Day Two    Oakley, Kansas - Canon City, Colorado - 385 miles

Despite our late arrival and long ride the day before we got our traditional 7:00 a.m. start.  We headed out U.S. 40 with our sights set on Colorado Springs (CS).  The ride on U.S. 40 is little different than the interstate in the sense of speed.  There was little traffic and we traveled at speeds of 80mph.  The difference is you travel through some small towns and feel a little closer to the scenery than the rather aseptic interstate.  The most common sight along U.S. 40 are the huge grain elevators, and the mile long trains sitting idle on the tracks as they await loading.  We stopped for a rest in Weskan on the border of Kansas and Colorado.  We came through here in 1995 and had stopped at Sharon Springs to fill up with water and some gas and to basically get out of the 104o heat.  Today the weather was pleasant and quite comfortable; what a difference six years makes.  We continued out U.S 40 through the towns of Cheyenne Wells and Kit Carson.  We had mapped a course that calculated to be a 15 mile shortcut to CS.  Looking at the map in Weskan (KMZ) we targeted for a fill up in Punkin Center.  So 12 miles past Kit Carson we turned onto C94 towards CS and saw the sign no services for 70 miles (KMZ).  With 140 miles already on the tank we realized we couldn't make it.  So we kept on U.S. 40 towards Limon, and would get to CS that way.  Once in Limon we jumped on U.S. 24 towards CS.  On the west side of CS we began to run into the Saturday morning Pike's Peak traffic.  We exited the main U.S.24 and ran through Manitou Springs on the business route.  We had to stop again at the Royal Tavern for a brew (KMZ); we had stopped there in 1995 for the same reason.  We also grabbed a bite to eat across the street and wished we hadn't.  Back out onto U.S. 24 we headed into Woodland Park.  U.S. 24  in this area was fairly busy particularly on either side of Woodland Park.  Once through Woodland Park we passed over Trout Creek and Rule Creek as we began the climb up Ute Pass.  As we were climbing we turned south at the town of Divide on C67 (KMZ).  This was the beginning of the Gold Belt Tour.  This tour is 131 miles of scenic byway that passes through historic Cripple Creek, Florence, McCourt, Adelaide, Wilbur, Victor, and other former mining camps.  At a stop near Midland (KMZ) we plotted our strategy for our assault on Cripple Creek.  We decided to each spend $40 on blackjack.  We would either quit after being up $40 or after losing $40.  We ambled into the Double Eagle Casino (KMZ) and sat at the first $5 table we ran into.  After two hours we couldn't seem to get much off of the even mark.  After a couple of house beers we decided we needed to get a move on.  We left, down a total of $5 for all of our effort.  After filling up in town we headed north out of town.  A couple miles north of town we turned right onto 82nd that took us east and then due south.  82rd goes through the old mining towns of Stratton, Independence, and Goldfield before ending in Victor.  Victor was a very unique town and rustic town.  There seemed to be quite a bit of activity for a late Saturday afternoon.  We could not find any reference to Phantom Canyon Road so we did what guys most hate to do; we stopped to ask directions.  Fortunately, the guy we asked was a motorcycle rider.  He also confirmed that we would not have any trouble riding our street bikes down Phantom Canyon Road.  We thought it was a dirt road, and we really were not certain is could be traveled on a street bike.  After finding where to turn the paved road quickly turned to dirt.  The road wasn't terrible but we could not go much faster than 30mph.  The road was well worth taking the views were spectacular, and there were very few cars on the road.  We stopped a couple of times along the road to soak in the scenery (KMZ).  Each time we stopped there wasn't a soul around (KMZ).  The road is about 30 miles long, and has very gentle grades because it is on an old railroad bed.  The road claims to have the most bridges than any other in Colorado (15 in 16 miles).  The road also passes through two tunnels as it winds its way down through the canyon.  There are campers sprinkled about the canyon and more of them towards the southern end of the road.  The road essentially dumps out on US 50 about 6 miles east of Canon City.  Once we got into Canon City I realized I forgot to bring the motel confirmation sheet with me.  I knew I probably didn't need the sheet but I forgot the name of the motel!  I figured I would remember it once I got in town, and I knew it was on US50; how difficult could it be?  As we got on the west side of town without seeing any motel that looked familiar we stopped at a convenience store to consider our options.  We tried contacting someone at home that could access the internet but had no luck.  Finally I remembered the name had "rose" in it and we searched thought the phone book and found the Cactus Rose listing.  The motel (KMZ) was actually out of town about 10 miles in the area of the Royal Gorge.  Our first impression of the motel as we pulled in the parking lot was not too favorable.  We like staying at the budget places but this seemed a little off the mark.  We were wrong.  The rooms were clean and the hospitality was exceptional.  The owners told us if we wanted to climb the ridge behind the motel we would be able to see the Royal Gorge bridge.  We walked a good mile and a half back to the ridge and climbed up (KMZ).  The view on top was pretty nice, the bridge could be seen off in the distance.  As we walked backed the skies opened up and we got drenched.  That night the owners opened their hot tub for us.  As we were settling in we met another rider from Kansas City and had a good conversation the balance of the night.