Jimmy Byrd and students
This was not to be a fund raiserride, but two things changed that. First, due to drought, we must build a water tower for the school and second, the Richard Mascarello family has offered to match any donations up to the total number miles ridden. So keep the water flowing for the kids and hit the donate button.

Also, instructor Kevin Lee is a auctioning off a 2 week paragliding course in southern Oregon to support the school.

See it here.

TO READ THE FLORIDA TO CALIFORNIA LEG CLICK here or go to lostboater.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 1, 2010

day 9

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Big Red and me were making our way out of Montrose, when we got flagged down by two old codgers that wanted to talk scooters at 6:30 in the morning.  One was the owner of a 90cc Honda trail bike and was wanting a scooter.  I told him a Vespa of course.

glad i stopped early yesterday. every place had one of these

We continued our climb out of Montrose over Cerro Pass, down the other side and up and over the Blue Mesa Pass.

Descending over Blue Mesa we entered a narrow cannon. At the beginning of the canyon was this sign warning motorcyclists.  I had not seen one before and was curious how bad this road was.  It was very anti-climatic.  The turns were nothing to speak of.

We climbed back up to the Blue Mesa and passed the Blue Mesa lake and on into Gunnison and my buddies the Hell's Angels.  Interesting, in town no one would pose with Big Red.  I could take all the pictures of them on their bikes near Big Red.  Out of town they had no problem  standing with Big Red.  Those Harley guys, whoever they are, are all about image.

Out of Gunnison we followed the Gunnison river valley.  It was so nice we took a little side trip into the hills to visit a cow and a horse.

Big Red did great climbing up the Monarch Crest to 11,314 feet. Poor little Scoot would have been begging me to get off and walk at about 9000 feet. On the way up, I stopped to take a picture, and Chris, from Montrose, pulled in.  He rides around the area taking pictures and hopes to retire and do it for a living. At the top, we met Dave and Gloria on their rice rockets.  They are from Colorado and out just cruising around for a few days.

Descending from the peak was beautiful and about 3,000 feet down. Then the road ran along the side of the Arkansas river.

There were 100's of rafters so I pulled over to get a picture of some of them.  A couple from Iowa were there on Harleys. They were not Hell's Angels, but had trailered their bikes out and had been cruising the mountians for a week and loved every minute of it.

Not too long after that, we were done with the mountains and hit the plains.  Not an exciting ride.  Stopped at the Cannon City airport to take a break and watch some sky divers.  The had some nice aircraft mounted out front.  About 2, I stopped at the only resturaunt that was open.  They made a great burger from local beef.

Our destinaton was Lamar, but when I came into Las Animas I discovered they were having a rodeo.  I decided I needed to see it, so we pulled into the Bents Ford Inn, the only hotel in town.  At 7 we headed for the fair ground.  For 7 bucks I got free music, a hugh bqq plate and drink, a rodeo and a dance afterward.  Sadly, tragady struck.  THE CAMERA DIED. It had been acting sick for awhile and tonight of all nights it decided to die. This was a western small town adventure and a camera would have been a great way to capture it.

The men were all attired in cowboy boots, blue jeans with big belt buckle, long sleeve shirt, and a white cowboy hat.  They were close shaved and had a red complexion from working in the sun. The wives were well dressed, many in jeans. The children were clean and well behaved with the boys wearing jeans, cowboy boots and hat.  Extended families from great grandparents on down were there together.

All kinds of action was happening around the arena.  Lots of horses being tended to, ridden, and groomed.  Probably about 30 horses and as many horse trailers.  These were traveling rodeo people. Some had done 2 other rodeo's today!!

The sky was fantastic. To the northwest, the sun was below the horizon with colors of blue, orange, red and pink reflecting off the clouds. To the north around through the south back to the west, the sky was black tar.  It was highlighted with lightning and, in two directions, rainbows.  To the east, where there was the most lightening, the setting sun was shining bright on one cloud making it a small white area on a black background. It was all stunning and a working camera probably would not have captured it.

After being fed they began the rodeo.  They first introduced all the people who had worked to get the rodeo done. Then they introduced all the kids who won something over the 3 days of the event.  That included about every kid in the county.

Finally the rodeo began.  They introduced the people who put on the rodeo, the people who supply the calves, people who supply the broncos, and the people who officiate and the people who ride in the ring.  Then they introduced the to somethings?, both young girls under 10 and they came roaring around the arena 3 feet from the rail wide open on big horses.  It was almost like the Kentucky Derby as they announced the linage of each of the girls back to grandparents.

Then came the kid carring the flag. The is the heartland of America and when they say the prayer you bow your head.  When they play the Star Spangled Banner you take your hat off and put your hand over your heart. They will let you know if you do it wrong. It is refreshing to see.

 Interestingly, when they did the national anthem,. the flag horse took one of the longest pee's I have ever seen.  When they did the prayer, he took a mighty dump.

Rodeo's in person go a lot slower than on  TV. The first rider was thrown out of the gate.  Then they went to calf roping. Of the 5 guys I watched, only one actually tied the calf.  After each run they have to chase the calf and round up the horse.  This takes time.

When it started to sprinkle, I decided to leave.  I would liked to have stayed longer, but it was dark and getting wet.