An Previous West Motorbike Tour to three Haunted Resorts

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels St. James Hotel
After a protracted, sizzling day using by means of Oklahoma and Texas, I arrived on the St. James Lodge in Cimarron, New Mexico, the primary cease on my motorbike tour of haunted inns. In-built 1872 by Henri Lambert close to the Santa Fe Path, it had a saloon, a restaurant, and visitor rooms the place many well-known – and notorious – folks stayed through the years.

It’s at all times enjoyable to have a theme for a motorbike tour, and my plan for a late August experience was a four-day loop from my dwelling in Oklahoma to go to three historic inns which are broadly presupposed to be haunted. The primary can be the St. James Lodge in Cimarron, New Mexico, adopted by the Stanley Lodge in Estes Park, Colorado, and at last the Eldridge Lodge in Lawrence, Kansas. Between the fright nights, I’d experience first-class mountain roads on an almost 1,900-mile route by means of 5 states.

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels

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One Sizzling Motorbike Tour with a Aspect of Wind

To make time, I rode west on Interstate 40 for the primary 150 miles or so. Wind generators have been spinning at a great clip, and flags at roadside companies whipped round within the sizzling wind. I rode in what my buddies and I name “the I-40 lean” – using with the bike pitched a couple of levels to the left to counteract the fixed gale.


It was almost 100 levels once I crossed into the panhandle of Texas, and the empty panorama was dotted with cattle and oil wells. After I stopped in Dalhart to refuel, a man with lengthy hair and a shaggy beard pulling two Harleys on a trailer behind a pickup requested the place I used to be heading. After I shared my plan, he stated he was heading dwelling after using most of the similar roads.

Eyeing my Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT, he stated he nonetheless owns a KTM he purchased again within the ’90s when he was in Germany. “I spent three years there myself,” I stated, “once I was within the Military.” Seems we have been stationed in a few of the similar locations, many years in the past, on the opposite aspect of the world. And right here we have been, on a sweltering afternoon in small-town Texas, speaking bikes and swapping recollections.

St. James Lodge

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels St. James Hotel
The location of at the least 26 killings, the St. James Lodge has a popularity for being haunted.

The temperature subsided a bit after crossing into New Mexico, the place I rode by means of excessive plains grassland. North of Springer, I continued west on State Route 58, climbing into the foothills of the Rockies. As soon as in Cimarron, I parked in entrance of the St. James Lodge. Strolling into the foyer felt like going again in time to the Previous West of the late 1800s.

In-built 1872 close to the Santa Fe Path and initially often known as Lambert’s Inn, this resort was a favourite of Previous West legends akin to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Invoice Cody, Annie Oakley, Jesse James, and Billy the Child.

Through the lawless days of the Wild West, the resort was the location of at the least 26 murders; bullet holes are nonetheless seen over the bar within the resort’s most important eating room. At present, the St. James has 12 restored rooms within the authentic constructing, every named for a well-known visitor who stayed within the room, and 10 extra rooms in a contemporary annex.

A number of ghosts have been recognized by paranormal specialists within the St. James. Room 18 is off-limits as a result of it’s believed to deal with the malevolent ghost of Thomas James Wright, who was murdered after he received rights to the resort in a poker recreation. The spirit of Mary Elizabeth Lambert, spouse of the resort’s founder, is claimed to be a protector of the resort. She died there in 1926, and a few say her rose-scented fragrance nonetheless wafts by means of the hallways. There have been stories of a persistent tapping sound in Room 17, the mysterious scent of cigar smoke despite the fact that the resort is nonsmoking, and sightings of a mischievous ghost resembling a bit of outdated man, nicknamed the “Little Imp,” who supposedly steals and relocates objects.

I stayed within the Pancho Griego room within the outdated constructing. Griego, a card seller and native enforcer, picked a battle within the resort’s saloon with gunslinger Clay Allison over the killing of Griego’s nephew. Sadly for Griego, he was a bit of (or so much) drunk and took a bullet to the pinnacle from Allison’s gun. Would Griego’s stressed spirit pay me a go to?  

After a pleasant dinner within the resort restaurant, I turned in. I’ve stayed in supposedly haunted inns everywhere in the nation going again at the least 20 years, and I’ve by no means had a mystical expertise. However on the St. James, I used to be woke up at 3 a.m. – the so-called “witching hour” when the spirit world is claimed to be most energetic – by an unidentifiable foul odor that defied clarification (no, it wasn’t me).

A Motorbike Tour on the Enchanted Circle

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels
Welcome to New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. Simply outdoors Cimarron Canyon at 8,200 ft, picturesque Eagle Nest Lake is an introduction to the great thing about the New Mexico Rockies.

Persevering with west on U.S. Route 64, I loved flowing curves and yellow wildflowers as I rode by means of Cimarron Canyon State Park. Climbing out of the canyon revealed Eagle Nest Lake, an alpine lake above 8,000 ft close to the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Turning north on State Route 38, I adopted the byway towards the ski city of Crimson River. I knew this stretch of freeway from many ski journeys there with my spouse and youngsters. The highway meanders by means of the mountains, winding its approach as much as 9,820-foot Bobcat Move and into Carson Nationwide Forest. Reminiscences of these household journeys rushed again – the cabins we stayed in, our favourite ski lifts and runs, the eating places we favored, and the enjoyable we had.

