LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - Wouldn't it be nice to just gear up and head out to wherever the road may take you? Maybe for days at a time?
It's nice, but not realistic for most riders. The next best thing? Day trips.
The trick is to pick a great route, a good riding buddy and a great breakfast stop like Widow McCoy's in Loveland.
For my latest ride, I was joined by Steve Larson, the general manager of Greeley Harley-Davidson. He took me on one of his favorite motorcycle day trips.
Starting in Loveland, we headed out U.S. 34 due west. Devil's Backbone Open Space is just 10 minutes north of here.
Across Highway 34, we hit County Road 27 North toward Masonville. But instead of turning toward Masonville we went northwest, right between the Roosevelt National Forest and Horsetooth Mountain Park.
From here we continued north to Highway 14 through part of Poudre Canyon. Steve said he likes the drive there because "it's just going to get prettier from there."
At Highway 14, go west and you're headed for Walden. Go east the way we did and you're headed for lunch.
We stopped at Mishawaka. Sounds like a town, but it's actually a restaurant and amphitheatre. Steve said "This place is known for great burgers and great music."
Under the watchful eye of Charlie, Mishawaka's mascot, we had a filling lunch on the deck overlooking the Poudre River. As we ate, rafters floated by. The waitress suggested the one item we had to have was the Rocky Mountain oysters. We passed.
Then it was back on the bikes to Ted's Place, the intersection of Highway 14 and U.S. 287, and then home to Loveland.
In a little over three hours we had one great ride, two meals and some incredible scenery here in Colorado.
There are a lot of great motorcycle day trips throughout the state, visit colorado.com for 10 terrific trips you can look up online and print out.
I've been riding for more than two decades now. That picture? It's one of my favorite snapshots. It was taken in the parking lot of the old Mile High Stadium back in 1985.
I like to describe it as being 23 years and 23 extra pounds ago. Do you recognize the guy standing with me? That's none other than William "Willie G." Davidson, grandson of the H-D founder and vice president of styling. He styled the bike in the photo; a 1977 XLCR Cafe Racer.
I actually located and re-purchased this old Harley recently.
If you're getting back into riding after some time off, consider the Colorado Department of Transportations MOST (Motorcycle Operator Safety Training) program.