12 Days / 11 Nights
The Rocky Mountains are one of the most impressive mountain landscapes. When you stand in front of the astonishing Mt. Rushmore it will take your breath away. This tour offers so much deep inside of this country with no boundaries. Endless rides through unbelievable nature combined with a lot of historic locations makes this tour so special.
I am sure today is a very special for you and you set the alarm to go off half an hour earlier this morning in order to not miss your flights across the pond to the heart of the United States. In order to ensure your travel is as relaxed as possible, I would recommend booking a direct flight to Denver with Lufthansa or another reputable airline. After an eleven-hour flight you will be looking forward to see the lights of the DIA (Denver International Airport). Just to give you a fair warning, for those who have never been to the “land of opportunity”; everything is a little bigger than in your home countries. DIA currently is the fifth busiest airport in the world! Once you have completed the entry procedure your real holiday is about to start. Welcome to the USA!
After being flabbergasted it is time to drive to the hotel. After checking in our traditional welcome dinner awaits you in the evening. You will meet your fellow travelers and me, JC your tour and adventure guide, while having a traditional American “Welcome Drink”.
Today is our first day in the “Mile High City”. After having breakfast we drive to the motorcycle rental, which is in immediate vicinity of the hotel to pick up our bikes. After familiarizing ourselves with our motorcycle, there is no holding us back: “Rockies, here we come”!
Our first destination is Boulder. The famous university town is located a few miles north of Denver. At this point you probably feel comfortable and accustomed to your Harley. We can now enjoy the nature in its purest form, wooded hillsides and rugged and bare rock formations lay ahead of us. After riding about 70 miles through the partly untouched nature we reach the Estes Park; the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.
After having a short break, we continue on the Trial Ridge Road through the park. Ahead of us lays one of the finest and most beautiful bike routes of our entire trip and you will probably be asking yourself the question as to whether it is more important to find the ideal line, or to let the grandiose nature work its magic. The choice is yours. Our next destination is the highest point of today’s tour at an elevation of 3,713 meters. After leaving the park at Grand Lake we head towards Granby. After the first 130 miles, we will make a pit stop, before continuing southbound on the US40. Follow the curves, uphill – downhill and enjoy the endless serpentine roads looking at the unique cloud formations. After a few miles we leave the Araphao National Forrest, which is our final destination for today.
After having a good night’s sleep we continue our trip on the I-70 for the first few miles. After turning to the Route 91 we will have a quick breakfast break in Leadville. We will continue through the nearly untouched nature, which may remind you of the beauty of the Black Forest or the Allgäu, as we head towards Granite. From the place called Town Ball, we will pass Twin Lakes in order to reach the 3,689 meter high Independence Pass. After a few short miles we will reach the well-known winter sports area for the “rich and famous” – Aspen. After a few minutes of feeling astonishment and maybe meeting one of the celebrities, we refuel our bikes and continue our journey on Hwy 82. We will pass Aspens airfield as we continue through an indescribably beautiful panoramic nature towards Glenwood Springs. After riding next to the Colorado River, we will be arriving in Rifle. By the way, anyone who may feel the urge to ride “topless” may do so from now on; Topless meaning driving without a helmet, since neither here in Colorado nor in the other states during our trip you are required by law to wear a helmet. However, it is your decision to ride with or without a helmet.
After riding on approximately the same elevation for the last few miles we will now ride uphill on widely arranged roads. While passing thousands of sensational curves we can enjoy incredibly beautiful landscape and untouched nature. Riders who have already joined me on another tour will be my witness as to how diverse and fascinating this grandiose country is. Now it is time to enjoy the beauty of our country on your own; we all meet again at the Kum & Go gas station, before continuing along on the 64. Next to the route you can have a look at old farms and the banks of the White River until we reach Rangley. Shortly after we cross Dinosaur on Hwy 40, we reach the state line crossing over into Utah, which is the second of eight US States, which we pass through during our tour. Our final destination for today, Vernal, is just a few miles away from the state line. We will have dinner right next to our hotel and talk about today’s impressions while enjoying a drink at the Getaway Saloon.
