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4000 Mile Preview of Colorado


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Dear Friends,





I are home.


Puf The Cat is glad.


I'm glad.


It is now Summer. It arrived while I was gone


We sat on the patio and enjoyed ourselves.


I'll fix coffee now....





...And it's good to have my own coffee.





Well, endings last:


It was a good ride home. However, I got tired... and sore. It was quite hot, particularly in Needles. Heat makes me get butt-sore on either BMW. I rode from Flagstaff, leaving at 7:30 and arrived home at 3:30. That's 450 miles in 8 hours -- a little slow, but, there was a single lane on I-40 between Barstow and Needles, and I took an extra cool down stop.


It got nicer and nicer as I covered the familiar roads to home. It's good that takes about an hour and a half (the 100 miles from Barstow), otherwise it would have seemed, "Ooops. Now I'm Home. Just a moment ago I was somewhere else."




The day before I left Red River, 35 mi. North of Taos, and took US-64 across one my favorite pretty places, from Tres Piedras to Tierra Amarilla. It's a 10,000 foot plateau where the picture of aspens was taken that I sent you after my ride there last fall. It's on "the cover" of The Butterfly and The Bee. Now, the aspens are just greening, but it is still lovely, peaceful, and playful.


[Toward the Tierra Amarilla]



That ride was 450 miles. I left John Bellantonio at 9:30 and was in The Days Inn in Flagstaff at 8:00. It was bitter cold, with low clouds, and I avoided (most of the) rain. Actually, that was the second choice route, but it was visibly raining down toward Sante Fe. So, I gritted my teeth for the long, high, and cold ride, but hoping to more quickly find sunshine and warmth. I hadn't had that since Sunday past when I was in Moab.


This ride was pretty all the way. Only the trip from Shiprock to Kayenta is "dry". It's desert highland, with mostly enough grass for stock. Some formations here are pretty, and the ride through the high country of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation was rocky with fir trees. I never expected that of "Apache Country". But, really, we shouldn't expect the Apache to have lived in the "real" desert. What would the horses drink?


Near Kayenta, the rocks are lively. I'm sure it's reminiscent of Monument Valley which is close by. I liked it a lot.




The Memorial Day weekend was spent with John and some of his riding friends at the Red River Run.


[Our Gang at Angel Fire]



The first memorial to Viet Nam veterans, anywhere, was erected by a local doctor in memory of his son, and those who gave their lives there. It's been extensively expanded, and now has a "an explanation room" - museum, and a chapel, "That's never closed." It's located in Angel Fire, east of Taos. Each Memorial Day, bikers gather in the ski resort of Red River and party. Sunday they ride to the memorial, avoiding the "formal" service on Memorial Day. However, the organizers also hold a memorial service now on Sunday, so those of us who are connected, but remain outside the mainstream, might honor our brothers both alone, and in concert, but, without the outsiders. The News Channel covers the biker's event, but not the formal one.


Perhaps it is somewhat cruel to call our lost veterans' families outsiders. What I know is that

they do not understand as we do. Nor would we ever subject them to the particular pain we hold. It's not that it is ours alone, but that special thing we feel is for we who know War. Perhaps it seems odd that one tear differs from another, but it does. And, the only comfort for "that" tear will come from us. And so too, we are little comfort to those who loved them differently.


For me, the only time that varies is when I've loved and played with them along with their families, as well as fought with them, or fought their fight as well. Then, there is understanding of both streams of grief and loss. And too, there is the stronger need to care for them as our fellows would have. "I'm sorry, we gave at the office", is not something we'd understand. Our brothers gave for these: The families, the wives and children. And, their gift to them continues with every step into tomorrow. It is our job to make it so.


They gave for you too. But only if you accept the gift. It's when one sees their own Now, as some "inevitable result of consequences" that they died hard.




I saw thousands of Harleys. No Riders. Just Harleys.


Undue Arrogance, huh? Well, there were only 5 BMWs in town. The RS stirred lots of questions, many smiles, and great respect.


