Crested Butte
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

What would the old times be without a diorama?

While the bike was getting fixed Cha Cha and I explored Colorado in the rental car. It was a prius. I ended up not driving it, figuring there was no reason to hate. But just the basic ergonomics and passenger experience in the car were pretty horrid. Going up a hill was like strangling a squirrel. The LCD with the display of battery and generator and engine was also incredibly annoying. You can turn it off but then anytime the stereo is adjusted on the steering wheel, it flashes on for a second to display the change - even just the volume going up.

Nevertheless the bike was slated to be fixed the next day and the mountains were beautiful. The eastern approach to Crested Butte is a dirt road that eventually gets to 10,000 feet. Cha Cha was behind the wheel, and I held my tongue as we went three or sometimes four miles per hour through the hairpin turns with their humorless drop offs. We didn't really have to be there by a certain time.

Cha Cha grew upbeat with the elevation change and eventual twenty degree temperature drop. Chicago's summer was so cool we had to come south and west to feel 90 degrees (in september), so she was still getting used to it. But at another level, her nordic blood simply rejects the heat. On the other hand she didn't seem to enjoy our little introduction to hypothermia when we came through Colorado on the first day. What is this preoccupation with being comfortable?

Somewhere along the way being comfortable started slipping off my list of priorities - at least on motorcycle trips. Perhaps this is out of necessity, since unless you only take short trips in perfect weather you are bound to be uncomfortable at times. I think there is something more.

Maybe after so many cycles of being cold and then in a warm shower, or hot and then in a cold shower....shivering in the mountains to slide down into the warmth of the valley...baking among the canyon walls to rise into the alpine forest. Tired and creaky from a long day on the bike to sitting back, boots off and beer up watching the sunset. Maybe after this happens enough times your brain starts to wire itself so that when the discomfort starts, some warped part of your protein-puter gives a wry smile and starts spitting out the good chemicals. Maybe as you get older the good part just isn't interesting enough without a decent preparatory pain in the ass.

Probably I'm just bent.

[ tags: butte colorado crested diorama dmc-lx3 motorcycle travel trip ]

Road to Cripple Creek
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

We've been singing Up On Cripple Creek ever since we went there. It really added a depth to the song, and clarified a few of the verses which were inscrutable. Where was this race track? Who is this Spike Jones? Well now it's all clear.

Now, there's a flood out in California
And up north it's freezing cold
And this living off the road
Is getting pretty old

So I guess I'll call up my big mama
Tell her I'll be rolling in
But you know, deep down, I'm kinda tempted
To go and see my Bessie again

- The Band, Up On Cripple Creek
[ tags: colorado creek cripple dmc-lx3 forest motorcycle travel trip ]

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