Day 6 (& 7): Over the Rockies/Dream Girl
The next day, Chad got released to a regular room, so I didn't have to lie to get in to see him. We went early in the morning, hoping to skip town in time to take the Loveland Pass over the top of the Rockies, and not have to take the Eisenhower Tunnel through them without having to flat-out bomb the miles.
In his room, Chad sat upright in bed, surrounded by his family, cracking jokes, and smiling as always. His family thanked me for saving his life (read the previous article), which I have trouble accepting credit for. Chad was stoked to see all of us and offered a few high fives with his missing arm and things like:
"I'm going to have to stop saying, 'I'd give my right arm...'"
It really helped us to relax. We sat there for a few hours detailing the crash to his family, and Chad for that matter. The room was pretty crowded with a bunch of bikers, a mom and dad, a brother and wife, and Chad's girlfriend who took an emergency flight from South America to be by his side. I had a seat on the floor right next to his bed. I picked the best spot in the house...right next to Chad's pee-bag. As soon as I saw it, Chad was already peeing. I touched the bag and felt his warm liquids through the sanitary plastic. I never held another man's urine before. Chad's family was not amused. You're probably not either. Chad (and the rest of us) was cracking up.
We told Chad that some of us were on the fence about continuing to Sturgis, but he told us we had to, so we did.
Junior had some chick that he was in love with that lived in Evergreen, a town outside of Denver. He was talking about her the whole trip. She invited us to stay the night at her horse ranch, so we peeled out of Grand Junction down the I-70 East.
The I-70 through Central Colorado is my favorite chunk of superslab anywhere in the US-twisting its way through the Rocky Mountains, alongside world-class ski resorts, 14,000-foot peaks, and cool green valleys. The best part, though, is Glenwood Canyon, 12.8 miles of split-level twistiness that runs alongside the Colorado River, boxed in by high cliffs. Check conditions before visiting though, as at press time it was closed due to a massive rockslide, and the detour is 150 miles.
We hooked off the 70 to take the old US-6 over Loveland Pass. Before the Eisenhower Tunnel blasted a hole right through the guts of the mountains, this twisty little two-lane was the only way over the Continental Divide in this part of the Front Range. The summit is at 11,990 feet, just above the treeline, and ringed by high peaks. It was a welcome chill (about 58) after a day of temps in the high 80s.
Shooting some photos on the east side of the pass, Junior broke his foot. Short guys on tall bikes don't mix. At every pullout Junior had a tough time planting his feet firmly on the ground. By this time in our trip, he must have dropped every bike at least once. He had to balance on his tip-toes at every stop. While flipping a "U" he clipped his foot on the rear outrigger on the Vision. Down came the bike again.
Fuck. Not another man down. He refused to go to the hospital and kept on riding. This would have worked out fine if he didn't complain every five minutes about his ankle and hop around on one foot throughout the rest of the trip. I called bullshit on it. Dude, if you "broke" your ankle then you go to the hospital. If you can still ride, its not broke. Shut-up and let's ride.