No one ever grumbled, nor looked askance, nor huffed, nor turned their back. We were all brothers. Even the bright blond haired boy with the bright red jacket. "Sucker looked like a Marine, didn't he? Bet he'd kick YOUR ass".


No fights either. Just great fun sharing bikes, tales, and... yes, rides. Trailers aside, and there were only twenty or so, the Riders came. It was nice.


The Farmington, NM police sent a pair of Motor Officers over on their.... R1150RTs --- WITHOUT Linked Brakes. They said, "It's the best patrol motorcycle EVER!" They were cool. WAY cool, cruising EXACTLY side-by-side down the main street at .5 mph, never putting a foot down --- dragging the rear brake. Really nice, nice, nice, friendly guys. Turned Harley Heads too.


We ate. Many tales to tell about Sam and Myrna. Brian was young and cute. Fresh black leather everywhere, and all with Harely logos. You would have giggled. I did.




John had met me, "At the Amoco Station. Poncha Springs. Saturday. 10 AM."


We Rode.


We took US-50 over to Cotopaxi. How's THAT, huh?


We took the cut-off, 1A over to CO-69S headed to Walsenburg and I-25. In Westcliffe, the Sheriff stopped us at the intersection of the main street... for the Parade. Damn thing was still a mile down the road, but he wouldn't let us across the street. Good thing.


Itty, bitty little girls with red, white and blue costumes, never did bonk each other with those batons. Strutting their stuff.


Horses, fire engines, Mountain Rescue Squad, the local political candidates, Myrtle from Happy Realty, and Major General Thadeous Pompus and his gaggle of ROTC cadets from the Union High School. FOUR MILES OF PARADE. Town of 350 people. Fire trucks "ALL THE WAY FROM PUEBLO, FOLKS!!! GIVE 'EM A HAND!!!"


Happy Memorial Day.


We took I-25 down to Trinidad (Tough Mexican Town). John was hungry, and we had some time in hand and could still make our 6PM meeting time in Red River. So, we rode through town. Lo and Behold... A Sonic Drive-In. "Banana Cream Pie milkshake to go with the #4, uh... that's a #2 burger (mustard), with cheese please. No, I'd rather have tater-tots."


"Hey, here comes the food! How come you aren't wearing roller skates?"


"Your sister? Where is she?"


"Oh. Well, give her a call and have her come over. What kind of shake does

she like?"


"Oh. Hi!! My name is Dick. This is John. Did you bring your skates?"


"No? Well... Have you ever been on a motorcycle?"


"No? C'mere. Help me get this bag off. Those orange things are called bungee cords...."




The ride over from Raton was cool. Me'n'the-RS did it last September. John said, "Shit, I'd forgotten that ride was NOTHIN'!!" Well, there WEREN'T any houses for 55 miles. But, the cattle looked up. And, the antelope DID try to outrun the RS. Lookin' over their shoulders they gave up when they saw they couldn't keep ahead. Stopped. I waved. They smiled.


Cimarron Canyon extends from... Cimarron. Then over to Eagle Nest. GREAT ride. BEAUTIFUL scenery. STUPID car drivers.


Out on the Eagle Nest, there's a huge open plain. Mountains, BIG mountains surround it (Wheeler Peak at 13,161 ft. is one of them). We headed north on NM-38 for Red River. Saw the gang walking by one of the "beer pits" while we were inside. Ya know... I didn't know you could put a tattoo THERE!!!


We walked The Street.


Parked bikes lined both sides of the two mile street. They filled to two-way turn lane too. Thousands. Harleys. Black, red, yellow, metallic gray, strawberry, Jesse James, trikes, broads, more leather than all the cowboys in the world ever wore, loud pipes, cruising two-wide both directions, tattoos, did I mention loud pipes? They also had loud pipes. But, they were cool. And they had loud pipes.


Dinner was good. I don't remember eating. I do remember laughing. I heard lots of new stories. I saw flashing eyes.


