"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
- Lou Gerhig

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Denver, CO to Denver, CO: Speer Boulevard to Kalamath Street South to US-85 South to 2415 Evans Avenue and back again. (
MAP)

THE DETAILS:
Once again Iím lying in bed at 7:30 AM watching the Weather Channel and Hurricane Floyd. And once again my phone rings. And once again itís Chuck. He tried calling his building in the Bahamas (the phones were out yesterday) and incredibly the concierge answered. Miraculously, the storm passed just East of the building, and because the winds were coming around from the North, due to the stormís circulation, his place has completely escaped the damage. The island is a mess though. Cars were floating in the airport parking lot and the water was up to the ticket counters. But Chuck has emerged unscathed. He canít believe it. I canít believe it.  You canít believe it. Heís back on for Park City. He only made it as far as Scottsbluff last night because it was getting dark. So I suggest he come to Denver and weíll ride out to Park City together. Itís a deal.

I head over to BMW of Denver for my next service stop. The bike has 12,000 miles on it and it is time for a major service: complete fluid change, valve job, electronic check. I also get a new rear tire even though it probably has about 2,000 miles left. The front tire, although it is showing a wear pattern, has almost all the tread left. I decide to hold off on changing it.

The dealership is a very friendly place and there are lots of riders coming by while Iím there. The owner of the place, Clem, is an interesting guy whoís been in the business for a long time. Garth is the service manager and Gordan, the service technician, works on my bike. Theyíve got a lot of bikes here, including every model from the lineup. Three new Cruisers (the R1200C) have just been taken out of their crates, each of them with only one mile on the odometer. Clem tells me theyíre selling a lot of Cruisers.

Spending half a day at a cool BMW motorcycle dealership is always a good time. You meet interesting people, get to check out the new bikes, and look for any equipment you may need. I buy two angled value extenders (one for myself and one for Chuck) which makes it easier to put air in the tires. Often youíll pull into a gas station and because of the way the chuck (yes it is actually called the air chuck) is angled you canít get it on the valve. Suddenly your morning is not going too well. This little doo-dad solves that problem.

I spend the rest of the day back at the hotel, organizing my life and following up on a million things. I take a walk around town and check out the pedestrian mall, which covers 16th street for a dozen blocks. Last night I accidentally drove down it for about four of them. There are lots of nice shops and lots of great restaurants. When Chuck rolls in we have dinner at one of them: Rialto Cafť. Itís great food and the best meal Iíve had in weeks, not including the donuts at "The Worlds Best Donut Shop" in Grand Marais, Minnesota. I still canít get those donuts out of my head. I wonder if I could stop there on the way home. Do you think they have much snow in November?

Iíve been dying (pun intended) to see the movie "The Sixth Sense" ever since it opened and kept sitting at the top of the box office chart. But Iíve been on the road and havenít had a chance. Besides most of the two-bit theaters in the towns Iíve been in are still showing "Wild Wild West." By now most of my friends have seen "The Sixth Sense" and everyone is talking about it. So Chuck and I check it out after dinner. Two nights before, when I was talking about it with my buddy Sandy Cederbaum, he told me it was one of those movies where you wonít believe the ending. Well, Iíve seen the commercials, and the preview, and my mind starts trying to figure it out before the movie even starts. Ten minutes into the film, Iíve figured the whole plot out. Sometimes Iím too smart for my own good. But it didnít matter. This film still SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. Do not see this film if you have an existing heart condition.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 13.6
Total Miles: 9,523
Time on Motorcycle: 32 Minutes
Average Speed: 25.9 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (CO)
Total States Visited: 24
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 0
NPS Stamp totals: 71 Stamps, 20 States
Weather: Heavy clouds but no rain

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"Watch out for the idiots" Ė garage attendant at Executive Towers Hotel, downtown Denver, as I leave the parking lot.

RANDOM PASSINGS:
The voting booths are closed. The ballots are in. The people have spoken.

27 of you voted that I should keep camping. 37 of you voted I send the gear home.

Only about 40% of the eligible voters actually cast their ballots. But that is probably better than the last presidential election.

Well, I said this wasnít a democracy, and since the results were not a landslide, I am going to try to keep camping. Besides, it will give me more interesting things to write about. The next scheduled attempt is in a few days in Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah.

What really made up my mind was a note from my acquaintance, Bill Bonanno. Bill said, "Finish the trip together. You started with the gear, end with the gear. You will miss it as soon as you get rid of it. Keep camping."

Bill, I like that line of thinking. Thanks for the advice. Arches, here I come.

 


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