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Man on Main St for May 13, 2010

Easy RidersThe first, official signs of spring in La Veta?

By Gary Rollins

LA VETA- For some of you, those yellow daffodils that pop out of our fertile local soil serve as a reminder that spring has arrived. 

Unfortunately, on more than one occasion the past few weeks, those blooms have disappeared under each succeeding snowfall.  Some locals declare spring and the tourism season don’t really “happen” until Mother’s Day. 

    What I regard as the telltale sign that the tourism season is officially underway is the arrival of those magnificent Harley-Davidson motorcycles that begin to arrive in ever-increasing numbers as the days grow warmer.

    So, let me share news with you that might be considered new knowledge.  It wasn’t that long ago that the recreational motorcycle-interest community sought to identify the most popular places in the United States to tour.  One of the top three day tours is our very own 110-mile Highway of Legends. 

    If you live in Tulsa or Tacoma or Tucson, the thought of steering your fully tricked-out “Hog” through the Spanish Peaks is a dream that will carry a Harley owner through the painful portions of winter, wherever that might be.  Also, we’re not talking about “Hell’s Angels” here.  Nor, for the most part, is this about the Bikers who represent a more menacing group of biker advocates. 

    Nope. The people I am focusing on are the well-heeled doctors and lawyers and CEOs who have plunked down serious coin to buy that “motorcycle of their dreams” and now, when favorable weather finally comes to pass, they ride their Harleys across many state lines to sample one of the very best circle tours on the national map.      Owning my own Harley represents a dream that never came true for me.  My ardor lessened during times when I found myself driving alongside stout-hearted, adventuresome types who were managing to keep their Harley on I-25 while being buffeted by relentless winds and pelted by sleet.  Although I was intrigued with the idea of having a traveling companion holding on for dear life as I zipped down life’s highway, I also realized that wasn’t going to happen, either.

    Those were the thoughts that ran through my head as I engaged a young man (along with his co-pilot) in front of Charlie’s Market this past week.  He explained he only had so many available days to tour and he convinced a couple of biker buds to man up and leave Fort Worth in their wake as they zipped on up to Southern Colorado.  They camped the previous night in one of Trinidad’s swankier hostels and were hoping to complete the circuit with plenty of daylight to spare as they focused on the need to get back to what Texans call the Town of the Cow before the new week began.

    They didn’t know diddly-squat about La Veta, but I could tell they were making mental notes as they cleaned the bugs off their windscreens and tightened their gear for the dash on down to Cuchara.

    I had to ask, “So, what do you think about La Veta?”  And their answer was, “Cool!”  As they kick-started their motors, I realized it was 29 degrees and that made it cool for your Man on Main, too.

    Dennis Hopper would have been proud of me.