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Trippin’ Connies 10 – Craft Brew Cruise

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  • Trippin’ Connies 10 – Craft Brew Cruise

    Day 1 – 6/18/2018 – Houston, TX to Tucumcari, NM – 712 Miles

    Houston, TX to Tucumcari, NM – 712 Miles – MAP LINK

    You’ll quickly notice that it’s an end of an era. The Connies had a nice long 9-year run. Last year Mom and Dad went out to Arizona for a UH football game and Dad came back with a Honda Gold Wing F6B. Makes perfect sense, right? He’s talked about wanting a Gold Wing for as long as I can remember, so it was good to see that finally happen. His Connie is still in the stable, but for a 12-day road trip, there’s no shame in choosing ultimate comfort.

    As you can probably tell from the title, this year’s goal was to visit a craft brewery at as many of the stopping locations as possible. This was a thought I had after we ate at breweries in Tooele, UT and Montrose, CO last year. They were our favorite eating locations of the trip and more unique than a regular restaurant. Also baked into this year’s trip would be a few locations we’ve visited in the past along with some new ones I wanted to check off my list.

    With the trip just a couple days away, the weather did not look promising for takeoff. There was a tropical storm/depression in the Gulf and headed our way. The night before leaving, there was nothing but rain the forecast, starting at the time we planned on leaving. We planned to meet off of I-45 just north of the Beltway. That plan changed in the morning while listening to the morning news because there was a huge wreck on I-45 south of the Beltway, so Dad had to change his route to take the Hardy Toll Road north. We ended up deciding on a gas station in Spring. I wanted to see my girls in the morning, so I didn’t take off until 6:30. Thankfully as I said my goodbyes and took off it hadn’t started raining at my house yet.

    My starting mileage for the trip was 62,041.

    I took the Beltway around to I-45 and north to Spring. Within minutes of getting on the Beltway the rain started, but it wasn’t terrible. As I headed north on I-45 I saw a lady parked on the shoulder and outside the car pointing her iPad towards the air. I turned to my left and saw the most complete rainbow I’ve ever seen, perfect from horizon to horizon. Seemed like a good start to the ride.

    At the planned Shell station in Spring I met up with my riding partner. Once Dad saw me he realized he forgot to bring his CamelBak.

    After filling up we hit the road. We really lucked out with the rain and it wasn’t bad before we cleared it for good. It was also nice and overcast for a good part of the day. The first stretch we made it almost 200 miles before pulling in for some gas and a break in Waxahachie.

    Here’s Dad’s new mile-munching steed…

    I guess the timing was good because we got through Fort Worth without a hiccup. We completely cleared the tropical cloud cover and headed northwest on US287, an old familiar boring road to us. The next stop of the day was in Harrold.

    Another 190ish mile stretch put us on the west side of Amarillo, where we stopped for gas before it was too late. Somewhere along the way I got blasted in my sun shield with something big. I couldn’t tell if it was a bug or something else when it happened. After further inspection, I’m pretty sure it was NOT a bug.

    We finished off the riding for the day with a 100-mile trip down I-40 into New Mexico and arriving in Tucumcari, NM. We checked into the Motel Safari and chatted with the current owner, new from the last time we stayed there. He had a boxer named Sam that was scared of guests. Funny story about checking in was a couple pulled up and beat me into the lobby. Dad and I walked in right after him and the older gentleman’s wife stayed in the car. The motel owner assumed we were all together, so when the guy asked for a king bedroom he was a bit thrown off. It didn’t make sense until he finally realized we weren’t together. He said he wasn’t sure how sleeping arrangements were going to work with all 3 of us in a king bed, but he wasn’t going to ask any questions.

    Mom had called earlier and informed me that the place I planned on eating (no breweries in Tucumcari) was only open for lunch. I asked the owner if there was a decent place within walking distance and he said Cornerstone, across the street, wasn’t bad.

    At Cornerstone we had an average dinner, nothing to brag about, but not terrible. The young waitress thought we were crazy when we asked for ketchup to go with our onion rings. Is that a Texas thing?

    On day 1 I had the energy to go out after dark and roam around with my camera. That ends up wearing off pretty quick the further into the trip we go. Here’s what I came up with around the hotel.

    That was a wrap for Day 1. It was time to rest up for the mountains.
    2008 C-14

  • #2
    Hey Kory!

    That hotel is too cool!

    Really like your dad's new ride too.

    I put ketchup on my onion rings too

    Glad you guys are having a good ride.

    Keep us posted.
    I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.


    • #3
      Originally posted by BIG O View Post
      Hey Kory!

      That hotel is too cool!

      Really like your dad's new ride too.

      I put ketchup on my onion rings too

      Glad you guys are having a good ride.

      Keep us posted.

      Hi Mike! Yeah, Tucumcari is a throw-back little town. Interesting hotels there.

      Ketchup and onion rings are a perfect combo, good to know we're not the only ones to enjoy.

      The ride is long over, it just took me forever to get the report together this year. It's a real pain in the ass, but I do it so I can look back on it.
      2008 C-14


      • #4
        Thanks Kory. I always enjoy your reports. My ride report from last year's Spokane to Lancaster PA trip took the form of daily updates on Facebook that started one year after the actual event.
        Yes, ketchup on onion rings and mustard on my egg/sausage/cheese breakfast sandwich please.


        • #5


          • #6
            I stayed at Motel Safari in Tucumcari before! Wish I was along for this one.

            While I am master of my sword, I shall never think any man greater than myself.
            ~Eumenes of Cardia

            I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth. ~Steve McQueen

            I work over by worlds of fun. ~JimmyMac

            My photo album -


            • #7
              Thanks, Kory!
              KN, this ride's for You.



              • #8
                Can't wait for more!
                My ol' ZZR1200 pics:


                • #9

                  slayman: I don't blame you! It takes entirely too long to put this together, mostly because I care too much about my photos though. Half the battle is culling all of my photos and editing them.
                  2008 C-14


                  • #10
                    Day 2 – 6/19/2018 – Tucumcari, NM to Gunnison, CO – 487 Miles

                    Tucumcari, NM to Gunnison, CO – 487 Miles – MAP LINK

                    Day 2 started off with a little coffee in the room. There’s no breakfast at the Motel Safari so the plan was to ride for an hour or so and time our next gas stop with grabbing a bite to eat. We got rolling continuing down I-40 west and the chosen spot was Santa Rosa.

                    This box van was at the station and I thought it was interesting, so I took a picture of it. While we were hanging out by the bikes a young couple came out and headed to the box truck. We struck up a short conversation with the guy and Dad asked if he was headed to Laguna for the MotoAmerica races. He said he was and we asked what class he was racing in, he said Superbike. After they took off Dad said he did look familiar. I took my camera back out and zoomed in on my picture and saw that his number was 888. Turns out we were talking to Max Flinders, who now uses #88, a true privateer effort in the sport.

                    About 60 miles later we turned off of I-40 at Clines Corners and headed north on US285. It wasn’t long before we started seeing flowering cacti everywhere. Looking now they appear to be Cylindropuntia Imbricata (aka tree cholla or walking stick cholla). After seeing enough of it I told Dad if I found a good spot to stop I wanted to get some pictures.

                    We continued north and slowly made our way through Santa Fe. The next gas stop was in Hernandez. Some of the F6B’s relatives were there taking a break in the shade, but we didn’t talk to their owners.

                    Right after leaving we split off on US84 and made our way north into Colorado. It may just be in my head, but it sure seems like everything turns green all of the sudden right at that border. At Pagosa Springs we took a right on US160 and stopped for a few photos at the Wolf Creek Pass summit.

                    Continuing on, we made our next stop for gas in South Fork. The Rainbow Express is a very busy and dusty spot. In the same parking lot is a little all-encompassing store, so Dad headed over there to find some tape to keep one of his dash compartments closed after a wiring modification. After what seemed like 30 minutes, his mission was successful.

                    We headed north on CO149 and I had one goal, to stop at North Clear Creek Falls Observation Site. We rode CO149 just last year, but I was so impressed I put it back into this year’s route. Also, I planned to stop and see the falls last year and completely missed them. I thought the same happened this year as for some reason my old GPS goes crazy on this road, but I had a good idea of where it was as we approached and spotted the sign.

                    While we were walking around there, my wife sent me a text, “Send me a picture of the waterfall!!!!!!!!” She was watching us on Glympse and saw where we were. I responded with the picture below.

                    We finished off CO149 from there. Things didn’t change from last year, it’s still a great road with fantastic scenery. Once we reached US50 we took the short ride east to our destination, Gunnison. We checked into the ABC Motel and then walked down to High Alpine Brewing Company. Not a bad start to the brew cruise!

                    Dad stuck with the kolsch. I’m more of an amber guy and I’ve also been enjoying a good stout as of late. Dad’s always a bit cautious of craft brews, but I think now he’s learned as long as he stays away from IPA’s, he just fine with flavor.


                    Beer #2, going down smooth…

                    We split a couple of pizzas and by far the best one was the Guadalupe, which had BBQ sauce, chicken, jalapeno smoked bacon, red onion, and cheeses.

