This Blog is going to be a long one, I have lots of time to kill waiting for flights, so I plan to bend your ear, so get a coffee and put your feet up, don’t just skip through the photos!!!!!
The next morning we woke up in our “Dated-Alpine-Log-Cabin-Cheapy-Oros-Ski-Lodge” (I suppose poor people also like to ski,) and were treated to a breakfast of weak coffee and a mass produced “Danish Pastry” with more sugar and MSG than legally allowed. We found our rental car and Danny-Boys car covered in snow. We drove deeper into the mountain and then we started dropping in altitude with a 1000m and the weather improved.
Our first destination was Aspen, the skiing playground of the rich and famous. We drove up the mountain past Vail and on to Aspen, past the Airport (the rich and famous fly in as they don’t drive up mountains.) But Aspen was another damp squid as they only have two seasons, Summer and Winter, so our choice of arriving there in Spring was not so wise, most things were closed and there was hardly people and no gees in this Ski Resort. The streets are lined with shops of all the designers label clothing shops and a Rolex Shop and Jewelers, just in case the Movie Star suddenly has the urge to buy a Gucci Handbag. The ski lift in Aspen was not running as there was not enough snow. We walked around and found a bakery with Cappuccino Coffee and Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies at an eye watering price.
Said Bakery also sold Eye Watering Ice Cream, and this lovely young lady could not help herself in spite of the Minus Temperatures outside. (What a lovely daughter Milsy and Jax has raised, you can be so proud. She handled all our nonsense and her fathers snoring, she operated the cars temperature control and tuned the radio for non stop music, and what is a Road Trip without music, She was The Master of Google and if it was not for here we would not have seen anything worth while on this Road Trip.)
Lots of Art Galleries with art outside the shop as well, sculptures of Brass on many corners (and the Brass Statues stay there and are not “harvested” for Scrap Metal.
If any of my Blog Followers were considering buying a little Ski Cottage in Aspen, here is a few suggestions I saw at the local Estate Agent, remember to multiply the price by 16 and then add Tax And Transfer Duty, the one we liked was selling for $28m, or R450m, yes, there are people who live on a completely different level than one can imagine.
And there, on the streets of Aspen I found the American Cousin of Sky Canary, (my beloved 1972 Toyota Land Cruiser)
So at least one Lekker Guy stays in Aspen, he even did something with wood for the back of the Bakkie which I plan to copy:
I suspect Sky Canary had an easier life than her USA Cousin as she looks much better.
I can hear my “friends” moaning, saying “why put your old bakkie photos on our KTM World Tour Blog, just like the last time I put my Scuba Diving Photos and my Old Motor Bike Photos they moaned and moaned. But it is my Blog, so I Post what I want, sorry for you.
Back to our Road Trip:
We had a Lunch in Aspen and then we headed for a place called Glenwood Springs. Its like Warmbad (Bella Bella) but with much more rules and class, and the water is naturally warm and smelly and the heat and smell is not added artificially and by boiler, and it is old, and famous. The buildings and pools are over a 100 years old and the water has to be cooled down before it can be pumped into the different pools, all differ in size and the temperature of the pools are also different, as well as the smell of the water as some pools has less Sulphur and Minerals in the water. The main pool is the Largest Natural Hot Spring Pool in the world and it hold 1,1m Gallons of water.
And if you are wondering: Yes, I did use my Tiger Print Sleeping Shorts to swim in, but I did hire a Towel for R45 to at least try to cover-up as much as the little towel could as to not scare too many mothers and Children. (Danny Boys Friendy had a spare Swimming Costume she could lend to our Lovely Young Tour Leader although there were swimming costumes for sale for R3000-00 in the local shop inside the very old building.)
We then started driving closer to Denver (stayed in Silverthorne) as everyone except me were flying back the following day, either home or back to study for exams in Louisiana, and the two Bean Counters were driving off into the Sun Rise on their 3 month Adventure of Touring the USA, their Gap-Year-Reduced to 3 months as jobs were awaiting in Amsterdam.
Once again the young lady Tour Leader saved the day by booking accommodation on-line, while we were standing in the lobby looking at the hotel receptionist as the price on line is R300 cheaper per room if you book on line compared to when you arrive at reception. So with all the money saved on all the rooms we decided to go big and go out for a special dinner.
We just could no longer face a Burger or a Pizza or a Chicken Wing, so we took a 10 minute drive to find a Chinese Restaurant where the food was unbelievable, so was the price.