As darkness fell, John and I made arrangements to meet his friends in the morning. We headed off to Taos in the dark. Speed limit. Way LOW speed limit and we were still frightened. Deer in the Dark. Will I...?


Great Inn. Taos style. NEW Mex. Cool. Bikers everywhere. At $145 a night.




We rode to the Memorial on Sunday.






The prior Monday, John met me in Gunnison. Cool town. Much to say about it.


Eat Pizza at Mario's... If you have a brain. Three People's Choice awards. Eat at Mario's... If you have a brain.


We rode up The Black Canyon of The Gunnison. CO-92. Early start. BRAND NEW PAVEMENT. Can you say "HOON!!!???"


[black Canyon of the Gunnison, and CO-92]



Nice overlooks. Up. Way up. Over the top.


Crawford, Colorado. Mad Dog Saloon. Classy. Right there on Graham. Just before Dogwood.


We took "The Crazy Road" over to Paonia. Can't imagine why anyone would go there. Windy. Blew me off the road. Well, I THINK it was the road it blew me off. Couldn't see for the dust in the wash we rode through. Crazy kid in a pick-up thought he was Mario. No, NOT the PIZZA guy, the old race car driver.


Outbraked the little bastard. I love boosted hydraulics.


Then, up through The Red Rocks on CO-133. They're red.


Look. I CAN'T tell you what it was like. I mean it was COOL. John visited heretofore unknown realms of his speedometer. The curves were classy. My neck hurt from craning my head at all the stuff to see.


It was a frigging SPORT TOUR. Get it?


No? Well. Getcherbutt to GUNNISON.


If you're smart, you'll turn off to Aspen. Road's closed now so we didn't. They got this stuff called, uh... snewt. No, uh, snout? Oh heck, it's white and COLD, and isn't TOO much fun to ride in.


So we headed on up through McClure Pass, through Carbondale and met I-70 at Glenwood Springs.


[John Bellantonio at McClure Pass]



Hooo HA!! Who SAYS Interstates are boring? Just add 10 to the digit on the left of them speed signs, and creep up a liiiiiitle more, and Voila!! You're keeping up with the local guy on the 929RR. The turn-off to Minturn came up too soon. Well, actually, out in the open around Eagle,

where it opens up a bit, the WIND was more prevalent, and not so much fun. But aside from that...


We came down CO-24 through Red Cliff. This is an OLD road. It crosses Tennessee Pass (Yeah, recourses!!) on the way to Leadville. It passes the old training camp for The 10th Mountain Division. WILD country. Make you puk because NOW you KNOW you're a sissy. Tough men. Tough country. I'm doin' it on a 130 hp motorcycle. The FIRST guy did it next to a MULE!!


Ride done? No. (Capital "en", Capital "oh").


Been to Cottonwood Pass?


[Cottonwood Pass, looking toward Gunnison]



Betcha can't eat just one.


Princeton's on the left, and Harvard's on the right as you climb up there. Collegiate Range. HOOOF-ta!!!




I left Moab at 6:02, Monday morning. Most Great and Merciful God, I thank you for each minute of the ten hours that followed.


Heading south, I took UT-46/CO-90 into Colorado. If YOU have a soul...


Heading into the rising sun made the going somewhat tough. You WILL be alone. No party of riders will ride this with you.


You can SEE Colorado in the distance. It is above you.


The climb is abundantly clear, but it's height will elude you. The grassland lies.


The pines begin to make clear that you've left the red, red, red blacksmith's bellows and anvil of Eastern Utah behind. Classic mountain pass follows a snaking ascent. Abyss. Hallelujah Heights above. First gear.


It winds up. It comes down. You don't.


The first view of "real" Colaraduh is three thousand feet below. Horses, dots in a matrix of bluff bound pasture, pines, and idiotically wandering creeks, don't matter though you want them to. Front brake matters. Horses don't.


Oh, put your pant's back on. Be a man. It's not.... "Oooooo. So Scary." It's Life. You, YOU are a Rider. You've GOT a motorcycle. This is what God had in mind when He kicked you in the ass and made you BUY one.


