The Cohens give us a quick tour of the town and mountain. Thereís a lot to do here, regardless of the season. In the warmer months, hiking, biking, kayaking, and rafting are all popular. And of course, the place really shines in the winter, with great skiing and virtually every winter sport, including a World Cup Ski Jump site. This small town of 7,000 people has produced more Olympic athletes than any other place in the USA. We visit the Olympic hall, which has a flag for every athleteís Olympic competition. The most famous skier in town is Billy Kid who won a silver medal in the 1964 Winter Olympics. Billy is the townís ambassador. Heís on the mountain three or four days a week and you can ski with him if you want. During the summer months he travels to places like New Zealand to spread the good word of Steamboat.
But the town wants to stay small and keep the good feeling it has. Although real estate prices have risen, the place still has an unspoiled atmosphere. Itís not commercialized and attracts families, not the ritzy crowds of places like Aspen. I really like Steamboat and Iíll definitely come back here again. Besides, Iíve got an open invitation.
On the way out of town, we stop at the offices of the Steamboat Pilot, the local newspaper. Carole has arranged an interview for me with hopes that the paper will run a story on my trip and mention the Neurological Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Perhaps we can get some additional donations.
Finally, Chuck and I hit the road, but weíre late again, thanks to me. After we get through Craig the road empties out, turning straight and fast. Itís almost like a desert in this part of Colorado. The open scene reminds me of some views from the movie "Easy Rider." But Chuck and I, with our colorful gortex jackets, full-face helmets, and BMW motorcycles donít look anything like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. But the feeling is the same. Weíre touring the open road, out among America.
We stop at the Dinosaur National Monument. Where is this you ask? In Dinosaur, Colorado, of course. They have a Dinosaur Quarry here, near Jensen, Utah, but we donít have time to dilly-dally. We have to keep moving to beat the sunset. Racing into rays of light we skirt the Strawberry Reservoir and cross Danielís Pass at almost 8,000 feet.
In Heber City, we split up, Chuck heading down to Sundance to stay with a TWA pilot buddy named Don and his wife Paula. I head up the road to Park City, where weíll meet tomorrow for the AHMRA Motorcycle Week activities. As soon as I turn north, motorcycles surround me. Theyíre everywhere, headed to and from. A chick on a brand new BMW R1100S (the sport version of my bike) zips past me up the highway. I brave the traffic to keep up with her. This girl is fast.
Itís dark when I arrive at the Yarrow Hotel in Park City. But Iím amazed when I pull into the parking lot. There are all kinds of motorcycles, all over the place. I did this one right. Unlike Denver, I made a reservation months ago. And my hotel is motorcycle central: headquarters for everything and the start/finish line for the road races. Tomorrow is going to be a blast.
I stamped my passport with them but I wasnít sure they counted towards the Iron Butt National Park Master Traveler Award. So, I e-mailed Mike Kneebone, the Iron Butt President, and asked him. I also asked him about park sites, like the Boston National Historic Park, which have multiple sites and different stamps for each. I wasnít sure any of these stamps would count because they are not listed in the NPS Passport, but they are on the NPS web site and Fodorís "Complete Guide to Americaís National Parks."
Mike responded to my question within hours (Donít you just love e-mail.) And the news is good. THEY COUNT!
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