Last year (2000), I tried to plan a trip out to Colorado on the motorcycles. It was a toss up between heading East to North Carolina, or heading West into the mountains of Colorado. Because of the long distance just to get out of Texas when heading West, it was finally decided we'd head East. This year I am determined we are going West. I have not been to the area since I was a small boy and I want to see it now that I am an adult. Is the Grand Canyon really that big? Or is it like my old backyard when I was growing up, so large then, so small now. And I want to see some serious mountains, snow capped and rugged. So I set about the task of planning a trip West.
Getting time off from work is difficult. I work with my Father and if I am gone, it leaves him at the office to handle the work load alone. And it can be rough even with both of us working. But I tell him that I just have to have some time off or I'll go nuts and burn out. He reluctantly agrees.
Originally, I was planning on making a two week trip. We'd leave Friday evening after work, and return the Sunday evening two weeks later. This would maximize the time for the trip while still only having me miss ten days at the office. The down side for Dad is that he'll have to pull 24 hr call for three weekends in a row without a break in between. We get a lot of nighttime calls, so this can wear you down in a bad way. So I finally decide that we'll just be gone for the two weekends and the five weekdays in the middle. Dad likes this idea much better.
But when to go? Too early and there is a good likelihood that we might hit some seriously cold weather in the mountains on the bikes. As luck would have it, the Triumph Sport Riders Association has decided to have their first annual Western Rallye in Montrose, Colorado, the weekend of June 17th. So I get the idea that we'll leave the weekend before the rallye, tour the four corners area of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico during the week, then end up at the rallye for the following weekend.
You might wonder why we'd be going to a Triumph Rallye? We ran into this group at their first annual Eastern Rallye last year in North Carolina. We joined up and did the rallye with them. We had such a great time, we decided to try the Western Rallye as well. Also, some local riding friends will be there as well. Then we'll just head home with them after the rallye.
Now that the decision to go West has been set in stone, where to go? I start pouring over my maps, a favorite hobby, and asking around on the internet for advice on sights to see and roads to hit or miss. The internet is a fantastic source when planning a vacation. People that live in the areas we are planning on visiting have shared their opinions about the roads, the weather, and other info that would be hard to get otherwise. I love it! I continually revise the route up until about a month before we are ready to leave. Then because we will be having a few other people going with us, I set a permanent route so they can plan accordingly. Of course, even the permanent route is subject to change on a whim by the group once we are on the road. That is all part of the adventure.
Right up until the last few weeks before we leave, we are still unsure of who will be the fourth person. Originally, Jim Huber, a rider from Houston and fellow TSRA member, was to come along and room with Will Bird, a long time friend of mine that lives in Austin. However, because of a recent change in jobs, Jim can not get the time off for the trip. I start getting worried, because it is unlikely that Will will be interested in going along if he has to pay for his rooms alone and has no one to share the cost. Enter John Morin. I had met John on a ride in Austin back in February. I turned him onto TSRA because he had just purchased a new 2001 Sprint ST. When he finds out that we need a fourth person, he manages to get the time off and we have our fourth! Now it is just a matter of waiting for the time to come. The anticipation is sweet.