At a vista point, a group of Harley riders are taking pictures alongside us. In the last two days, we've seen at least 100 motorcyclists. That's no surprise, I say, since this is such a beautiful drive. The bikers stare at us: "Then you don't know about the rally?"
Apparently we are the only people on the road who don't know about the year's largest biker rally tomorrow in Durango ― just where we are headed.
When we roll in, downtown's Main Avenue is roaring. Bikers two abreast line the road as far as we can see, chrome gleaming. Our sensible four-wheel-drive wagon, packed with water bottles and sunscreen, seems suddenly very tame.
Kate and I find a quiet canyon outside of town on the Colorado Trail, the 500-mile super-hike that cuts across the state. But Sam won't let us avoid the rally entirely. That night she drags us down to Main. The sidewalks are full; every bar is packed. We stop outside the front door of Orio's Roadhouse, where a group of men in leather chaps are smoking.
"I don't think so," Kate says.
"Nonsense," says Sam.
Inside, people aren't so much dancing as stomping about the place. One guy is howling. "This is where I draw the line," Kate says.
Sam uses her non-noodle arms to push Kate and me up to the bar. She slaps down a 20: "Three shots of Jack!"
Kate may have led us up the cliffs and mountains of Colorado so far, but at Orio's, it's Sam who's the sure-footed one. With her, we close the bar.