As I mentioned in a previous post, my plans for last weekend included visiting a couple of Tour Of Honor sites here in Colorado. At that time, I had no idea that this trip would turn into such an amazing day. So amazing, that I am splitting the experience into at least two posts so I can give each visit the credit it deserves.
Originally my plan was to head first to Colorado Springs which is a couple hours south (via state highways) and then to visit Kiowa on the way back, since it is further north. After discussing this with my riding buddy, however, we agreed to head to Kiowa first and then spend more time in Colorado Springs. It turned out to be a nearly 12 hour day for me – not all of that riding of course, but it was nice to take a leisurely ride and enjoy the sights along the way.
We decided to let the temperatures rise a bit before heading out as spring mornings in Colorado are usually quite cool. It took us a couple hours to arrive in Kiowa, via the smaller state highways, but the traffic is so much easier to navigate and drivers tend to be a bit more cooperative. Or maybe it just seems that way to me. For me it’s less stressful because there are few semi trucks and cars are not trying to run me over doing 80+ mph.
As we headed east from Castle Rock, I noticed the scenery turned from city metro to country and people slowed down a bit more. There were many farms with all kinds of animals and I find that environment so peaceful and enjoyable. I’d never been to Kiowa before and while I knew it was a small town, I didn’t know what else to expect.
Coming into town, I easily saw the monument we were looking for; it honors all service members from Elbert County and has images on each of the four sides. We pulled into the parking area and I staged my bike where I could take the photo of it, my rider flag and the monument without being in anyone’s way. After taking the photos and submitting them, we took a break to enjoy the monument, have some water and just take a break from riding for a few minutes.
Standing in the parking area we saw many motorcycles coming into town and then we noticed a rather large bird in a tree across the parking lot. My friend went to investigate and discovered it was a great horned owl, trying to take an afternoon nap! Of course, we only had our cell phones with us and the owl was far enough away that any decent photos were impossible. It was quite a sight to see this watchful bird looking down on our every move!
After a little break, we headed south toward Colorado Springs. Again taking quiet, lesser traveled roads we had a chance to enjoy a wonderful view of Pikes Peak. We passed many farms and fields; it felt a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
I’ll share the experiences we had in Colorado Springs in another post because it’s going to be a long one. Let’s just say I was not at all prepared for the visit to Veteran’s Park and it took my breath away!
Lastly, if you are keeping track, Kiowa was site #4 on my Tour of Honor and Colorado Springs was #5, so I am way ahead of last year and only have 2 more for my goal of finisher status!