found myself stranded in Hoganís Goat Yard. Iíve heard mention of this place all my life and now I think Iíve found it. Itís about 300 miles east of Denver Colorado on I-70. Itís also about 300 miles northwest of Wichita, Kansas. You can literally look 360 degrees at the horizon and see nothing but prairie and sky. One might wonder how it was that I had the time to contemplate this scenic view in the middle of nowhere.
I decided that I needed a break after finishing paramedic school and passing my national registry test. I thought I would run out to Denver to see a friend of mine who moved there about a year ago. Having never been there I thought this would be interesting. The trip out was anything but. I noticed that it was a little warm on I-70 traveling west. 103 degrees throughout the state with a constant, what felt like, 45 M.P.H. wind gust from the south. I kept asking myself when can I get off this never ending ride. It felt like I-70 was a never ending highway that encompassed the earth. As soon as I crossed over into Colorado I found it necessary to stop for gas. $3.39/gal. Just a bit higher than the $2.49 I paid in Kansas. WOW almost $20.00 to fill up. I continued on into the Denver Metro area and was very pleased with the attitudes of the people I met. Even the toll gate attendants were nice and very helpful. When I finally arrived at my destination, Parker Colorado, I was very impressed. This is a very nice suburb of Denver. I was very pleased with the area and am putting it on my top 10 list for retirement destinations. The weather at its coldest was 49 degrees at 0500 on the morning I left. The hottest was less than 80 degrees during the heat of the day. Absolutely no humidity at 6100 feet above sea level. No mosquitoes or flies either. The sun was shining every day with an occasional sprinkling of rain that only lasted about 5 minutes every other day or so. Unfortunately I only spent a few days there and my friend kept me busy so I didnít have much time to ride the area. I think I missed all the good twisties just west of me but enjoyed myself none the less.
The morning I left started out a little cool. I had no problems throughout my trip until I was about 8 miles west of Colby, Kansas. It was about this time that I noticed what seemed very much like a front end wobble on a 90ís model Goldwing with bad steering head bearings. I pulled over on the highway and had a little trouble putting down my side stand. This unfamiliar feeling alerted me to the distinct possibility that I may have a flat tire. I finally dismounted while leaving my motorcycle almost straight up on the side stand. I looked down at the rear tire to find what I had suspected. Mind you the 45 M.P.H. wind gust from the south was now coming from the north. Being eastbound with a side stand that just missed flipping the motorcycle over to the right side I had to hold on against the north wind. Well, you guessed it. It was just a few minutes and that north wind flipped it over. My first reaction was to right it. But I thought to myself, itís over now with the problem flat staring me in the face. I might as well fix the flat now that I can get to it. Besides, if I stand it up, it will only be a short time until the wind blows it over again causing even more damage. As I was assembling my handy BMW flat fixing tools a car load of attractive females in their 30ís happened by and offered to help. They gladly said they would notify the Kansas State Police of my predicament. Within a minute or two an 18 wheeler stopped on the other side of the road to help. As I was talking to him another truck driver stopped to help. Iím sure it looked worse than it was with the K1200LT turned almost upside down. Everyone thought I had been involved in a bad accident. This also crossed my mind when considering whether or not to stand it up. Now I have two able bodied individuals to help me flip it over along with two state police officers. I found the nail, removed it, plugged the tire and used the 3 CO2 cartridges to re-inflate the tire. This was great. I could get on my way with the help of 4 other people to stand it up. Until I heard a hissing sound. Yes another nail. Well, BMW thoughtfully gives us 3 plugs for just such an occurrence. I used another and plugged the second hole. One of the truck drivers had an air hose that attaches to the air brake system and allows for tire inflation. Great, flipped it over, walked it up to the truck, aired up the tire again and Iím off. Ooops, whatís this. That head shake is still there. Iím not stopping now until I get to an exit with a truck stop. Colby Kansas. As I exited the interstate I smelled rubber burning. That canít be