But the next morning the snow was much heavier and as we wanted to turn onto the highway to Denver there was a rather rude policeman, standing in short sleeves, in minus 8 Degree weather directing traffic away from the on-ramp to the high-way as the Highway was now closed thanks to a truck accident on the iced-up road. All we wanted to ask Rambo was how we could now get to Denver as the only road was now closed, but he was very rude and abusive and Milsy was threatened with arrest should he not “immediately remove your vehicle.” My Lost Puppy look did nothing to melt Rambo;s heart either. But once again our lovely Tour Leader had the answer from Proff Google and she had us heading up “The 6” which was a little twisty road up the mountain to over 3000m and then down a pass where it would join the highway after the accident, only problem was that the other side of the highway was also closed and we had trucks going in the opposite direction also using this little road. Visibility was very low thanks to the nifty South Africans who filled the windshield washer bottle with water, as one do, but in these temperatures we were suppose to put anti freeze in the water, so it froze and now all the water and slush ice splashing onto the windscreen was freezing and blocking our view and we could not spray water onto the windscreen to help clean the screen.
The trucks all stopped and had Snow Chains fitted onto their drive-wheels. They did not drive slow, think they need momentum to get up the pass, it was an hair-raising experience.
We lost a lot of time but made it to the airport in time.
We hugged and off went everyone except Peens and I, as he was only flying at Midnight, on Air Ethiopia, via Washington DC, via Addis, via Maputo, (yes, the ticket was so cheap they paid him some money to book it.)
As we had the late morning and afternoon to kill we decided to go Down Town, or, to be more specific, LoDo (slang they use for Lower Down Town.) We took the train from the airport, a 45 minute ride to LoDo, it was double the distance compared to the Gautrain a quarter of the price. The ride takes to long as there are several crossings where the cars have to stop next to the road when the booms comes down for them to allow the train to pass, at each of these crossings the train 1st comes to a stop, waits for the lights to change for the cars and the booms to come down before he proceed through the crossing, this was also a 1st for me, I have often stood at the boom on my motorbike waiting for the train to pass, never been in the train.
The LoDo area is the old area of Denver’s city, they converted all the old warehouses and factories and markets into residential, office and restaurants and bars, no retail shops though. The place we headed to was the Dairy Block, the old Milk Market which now house several restaurants and bars and are accessed through the alleys behind the buildings.
There was a Baseball Game on at the local Baseball Stadium which is at the edge of this LoDo area, but next to it was a big Square, Mc Gregor square with a big screen showing us what was happening inside the stadium, so we could see why the spectators were cheering, it was like being inside the stadium. There were many food stalls and a Beer Dispenser with over 30 beers on tap which you can taste by putting your Beer Card in the slot and pour tasters sizes or bigger, the Beer Card is linked to your Credit Card, so at the end of the day you simply drop your card in a box and walk away.
We opted for Ramen Noodle Bowls, crispy Pork and Pork Belly
There was a lot of Mexican Parties going on as some Mexican Festivities were celebrating some special day.
Once again we could have hired these electric Scooters but best we did not after the Beer Tasting. But next time I am downloading the App, I saw Uber Scooters in Denver, they were not an option in San Fran.
This was one of our shortest Legs ever, we did only 5515 km. See the data below:
Some Random Thoughts In Closing:
It has been a difficult trip for me as it started with my “lost key drama” and ended with getting Danny-Boys Disease. (He arrived sick, we all arrived with Covid Negative Tests, we had him tested for covid but he tested Negative.)
Milsy arrived with an Electric Vest which he plugs into his Cigarette Lighter on the bike, an absolute Game Changer !!!!!!!
My Bose Music Sunglasses was an epic fail, my helmet is too noisy.
The best thing for me on this trip was using an American Sim Card in my phone. I was connected all the time and could phone Pie and Tex who also had American Numbers, I could go onto the Internet and use Google Maps when my GPS Garmin left me in any doubt. But it did come with its own problems as I sold my soul to Pie by accepting his “$50-00 Gift” as he then asked in exchange that I take a suitcase home for him, containing parts of a Dyno Machine ( Computer for measuring Horse Power,) so no doubt will it look like a Bomb Makers Kit when it is scanned at Denver Airport, so I am preparing myself for a full body cavity search when I arrive in Atlanta, and then more severe reactions when I try and sneak this pink floral suitcase past my brothers at O.R. Thambo Airport in Johannesburg.
