The 1940s Enfield appeared under veil of night as far as anyone can tell, but everyone knew who put it there.
To say that Nelson Burrell is a motorcycle enthusiast is like saying that the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground. It would be more accurate to say that motorcycles consume Burrell's waking life.
The walls of his garage are lined with books and catalogues detailing the most obscure in vintage motorcycles. He can tell you why and how much and for how long, especially when it comes to vintage British bikes.
The rusting Royal Enfield in front of Ski Haus Liquors is his, and he put it there because he needed a place to store it. He admits, it's worth very little, except to someone who loves motorcycles.
They call it the Harley of the Himalaya. Besides a Draconian bureaucracy, it's the best thing that England left India.
In the early part of the century, the Royal Enfield was a British bike made in England, Burrell said, but in 1954, the Indian government ordered 500 bikes, and the struggling company could barely meet the order.
When India called for 500 more bikes the next year, the British company decided to build a factory in Madras, India.
It wasn't long before the factory in England closed all together.
The Indian factory still puts out thousands of bikes a year and it hasn't changed a thing from the original 1954 design.
Today, the Enfield is legend among Asian travelers who buy the bike for next to nothing and ride it to Europe through India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and on to France.
"The fun thing about riding (an Enfield) is the conversations that it starts," Burrell said. "Someone asks about your bike and you have to decide whether it's worth the time. There's so much to say.
"I can remember as a kid seeing an Enfield. It was the most beautiful thing, but they didn't make so many so it was rare to see one."
The bike in front of Ski Haus Liquors is a 1945 Royal Enfield 500 single.
"It looks like it's been at the bottom of Lake Michigan," Burrell said. "I can hardly roll it."
Even a brand new Enfield rides like a classic. It produces a throaty rumble prompting the nickname, "two-wheeled tractor."
The rumbling and shaking leads to an endless list of required maintenance.
"It's a tinkerer's bike," Burrell said. "It's new, but it comes from India. People forget that."
Steamboat resident Rob Dick bought an Enfield as his first motorcycle a few years ago. "It was a great first bike," Dick said. "It's small and easy to ride, but it required a lot of maintenance. It taught me that I was not a mechanic."
While Dick adjusted to his new vantage point on the seat of an Enfield, he reread Robert Persig's book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
But no amount of reading and motorcycle philosophizing could teach Dick how to fix his bike.
"I did attempt to work on it myself, but when I brought it to a mechanic, he said, 'Rob, it would be a lot cheaper if you did not try to fix it yourself," Dick said. So he left the tinkering to the professionals and concentrated on exploring the area.
"I loved it," he said. "It was great to tool around the dirt roads in Steamboat. I liken riding an Enfield to half way between horseback riding and skiing.
"It's very old technology. Even a 500 cc is about as powerful as 125 cc in one of today's bikes."
Dick's love affair with the Enfield lasted a few years but finally ended. He sold the bike locally, he said.
The bike joined the scores that are cluttering yards and garages and liquor store patios across the valley.
"There's a real vintage movement in Steamboat that you never really see," Burrell said. "You'd be surprised what's in some people's garages."