Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle - Chapter 2 - Part 4

From Moab to Colorado, through dirt and snow!

Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, albeit a bit delayed, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning

This is gonna cover a bit more days than usual since Colorado has ended up being a very different experience than the rest of my trip so far, but it’s been awesome in its special way so let’s do the run down.

Helmet at Arches
You can’t go to Arches and not see the most iconic landmark in the state!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

After waking up in a parking lot near Moab, I broke out my trekking poles and spent the day hiking around arches and canyon lands. The landscape was richly colored and something just completely unique to southern Utah, but with still no luck finding camping, I made a phone call to a friend and left in the afternoon toward Colorado. I got up to steamboat springs after 300 miles of some of the greenest hills and pastures I've ever seen (now I understand why Colorado is called the land of many colors) with a few hours of daylight to spare, then headed over for what I feel was a very well earned dip in Strawberry Hot Springs. Camped out in steamboat then headed toward the city the next day.

I took a ride along highway 14, which was gorgeous, despite the fact that I got pounded with hail and snow and everything in between. After riding through a pretty substantial snowstorm, and seeing the forecast along Poudre river wasn't much better than that for the night, I opted to head to Fort Collins instead of camping and stayed with a friend.

FZ-07 on Colorado Highway 14
Highway 14 sums up everything I hoped Colorado would be…. Well, except for some of the weather.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Unfortunately, this proved to be a fairly unlucky decision as, walking down some stairs, I managed to step down just wrong, and a nice twist and pop later I ended up with a knee swollen to the size of a grapefruit. I swear- I can ride and crash motorcycles at high speeds and be totally fine, but walking is what causes my worst injuries every freaking time. Not being able to bend my knee enough to get my foot on the peg might be a bit of a setback...

Fortunately, if there was one place I had to get temporarily stranded, at least I wasn’t alone. My eternal gratitude to my buddy Hollywood who made sure I was taken care of while still showing me around the state a bit via car (and teaching me more about the local ranching communities than I ever thought I wanted to know, haha!)

After a few days of babying my leg, Hollywood’s father and brother somehow roped me into what I'm told is the country's largest poker run, which was a huge, mostly Harley event where people rode around in big groups and drank beer and collected cards at designated stops to try to get the best poker hand for charity. Or something like that. I still wasn’t really good to ride for more than short stints with my knee, so I let Hollywood steer and rode passenger on my own bike. We were on one of the only sport/ADV bikes in the whole 1000+ bike rally, so we definitely felt a bit out of place.

That said, I have no idea how to be a good passenger. The only time I've ever ridden on the back was at the racetrack with Steve Rapp when I took Star School a few years back, and I found that absolutely terrifying. Maybe it’s just me, but I think when you’re used to being the pilot and you know exactly how quickly things can go wrong on a bike, it’s a lot scarier when you’re not in control. Like riding a rollercoaster, and I hate rollercoasters.

FZ-07 and Harley-Davidsons
One of these things is not like the other.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

But Hollywood is also a racer and I knew he wasn't a risky bet, so it ended up actually being way more fun than I expected. The Harley community in Colorado is huge and friendlier than all the vests and cigars and leather implies, haha.

The next day, I figured I was probably good enough to ride again, so I headed off on my own to Rocky Mountain National Park and ride the peak to peak highway. The weather called for 60 degrees and light rain, so naturally I got stuck in a blizzard (that sign that said weather was subject to rapidly change along the peaks wasn’t kidding, apparently). Mother nature's way of telling me to ice my knee? My tires seemed to be gripping well even as snow started building on the highway (the snow I've ridden through in the past few weeks was cold, but never heavy enough to actually stick to the road, so it didn't seem as scary). But as a crosswind picked up, my visor started fogging over, and the road got whiter, I opted to give up. The drivers seemed to understand and have plenty of sympathy when I stopped traffic both directions to turn around.

Tiffani on FZ-07 in snow
Because no good story ever came from everything going right?Photo by Tiffani Burkett

After that, I headed down the state a bit more and stopped at a Forest Ranger station to ask about camping to figure out where to go for the night. I learned about all the free dispersed camping opportunities around Colorado, which is something I hadn’t dabbled in much yet, as I’ve mostly just been camping at State parks. Fortunately I’ve gotten more and more confident in the FZ's dirt ability, because everything is on dirt roads. Either way, I've set up a base camp near lake Wellington for a little while so I can recover a bit more, and everything is going well again!