After a good night’s sleep and hopefully a rich breakfast we go back “on the road.” Today we are starting on Hwy 191 towards Rock Springs. Again we will have a great time on well maintained roads northbound, this is the best example for the famous words “Life is a Highway!” We reach the Flaming George dam and take a short break in order to take photos. Our meeting point this time is the Sinclair truck stop. After crossing the I-80 you will cross the state line to the 3rd State of our tour, Wyoming. Our onwards trip leads us to Eden, Bommerlunder, Pinedale and to our final stop in Jackson. The last 70 miles of today’s ride take us through a beautiful forest area. However, we have to watch out as deer crossing is not uncommon here. After arriving at the hotel we will have dinner at one of the various restaurants and enjoy a cold glass of beer at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Today I will show you the Yellowstone National Park (YSNP). The park was established on March 1st, 1872 as the first national park worldwide. In order to enjoy the sunrise in the park we will have to get up early today. Moreover, this is the best way to see and take photos of the wild animals such as wolves, grizzly and black bears. The park has so much more to offer such as the Old Faithfull, which is one of the most famous geysers in the world. The outbreaks normally happen 65-92 minutes appart. The 30-55 m high columns of water last between 1.5 and 5 minutes and spray 14,000-32,000 liters of water. From here we continue our journey, passing several smaller geysers, heading north to Madison. In good weather conditions, we can enjoy our breakfast in the open air. While having breakfast we may even see wild bison. Our next stop is Mammoth Hot Springs, which is the northernmost point of today’s route. From here we head southbound to Tower Falls, which is a gigantic waterfall. Time for impressive photos! Despite this natural beauty, we must continue on to reach today’s destination. After seeing some buffalo today it is certainly not surprising that our final destination is named after the famous Buffalo Bill. Our accommodation for today is called Cowboy Village, a high-quality hotel complex. After having dinner, you are able to experience a facet of the American Lifestyle a typical Rodeo.
After sleeping in you can enjoy a free day in Cody. The city, which was established in 1896 has a lot to offer. You can visit the birthplace of Buffalo Bill Cody, the historic Irma Hotel with the old Cody bar, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which present a variety of museums. Furthermore, you can go to see the original Buffalo Bill Museum and the Monument Buffalo Bill Cody. If you are not interested in the history of the city you can, of course, just relax in the heated hotel pool.
After enjoying a free day in Cody we are back on the road today. After having a ride on the Highway 14 for 100 miles we enjoy an invigorating breakfast, before heading towards Worland on beautifully wide streets. After passing the “Bighorn National Forest” we ride on Interstate I-90 seeing the Black Hills Mountains on the horizon. We arrive at Spearfish, which is right on the border to South Dakota. At this point we have to decide whether we want to take a side trip to the spooky Devils Tower. This monument operated as the most important setting in Steven Spielbergs “twisted” starring Richard Dreyfuss. Since 1906 this 264 meter high landmark, which consists of magma is a popular sight in Wyoming.
After taking some pictures of the “Mateo Tipi” as the Indians call it – a construction we continue along the Hwy 24 towards Sundance. Our next destination is the famous town Sturgis in South Dakota. This small town comes to life once a year in the first week of August and welcomes thousands of riders from all around world with festivities such as the ” Sturgis Bike Rally “or the “Black Hills Rally “. If you visit this festival and I would highly recommend that you do, you can see thousands of bikes on the streets side by side. (You can gather your own impressions of this festival on my 2nd Sturgis Tour). This event is an absolute must for every biker. However, Sturgis is not our final destination for today, our tour leads us to Deadwood – a town, which was established in 1876. Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp used to have several gun fights here and some hotels offer reenacted shows of these 100-year old events. Have fun tonight!