Now USE it.


Down in Naturita (Natter-EEE-tuh) they got gas. Get some. You ought to pay SOMETHING for the ride you just had.


I took CO-145 over toward Norwood and Placerville. Here, you could continue to the GLORIOUS mining town, and now resort, or Telluride. Prepare to look up in awe.


[The RS on CO-62]



I crossed over to Ridgway on US-550 along CO-62, expecting a "Blah Transition Road." Second mistake I made this year. It's PERFECTLY paved. It crosses TALL mountains. It is GORGEOUS. You DID pack your camera, right?


[That's where Telluride lies.]




US-550 is "The Million Dollar Highway". I went fast.


There was NO traffic to speak of. Dickie went Alpine.


An RS goes up those passes like an oiled snake. An RT will gasp. Get accustomed to the bottom portion of your gearbox. MORE pre-load than you EVER thought. Be WILLING to be Free, and you and your Boxer will live The Good Life.


[Looking over from Silverton, before the climb]



Red Mountain Pass. Molas Pass. Coal Bank Pass. You will FORGET, I mean ENTIRELY forget, all about the town you live in.


Durango sucks. It is NOT a mountain.


It is a growing up town. Yuppies everywhere. I squashed them underfoot like beetles heading for an ant convention. Yuck.


No: YUCK!!!


South of town I picked up US-160E and again left the plain and climbed Yellowjacket Pass on the way to Pagosa Spring. Nothing. Wolf Creek Pass took my breath away once again.


[Looking down from Wolf Creek Pass]



It's a great climb. The scenery near, mid, and far is breath-taking. I think it's the prettiest in the state.


[Wolf Creek Pass]



Construction now (blasting)is far above the neat portion of the climb. I was delayed there for a half hour. So what? Just don't have to pee.


At South Fork I gassed for the 150 mile run up CO-149 to Gunnison. The first section, about 22 miles to Creed, follows the Rio Grande. It's nice. And, old Creed is a delightful 19th Century mining town with some good eats.


NOW, duct tape your socks. The Rio Grand will bring you to tears. Beautiful is consumption compared to the gift I received. Big tears. Look off to the left from the overlook. You'll know which one.


[The Rio Grande and its headwaters]



The road climbs to Slumgulion Pass. I'd much rather approach this from north to south as a Riding Road, but anybody will love this climb. The descent is challenging, but not arduous. Unlike many other Colorado Passes, this one has not been "improved". It is an honest mountain road, and offers many rewards for smoothness. At the bottom is Lake City.



[Toward Slumgulion Pass from Lake City]



I spent several hours in Lake City, both on this ride and subsequent trips. It's old buildings, homes, and... Well, stop at the museum if you have a... chance.


The remaining 55 miles to Gunnison is where I'll conduct the riding portion of Riding Better. Wonder why?


It's got the best mix of corners I've ever seen. From the south, the road continually opens up and some will get bored. I hope they eat at a different table.


But, from the other direction... it tightens: Just the ticket to get better and better and better at new skills.


Then there's Gunnison. Did I mention you should eat at Mario's Pizza?




Well, before that there was Torrey. And then Moab.


[The Rockies from Arches National Park, near Moab, UT]



Some of you know what that means. You are my Brothers and Sister. For others, there's been much said about that around here. But, you only get to have that if you go there.


You can. All you need to do is load it up, and then Ride.


Same for Gunnison, and all of Colorado.





Why the 4000 miles? To plan out the Gunnison rides with John.


You've seen just a touch of it here. I think he's got some wonderful things for you to see.




See you down the road,

and I hope that's in Gunnison. At Mario's Pizza. And then...



Dick Frantz


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"Uh boss...I need some more time off."

"Well, I need to go for a motorcycle ride."

"Yes, another one."

"Yes, I know...I just got back from Utah."

"Where? Colorado."

"Yes...I know, I already have time off for a trip to Colorado."

