DAY 6 & 7 - "Hip-check" - Ouray to Aspen to Independence Pass - Bling & Leo's Mile High Motorcycle Run
Posted 6/3/14 by Bling Johnson

Finally down to the last couple days. Leo and I had been camped out in Ouray, Colorado for the past two days. We hadn't planned on staying more than one night, but when we were looking for a hotel, we ran across a newly renovated property that looked perfect. The Ouray Inn. When we walked up to the counter the nicest lady came to help us. She was running all over the property fixing things and was working her butt off. Turns out she and her husband were putting the finishing touches on the renovation. They did everything from all new carpet, beds, had an artist custom paint the exterior and it was beautiful. What we didn't know was they had just re-opened for business a couple days earlier and were still finishing the project.

Video: "Hipcheck" Bling & Leo's Mile High Motorcycle Run- Day 6 & 7 - Ouray - Aspen - Independence Pass, Colorado

Leo and I are both into renovations, fixing things and anything mechanical, so we were both interested in their project. We started talking with the wife, Kris about the process. She was hilarious and so helpful and wanted to make sure everything was perfect. When Leo asked about an iron she apologized that they hadn't put those in the rooms yet and they were on their final punch list. She took his shirt to her personal laundry and got all the wrinkles out for him. The next morning when we walked over to the lobby for breakfast she had a brand new iron waiting for him still in the box!

Our home for a few days at the Ouray Inn in Ouray, Colorado

Since my main business, NewStar Digital Media & Entertainment, specializes in television commercials, corporate videos, website development and photography, I told her I wanted to take high quality pictures for her of the property including the rooms and produce a video for their Motel and give them all that to help them get an image online that is as high quality as the renovations they were finishing up. They were so happy and thankful that I would do that. They asked me why I wanted to help and I told them that Leo and I are on a Harley ride through Colorado, but for us it is all about the journey. Helping this couple with a high quality online presence added to the experience we were having and paying it forward has never done me wrong.

The next day I took the pictures and showed her and her husband. They were thrilled to say the least (they are in the process of getting them added to their website). So happy in fact that he went to the store and brought us back a 6-pack of beer and told us we could stay all week for FREE! We ended up paying for the first night and they gave us the second at no charge. Then they called ahead to a friend of theirs who had a hotel in Denver and got us 2 more nights for free. I wanted to help them for nothing in return, but as a result, they helped us and we all became friends for the long haul. We already said we'd be back next year and they are going to have a couple rooms ready for us. If you're headed up to Colorado anytime soon, do yourself a favor and swing by Ouray. It's a beautiful town and the Ouray Inn will take great care of you!

Two guys we met on the road from Canada, Herman & JackNew Mexico.

We rolled out of Ouray and began the journey to Aspen. The route we were taking took us through winding roads, mountains and some of the prettiest countryside outside of Texas. At the elevation we were at, it was just now springtime. All the leaves still had the bright green color to them and made riding as scenic as it was fun.

We stopped off to get gas and two guys pulled in on Harley's coming from the opposite direction. We started talking to Jack & Herman and they were from Ontario, Canada and were on an extended vacation riding all through the United States. I was just glad to know we weren't the only two dudes in leather chaps spending their vacation together. It was yet another reminder that the Harley brotherhood knows no borders or state lines. We grabbed a picture with them and were on our way.

Leo getting his test shots in for tryouts in the new Hercules movie.

The ride to Aspen was spectacular. The narrow roads with sharp drop-offs were really fun to ride. We climbed up and down the elevation ladder where one minute we were in short sleeves and 85 degrees and within minutes we climbed to 11,000 feet and were in full leather gear riding through snow drifts 4 feet high on the roadside. It was awesome!

The riding was spectacular.

We finally made it to Aspen and after checking in we hit the hot tub and ordered a couple adult beverages. After a long journey, we were finally at the turning point. The next day we rode through Independence Pass which took us through the Continental Divide in route to Denver. Once in Denver Leo met up with some friends and I was off to meet up with my buddies and brothers, Jared & Seth Flowers.

Birthday celebration with Seth and Jared Flowers.

I met these guys at the 2010 National Championship game when the Longhorns played Alabama at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I randomly stopped them for an interview and they had a picture of an older man in a cowboy hat blown up to poster size. I asked them what was up with the picture. They told me it was a picture of their Dad who had recently passed away. He had been a trainer for the Longhorns for years and they were taking it into the game and were going to leave his picture in their seat when the game was over. They said they were going to "leave it on the field" which is what their Dad always told the players.

Some of the best roads to ride on anywhere in the U.S.

From that day on we've been friends, following each other on Facebook and Jared even met up with Eric Hemati and I in Phoenix last year during our 2013 motorcycle ride out west. We got some dinner and celebrated Jared's birthday and paying it forward came full circle. We helped the Ouray Inn with some pictures and a video and the Flowers brothers bought me dinner. The best part about paying it forward is when you do it for the right reasons without expecting anything in return, things always have a way of working out.


The snow at Independence Pass was deeper than it looked.

After two successful and fun motorcycle trips two years in a row, I decided it was always going to be an annual ride. The locations might change, but one thing will always remain: Memorial Day week you can find me on two wheels roaming somewhere in the United States of America, the greatest country on the planet.

After a couple thousand miles on the Harley the hot tub in Aspen was the answer.

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Special Thanks to our sponsors
for the ride including:

Celebrity designer Alan Scott Designs

Central Texas Harley-Davidson




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