WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: WanderRockies 5 - Top Of The Rockies
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 14:08:14 -0700

    Steve Anderson (West Coast) once asked me why I never write about being at the rally or about the 'hub' rides I take from a central point, like the rally. The answer to the first is because you can't describe the taste of water. It tastes like water. People who like water know what I mean. People who never touch the stuff couldn't care less.
    Years ago, when I first suggested attending a rally, Rebecca asked what it was like. Believing in bludgeoning with the truth, I said it is mostly a bunch of old farts sitting around taking about their rides. She went to one anyway and was surprised to find the other aspect of a motorcycle gathering. We all become temporary family. And the surprise is it is not a dysfunctional family. Sure we have our crazy uncles, like Steve (NM), and our bossy aunts like Helen (MI), but mostly we get along. Why don't I write about a family reunion? Because it is a family reunion.

    The second answer about hub rides is simple laziness. On the road I am driven to capture the fleeting images of the day. On a local ride, I am just enjoying rather than observing. In the last two days we have done two rides from Paonia. Both were to show Rebecca the scenery and visit the places where I led tours when I was a tour guide for Edelweiss a couple years ago. We went down the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (4 stops: at the power lines, the scenic overlook, Pioneer Point, and the Blue Mesa Dam).
    On the way toward the canyon we were facing the sun with swirling cirrus clouds not very high overhead. I stopped in the middle of the road to point out the only "rainbow cloud" I have ever seen. The ice crystals in the cloud were refracting a rainbow of iridescent pastel colors simultaneously brighter and more subtle than the normal hue of a rainbow arch. It was like Miami Vice in the clouds. Most amazing.
    One pleasant surprise happened for us at Pioneer Point. As we dismounted I nodded hello to another motorcycle rider who was getting ready to leave. Then I said, "Rebecca, do you want a drink of water." At that the other rider said "Rebecca? ... Would you be Sam? I've been reading your stories - ". Thus we met Mark, from Kansas, who was also on his way to Paonia and glad to be out of Kansas.
    On the way back we had an ice cream break at Joe Cocker's Mad Dog Ranch Cafe in Crawford. If you tell them you came on a motorcycle, you get a free souvenir (a pin or a bandanna). It was our mistaken belief that Joe is the rider. Nope, wife Pam has three bikes. She pushes the biker hospitality.
    Our second day ride was over McClure Pass to the Redstone Valley and the tiny quaint town of Redstone where the Redstone Inn was built in Teddy Roosevelt's time as a hunting lodge. Sad to say the "hunting" was arranged for Teddy by running a herd of elk past him across the lawn so the shots could be taken from the front porch. Redstone is a bit more civilized today. And they have a superb place to bring a tour for a snack - the Pie Plate Cafe ... where we, uh, sat on the front porch and shot our forks at what they ran before us.

    So that's what our 'off' days are like. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to rejoin the family old farts. See you again when we leave the rally for Denver.
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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