"Well, see...that's more than a MONTH away...and there's this guy that I ride with sometimes...a real ornery bastard who just gets on his bike and RIDES. Then he gets home and tells all of us schmucks who didn't go along about how great it was. Well anyway, he just came back from..."

"Yeah...this is the guy who brought the Burbon to Utah"

"anyway...he just came back from Colorado...and there are these pictures see...and such a great tale...almost a tease."


"So you see now why I have to go, right?"





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Thank You, Dick.


What a way to start the day. I'm going to be late for work, after reading every single word, but it's worth it. Got more to look forward to than yesterday, when I was only in "can't wait" mode about Gunnison.


Gonna take a few minutes before I leave the 'Shed this morning to start packing the bike. So what if it's almost 2 months away... Why wait? tongue.gif



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I ache with love and jealousy (of the raging kind). While I might utter "bastard" under my breath, I'm damn glad that I call you 'friend'.


looking forward to sharing a mountain or two,

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long distance rider

Mr Frantz....most excellent, most excellent indeed.....I have ridden just about everything you described.....I am again asking myself why I am living anyplace else other than in Gods Country, Colorado.....Thank You Mr Frantz....

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Master Yoda,


Your words brought your ride to life for me earlier this week, reading it again with the added pictures makes it just that much more enchanting. Thank you for showing so much beauty to the rest of us.


Although we do curse you for leaving us behind… wink.gif


No doubt there’ll be more signups up for Gunnison after they read this. Fewer dropouts too!



Is it July yet? smile.gif


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Your post brought back memories of last year's 100,000 foot ride, and stoked my anticipation of this summer. (Gunnison & 3 flags)


Thanks for bringing a smile to my face on a mediocre workday smile.gif

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Simply excellent Dick. Many times have I ridden through every town & route described, and smack dab in the middle of a horrid day at the office, you've brought a flood of sweet memories to the fore. Thanks a ton for taking the time to share your ride...


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Arch, I see your fondness for antique designs in Motorcycles. More modern ones are available, you know. wink.gif


I'm glad I could make a day better. But...


The Heart might be bouyed by Loving Past, but the Soul is bouyed by Yet turned to Now, even when it is Old Love, if made New by full experience of It's Own Time. -- Master Yoda



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Thanks for the review and preview. I traveled on most of those same Colorado roads last October just before and after Torrey. Some of the most outstanding rides I've taken. As descriptive as your words were, all of us who have been there know that they just barely touch the experience of riding through Colorado. There is no way to ride into or out of Gunnison without traveling through spectacularly scenic areas with roads to match. Spring and Fall are best, since there is virtually no traffic, but summer ain't too shabby either, especially when the RT.COMers converge on the state. If people don't realize it by now, they never will...this is going to be a summer ride to talk about for a long time. Looking forward to eating up some miles with you in the high country this July. See you then.

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OK, Dick - My tastebuds are intrigued. I love Italian food, specifically pizza, so I WILL be eating at Marios. Better be good... wink.gif


Anyway, my other senses are also intrigued - My eyes from the great pictures. Looks beautiful! Lucky for me, Russell said he'd bring me to Gunnison this time, unlike the Torrey incindent...ahem. (BTW, thanks for the post card from Cafe Diablo.)

My ears are intrigued, just thinking about the sound of all those Beemers converging on this little place, as well as the thought of the laughter and great conversation.

My nose isn't so intrigued as I know there will be ceegar smoking, but that is part of a BMWRT.com rally experience, so whatever!


Anyway, I hope Russell has as much fun in Gunnison as he did in Torrey, as he will have me on the back. I'm telling you, the secret to getting me to forget how fast we're going is to give me the camera. I will spend my energy focusing on getting the perfect shot! Just hope I don't lean out too far and mess up his lean angle, or fall off, or get spit at by sock monkey, or something equally uncool.


See you in Gunnison...at Marios.

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In reply to:

or get spit at by sock monkey

shocked.gifshocked.gifshocked.gif Has Sock Monkey been spitting on people?

