Continuing west from our last stop in Kansas, Colorado Springs would be our first foray into the beautiful state of Colorado. We were so excited to finally have a chance to visit this awesome state, neither Lindsey nor I have ever been to Colorado before and it has been calling our names for a while.
Driving into town we found our camping spot for the next 2 nights, a little tiny RV park right on the edge of town. It didn’t provide much privacy or scenery, but the spots were very affordable, we had a place to plug in our power cord, and a nice bathhouse at our disposal. It was also very close to some of the places we wanted to visit while in town, so it worked out perfectly.
After getting settled into our spot we quickly unloaded our bicycles and set out on a fun little ride through town to Bristol Brewery. There was a nice set of bike trails that took us almost all the way there. We had read about Bristol on our drive through Kansas, and it sounded too interesting to pass up. The brewery has recently renovated an old elementary school building called Ivywild School to house its brewing operation and small pub. It also shares the space with a few other local artisans’ including a bakery and a meat company, which supply the pub with delicious fresh and local ingredients for their sandwiches and other options. This is a really interesting idea for a community space; it was very fun to visit. Lindsey and I enjoyed sampling a couple beers and having a delicious sandwich before heading off into the dusk to ride back to the bus.
The next morning we were up early, excited for a day full of adventure. Our goal for the day was to make it to the top of Pikes Peak, one of the highest mountains you can drive up. We were determined to make it up on our little motorcycle, even though we were a little uneasy about how it would handle the thin air at high altitude. We loaded a backpack with camera gear, water, and some lunch and got ready for the ride. Since we were parked on the edge of town, we were only a few minutes away from the start of the Pikes Peak Highway, once we arrived we waited in line with quite a few other cars and motorcycles until we finally had our turn to pay our entrance fee and start the climb. It was so exhilarating to be riding a motorcycle up Pikes Peak! I have long been a fan of the International Hill Climb race that has taken place here annually since 1916, and to ride up the same road as the competitors do was a dream come true for me.
With a starting elevation of 7,400 feet our little Yamaha was already starting to run out of breath, so by the time we got to the 14,115 foot summit it would barely run above a quarter throttle, although she never failed! Once we reached the summit it was such an incredible view, words can’t describe how amazing it was to be standing on the edge of the rocks and looking out for miles at mountains and forest. After spending a while looking out over the country below we got back on the bike and headed down to a big rock outcropping we had seen on the ride up, just below the summit. Parking in the turnout we climbed up into the rocks to be greeted by another spectacular view. We found a comfy spot to sit and broke out our picnic lunch. Nothing like a little scenery while you eat lunch! After relaxing for a while and taking pictures we started our descent. This time we stopped at several turnouts to take photos and look out over the mountains. It is a lot easier to stop on the way down, when you don’t have to worry about losing your momentum and getting started again. As we wound our way back down the mountain through the switchbacks I silently thanked Yamaha for putting a decent set of brakes on the little XT250. We eventually made it to the bottom and rejoiced, we had conquered a fourteener on our motorcycle! I am so thankful to have a brave and trusting girlfriend who doesn’t hesitate to hop on the bike and go on a ride, and I am so proud of our little motorcycle for carrying us safely to the top and back. Getting to the top of Piles Peak was definitely one of the main highlights of the trip for both of us. I have no doubt that I will be back to ride up it again in the future.
Heading back toward Colorado Springs we rode out to the Garden Of The Gods Park, where we rode through the winding roads around some beautiful red rock formations. Stopping in a few places to walk out into the rocks and take photos, it was another amazing experience. The large, brightly colored formations used to be a popular meeting area for various Native American tribes, since they are such a remarkable landmark.
To finish off our long day of exploring we headed over to Trinity Brewing, where we sampled a few of their amazing beers and had some great food. Trinity does a lot of Saison style beer, which is one of our favorites. Along with the large selection of Saisons, there were some rare beers including a sour, and they utilized many brewing techniques with different combinations of barrel aging and Belgian yeasts, as well as the typical house offerings. They are easily at the top of our favorite brewery list; we hope we can find some of their interesting bottled beers back home in Oregon.