good. Now the right side of my rear tire tread appears melted from rubbing against the driveline. Strangely though it is only on half the circumference of the tire. It doesnít extend all the way around. How does that happen? Well, the more I looked at it the more it appeared that belt(s) in the tire had broken and caused it to deform. Well what now. I went inside and found a very nice young man that was employed only to assist travelers. I didnít know there was such a job at a truck stop. He spent the next 3 hours giving me the names and phone numbers of motorcyclists in the area. Unfortunately they were all out riding. I pulled out my BMW MOA anonymous book. The nearest dealer to the east was Wichita, about 300 miles away. The nearest dealer to the west was Denver, about 300 miles away. I called the nearest member listed in the book some 70 miles away. He was gracious enough to contact a local Suzuki dealer who opened his shop on Sunday to see if he had a tire that would fit. Unfortunately he didnít. The same MOA member offered to drive 70 miles in his truck and pick up my bike and offered lodging at his house. These BMW guys are unbelievable. No matter what trouble I have with this brand Iím sticking with it just because of the fellow riders and their willingness to help under any situation. Well, I was quite frustrated at this point and decided that the further east I drove the closer to civilization I would be. Though it was a stupid decision I decided that the wear on the tire was on the tread and not the sidewall. Well tread is made to wear down, right. Letís just see how far I can wear it down. Iím off on I-70 Eastbound. Every 10 miles or so I stopped after inhaling a significant amount of vaporized tire rubber. The first stop things were not looking so good. So that is what the cords look like. Iím off again. About another 10 miles I decided Iíd better stop and take another look. Iím not stopping on the side of the road though; I learned my lesson with Kansas wind. I pulled of at the next exit. I think it was Hwy 23. I thought there was a truck stop at the exit but found out upon closer inspection that it appeared to have been shut down for at least 10 years. So I pulled into what looked like a government building of some sort. Wheatland Elementary School. Sunday. Vacant. As I came to a stop. POP. Hiss, as my seat height rapidly decreased. Thatís all she wrote for that tire. Well letís try Cross Country Motor Club perhaps they will send a tow truck out. I had not heard good things about them but what the hell; Iím in the middle of Hoganís Goat yard. My cell phone battery looks like itís about to give out any minute. As I try to give the operator my location she refuses to listen until I give her my membership number, VIN, year, make, model, and color of my motorcycle. Huge pain in the ass when your cell phone is beeping to warn you that the battery is dying. No 12 volt charger, just the AC. She promptly informed me after I had given her all the required information, that I would be towed to the nearest repair facility. I informed her that I would prefer Wichita as I had just left Denver this morning. A long pause followed. I was put on hold for a minute. When she returned to the line she told me that my membership would tow me to the nearest repair facility or pay a maximum of $100.00 for the tow and that she needed the method of payment to be used for the remainder of the bill. Not being very happy to hear that and hoping that I could find a friend at home with a trailer, I told her that there would not be any additional fee as I would be traveling to the nearest hotel to the east. I estimated that fee to be equivalent to about 30 miles. With that information a tow truck was sent. While walking around with nothing to do I noticed these little metal boxes on the exterior wall of the school. WOW. AC outlets and they worked. Thank You Wheatland School District! Now with power to the phone I called my wife in the hopes that she might be able to borrow a truck and trailer and come after me. She informed me that one of our wonderful board members offered to overnight a tire. Thanks Grif. My problem was that I didnít know where I would be able to have it installed on Monday. My wife, Kathy contacted a good friend of mine who offered to come pick me up. Yes, 1200 miles up and back. Perhaps I should say GREAT FRIEND. Well, about 30 minutes later the tow truck arrived and I was dropped off at the nearest hotel where I waited in an air conditioned room for my GREAT FRIEND Paul. He arrived about 11:30 p.m. and I was home about 7:00 a.m. Next trip to Colorado will be through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.