Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — I spent three days in Ouray, Colorado with my friends, Kim and Craig.  Their hospitality was amazing!  Their home is beautiful, and with mountains at the front door, and mountains from the back deck, I couldn’t have been more blessed and fortunate.

We spent the days riding the mountains, visiting Silverton and Durango Colorado and all points in between.  My only regret from my time in Ouray, is that i didn’t get out to visit any of the locals, or take a walk downtown.  I also didn’t visit one of their famous “hot springs.”

As I said before, this part of the country gives you MANY reasons to come back again, and again. 

Just today, I was talking to a friend who is headed out west and he said, “I’ve never been to Colorado, but have always wanted to go.”   Well, I can honestly tell you, if you’ve never been, it’s well worth the time and effort.  You won’t regret it.

Everywhere I went was gorgeous.  Each state that I passed through, had their own “vibe” and “personality.”  Iowa was a lot of wide open farm land.  South Dakota was a myriad of colors and wide open spaces and mountains.  My trip across Wyoming was one of the most invigorating experiences of my life. 

Then there was Colorado.

I’m fortunate to spend a lot of time in East Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It’s beautiful there and in the fall, it’s the most awesome place in the country.  I won’t compare the two because they’re both awesome.  I’m just so fortunate to be doing this, and you guys know exactly what I’m talking about.  Hearing YOUR stories while you follow mine has been one of the best things to happen to me.  

Now, it was time for me to go home.

I left on Wednesday morning, August 14th.  I said my goodbyes to Craig and Kim and took off.   I spent most of the day just trying to get out of Colorado.  Having put my GPS coordinates in the bike for the “shortest route” home, it took me until mid-afternoon to finally get into Kansas.

My route home also gave me one more dose of Highway 50, Monarch Pass and so many other highway treats that I had ridden.  When I finally crossed into Kansas, the scene changed into this wide open countryside, rumbling down the two lane highway, trying to count all of the grain elevators along the way.  I’ve never seen so many.

I landed in Dodge City Kansas for the night.  I shared a dinner table with a couple who have been struggling financially and mentally.  I had given them one of my cards explaining my struggles with depression and how I worked my way through it and they just opened up about where they had been and how much of a struggle it’s been to “right” the ship.

I was blessed to have met them, and for the life of me I can’t remember their name, but we made a connection and hopefully they’ll find me through my blog.  A powerful prayer after our meal and I had them on my mind the entire night.

I LOVE the people I meet on this bike!

Hank Motorcycle Craig Kotzen

Hank and Craig

I left Dodge City at 6am the next morning.  The ride was magnificent.  Two lane, and four lane highways the entire time.  I never once came near an interstate, until I reached Paducah, Kentucky.

At one o’clock, I stopped for a bite of lunch and to decide if I was going to take it all the way home, or get a room for the night.  After a fresh salad, I checked my mileage home and I was only 6 hours from my own bed for the night. 

I decided to make a run for it. 

Looking back, I should have spent the night and come home first thing in the morning, but I was SO homesick, I just sucked it up and pushed through.  The last hour of the trip was at night, on I-24 and a bit “hairy” and not my ideal situation, but it worked out well, and I made it home safe and sound.

This was an amazing trip and I appreciate all of you who came along for the ride.  I especially want to thank my Sturgis Crew, Steven Tyler, Mike Chester, and Carlos Peters.  It was a trip I will never forget. 

I would also like to thank my wife for her encouragement and support.  She knows this is important to me.  

Thanks to all of you for being here.  Much love!