An Previous West Motorbike Tour to three Haunted Resorts


Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels St. James Hotel
After an extended, sizzling day using by way of Oklahoma and Texas, I arrived on the St. James Lodge in Cimarron, New Mexico, the primary cease on my bike tour of haunted motels. Inbuilt 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 – individuals stayed over time.

It’s all the time enjoyable to have a theme for a bike tour, and my plan for a late August trip was a four-day loop from my dwelling in Oklahoma to go to three historic motels which might be broadly presupposed to be haunted. The primary could 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 trip first-class mountain roads on a virtually 1,900-mile route by way of 5 states.

Old West motorcycle tour haunted hotels

Scan QR code above or click here to view the route on REVER

One Scorching 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 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 practically 100 levels once I crossed into the panhandle of Texas, and the empty panorama was dotted with cattle and oil wells. Once 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 lots of the identical 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 number of the identical locations, a long time in the past, on the opposite facet 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 positioning of at the least 26 killings, the St. James Lodge has a repute for being haunted.

The temperature subsided a bit after crossing into New Mexico, the place I rode by way 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 Hotel. Strolling into the foyer felt like going again in time to the Previous West of the late 1800s.

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

Throughout the lawless days of the Wild West, the lodge was the location of at the least 26 murders; bullet holes are nonetheless seen over the bar within the lodge’s major eating room. At the moment, the St. James has 12 restored rooms within the unique 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 consultants within the St. James. Room 18 is off-limits as a result of it’s believed to accommodate the malevolent ghost of Thomas James Wright, who was murdered after he gained rights to the lodge in a poker recreation. The spirit of Mary Elizabeth Lambert, spouse of the lodge’s founder, is alleged to be a protector of the lodge. She died there in 1926, and a few say her rose-scented fragrance nonetheless wafts by way of the hallways. There have been stories of a persistent tapping sound in Room 17, the mysterious scent of cigar smoke though the lodge is nonsmoking, and sightings of a mischievous ghost resembling somewhat 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 supplier and native enforcer, picked a combat within the lodge’s saloon with gunslinger Clay Allison over the killing of Griego’s nephew. Sadly for Griego, he was somewhat (or loads) 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 lodge restaurant, I turned in. I’ve stayed in supposedly haunted motels everywhere in the nation going again at the least 20 years, and I’ve by no means had a magical 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 alleged 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 toes, 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 way of Cimarron Canyon State Park. Climbing out of the canyon revealed Eagle Nest Lake, an alpine lake above 8,000 toes close to the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Turning north on State Route 38, I adopted the byway towards the ski city of Purple River. I knew this stretch of freeway from many ski journeys there with my spouse and children. The street meanders by way of the mountains, winding its method as much as 9,820-foot Bobcat Cross and into Carson Nationwide Forest. Recollections of these household journeys rushed again – the cabins we stayed in, our favourite ski lifts and runs, the eating places we preferred, and the enjoyable we had.

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

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

Stanley Lodge

After a 400-mile day, I arrived on the Stanley Hotel, 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 motels 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 vehicles from 1897-1924. Freelan fell in love with the Estes Valley, partially as a result of he believed the realm helped restore his beforehand failing well being. Early lodge company have been impressed by options akin to electrical lights, telephones, trendy bogs, a uniformed employees, and a fleet of Stanley Steamers.

By the Seventies, the lodge was struggling however bought a shot within the arm when it turned referred to as the inspiration for Stephen King’s bestseller The Shining. The e-book 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 lodge 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 lodge’s ghostly repute.

“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 somewhat chill down my backbone.

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

Though Stephen King’s frightful evening was in Room 217, the fourth ground the place I used to be staying is considered essentially the most haunted a part of the lodge. Company 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 company have reported inappropriate “touching” by what’s considered 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 large 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, a gorgeous, curvy mountain street that jogged my memory why I’m a motorcyclist. Considering it couldn’t get any higher, I used to be confirmed improper on State Route 119 towards Boulder, which follows a burbling stream with excessive rock cliffs on each side for 16 wonderful miles.

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

The enjoyable quickly got here to an finish, and I steeled myself for an extended, 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 inbuilt 1855 underneath the title Free State Lodge, the Eldridge Hotel was burned down twice due to its function as a focus of anti-slavery sentiment. Every time it was burned, the lodge’s founder, Col. Shalor Eldridge, rebuilt it on the identical website. In 1867, it was renamed the Eldridge Lodge, and thru the flip of the twentieth century, it was thought-about one of many most interesting motels west of the Mississippi River.

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

The Eldridge Lodge additionally has an extended historical past of paranormal exercise. The fifth ground is believed to have a direct connection to the spirit world, with Room 506 on the epicenter. Company 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 alleged to have its personal ghost who erratically opens and closes the elevator doorways.

I checked into Room 305, which is spacious with trendy facilities, and bought cleaned up. Later, I wandered downstairs and explored the foyer, bar, and basement. The Eldridge is a gorgeous outdated lodge, and I felt the load 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 wakened early, anxious to get on the street dwelling. The one attainable proof of mischievous spirits was that my tv was caught on the Hallmark Murders & Mysteries channel.

A few of the roads and stops on my Previous West bike tour might actually be thought-about 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 stories here.


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