I woke up early and got ready for my journey to Telluride, CO. I shipped an odd widget to Pete’s place ahead of time. The part is a special altitude plug that allows my bike to run better in higher elevations. The fuel injection system is old and not very smart, so this plug leans out the fuel mixture when inserted. I downloaded an altitude app for my iPhone so I could sporadically check to see if I was above 4000 feet, the elevation the plug needs to be connected. I inserted the plug and cable tied it to the frame of the bike so I could easily plug it in and out. I fueled up the night before so the Brick was ready to go.
I packed up my side bags and hugged Pete and Edy. I made the mistake of calling Pete “Steve” a few times during our visit because I couldn’t get the connection of Las Vegas duo Steve and Eydie out of my head. I would be in Vegas in two days and I am sure this had something to do with this mistake. My brain was floating all over the place like scrambled eggs in syrup. I had a long way to go. My greenness of the road distracted me heavily even from simple things like names.
The Brick fired in one push of the green starter button just like she always does. I punched in the address on my iPhone and headed south on 93 towards Telluride. The reason for this destination came about in a very serendipitous manner. When I was on sabbatical in Tampa in 2010, I saw my old girlfriend Julie at a bar with my dog Zubin that she adopted when I moved to NYC. She introduced me to her husband Jim who was the guy she met after I left for the Apple. I had moved 10 years ago so it wasn’t odd to meet him. He is a nice guy and a talented musician so we had a lot to talk about. Fast-forward to this year when I am sitting in my apartment making plans for my cross-country trip and I get a call. It’s Jim and Julie on the line. They sounded like they had a good amount of wine and they were calling me to see how I was doing. When I saw them last I was engaged and I am sure they heard trough the grapevine that I was single again. The call was a nice gesture, but when Jim asked what I was up to I told him I was going to make the journey to California. “I have a place in Telluride you can stay at if you want,” Jim told me. I didn’t think he was serious but when pressed, he certainly was – a lucky moment that gave me a destination and a roof for another night.
I hit route 70 and drove among the mountains. I could not believe the views I was witnessing. I went through Breckenridge and Vail, through the National Forrest, and felt calmed by the gracious mountains. I wasn’t thinking about anything at all for once in my life. The noise inside my head was quiet. Anxiety was not present. My purpose was clear and that was to be driving down this road and looking at these unreal creations of rock.
I carved down 82 to 133 in order to take in more scenery. This added a lot of time to my ride but time didn’t matter. There was no rush. My place to stay was secured and I had nothing but time. As I got closer I got on 145. This is the only road into and out of Telluride. I knew I was going somewhere unique as I spiraled down into the box canyon. I was stopped several times by workers doing blasting and I was getting antsy. I was ready to see this place.
Telluride is a small town so I located the Mountainside Inn very quickly. I parked the Brick and went into the office. “I’m staying in Jim’s Place,” I told the woman at the desk. “Oh, yes, here you go,” and she handed me a key. “How do you know Jim?” she asked. “He married my ex-girlfriend,” I volunteered. “Oh sorry,” she hushed. “Nah, it’s cool. We’re all friends,” I stated in a calm tone to ease her worry. I went up to the room and it was decked out. It had a big comfy super king bed and the square footage was about three times that of my apartment in NY. I unpacked my things, took a shower and decided to head up the mountain in a gondola to a place called Allred’s Jim said I should check out.
I rode up the Mountain in the wavering car with a dad and his two boys. We chatted for a little bit and the father had roots in NYC. It was nice to make a connection after being alone on the road all day. I made it to the restaurant and the view we remarkable. The only objects in my field of vision were tree-covered mountains. I have never seen such a sight. I ordered a rib eye steak that was the most expensive thing on the menu. I figured since I got the room for free I would splurge on dinner. I drank a few Stella Artois and copped a small buzz as I devoured my cut of beef. I didn’t feel rich like the people that were surrounding me, but I certainly felt content. Nobody in my life had any idea where I was. A unique disposition.
After the meal I took the gondola back down the mountain and wandered for a while. It was a Monday so things were kind of quiet but I found a nice pub called the New Sheridan. I wound up talking to two British guys named Jaime and Matt who were touring in a rented Mustang. We exchanged stories and they told me of a previous trip in which they rented 2 R.V.s and went cross-country. I told them my path and they said I should visit Laguna Seca when I was in Monterey. I had already missed the MotoGP race that ran a few days earlier, but I thought I might drop by to see the venue. I have watched many races at the track and it is famous for it’s down hill curvy section dubbed “The Corkscrew.” I filed the idea away. The night wore on and I talked to the bartendress Ray who told me of a small town Tonapah I should stay at if I get a chance. She said they have these mineral baths that you can rent and sleep in over night. I thought it was an odd idea but I filed that one away too. I got even more buzzed and decided to call it a night. I was going to plow through to Las Vegas the next day and didn’t want to stay out too long. I bid farewell to my fellow intrepid travellers and made it back to the Inn with only a minor stagger.
Settling in for bed thoughts ran through my head. I thought about how I was able to stay in this place because of a girl I broke up with married another guy with an awesome vacation home. The idea ate into my brain like an earwig. Julie was a catch, but I wanted to move to New York to become a famous rock musical writer. I have dated so many incredible women in my life and yet I somehow manage to push them away. I am always seeking more or the unobtainable. What is the emptiness that no relationship can seem to satisfy? Is it a self-loathing? I couldn’t come up with an answer. I ran through my relationships in my head. Certainly I could have made more than one of them work if I had put in more effort. I chalked the thoughts up to alcohol being a depressant. The noise in my head that the ride through the mountains had quelled was back. I pushed my face into the pillow and forced myself to sleep knowing that the ride continued tomorrow. The ignorant drone of rubber on asphalt as I drive through nature – my elixir of peace.
|Starting mileage||Altitude plug||Road 1|
|Road 2||Road 3||Road 4|
|Road 5||Road 6||Road 7|
|Road 8||Moto warning||Mountainside Inn|
|Stream near inn||View from Allred’s||Mountain top 1|
|Mountain top 2||Mountain top 3||Mountain top 4|
|Good eats||Expensive steak||Iditabike|
Boulder to Telluride – 355 Miles