Selling my soul to Pie came with another Curve-Ball, the number I was given belonged to Janice before, I suspect she was in the Sex Industry as the phone never stopped vibrating in my pocket with all the calls coming through, and when I took my helmet off and could answer the calls they were either from men asking me to speak to Janice, or dropping the call when they heard a man answering, but other calls were from companies speaking to me in Spanish offering me Credit. These companies also never stopped Messaging me with pre-approved credit. I complained about this to Rocky and he convinced me to accept the offer for free credit and that we could afford whisky with Janice’s money.
What struck me on this trip was how much more expensive everything has become, not just fuel, everything. The Americans are also feeling the pinch, not just the Ponytails of California, in the other states as well, people are taking strain, and they blame either Biden or Trump.
Everywhere you look people are hiring, lots of jobs are on offer, posters like this everywhere. Even small shops would have a Hand Written sign saying “Help Wanted”
Rocky and I contemplated on taking the jobs on offer at The Hot Water Spring, for $30-00 per hour we could be Life Guards. I did not notice this on previous trips, Maybe its still the result of coming out from Covid.
Because Labour has become so expensive service levels are very poor, one waiter, one chef and one cleaner would be on duty at a small pub\restaurant over lunch, doing the bar, reception, cooking, serving and also cleaning. So service is slow, and as I was at the back of the Patience Que when it was handed out, I hated sitting down for a meal or a drink. And then a service fee of 20% is added to the bill even though it sucked, plus a VAT %, which resulted in the menu item costing 30% more when the bill arrived making things even more expensive.
But good service was found in Seattle with Alex and his team at KTM, they bent over backwards for us, and in our group some of us are more challenging to deal with, so well done to the team at Motor Sports of Olympia in Seattle. Our bikes were serviced by them before our Alaska trip and then after Alaska trip.
Another good thing I have to say about the Americans are that they are such great drivers, compared to RSA where half the cars are not road-worthy or driven by licensed drivers, here in the USA the people drive roadworthy cars, the drivers pull over for you even if it means driving onto the gravel on the little mountain roads we traveled on. You have confidence driving here that the car in front of you is not going to do something stupid and swerve into your lane, and that the truck driver in the truck coming towards you is doing a 8 hour shift and is fresh and rested and has not been behind the wheel for 18 hours pushing for Over-time. The people here are Law Abiding, you drive properly, you dont litter, you dont spit and gob everywhere (sorry China.)
Our timing with the Weather did not work out, but what does not kill you makes you stronger.
I loved the way the Road Works work here, its all very subtle and I suspect the procedure with regards to Road Works were written by a female. First you see a flag or sign telling you that there will be roadworks ahead, then much later another telling you to “Expect Delays” then nothing and you think you are safe, then another sign reminding you of roadworks, then a sign to tell you to “prepare to stop” then nothing for a long time, then another sign telling you to prepare to stop, by this time I am so frustrated I just want to stop, BRING IT ON, lets just stop and get this over !!!!!!!!
But this country is working, things work, roadworks everywhere improving the roads, adding little turning lanes, buildings being constructed, plenty of new houses going up. Yes I would not be able to live in San Fran, I am too much of a Boertjie, but I could live in Denver, it is spotless, people are great and the city is lovely. Yes the country is very much divided along Political lines and lately Abortion is back in the Spot Light. I even started questioning my beliefs about this topic. We saw big banners on peoples front lawns telling Biden to “F……. Off” and then you cross the state line and then Trump is the Poepol. But I said it before in previous Blog, I have no doubt that these two “opposites” will unite at a drop of a hat as they are Americans through and through and when the pawpaw hits the fan, like it did before, they are one people and politics will be set aside.
On this trip we crossed the Rockies in the snow, crossed the Sierra Nevada, rode along the Colorado River, crossed the Rio Grande, went over the 39th Paralele, seen the NFL Draft, won money in Las Vegas and rode down “the Strip.” We saw the spectacularly shaped Mountains in Arizona and Utah, I swam in the oldest and biggest Hot Water Spring in the World. But the biggest part of this was building on friendships, a group of Alpha Males bonding because we realise we sort of need one another to complete this Adventure of a Life Time. And along the way to share it with Lovely Jess and Team Bean Counter. Every day I realised how Blessed I am to experience this and I am truly thankful that I can be so blessed.
More Info will follow i due course on Leg 17 which is planned for late September\Early October.
Thanks for riding along with us and letting me share my thoughts with you.