I'm so ashamed... I'm such a bad Sock Monkey Mom. Again. He gets locked in the topcase again tonight.

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In reply to:

Has Sock Monkey been spitting on people?


shocked.gifHe was NOT spitting on people!!shocked.gif


He was simply SHARING the (somewhat used) Bourbon one

of his buddies let him in on. (See: Russell Bynum, lush and circle chair changer, Torrey, UT, 18 May 2002, 9:27 PM)


I doubt it mixed well with the DRUNKEN MONEY ICE CREAM, ahem... SOMEBODY'S Mom stuffed down him (See: Cafe Diablo, Torrey, UT, 18 May 2002, 8:49 PM; Re: Witness, Kris).


And NOW, the Little Dear gets stuff in a Top Case: Just another lump swept under the Carpet.


Responsibility, Children. Responsibility!!!


If it were up to me, I'd sentence the two of you to SIX DAYS IN COLORADO. You need fresh air to clear your heads --- and consciences


Jeeesh!! The Ice Cream Mom and The Bourbon Fairy.


-- Master Yoda

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It was too bad you couldn't come to Torrey, but it will be nice to see you at Gunnison. I was surprised at how much Russell enjoyed smoking the cigar that I gave him in Torrey. Oh, wait a minute, I think I was suppose to keep quiet about that. Uh...never mind.

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Let's see now:

  • Bourbon
  • Cigars
  • Hoonism (Check those peg feelers, Lisa)
  • Contributing to the delinquency of an R1150R Rider
  • Contributing to the delinquency of a Sock Monkey
  • Missing at lunch in Tehachapi


Does he come home late with... questionable "reasons", Lisa?


Does he spend long periods by himself, girl, perhaps claiming to be using the computer?


Is there money being spent on "accessories" you can't quite find?


Ms. Bynum, I think it's time for The Program.

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I was surprised at how much Russell enjoyed smoking the cigar that I gave him in Torrey. Oh, wait a minute, I think I was suppose to keep quiet about that. Uh...never mind.


Yeah, I think we supposed to keep that a secret, along with how that "Cheap Bast**d Husband" threw money around all weekend like a drunken sailor.


BTW, did we ever thank him for buying us all dinner at Cafe Diablo on Saturday?? Hope Lisa doesn't see the Visa statement next month! tongue.gif

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OK, I'll fess up.


Bourbon - Guilty (including the chair swapping)

Cigars - Not guilty. I mean, come on...hoonism and bourbon is one thing, but I do have limits.

Hoonism - Guilty...although I only touched the feelers to the ground once. Check for the balled-up rubber around the edges of my Z4's. smile.gif

Contributing to the delinquency of an R1150R Rider - Guilty...although I think Gene was already pretty delinquent when we started.

Contributing to the delinquency of a Sock Monkey - Hey, I wasn't the one feeding him the drunken monkey ice cream. I just scratched his ears at rest stops and let him sit with me and tell me stories at Cafe Diablo.

Missing at lunch in Tehachapi - Guilty...Hey...shouldn't Tool get charged for something on that one...I mean...HE gave me the RS...it was HIS FAULT!



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"Does he come home late with... questionable "reasons", Lisa?

Does he spend long periods by himself, girl, perhaps claiming to be using the computer?

Is there money being spent on "accessories" you can't quite find?"




I believe you're right...he's cheating on me with his RT!!




And Denny, as far as his cheapness is concerned, no matter. The money he saved by rooming with Dick, is money I spent on me while he was gone! wink.gif


He says that $$ was the least of the reasons...just wanted to go hooning. I'll say...look at the laundry list of offenses Dick listed! My goodness! Maybe Bob the Dinosaur is to blame...contributing to the delinquency of a Russell? Or was Bob a gentleman? I'm suspicious... smile.gif

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Great pics and story RD. Got my juices flowing for my run into Colorado soon, returning from the Hotel Calif.



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You are a tough act to follow. Great writeup. You must come to the Northwest so we can do a little riding together.


I will have to add some photos to the four corners trip.



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