Day 3 – Altitude Schmaltitude
Alice and I put our motorcycle rubber to road early today and were treated to the spectacular lunar surface effect created by the sun’s horizontal morning rays cast across dry lakebed formations. This last glimpse of Utah’s splendor from the motorcycles didn’t last long as we quickly transitioned into Western Colorado’s picturesque mountain wilderness. First stop landed us at the entrance to the state’s National Monument, one of the grand landscapes of the American West where I was subsequently attacked by a dinosaur…
After hours of winding around spectacular meadows, canyons and mountains, we decided to save some time and jump back on I-70. While the super-slab certainly isn’t a rider’s choice route, the section we picked up just outside Glenwood Springs is the tightest, most technical section of "if you have to Interstate" I’ve ever experienced. The indicated 50mph speed limit was no joke as the narrow pavement followed the tight turns of the Colorado River bordered by towering stone forest walls.
Looking at the map later, warnings of altitude sickness had me concerned about ascending the 14,000 foot alpine peaks, but only until I realized that we were already over 9,000 feet. What’s another couple thousand feet when you’ve been traversing mountains for days? Sure enough, fatigue and chill set in as we reached the Vail summit. Naturally, the mighty Tuono handled the elevation changes like a champ. As the sun dipped below snow-capped peaks, I took comfort in knowing we had less than a gas tank to go before we’d be relaxing in our lakeside resort condo in Keystone for The AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference.