10 Days Zigzagging Central Colorado From Top to Bottom

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Phattyre-Phready2, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    Finally time to depart for Colorado. No real plan, mainly just get out of the 100 degree+ weather forecast for Lubbock, Texas.

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    My son, Brad, worries like an old mother hen when I take off on these solo camping trips from my WeeStrom...so he gave me a Spot for my birthday.

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    The Spot made it easier for my friends and family to keep up...you can set it up to send custom message emails to up to 50 recipients. It made all the difference for Brad...instead of worrying when I was out of cell service, he followed along in google.

    I stopped and visited Brad's maternal grandfather, who is recovering from gall bladder surgery at Harmony House in Amherst, Texas. I talked him into giving the ADV salute! Best wishes, Bud!

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    Here's a shot of the NM desert stretch...Doc Roc and LDF talk about liking the treeless plains in the Mobius Report, so I put in a pic just for you, Doc.

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    Does that qualify as a treeless plain? I didn't take any pics of West Texas and very few of Eastern NM...BORING!!! Flat, straight and stinky! One dairy farm after another from Amherst to Clovis, NM. Then a long desert stretch from Clovis to Vaughan, where I turned off 84 onto 285 North. I stopped in Ft. Sumner and gobbled a ham & cheese sandwich in a pretty little park. Should've taken a picture...I finally mounted the camera to the handlebar at Sante Fe.

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    That's Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in NM and home to Taos Ski Valley, in the distance. That dirt road looks inviting, huh?

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    I made it to Antonito, Co. and turned West on 17, looking for a campspot.

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    I'd seen Mogote NF Campground on some maps and was looking for that. I found it...only 450 miles from Lubbock. I must come here more often...it's beautiful!

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    It might get a little chilly at night at these elevations and this close to the river?

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    One good thing about camping near a river...there's always plenty of firewood.

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    Day 2 Breakfast...coffee and oat meal. Yummy! Everything tastes better in the woods!

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    I broke camp with Lake Dillon in mind for my next campspot. It did get a little chilly, so I started out heading West on 17 to check out a couple more NFS campgrounds for future reference.

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    The aspen were putting on leaves and were a vibrant green.

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    Elk Creek Campground was a couple miles down a washboarded, dirt road. I liked Mogote CG better.

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    Time to backtrack to 285 and head North into the heart of Colorado!

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    This is the South view from 17 near Aspen View CG.

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    The same location looking North.

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    Still lots of snow in the higher elevations!

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    I stopped here for a break to check out a roaring little creek. All the creeks and rivers were ripping!

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    One of the 14er Collegiate Peaks...not sure which one?

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    This was near Buena Vista...my first attempt at a panorama shot...I need to practice with my new camera!

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    A 14er with too much zoom.

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    Time for the rain gear?

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    I followed a rain shower all day...sure smelled good. A little bit chilly in mesh gear, tho!

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    I did Starlight, Starbright on the evening star last night...and wished for clear skies and good weather. It's trying to clear...

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    Pine beetles are destroying our National Forests! There are more brown evergreens in places than green.:cry

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    Notice how the trees don't have leaves yet at the higher elevations.

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    Drop a few hundred feet and they're the brightest green you've ever seen!

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    Starting to sprinkle...see it on the windscreen. Never had to put on my rainsuit, tho.

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    Silverthorne, Co. I'd been chilled all day and was craving a warm shower, so I got a room here.

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    That's Dillon Lake with the Keystone Range in the background. How can the people that live here stand to look at that all the time?

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    That's all for Day 2. Day 3 destination...Rocky Mountain National Park.
    #1
  2. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    :clap
    #2
  3. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    "How can the people that live here stand to look at that all the time?"

    I remember having that thought in the Alps.
    Will be riding in CO in July, enjoying your report.
    Jim
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    64,535
    Gotta love Colorado riding! Thanks for taking us along.. :thumb I'm making the pilgrimmage there in the summer! :lurk
    #4
  5. themobb

    themobb Is this thing on???

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2002
    Oddometer:
    504
    Location:
    Hooksett, NH
    Great pics! Hoping to make it this fall...

    Lance
    #5
  6. k12lts

    k12lts Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    411
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thanks for the report. I'm riding to Colorado with some friends in August.
    #6
  7. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    ABQ, NM
    Nice looking paint job on your bike- very cool!
    #7
  8. Mechanoligist

    Mechanoligist Just along for the ride

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Central Mass
    Great Job! :thumb
    I'll be there next month also Can't Wait!
    Looking forward to the next installment
    #8
  9. waltwhitman

    waltwhitman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    good stuff
    #9
  10. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    I didn't put any pics of the motel where I stayed because I wouldn't recommend it. It was old and cheap, but clean, so I took it. About 2:30am, a party kicked off next door. I called the desk and left a complaint on the answering machine. It finally calmed down enough for me to go back to sleep around 4am. I should've set an alarm, but I rarely sleep past 6am, especially in a motel. I awoke at 8:30 to light showers outside. I immediately felt hurried, since I had planned to be on the road by 9ish. Keep the hour delay in mind when looking at the clouds in the pics. They're moving left to right in the morning pics.

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    Friggin' Western Pine Beetles! A ranger at Rio Grande NFS headquarters had warned me that several NFS Campgrounds were closed because of the danger of dead trees falling in high winds. Guess why the trees are dead? WPB!!!
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    I had originally kinda' planned to go from Dillon to Loveland Pass, catch I70 to 40 North and go through Winter Park to Granby. After riding chilled the entire day before and with overcast skies, I decided to take a river route instead of a high pass path. I followed Blue River on 9 North to Kremming, then turned East on 34 and followed the Colorado River to it's headwaters in the RMNP.

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    Route 9 from Silverthorne to Kremming looks boring on the map, but it was actually a beautiful ride with very little traffic this day.

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    That's Mt. Powell to the west.
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    I pulled off to be sure I got this cloud corridor I was in (I spotted it in the mirror...this was looking South where I'd just come from) and got the 2 Mt. Powell pics above. Two of my favorites.
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    Looking South where I'd just been.
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    Down there is where the Blue River joins the Colorado. Time to turn East on 34 and follow the Colorado River.
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    On the map, 34 looks like it would be a busy route, but there was little traffic today.

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    I did coffee and oat meal at the motel and I was getting hungry, so I stopped at Windy Gap Active Wildlife Viewing roadside park. What a view...through the provided pay binoculars, you could see several elk feeding in the high meadow in the bite mark of my sandwich. Although you couldn't see them with the naked eye, I was tickled to see some elk! Little did I know I would almost reach out and touch one later that day.
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    That's Sol Vista Ski Area in the left background.
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    That's Granby Lake, which separates the Arapahoe Nat'l Rec Area from the Rocky Mountain NP.
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    Traffic picked up considerably at Granby. Instead of letting it get to me, I would just pull off at the first photo op, take some pics and wait for a clearer spot in traffic. This is across from Grand Lake...I'm almost to the RMNP!
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    I briefly spotted a Skimmer at the little roaring creek I took a break beside, but didn't get a pic. I was tickled to see one in the birds to watch for in the RMNP!
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    Trail Ridge Road across the top of RMNP was spectacular. Several miles of 12000' tundra with stunning views.
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    I spent almost an hour talking to a Ranger...sorry, no name or picture. This guy knew the Park and genuinely enjoyed talking about it. I asked where he would camp if he were me. Instead of a pre-prepared answer about the spot they have trouble filling, he asked several questions about me and what I'm looking for. He then recommended Moraine Park, which would take about two hours. He said the weather on the Trail Ridge Road was as pretty as it had been in days that day. It was around 2, so off I went.

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    The Ranger did warn me about a couple of slide areas where the road surface was gravel, but slow speed limits should prevent it from flying. He also mentioned a couple of one-way work zones, but that's just the way it is in Colorado in the mountains in late spring. Gotta' get em patched before winter...it's nearly always winter on much of the Trail Ridge Road!
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    As best I could tell, the tree line is usually around 11,500'...or does it vary from region to region?
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    I stopped here, put on all the warm gear I could easily get to and cranked up the heated grips. It's beautiful up here, but chilly as well!
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    Several hundred feet above the tree line here!
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    This looks like the old picture in the visitor center.
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    Just when I was beginning to think it's not as cold as it looks...One-way traffic stop right on the edge of a wind swept ridge. Brrrr...
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    I had time to take the camera off the mount and get my first mirror shot of the trip...starting to back up.
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    Not the best surface, but at least I'm rolling.
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    Whooaa!!! Time to stop for pics...danged cages drive me nuts, sometimes! Not as close as it looks...we were CRAWLING.
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    Where finished, the Trail Ridge Road is smooth as silk.
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    These things sure can cause traffic hazards...if you have a telephoto lens, you have the right of way, I suppose?
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    The old bull on the left was in some sweet grass and wasn't going anywhere soon. The young one on the left is what was making me wait...he wasn't sure what he wanted to do.
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    Made it to Day 3 campgrounds...hope I get a good site!
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    Back at the RMNP visitor center, the Unknown Ranger said they'd cleared most of the dead trees killed by the WPB. No kidding...hardly any big pines left!:cry
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    At least they saved a few around the campsites!
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    RMNP elk cows are obviously used to people.
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    Ol' #47 seemed to be the leader and is expecting, I expect.
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    Probably too many pine cones and needles to sneak up close enough for an elk porn shot? Darn bush blocked that one!
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    Here you go, goatrider06! Whoa now, Beasties...get your minds outa' the gutter and don't get yourselves banned! His cage is a 2006 GTO...he doesn't really ride goats...at least that I know of? We kid him about it, tho!
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    A little girl about 7 or 8 tried to approach #47 with her hand out like she had a treat. When she got within a few yards, the cow raised her head and stomped her front foot...sent that little girl running. She went back to grazing...she knows how to handle young campers!

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    Day 4
    Before the trip, I ordered an inverter and even installed a powerlet in my tail trunk so I could charge the netbook while riding. The invertor quit working or never worked...not sure which? So I rode to Estes Park to charge up and eat brunch.
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    Ok...ok, I know there are a lot of inmates who start slobbering and will piss and moan 'til they see some food if you say "eat" anything. me too!! So here ya' go! A southwest omellette with bell peppers, onions, green chilles and 3 kinds of cheese! YUMMY!!! I guess I was getting a little tired of oat meal and sandwiches, although I've been eating a variety of scrumptious made at home before I left burritos each evening. I know...I know...shoulda' took some pics!
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    A couple more Estes Park pics. Then I'm back to break camp and look for a NFS campsite. Nat'l Parks don't allow gathering firewood, or even hauling it in. You have to buy it from a vendor and still figure out how to haul it on a bike. National Forest Service campgrounds allow gathering deadwood or hauling it in. Call me frugal, but it just doesn't feel right to buy firewood in the midddle of a National Forest that is full of deadwood from pine beetle killed trees!!!
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    Isn't Estes Park awesome!?? It's my brother-in-law's favorite place in the whole world, according to Sis.

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    After breaking camp, I headed toward Bear Lake before leaving the NP. I found this cool waterfall and river gorge.
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    I didn't go all the way to Bear Lake...I wanted to find a multi-day base campsite so I could explore without all my luggage. I headed South out of Estes Park on Co7, looking for Olive Ridge NFS Campgrounds. I found it in the shadow of Mt. Long, the only 14er in the National Park and 2 miles down the road from Meeker Park, where there was a small general store with pay public showers and laundry. Perfect for a multi-day base camp...if the campsites look good?
    This is Mt. Long

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    I found Olive Ridge CG and a great campsite. I went ahead and paid for 3 nights, offloaded my luggage and took off to play unencumbered. I'll set up camp later when it's cooler. This campsite is at 8900', so it'll definately be cool when the sun goes down. I took 7 South to 72 South to 119 East to Sugartown Road (or something like that) It was paved for a ways, then turned to dirt and came out on 72 North of Nederland. Then headed back and set up camp.

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    Sugarloaf Road...that's it! I think...shoulda took a picture.
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    This was just after I came off dirt on 72. Sorry about the gloved finger in the pic. BTW...these pics are all just the way they came outta' the camera. No touch ups or editing of any kind, other than selecting the large size to link from SmugMug.
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    The Ruler of "The Rock". I picked this site because of this huge boulder on the upwind side...little did I know I would be entertained by a couple of chipmunks having a territorrial dispute over it. These little guys don't hold still for photos very often.
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    More campsite and chipmunk pics tomorrow. Ride plan for Day 5...ride the "hide the gunpowder" road to the Continental Divide.
    #10
  11. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    Thanks for the kind words, guys! I have ADV decals front and back, I've been tagged on the tail trunk with FYYFF and my white helmet has the Dakar dude decal with ADV under it on back. I've uploaded over 300 pics so far and haven't found a one with ADV in it! Sorry Gadget Boy...I'll take some pics at home if I don't find one.
    Those are actually 3m Illuminite decals on the bike, Buddy Holly... Rex, a guy from Dallas sells them for $95.00 for a 6 piece kit. 2 eyes, 2 grins and 2 Stars & Bars. They're copies of the teeth and eyes from the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk WWII warplane. Rex calls 'em WarStroms.
    #11
  12. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    Day 5 starts with wind gusts of 40+ mph! Chip came out and posed for me. Or is that Dale? Might even be Alvin?? He sure know how to get around on the big boulder.
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    Day 5 planned route:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Allenspark,+CO&daddr=Estes+Park,+CO+to:4200+W+County+Road+38+E,+Fort+Collins,+CO+80526-5021+(Horsetooth+Reservior)+to:Bellvue,+CO+to:Idylwilde,+CO+to:Walden,+CO+to:Winter+Park,+CO+to:Idaho+Springs,+CO+to:Allenspark,+CO&hl=en&geocode=FX1RZQIdzc61-SnVPS6YsdhrhzHUPUmwXzrIRQ%3BFXYbaAId_921-SkDGhm71mVphzEMrMqpt5iW2w%3BFZJWagIdhpq7-SEMDHC3tdfPtQ%3BFQ_mawIdbze7-SnFocvgUjZphzFPU3TchIEYIg%3BFY4LbQIdPdaz-SnnV5AglwVphzGaqSpVlMouHg%3BFfuDbQIdiz2q-SmLdPBFu3FChzE3f7VUEBi04Q%3BFcayYAIdCi-y-Skx4jrStcprhzHGtEoCytgHeg%3B%3B&mra=ls&sll=40.311295,-105.71874&sspn=1.187496,2.112122&ie=UTF8&ll=40.235509,-105.718689&spn=1.188821,2.112122&z=9

    Didn't attempt to light the campstove in those winds, instead headed into Estes Park for brunch.
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    I then take 34 East to CR25 North. 34 runs through the Big Thompson canyon with rock walls on both sides.

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    I turn North on CR25 and head toward Horsetooth Reservoir. Check out the color of the dirt in the hill ahead. Looks like Utah!
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    CR25 runs along the East side of Horsetooth Reservoir for about 10 miles with spectacular views.
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    I'm certainly glad those daybreak winds subsided! Turned out to be a light wind day, no whitecaps on the lake.

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    I was tempted to take off on this dirt road...probably killer views of the lake from up there, but I play it safe and stick to the pavement since I'm riding alone.
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    CR25 turned out to be a sweet route...not even numbered on the paper maps. It was a cutoff to avoid going into Loveland and Ft. Collins to get to Co14.
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    Still CR25 just South of Bellvue.
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    I had an email from my son last night saying he had just read an article in the latest issue of Rider Magazine about the "Hide the Gunpowder Road" in Northern Colorado. The road is the Poudre Canyon Road or Co14. I had seen the twisty line on the map and it was one of the reasons I set up a 3 night base camp nearby. The only problem was he wasn't the only one to read the article...traffic was too heavy for a relaxing ride. But it was still fun with killer views!
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    I whine about the traffic on 14 and then all the pics show no traffic.

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    This is Poudre Falls...made me pull over and take the camera off the mount!
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    I was actually just above the main fall, but I had a big loop planned today. No time for hiking.
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    Co14 also crosses Cameron Pass at 10,276'. I started seeing the unique rock formations at the top of the peak here. It was one of those sights you just can't get enough of...just keeps pulling your eyes back every time it comes into view.
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    The pics don't grab me like real life did. I'd love to camp nearby and have a view of Cameron Peak.
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    One last pic of Mt. Cameron. The aspen in the foreground were just starting to bud...imagine this picture with new leaves on the aspen.
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    I've got to get to work! I'll finish up Day 5 this evening.
    #12
  13. X-Ray

    X-Ray Over Radiated

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Utah
    Fantastic pics and great report!. I really need to make some time to visit Colorado. Thanks for sharing!!
    #13
  14. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    After Cameron Pass, I was tempted to try a shortcut across to 125, but I was too low on gas and had to go into Walden and fill up. I then headed South on 125.

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    Headed back toward Granby, where I take 40 South to Winter Park.

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    We flew to Denver and rode the Grey Line to Winter Park in the winter of 1980 to snow ski. I remember how impressed 5 y.o. Brad was by all the peaks above the tree line. He kept asking where all the trees went on top of the mountains?
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    This Harley guy blew by me about 80 mph. I was a little worried about getting back to camp before the deer started moving, so I jumped in with him. Some Harley riders don't like rice burner bikes following them...this was one of those guys, apparently. He pushed it to at least 100mph and put some space between us. He got stuck behind some slower traffic and I caught back on. When we hit I70, he turned East like I was planning and caught a 2 lane onramp stoplight where I pulled up beside him. I tried to wave and got a dirty look? The light turned green and the race was on! Not for long tho, that thing would RUN and he quickly left me behind, then turned off at the next exit.
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    I remember Little Bradley being facinated by the tunnels through the mountains back in '80, too.

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    This is the Central City Parkway, a smooth 4 lane super highway with a 35 mph speed limit that everyone was adhering to. I figured it was a speed trap, but didn't see any radar units. In fact, while in Colorado, I did see lots of County Sheriffs, but I don't recall seeing anyone pulled over getting a ticket. If the roads get a little curvy, the speed limit drops to 45 or even 35 in places. I met a couple of County Mounties on this trip where I thought, "Oh sh!t, I'm more than 10% over" but they never came after me. :1drink

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    Back on 72 headed North toward camp. No deer moving, yet...better keep an eye out and the brakes warm, though! They come out at dusk in droves, here!!!
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    I rode past camp the 2 miles to Meeker Park to buy ice and check out the showers. It was 6:20 when I got there and it was CLOSED. Rural Colorado shuts down at 5pm!!! I bought a couple of sodas from the outside machine, but I need ice to keep my sandwiches and burritos from spoiling. I went back to camp and found the soft side cooler still had ice left from the day before. SWEET!!! I don't have to ride back into ugly ol' Estes Park! I changed and took a handy wipes bath since the showers were closed. Started a fire and heated up my burritos...YUMMY...everything tastes better in the mountains! I know, I know...shoulda' took some pics!

    I seldom if ever drink alone, but you just gotta' have alcohol to properly enjoy a good campfire! I think it's one of those unwritten man laws? Time to reload the Captain Morgan!!!

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    Those 3m illuminite decals and rim strips sure glow in the red light from my headlamp! That's all I got for Day 5.

    Day 6 route...ride to the top of Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in the US! I'm kinda' scared of heights, but if Geek (a self proclaimed heights weenie) did it, I know I can, too!!!
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    64,535
    Let's see Mount Evans.. although the sign at the top is tiny and somewhat disappointing compared to the sign at the top of Pike's Peak

    :lurk
    #15
  16. Coloradical

    Coloradical Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,146
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    I live in Fort Collins and rid a lot of these roads as stock routes. Sometimes it starts to get a little repetitive. I was riding around here a few weeks ago after riding back from CA through UT and it reminded me to take a fresh look and appreciate my surroundings. It is pretty easy to take your home turf for granted. I'm enjoying your report and seeing the familiar through fresh eyes.
    #16
  17. one Wolf

    one Wolf n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7
    Great report.:clap
    #17
  18. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    There was probably a better Mt. Evans sign, but I didn't stick around long enough to find it. The wind was roaring and cold on top. This was on Sunday and they had made it free for the day and advertised it so, which made it a little congested. I couldn't believe all the gray hairs riding bicycles to the top! A few georgeous gals pedalling up, too. One was walking around at the top in bike shorts and a sleeveless jersey and I was shaking like a dog shittin' peach seeds in full mesh gear with the liners zipped in!

    On my way down, I did see one poor dude parked against an inside wall between the top and summit lake in an obvious bad spot around 13,600'. I held up the OK and he gave the throat slashing motion. There was a string of cars in front and behind me and no place to pull over, so I stopped at the Toll gate and told them about him. It looked like an older model bike, so probably carbed with improper jetting?

    My son lives in SW Arkansas and he too has become accustomed to his beautiful surroundings where every road is a good ride! Even the Interstate is tree lined with rolling hills.
    #18
  19. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    I jumped the gun! GB isn't talking about my Mt. Evans sign picture...I haven't posted it yet. It is an itty, bitty sign!

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    #19
  20. Phattyre-Phready2

    Phattyre-Phready2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    West Texas
    Day 6
    I arise at daybreak to a calm, as in NO WIND, morning...a pleasant change from yesterday's gusts. I quickly boiled some water on the campstove for coffee and oat meal. I didn't take enough food pics, so here's a repeat from Day 2.

    Before heading out, I run to Meeker's Park store and find it open! I buy a block of ice, ask for my change in quarters for the co-op showeres and make arrangements to get access to the showers if I can't make it back by 5pm (closing time) I ride back to camp, put the ice in the soft side cooler and prepare to leave for Mt. Evans.

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    The cloud cover that's been prevalent this trip isn't here this morning. A few high clouds to the North, clear skies South in the direction of Mt. Evans. I roll South on 7 and slow cruise a few miles with my face shield up...the scent of the trees and clean mountain air sparks that awesome, euphoric feeling that only comes when you're living in the moment. It's hard to describe...iDave speaks of it often in his RR's.

    I stop at the little lake South of Nederland and gobble a sandwich and grab a couple pics without a bug splattered windshield in the corner...I just love these little tree-lined mountain lakes!

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    I'm an avid water skier and would brave these chilly waters for a run on that glass! That's the rough water on this side!
    The same spot looking North.

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    Another shameless shot of Jessie rigged for playing. I've got all my essentials for a high altitude day ride in my tank panniers...rain gear, winter gloves/liners, lunch/drinks and 12v mini-compressor. Jessie handles better with this stuff there than in the tail trunk and this leaves the trunk empty for locking the valuables at urban stops.

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    In case you're wondering, "Why Jessie?" I explained it in a caption in SmugMug and forgot that the caption doesn't show up here. It's a standing joke with my family about how I name EVERYTHING I own. The name or a form of it is usually written somewhere on the item. For instance, I own a Gary Fisher Supercal mountain bike, which I named Ercal, to Brad's dismay! The serial # of this bike begins with JS1...short for Jessie. I tossed the idea around and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. If I'd had a twin at birth, his/her name probably would've been Jessie. I now have a twin...a v-twin WarStrom named... Jessie!

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    The route to Mt. Evans is 103 out of Idaho Springs, then 5 to Mt. Evans. I found out at the toll booth at the start of Route 5 that it was free today only. About halfway up I was thinking I would rather pay the normal fee than deal with the throng that always shows up for anything advertised as free. Some of the switchbacks were spooky...throw in some caged gawkers and it gets downright dangerous! I had one close call where I had nowhere to go...a cliff wall on the right and a gawker WAAAY over the centerline!!! (if there'd been one) A blast from my airhorn moved him over and even elicited an ADV salute from him~ not even that could dampen my good mood this day. The scenery was awesome!

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    Not just a shameless shot of Jessie...it's for scale! I suppose the people on the far side of the lake provide better scale?

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    Summit Lake...frozen hard as a rock!

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    Up where the air is thin and clean!

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    It was so windy and cold on top that I didn't do the hike to the tip top. Maybe that's where the good Mt. Evans sign is???

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    Here's the weenie sign Gadget Boy referred to. I was afraid I'd missed the good sign, but apparently this IS the good one? A big mountain like that needs a BIG sign! I've never been to Pike's Peak...would someone please put up a pic of it's sign for comparison's sake.

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    This lady made it all the way up and she doesn't have the typical cyclist's body. You can bet she has the heart of a champion to complete that climb!!!

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    It takes lots of switchbacks to get to 14,000'!

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    None of my pics showed it, but the road was buckled really bad around Summit Lake. I'd never ridden paved whoops before this! The fingers were trying to steady the camera on the rough road surface. About 1 1/2 hours earlier, Summit Lake was frozen! This little lake must go through some extreme temp changes?!!?

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    Back to the treeline. It reminds me of thermoclines while scuba diving. Drastic temperature changes almost immediately. The snow is there...and then all gone. You can see the distinct line on the distant peaks. I just love it here...sensory overload!

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    I had a big gap in my pictures between Mt. Evans and Golden. I was having too much fun to take pics! Most of the traffic turned left on 103 when exiting 5...my plan was to turn right and take 103 to Golden, then find the Golden Gate Canyon route some fellow riders had mentioned at a gas stop. There was very little traffic this way and the road was one 40 mph downhill sweeper after another. The curves were almost identical for stretches...it almost became monotonous, but a good monotony! :huh

    I zoomed in my zumo and saw Lookout Drive just before Golden and took it. Good decision...awesome views. I stopped to remove my liners and watch some guys with r/c scale model gliders and a parasailer pops into view. The r/c guys gave him the right of way and one of 'em volunteers to get a pic of me with the parasailer in the background. Didn't get his name but he was pretty good with an unfamiliar camera!

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    My plan was to stop at the first internet cafe I see and recharge my netbook and camera batteries. It was hot at these lower elevations, so I stuck my jacket in the trunk since I was about to stop anyway. BUSTED!!! My son and I agreed to always adhere to ATGATT and he spotted it as soon as he got the pics. :deal He was gentle this time!

    Brad had seen almost this exact picture in google. When he would notice my spot track staying in the same place, he would select More/Photos. Google users can post their pics on the map and someone had put a picture from where I was stopped of the Miners' football field.

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    My pictures for Day 6 ended here on SmugMug and I KNOW I took pics of the Golden Gate Canyon route! My upload to SmugMug must've been interrupted before done? I'll check it out this evening and try to put up some more pics of the Golden Gate Canyon and Olive Ridge campgrounds.
    #20