Crossing into Colorado, I rode over 9,426-foot La Veta Move on U.S. Route 160 after which up by means of Colorado Springs and Denver. At Loveland, I turned west on U.S. Route 34 and loved a winding experience by means of Huge Thompson Canyon and Roosevelt Nationwide Forest to Estes Park.

See all of Rider‘s South Central U.S. tour tales right here.

Stanley Lodge

After a 400-mile day, I arrived on the Stanley Lodge, which sits on a sprawling property with views of the town that serves because the gateway to Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. When it opened in 1909, it rivaled the best inns in America. It was established by Freelan Stanley, who, together with twin brother Francis, co-founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Firm, which manufactured steam-powered cars from 1897-1924. Freelan fell in love with the Estes Valley, partly as a result of he believed the world helped restore his beforehand failing well being. Early resort friends have been impressed by options akin to electrical lights, telephones, fashionable loos, a uniformed workers, and a fleet of Stanley Steamers.

By the Nineteen Seventies, the resort was struggling however obtained a shot within the arm when it grew to become often known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s bestseller The Shining. The ebook could also be fiction, however there are many real-life ghost tales swirling across the Stanley.

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels Stanley Hotel
Darkness gathers on the Stanley Lodge. Opened in 1909, it famously served because the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining.” At twilight, the resort takes on an air of spookiness.

After checking in, I took the classic Otis elevator to my fourth-floor room, which was sizzling as hell – becoming. The entrance desk dispatched a service technician, and as he labored on the air conditioner, I quizzed him concerning the resort’s ghostly popularity.

“Is there something to the ghost stuff?”

“Yep, they’re right here,” he stated. “I had my first expertise after I’d been right here a couple of months – tapped me proper on the shoulder, however there was no one there.”

“Fascinating…” I replied, feeling a bit of chill down my backbone.

At twilight, I walked out entrance to admire the Stanley’s stunning facade towards the darkening sky and go to the mildly creepy hedge maze, upset {that a} frozen Jack Nicholson was nowhere to be discovered. Again inside, I glanced within the séance room. The place definitely regarded haunted.

Though Stephen King’s frightful night time was in Room 217, the fourth ground the place I used to be staying is regarded as essentially the most haunted a part of the resort. Friends in Room 407 have reported being tucked into mattress by an invisible drive, and the apparition of a cowboy has been reported in Room 428. However Room 401 is the creepiest – feminine friends have reported inappropriate “touching” by what’s regarded as an unfriendly male ghost. After my unsettling expertise on the St. James, studying concerning the paranormal exercise that has occurred simply down the corridor from my room had my eyes vast open as I turned off the bedside lamp.

Nevertheless, after a restful sleep undisturbed by the spirit world, I packed up and headed south on the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, an attractive, curvy mountain highway that jogged my memory why I’m a motorcyclist. Pondering it couldn’t get any higher, I used to be confirmed mistaken on State Route 119 towards Boulder, which follows a burbling stream with excessive rock cliffs on either side for 16 wonderful miles.

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway
The beautiful, flowing curves of Colorado’s Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway.

The enjoyable quickly got here to an finish, and I steeled myself for a protracted, sizzling slog on Interstate 70 into Kansas. It was effectively after darkish and I had clocked 652 miles for the day once I arrived in Lawrence for the final cease on my ghost tour.

Eldridge Lodge

Initially in-built 1855 below the title Free State Lodge, the Eldridge Lodge was burned down twice due to its function as a focus of anti-slavery sentiment. Every time it was burned, the resort’s founder, Col. Shalor Eldridge, rebuilt it on the similar website. In 1867, it was renamed the Eldridge Lodge, and thru the flip of the twentieth century, it was thought of one of many best inns west of the Mississippi River.

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels Eldridge Hotel
The Eldridge Lodge was in-built 1855. It was burned down twice and rebuilt every time. Its troubled previous is believed to gas the paranormal. (Photograph by Jackpendry through Wikimedia Commons)

The Eldridge Lodge additionally has a protracted historical past of paranormal exercise. The fifth ground is assumed to have a direct connection to the spirit world, with Room 506 on the epicenter. Friends have reported seeing apparitions, breath marks on mirrors, doorways opening and shutting by themselves, and lights mysteriously turning themselves on and off. The elevator is claimed to have its personal ghost who erratically opens and closes the elevator doorways.

I checked into Room 305, which is spacious with fashionable facilities, and obtained cleaned up. Later, I wandered downstairs and explored the foyer, bar, and basement. The Eldridge is an attractive outdated resort, and I felt the burden of its historical past. With that historical past in thoughts – a few of it painful – I can see how the power of the previous should still be imprinted on this place.

I as soon as once more slept peacefully within the cozy mattress and awakened early, anxious to get on the highway dwelling. The one potential proof of mischievous spirits was that my tv was caught on the Hallmark Murders & Mysteries channel.

A number of the roads and stops on my Previous West motorbike tour may definitely be thought of supernatural, however did the expertise make a believer out of me? Till I can discover a logical clarification for what occurred to me on the St. James Lodge, the jury is out.

See all of Rider‘s touring tales right here.