                    We stayed for a while and enjoyed the food and beer. The cottonwood trees were in full bloom. The whole town was covered in cottonwood fuzz and it was even blowing into the brewery as we were sitting there. Prior to leaving we both bought t-shirts. When we got back to the room I thought it would be best to try on the shirts in case they didn’t fit. I tried mine on and it was way too tight. Dad’s was too big. So I ended up walking back to see if they would exchange them. I asked our waiter and he took the shirts back and brought me two new ones, after he helped a few tables. I thanked him and walked back to the motel. On the way back I checked the tags to make sure they were the correct sizes. Back in the room I gave Dad his shirt. He unfolded it and held it up and had a confused look on his face. It was a large women’s cut shirt, so it was the size of a napkin. I laughed at the look on his face for a good 30 minutes, still laughing now as I type this. My new shirt on the other hand, fit perfectly. I told him I’ve already gone back there once, so this time it was his turn. He left and came back with what we believe is the original a bit too large shirt, but better than a women’s cut.

                    I ended the night getting a couple of night shots prior to going to bed.

                    2008 C-14


                    • #11
                      Day 3 – 6/20/2018 – Gunnison, CO to Vernal, UT – 335 Miles

                      Gunnison, CO to Vernal, UT – 335 Miles – MAP LINK

                      We had a small breakfast and some coffee in the morning at the motel prior to taking off. It was nice and chilly in the morning. I started off with a thermal under my shirt and rain cover over my jacket along with some heavier gloves. We took off and headed back west on US50 and rode along Blue Mesa Reservoir. We turned right on CO92 and first stopped at the Blue Mesa Dam.

                      Taking off from there we cruised along the Gunnison River canyon. It’s a great ride and we basically had it all to ourselves. Seven years ago we took a break at a great little spot by pure luck. I wanted to stop at the same spot again so I went back and looked at my pictures and found the spot with the help of Google Earth. We pulled over at the spot and walked down to marvel at the sheer drop and canyon overlook.

                      We hiked back up to the bikes and I was already warmed up so I pealed off all the added layers from the morning.

                      About a mile up the road was the Pioneer Lookout Point and we stopped there for a quick look.

                      From there we continued north on CO92 until Austin, where we took a couple back-roads to cut over to CO65. Next up was to climb up to the Grand Mesa. We got stuck following a line of cars all the way up, so I was ready for a break by the time I spotted the Visitor Center. I was hoping to score some magnets and stickers. The good news was they had magnets, but the bad news was no stickers. After our purchases we walked across the street to have a look at Cobbett Lake.

                      Both of us remember the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway being longer in the past, it seemed like we were heading back down in no time. Once we got to I-70 we headed west to Grand Junction. I tried to route us through the outskirts of town to get us to Colorado National Monument. The plan would have worked perfectly if it weren’t for the construction zone we ran into.

                      We finally got to Monument Rd. and no one was at the entrance station, so we rode on. As we were climbing up we ran into this guy. I was trying to position my bike at a good angle to stop since the road was off-camber and I think this guy thought I was going to try to make a run for it. He looked like he was about to spring out in front of me to make sure I didn’t get by. It wasn’t just in my mind because Dad thought the same thing.

                      2008 C-14


                      • #12
                        Once we got past the long construction zone we stopped at Cold Shivers Point. The last time we rode through Colorado National Monument there was thick fog and we couldn’t see much until the very end. Today was definitely the opposite, so it was nice to see what we missed.

                        Next stop was at Fallen Rock.

                        Artists Point was the next place we stopped to take in the views.

                        Our last stop in Colorado National Monument was at Grand View.

                        I tried taking a selfie, but a bug flew right into Dad’s face.

                        Here’s a stitched pano I put together from Grand View:
                        TC10_Day 3_2018.06.20_80 by Kory, on Flickr

                        We stopped at the Visitor Center for some magnets and stickers then decided to move on and headed for the exit. At the exit there was a ranger and I paid my $10 fee for the ride-thru. We took CO340 north to Fruita where we filled up.

                        From there it was a quick run down I-70 to turn north on CO139. We were making good time on CO139 until we ran into a construction zone. This one took a while.

                        In Rangely we took CO64 to Dinosaur where we finished off the day heading west on US40 into Vernal, UT. We checked into the Best Western and changed to go to dinner. Before we left, I noticed another bike across the parking lot. It was a Versys-X 300 with the rear end completely loaded down. Having just recently picking up one of these myself, I wanted to talk to the guy. I headed over to him as he was unloading his bike and as I approached he came at me talking 100 mph. He was talking so fast at first I thought he was speaking a foreign language. Once I realized it he was indeed speaking English, we had a conversation about the bike. Back in the room dad joked that he must have rode from across town, no way anyone could ride a bike with a 300cc engine too far. Well, his jaw about hit the ground when the guy said he was from Corpus Christi, TX! He was new to riding and is on his first big trip. Looked like he was doing just fine!

