Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tried for six passes, got five

Temperatures from high 70s to low 90s. Sunny and warm mostly with cool breezes helping keep the heat down.

Today I decided to take Maria for a long ride to make up for time lost since the accident and to get me going again on long distance riding. I made a list of six Colorado Passes that I'd not recorded riding on for the Colorado Beemers Club's Passbagger 50 effort I hope to finish sometime this decade.

I left shortly after 0900hrs and my route took me the I-25 slab to Colorado Springs where I picked up CO115 to US50 towards Canon City.

An eye-catching display enroute to Canon City at a Vietnam Vet Memorial Park

The traffic was light and I was able to make good time, the curves on US50 once you're past Canon City were quite enjoyable and I was in Salida and tanking up by 1230hrs.

The first Pass was Twelve Mile Pass, it's just off US50 where it intersects with CO67. There's no sign and had I not had the GPS coordinates, I would have ridden over it without even knowing it! Oh well, I did a screen capture of the GPS in hopes it'll be enough to qualify.

The next pass was Poncha pass, I passed Monarch Pass on US50 enroute but did not stop since I knew I'd be back that way. Poncha pass was apparently 1 mile down a narrow dirt trail, I started down it thinking it should not be too bad. I was though, not willing to do a water crossing to get to it! Yep, it was about 30 feet of water cutting across the trail and I didn't even try and find out how deep. No way. Got myself turned around with some difficulty and headed on back towards Monarch Pass.

On the way up to Monarch Pass from Poncha Pass' vicinity


I took a small lunch break at Monarch Pass to drink some water and eat some trail mix I found in my side case. It had apparently been there a while since it as all melted together! Yummy.

I headed back East on US50 and then turned Northward on US285 heading towards US24. I blew past Trout Creek Pass before I knew it since the GPS was not letting me use it as a destination. There was no sign, just the remnants of the wooden structure it had been attached to before. Traffic was heavy enough that I could not stop safely so I kept going.

It was around 1430 or so that I made it to Wilkerson Pass on US24. It was quite hot and I hoped to get cold water at the visitor center. No luck, out of service and the bathrooms did not have sinks. Weird.


I finally stopped a short time later at a convenience store west of Florissant I think. I had the beginnings of a headache and felt hot so I knew it was time to get more water.

Turns out this store did not have public toilets. So I had the inspiration to buy a gallon of drinking water for $1.29, then used the open lid of my left side system case to hold water and soak my cooling vest in it! Worked great! Now with water in me and on me via the vest, I set out again on US24.

Ute Pass, the last one of the list, was located somewhere at the rather busy intersection of US24 and CO67 in the town of Divide. Again, I elected not to stop since there was no sign showing the pass and there was heavy traffic.

I stayed on US24 eastbound and with some slight meaderings through Colorado Springs neighborhoods, managed to find US 24 again and took it heading eastbound instead of turning north at I-25 and taking the slab home.

After a bit, I found the road to Elbert and from there it was county roads, which I had mostly to myself. Very nice riding conditions throughout the day I must say. I went through the small towns of Elbert, Kiowa, Elizabeth and soon I was home.

I spent almost nine hours in the saddle today, about 438 miles racked up and documentation for three passes in the bag, not too shabby. Maria did great, though she did feel quite heavy and bulky when turning around on dirt/gravel roads. Hmmm.

She did however get great gas mileage, 43 on the first tank (this is the tank that I used during the recent TBS) and 56 on the second!

2 comments:

Dave Morrell said...

You need to take energy bars and water with ya always. You know how you old folks forget to eat.

Charlie6 said...

you ain't that far behind me Dave.....