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Maybe I should begin by saying where I started from. I grew up in Chicago. My dad was in the automobile business. He ran a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership (on Stoney Island Ave for you Chi-towners) in the '60s. I distinctly remember sitting in the showroom at 8 yrs old, in awe of a Road Runner Super Bird sitting there. Burnt Orange with that huge spoiler that went up about 4 feet. What I would do to have that car today.

Anyhow, grew up around the car business all my life. Started out at the dealership washing rigs on Saturdays and Sunday (back then). Thought I was in Heaven getting to drive those Mopars around the property at 10 yrs old. Naturally, I got into the sales side at the dealership and sold my first car at 16. A new Plymouth Duster with an alligator canopy top----that was 1974.

Last year in High School (1976) I decided I wanted a motorcycle. Looked at a Yamaha Virago (what did I know at 18) and was set to buy it. Some of my buddies had bikes and dammit, I was going to have one too. Then one day I was driving home from school and was stopped by traffic----accident up ahead. Got out of the car and went to the scene. Turned out to be one of my buddies----the bike and he both were mangled----gone. Lost the desire to buy a bike right then and there.

Fast forward to 1997. General Manager for a dealership in Chicago's south suburbs. Wife, 3 kids. The owner sells the dealership and my family and I decide to take an offer to run a dealership in Denver, Colorado.

About 6 months after moving to Denver, I can't help but notice all the bikes. They're everywhere. Harleys mostly, but also *** bikes and Beemers. All of a sudden, I find myself in that mode-----you know what I'm talking about----that I-gotta-have-it mode. No way to turn it off. Bought my first bike. Have had 4 more since then.

I'm a rider. The last 5 years I have averaged 8500 miles per year. I ride all year round in Denver. Less, obviously in the winter, but with the climate here (sunshine 300 days per year) you can do that. The bulk of my rides are day-rides. I rarely go streetlight to streetlight. I ride to the mountains and just wind through those twisties for a hundred miles or so-----then a hundred or so back. Generally, I do a long ride or two a year for about a week each with some friends (last year was the National Parks throughout southern Utah---awesome).

I don't give a **** about being a "biker" per-se. I ride. That's what does it for me----the riding.

I pick up my FLTRI next week. My son is coming with me to pick it up. Who knows maybe he'll remember being in the showroom looking at dads Harley when he's 43.

Mike M
 

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Story.

Mike M,

Great story. I sat here reading your story and remembered what it felt like riding the roads that you are describing when I was in Co. [7/99]
It is your blood, donot fight it, get out and ride.



Ride Safe.
 

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Mike,

Cool story. I'd love to hear more about your ride through southern Utah..Hanksville, Boulder, Escalante Tropic. Makes me home sick:p

Anyway, welcome abord.

wyodude
 

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Discussion Starter #4
By the way, outstanding board. That said...

The Utah trip is going to be hard to top.

5 days, 1800 miles. First day (June '01), blew down I-70 from Denver about 75 miles, going over Vail Pass it hits around 30 degrees and flurries. I'm thinking----it's not too late to turn around". But I keep going (since thats what the guys I'm riding with are doing). Got to the other side of Vail and immediately the temps rise (in Colorado you bring gear for 3 seasons on any long ride), 50, 60 then 70 degrees when we hit Glenwood Springs.

Crossed into Utah and exited at Cisco. The ride from Cisco to Moab was spectacular. Closest I can come to describe it is that it seemed like I was riding through Chicago between the skyscrapers but these were sheer redrock walls along each side of the canyon road instead.

After Moab, we hit Arches National Park. I didn't know it at the time (because it was the first NP we hit) but it was probably the most impressive of the parks. We rode south on 191 through Monticello and Blanding before heading back north on 95 to Fry Canyon. At Fry Canyon we stayed at the Fry Canyon Lodge (imagine that), a 10 room motel run entirely on solar power. That night we drank cold beers as the bats divebombed the buzzing insects circling the lights at the motel. It was silent except for the buzzing and the flapping of those bats wings.

