Steph Sieger, IT Asset Management/Software License Management Admin, has been riding motorcycles for over 20 years and just returned from a 2,448-mile, weeklong ride across the country with her husband. Steph describes the twists, turns, and breathtaking views of her latest biking summer adventure ...
By Steph Sieger
Four years ago, my husband and I decided we would make Colorado our new home after making several long trips out here and riding all around the state, and I decided it was time to get my own wheels because the roads here are meant for riding.
As a passenger, and now on my own wheels, I've traveled all over the country with him, in all kinds of weather (tropical storms, tornadoes nearby, hail, snow, sideways rain, dust storms). Frankly, the destination is only part of the fun; the route to get there and back, the people you encounter along the way in the biker community, and the adventure of being out in nature for long days are all part of the memories we make.
Now that I am on my own wheels, it's even more fun and exhausting, all at the same time. We recently rode from our home in Colorado out to Folsom, Calif., following Highway 50, "The Loneliest Road in America," the whole way out. It's no wonder it has that name—there are many stretches with no services, buildings, or anything for close to 100 miles. Sand, high winds, and dust devils crossing our paths were all part of our ride, often in temperatures in the high 90s or low 100s. In total, we rode over 2,448 miles in seven days. This was my second cross-country trip on my bike, and it put me to the test a few times, but it was a great time overall.
I've discovered I'm a junkie for mountain riding now—the twistier the better. There were many daily opportunities for low and high passes as we traveled west, including the pass closest to our home, Monarch Pass, which has a summit of 11,312 feet. Coming around a corner and seeing an unexpected dropoff for a cliff, snow in June, or mountain lakes takes your breath away.
North Lake Tahoe was probably one of my favorites on this particular ride. And, of course, you can't go home the same way you came; so we had to go a different route home, which included going up and over Donner Pass, and discovered Highway 6 in Utah with Price Canyon—beautiful even in the rain.
One of the most important things I have learned about road-trip traveling is that I have to pack light! So, leave your hair tools, fancy makeup, shoe options, and other things at home and look for hotels or campgrounds with laundry facilities, so you can take a few days' clothes and wash them along the way. About 80% of the baggage area on our two bikes is filled all the time with gear and tools. Since we live in a warm area of Colorado, we have alternate gear at all times because mountaintops are much colder than the high plains.
The biker community is awesome to be a part of, and we meet up with all kinds of new people of all ages wherever we go. We made close friends through various groups we ride with and people we've met along the way. We've ridden some large rides for some great causes and road trips with other couples in smaller groups.
Since moving to Colorado, I joined a women's rider group—The Litas—which has been a good way to get out of the house and meet new friends with common interests. We all have different types of bikes and riding styles, but all have a love for riding in common.
Bikers have a common set of underlying "codes" that bond us together. There are lots of other people you don't even know who will stop to help if they see you on the side of the road. We tease each other about our bike brands and styles, but under it all is a respect that is embedded with those who have been riding for a while.
An example of this is while we are riding, if we pass another biker, we do a "biker wave," which in most cases is not an actual wave. It's a hand signal usually aimed at the ground with two fingers, showing respect and saying hello.
Whether riding two wheels or three, bikers have a bad reputation, thanks to some TV shows, and I've had people pull their kids away from me at restaurants just because I look a little rough (black leather, jeans, boots, wind-blown). Bikers are some of the nicest, most generous people I have encountered and will give of themselves for others more often than not.
Give bikers you encounter room on the road and respect, and don't think that we are all gang members LOL … the leather is to protect us from spills, not to scare you. And if you're ever in Colorado and want to go for a ride, let me know! I love showing people our canyons and mountains—it's an exciting ride!