                        After chatting we walked down to Vernal Brewing Company. The building was nice and new. It was very busy, especially for a weekday. The food was good, although dad said the stacked enchiladas could have used some more sauce and got dry towards the end. No complaints with the beer. Our waitress was running ragged the entire time, not the best service, but it was obvious she had too many tables.

                        The town was covered in beautiful flowers, a really nice touch.

                        It was a short day mileage wise, but a long day total with all the stops. Day 3 and I was already out of energy to out and try to capture any night shots, sleep was too important.
                        2008 C-14


                        • #13
                          This is so fine (once again) and will inspire others to plan a wonderful trip. Did you get to see the Black Canyons of Gunnison? Thank you for sharing your trip with the rest of us.
                          Sin's a good mans brother.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dondiego View Post
                            This is so fine (once again) and will inspire others to plan a wonderful trip. Did you get to see the Black Canyons of Gunnison? Thank you for sharing your trip with the rest of us.
                            You know what, for some reason I've always just overlooked Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and I didn't even realize it's a National Park. We've always just gone up CO92, but my interest is peaked now! Any recommendations on what to see there? I'm guessing you've been?
                            2008 C-14


                            • #15
                              Day 4 – 6/21/2018 – Vernal, UT to Pocatello, ID – 404 Miles

                              Vernal, UT to Pocatello, ID – 404 Miles – MAP LINK

                              Day 4 started off early with some breakfast at the hotel. We talked with a guy from Canada who was on a trip with several of his friends, but he’d been having nothing but bike problems. His bike was currently at the Harley shop across town. As we were finishing up and walking out the guy on the Versys came in, but it was time to hit the road.

                              Out of Vernal we took US191 to Duchesne. From there it was north on UT87 to UT35 to UT32 to UT150. UT150 is a great road with scenery to match. We stopped near the beginning for a break. It was pretty noisy at this stop.

                              I tried making a stop at Mirror Lake, but that was a bust. I just couldn’t figure out a good spot with a nice view and felt like I was just wasting time, so we moved on stopping a little further up the road.


                              We crossed into Wyoming and up to Evanston for some gas. We filled up at the Chevron and then got some snacks at a very busy Maverik in the same parking lot.

                              Out of Evanston we headed north on WY89 and crossed back into Utah, now UT16. It was right about then that a cop going the opposite direction flashed his lights at me. I was confused, but hey, if you want, go ahead and turn around and pull me over. I had been running a modest 5mph over the speed limit this trip, slowing down from our past trips. What I didn’t realize was that we had crossed back into Utah, and the speed limit went from 65mph back down to 60mph. I was going 10 over, so it ended up making sense. No harm no foul.

                              At Sage Creek Junction we turned left on UT30 and headed towards Bear Lake. But before we got anywhere we had a delay at a construction zone.

                              We made it to the lake and rode along it for a bit, then turned west on US89 out of Garden City. We climbed up and stopped at an overlook with a great view of the lake.

                              TC10_Day 4_2018.06.21_29 by Kory, on Flickr

                              The lady below is from Sweden and circled the parking lot then came back to tell Dad about a trail she had walked and said it was well worth it, we should definitely do it. We didn’t walk the trail. But, we did get lots of entertainment out of the story we made up about this mystery Swedish woman and how she was the lure trying to get us to go down this trail where we would eventually be beat to a pulp by a Swedish gang.

                              Here are some more shots from that location:
                              TC10_Day 4_2018.06.21_33 by Kory, on Flickr

                              It was a nice ride from there into Logan, but it took us a while to get through town and headed north on US91. There were numerous lights and traffic on our route through Logan. We eventually crossed into Idaho and got on I-15 to finish off the day’s ride. We battled a strong headwind on the interstate so we couldn’t get to Pocatello fast enough.

                              We unloaded at the hotel then headed across town to Portneuf Valley Brewing. This was probably the coolest actual brewery location of the trip, it was in a dark old building that oozed character. Everyone working there was nice to talk to, including the owner Penny. Both the food and the beer were really good.

                              Unfortunately they were fresh out of stickers, but Penny told us to grab some of the pint labels below. She said she found these in the building when she bought the place. It used to be the East Idaho Brewing Co., Inc. long ago and they helped to produce the Alt Heidelberg line until 1942. A neat little piece of history.

                              After hanging out for a little while, we headed back to the Best Western to rest up for the next day.
                              2008 C-14