Backtracked to 276 and rode the GREATEST ROAD I EVER HAD BEEN ON through Glen Canyon descending to Lake Powell. What made it so surreal was the "unearthly" landscape. The soil was orange (and I mean ORANGE), with purple canyon walls on both sides in the distance and pale green scrub oak everywhere. We all commented that we thought this is what it would be like if we were on Mars.

Once we got to Lake Powell, we took a ferry across then back on 276 until it fed back into 95 again. If you do southern Utah, don't miss 276 and the ferry across Lake Powell. It was the highlight of my trip.

We hit Hanksville then headed west to Capitol Reef NP on 24. After a brief vist there, we proceeded to Torrey and had lunch. After lunch we headed south on 12, widely recognized as one of the most scenic roads in America. It didn't disappoint. The Escalante Grand Staircase is unbelievable. Sheer dropoffs on both sides---incredible.

Continued on into our destination for the night---Ruby's Inn at the entrance to Bryce Canyon NP. The "hoodoos" (needle shaped rocks) must be seen to be believed. Spent the day at Bryce---could have stayed a week and not seen it all.

Headed out of Bryce in the morning and rode into Zion NP. At this point we had seen so much incredible scenery, we were almost underwhelmed. Once we came to our senses about just what we were seeing, we realized how magnificent Zion was.

The next morning we woke, and due to time constraints (read: got to get back to family and job), we jumped on Interstate 15 at St. George and cranked it up through Cedar City, then east on 70 across all of Utah, back into Colorado and into Denver. 775 miles that day. My longest continuous single day to date.

If you can do it, make sure you do southern Utah. If you live in the states surrounding Utah and you don't do it-------you are cheating yourself from an outstanding experience.

Good Riding,

MikeM
 

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I agree, Mike. Southern Utah is pretty cool! :D

The parks are unbelievable! Your word "incredible" is pretty much on the mark. And the ride along the River is outstanding. I'll have to try that Lake Powell ferry trip. Sounds like a blast. Word of warning for those doing the Utah trip: it's quiet in Utah. Enjoy the beauty. Don't expect much in night life. There 's something to be said for beauty and nature though.

Oh, for you Sportster riders out there, beware of the I-70 trip back toward Colorado. You may run out of gas between Green River, Utah and the first gas in Colorado. (Had that experience with a young lady on a Sportster 6 years ago. She knew she'd run out and had extra gas.)

Great ride report.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pasadenajim, no nightlife is putting it mildly.

We went to the State Liquor store in Moab and bought a twelvepack and iced it for the next motel stop that night. After they were history (at Fry Canyon), we were SOL. Easier to get a bottle of JD in a State store than a cold one with lunch at a restaurant.

The nice part of the story is the lack of publicans (tourists) on the road and in the parks. This was June after all----can't get near most NP's in the country during the summer without running into gridlock. Utah is pretty unscathed by the masses even during peak riding season.

MikeM
 

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Mike,
I was born and raised in Southern Colorado. I bought my old ('74) Sportster when I lived in Denver. We used to ride west on US 6 through Golden, then up to Blackhawk & Central City.
That was before I moved to Wyoming for 12 years, and now to Joliet, Illinois for the last 2 years.
I hope to end up back in Colorado soon (within the next year or two if possible). I really miss living in the West! :(
 

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Flash, Had several friends from the Joliet area. Actually, I grew up in Oak Lawn then moved to Orland Park.

I bet you do miss Colorado. You know, Colorado is kind of a secret in the Midwest. When they told me about the job in Denver at first I balked at going. I thought "if I'm going to move, I want to go somewhere with a nice climate like California, Arizona or Florida". Had no idea how nice it is here.

I'll tell you, if I had to move again, you'd have to take me out fighting and kicking!

Good riding!

Mike M
 
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