6” Up Summer: 4500 Miles Through The Rockies With BKP. Part II- 3 New Bikes Leaving STL, MO
It was finally time to hit the road! It was July 24, and we had about 12 days to get to Colorado to hook up with Phil and Chuck in Montrose, and make our way north. The plan was for Jeff, Darren, and I to leave bright and early that morning, however, I was held back for about half a day. Mike and I had some business to handle for our new partners, Pikes Peak Harley Davidson in Colorado Springs, CO. It broke my heart to wake up at 3:30am and help the boys load, and watch them roll off the dock at Bare Knuckle Performance without me tagging along. But no matter, I would connect with them early the next morning.
A common theme we all started to see on this trip is how things just seem to work out. The first morning was the first indication of this phenomenon. Darren and Jeff rolled out of a gas stop in western MO, and once at highway speed, somehow, inexplicably, Darren’s valve stem was sheered off. Nothing from the bike itself was anywhere near the stem, so it must’ve been some kind of road debris. No clue. As Darren limped down the shoulder to the next exit, storm clouds started to gather. The fellas got the tire off and Jeff shagged ass to the nearest tire shop. The tire was roached. As the storm opened up, the tire shop loaned Jeff a service truck to run up the road to the nearest HD dealership. As it rained, Darren sat in the gas station sipping coffee, and Jeff swapped out the tire for a fresh one. Everything just worked out.
Back on the road, the boys hopped on US 56 and sped across Kansas. Leaving very late in the evening, I was bound and determined to get to Colorado Springs at the same time as them. Mike and I rolled into the Springs shortly after sun up, no sleep. Darren and Jeff spent the night in a roach motel somewhere along the Kansas/Colorado border. We actually beat them to the Springs by a couple hours. But they got some sleep. I didn't.
With Mike and I fulfilling our obligations to PPHD, Mike headed back home, and the three of us headed towards Canyon City, and US 50; one of our favorite roads. Loaded down with enough gear to last us 12 days on the road plus 9 days ion Sturgis, we gave old 50 hell. Having two oil changes and about 1100 miles on the bike, Darren felt very confident in his new Evo powered softail chopper. Aside from the traffic around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I don’t think we were under 90 mph the entire way. From the scenery to the sweeping corners, I forgot I hadn’t slept in two days. It was fucking perfect.
As we rolled into Montrose, CO, a bit of joy, but also a sense of change came over me. Darren and I have put a lot of miles down together, all over the world. Jeff and I have become very tight the last few years. These two dudes are closer to me than about anyone. And I value my time with them immensely. Now we would be adding two new characters to the mix. Phil is an uber talented tattoo artist and pinstriper. I got to know him pretty well on last year’s ride, and he’s just a solid fucking guy. And funny as hell. Chuck is his best bud, and while I didn’t know Chuck too well, I was looking forward to getting to know him better. He’s a very talented mechanic and bike builder, and just good energy.
As we enter Montrose on three tall, rowdy choppers, all hand built by BKP, I’m getting excited to eat some BBQ, share some laughs, and plan the next days trip. We slide into Phil’s compound, greeted by Phil and his beautiful family, as well as Chuck and his girlfriend (for now), Alyx. An amazing spread was laid out in front of us, and we pigged out and laughed our asses off. I don’t even remember passing out on the couch, only waking up at the crack of dawn, ready to go.
As good as these first two days were, we had no idea how good it was about to get.
Next time we blast through a bit of southern Colorado, and into Utah.
Until then, FTW - Paul