It was another solo ride. I don't know why I so often prefer to go alone. Maybe you’re like that too. I guess there's something about the freedom to leave whenever we want, stop when and where we want to stop, go fast or go slow when we want. It’s just Freedom, right?
If I may, I’d like to describe to you a very cool motorcycling destination. Not only a place, but a feeling. It’s called Forrest Gump Point. Yep, that’s a real place. That’s in Monument Valley, near where Utah and Arizona meet. Forrest Gump Point is a very remote and small area to stop along a lonely road, but a place that you may need to experience for yourself.
For the next few minutes, let’s go there, then we’ll talk more about how this place may be significant to our lives.
If you would like to pause here and follow along on your map, find Denver, Colorado, then we’re ready to go.
From Denver, we will connect to Highway 70 going West. Although traveling Highway 70 East of Denver remains relatively flat and straight all the way across Kansas and beyond, well going West is a totally different story.
Within just a few miles just outside of Denver we pass near the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. That’s where the Beatles once played and countless Musical Stars since then.
Now, we are in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Cruising fast along sweeping roads, mile after mile, well, it’s just really fun. A little scary, but fun. We pass little mining towns like Pagosa Springs and Georgetown. If you like pizza, be sure to stop by the original Boujo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs. OK, now I’m hungry. Ha ha. We’ve continued to climb now reaching over 11,000 feet above sea level and the Eisenhower Tunnel. This Engineering Marvel tunnels underneath the Continental Divide.
This is a long tunnel that has slight bends. Oh yes, it’s cool, literally. You’ll be feeling the temperature change. When we finally exit the long Eisenhower Tunnel, well, the view is Spectacular. Snow Capped mountains are ahead, even in summer.
Along Highway 70 over more mountain passes you will eventually reach Vail, Colorado. I typically will stop in Vail, to stretch and walk through Vail Village. There is a Scandinavian Vibe here with wonderful coffee shops.
Back on the bike, we will continue West on Highway 70 through Glenwood Canyon. This is some amazing motorcycling. Like the Eisenhower Tunnel, this too is an Engineering Marvel. Coming out of Glenwood Canyon, you reach Glenwood Springs, famous for it’s huge hot springs pool.
I’d like to pause here to note that a great option for a fun family trip is to take the Amtrak train to Glenwood Springs from Denver. It’s a 4 and half hour trip along one of the most beautiful stretches in the entire Amtrak system.
From Glenwood Springs, we motor west on Highway 70 to Grand Junction Colorado which is a great place to stay the night.
A short distance from Grand Junction is Colorado National Monument, operated by the National Park Service. This is a very fun canyon road, perfectly suited for a motorcycle ride.
Continuing down Highway 70 we cross into the state of Utah. Watch for Highway 191, because it’s here we go south and head toward Moab.
A rather odd thing has happened to me on two separate occasions in moab. On my first trip I stopped at a local cafe and drove my bike straight into a parking space facing the building where I could see the reflection of myself and my bike. I noticed that one of my two headlights was out. So after eating at the cafe I stopped at the nearby auto parts store and picked up two new headlights, installing them both in the parking lot. As you know headlights of the same type and brand will typically burn out around the same time, so it’s usually a good idea to replace them both right?
About 2 years later I decided to ride the exact same route. Can you guess where I'm going with this? I rode up into the same parking spot at the cafe as I did 2 years earlier. Yes, I noticed that one of my headlights was out. So, not to break with tradition, I went to the same auto parts store and bought two more lights and installed them in the parking lot.
Well we are almost there. from Highway 191 past the small community of White Mesa we will join Highway 163 and pass Mexican Hat. It's near here we'll find the roadside marker where Forrest Gump decided to stop running.
In the movie "Forrest Gump," the title character, played by Tom Hanks, starts running as a way to cope with the stress and confusion in his life. He begins running as just a kid, literally running out the leg braces that had caused such difficulty with walking and then he runs again, his adult life, as a way of physically escaping from dangerous situations while serving in Vietnam, but also, as we learn, as a way to clear his mind and maybe find direction.
So Forrest Gump ran. Sometimes under similar circumstances, you and I need to ride.
If you've not already read the book called " Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road” by Neil Peart, you should put that book on your list.
Similar to Forrest Gump,, Neil also needed to move. Neil was quite famous as the drummer from the Canadian rock band called Rush. Tragically, Neil lost his daughter and later his wife. Neil was an avid motorcyclist for years before these terrible events, but now the bike came to his rescue. He describes how traveling alone and meeting people alone many miles, changed his life.
If I may, I’d like to share with you a passage from the early pages of Neil’s book, Ghost Rider.
“My little baby Soul was not a happy infant…, with much to complain about. But as every parent learns, a restless baby often calms down if you take it for a ride. I had learned that my “Squalling Spirit” could be soothed in the same way; by motion. And so I decided to set off on this journey into the unknown. I decided to take my Little Baby Soul for a ride.
So, as I reflect on Neil’s true life story, and the message from the movie Forest Gump, I think most of us face times when we're just overwhelmed by situations in life.
How very fortunate we are as motorcyclists to have a vehicle that can carry our Little Baby Soul, down the road of life.
Thank you for listening. Until next time... I wish you peace and I wish you love!