DISCLAIMER: the following pictures are awful due to a broken camera. I apologize. This trip was taken before my blogging days so I didn’t think anyone would see them… but now, years later, I decide to share!
Kawasaki Vulcan 500cc
50 – East to West
Why Route 50 and Not Route 66?
Well, Route 66 is very historical and the majority of people choose this road because of its history and stories… but 66 starts in Chicago and dips down farther south than Colorado to continue on west to California… this was too out of the way of where I was starting and wanting to go…
Route 50, on the other hand, was more of the route I wanted to take… Not only that, but it’s the only road in the U.S.that goes from coast to coast – this is pretty amazing, no? It’s kind of interesting to follow pretty much one road for 3,000+ miles…
I started in Virginia [right outside where Route 50 starts in Ocean City… 50 goes through the town I was living in at the time so it was the perfect plan] and wanted to get to Colorado [never going as far north as Chicago] – 50 made the most sense and, to me, is more unique and impressive.
Favorite Bike Festival
MountainFest in Morgantown, West Virginia… at the end of July each year.
There are a million things in the U.S. that are unique and special: the diversity of cities, national parks, people, scenery, foods, accents, etc… they are all extreme, wonderful, and a “must-see” at least once in your life. Driving across America is the best way to experience the diversity of the country and everything in between. I really love the cute little mountain towns in Colorado.
The day we were supposed to get to Kansas, I took a nasty spill in Missouri.
It had rained the night before and a lot of gravel washed onto the road. Up ahead there was sharp left turn around a corner, up h
ill. As I approached, I saw something in the road – it looked like a decent sized rock (maybe about 8-10 inches in diameter). I then realized it was moving and had four legs! It turned out to be a turtle. I then, in this split second, had to make a decision of either going on the left side of the turn (the inside of the turn), or on the right side (the outer edge of the road). Since it was a blind corner and I couldn’t see the oncoming cars, and I’d have to learn pretty far over toward the left to make that turn (over the double yellow line), I decided it was safer to go on the outside – but oh wow, was I wrong! I hit gravel and the bike slide right out from under me!
My Dad was driving in front of me (like always), and he had pulled over when he saw I didn’t come around the turn. He saw me on the side of the road laying there with the bike on top of my leg, and he ran so fast down that road – I don’t think I’ve ever seen him run that fast in his life! He then pulled the bike off of me and made sure I was ok.
At that same time, an oncoming car came around the corner and saw me on the ground. The offered to drive me to the hospital as my dad followed on his bike.
Fun Fact! This is one of the first stories of where HOLE STORIES got its name! Lots of holes in my jeans with crazy stories behind them!
We were able to get to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri (wasn’t too far away, so once I was patched up, I was fine to drive a short awhile). Once we got there, we got a place to stay, and then my dad decided to color in the scratches of my bike with a Sharpie marker HAHA! Look at the huge dent in it from my knee! I can’t believe that landed on me and I was completely fine <<knock on wood>>
Then we walked around the Lake of the Ozarks, stayed over night, and continued the next morning.
From Flat Nothing to Grand Mountains
When driving, it’s really something special to experience flat flat nothing for days and days and then “YESS!!!!!! HILLS!!! MOUNTAINS!!! SKIING!! AMAZING!!!” It’s one thing to just step off a plane and see the Rocky Mountains, but it’s a whole other thing to drive drive drive and see nothing but corn for days and then, like a miracle, you see huge mountains… Believe me, after driving through the middle of America, you will REALLY appreciate those mountains!
Here, we’re stopped because I could start to see some mountains waaaaay in the distance.
The Great Sand Dunes
Pagosa Springs, CO & Near Death
I can’t believe the road we took to get here. I can’t believe my father LET me drive that road! Holy hell… twists, turns, switch backs, super steep, with no railings… One wrong move and I would have easily gone right over the edge!
The mountain pass is only open in the summer time because there’s absolutely no way they’d be able to plow that road in the winter. But even though we did this in the middle of summer, it was absolutely freezing driver over that pass!
We sat at this nice cafe, overlooking the springs, relaxing after that grueling drive. I sat in the sun, trying to warm up, like a snake. As we sat that, waitress and other customers were gasping and a bit in a panic. My dad asked them what was up, and they said that a motorcyclist JUST NOW took a turn wrong, laid his bike down, and died (either by an oncoming truck, or he tried to avoid the truck and went over the edge – I can’t remember now, 7 years later). But what’s insane is that it had to have just happened about 2 minutes after us because we had just driven that same mountain pass and didn’t see anything (and it was just radioed in as we were sitting there).
I thank my lucky stars that that morning was spent with a nice coffee, in the sunshine, with my dad, instead of what happened 2 minutes after. How crazy is life sometimes??
The town is completely surrounded by mountains, and every car in town is a Jeep. I really loved this place!
We then experienced the craziest winds ever! I couldn’t even keep the bike up! We had to pull over because I was leaned so incredibly hard to one side just to keep the bike straight up. Once we pulled over and parked the bikes on the side of the road, we had to grab the handle bars and lean all of our weight to keep the bikes from blowing over. I was seriously looking to a funnel cloud to touch down – look at that sky… only black over us, of course!
Black Canyon, CO
Would you do a trip like this? Have you? Let me know in the comments what you think and which route you’d take!