Today is another day off in this historic city. There are many possibilities to spend your free time here. You can enjoy the historic flair of Deadwood or you are able to visit, the second largest city in South Dakota, Rapid City which has about 62,000 inhabitants. If you want to explore the surroundings with your bike you should take Mount Rushmore and the National Monument into consideration. Mount Rushmore was named after the New York lawyer Charles Rushmore, who had originally acquired the gold mining rights for the area. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a memorial consisting of monumental portrait heads of the four (up to the time of its creation) most important and emblematic US presidents. Each portrait is 60 feet (18.3 m) high. From left to right it depicts President George Washington (1789-97) (begun 1930), Thomas Jefferson (1801-09), Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) and Abraham Lincoln (1861-65). In front of the monument you can read excerpts from the most famous speeches of the four presidents. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is also called the Shrine of Democracy. 25 km south of Mount Rushmore is the building of another monument namely the Crazy Horse Memorial still in progress. The Crazy Horse Memorial honors the Oglala Lakota Indian Crazy Horse. It is similar to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial but much bigger. Whatever you are planning to do, it will be an adventurous day for you. I can guide you on this day if you want to.
After a hopefully pleasant night we are back on the roads taking the Hwy 385 towards Silver City. The tour takes us through the winding, wooded hills of the Black Mountains Hill passing alongside Pactola Lake. A little later we ride through Hill City, a remarkable small western town, before we continue towards Custer. On the way here we pass the National Monument Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. At the end of the highway we drive onto Hwy 18 on to Edgemont in order to leave the Black Hills finally. In contrast to the wooded hills we have enjoyed riding for the last few hours we now ride in through farm and prairie land. While riding in this endless country it feels as if we have left the 21St century. The magic of this Indian flair disappears promptly when reaching the gas station of Lusk. Our next stop is Torrington, where we take another break right next to the border to Wyoming. From here we have to ride another 100 miles to today’s destination, the capital of Wyoming – Cheyenne. Once we finally reach our comfortable 5-star hotel we all have to take a break and relax at the hotel pool. The day ends with a dinner in the Western Saloon.
After a boisterous evening in the saloon we continue our journey today. We are again heading south on State Highway 85 passing endless farmland and Greeley Fort Morgan before we get onto the 71 towards Last Chance. We are crossing the state line back into Colorado, the state in which our journey began and will come to an end.
We are passing Last Chance and are riding south to Limon in order to make a short gas stop. We then continue on Hwy 24 to the southwest, which leads us past Matheson and Sandy Creek to Calhan. After riding past other little villages such as Peyton and Falcon we finally reach our destination for today – Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs with its 380,000 inhabitants is the second largest city in Colorado. It is located about 100km south of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, at the foot of Pikes Peak. Here we check into our hotel and have a nice evening in a New York Pizza in Downtown.
Today we ride with sadness on our bikes that have carried us over the past two weeks, through 8 states in the US. Today we will have a reunion with the curvy roads of Colorado. After having breakfast at our 5-star hotel we leave the city. After a few miles we continue on Hwy 24 to the northwest. Here we will enjoy an amazing view of the foothills of the Rockies, whose peaks are partly covered in clouds. We pass Colorado City, ride through the Red Rock Canyon and reach Manitou Springs. We continue through Woodland Park. The scene is reminiscent in parts of the Eifel in “Germany”. The only remarkable differences probably are the wild wolves living in the mountains. While spending the last few miles on our bikes we can again marvel at the magnificent landscapes. In Fairplay, we turn to the 285 and head towards the Red Hill Pass. After a few miles, after passing Como and Jefferson, we reach the Kenosha Pass. On the last few miles on V-Twins Colorado enchanted us with its charming beauty. You will retain so many unique riding Impressions, which you will probably remember for the longest time. Back on the I-25 we are approaching the big city of Denver. In Denver we have to say goodbye to our beloved bikes and take the last pictures. We will spend the rest of the evening talking about our individual experiences in our hotel bar (let’s party together)☺
Today is the day you have to say goodbye to your new friends, the country of the endless possibilities and me, JC your tour guide over the past 2 weeks. Transportation from the hotel back to the airport is available by the hotel shuttle bus.
I wish you a pleasant flight. Farewell and hope to see you all again.
“You are always welcome!”
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The Rocky Mountains are one of the most impressive mountain landscapes.