Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some of my favorite Colorado Rides, part II

Here's a few more of my favorite roads to motorcycle on here in the great state of Colorado.


Pikes Peak
America's Mountain, the inspiration for Katherine Lee Bates' poem "America the Beautiful", which became one of the more well known songs about this great country of ours.

The road is open year round but subject to closure due to snow/weather. It's best to call ahead, specially in the Winter/Early Spring months. It's 16 glorious miles with sometimes jaw dropping views, sharp dropoffs, about six miles of gravel/dirt road with the rest paved and on a good day some far ranging views of the Front Range and the mountains to the west. Don't let the report of gravel dissuade you, it's doable by even large bikes such as Goldwings and my 1150RT, Maria.

It's located near the city of Colorado Springs, watch for Us24 West from the I-25 Slab and you'll see signs for the Pikes Peak Road, you really can't miss it. If you get to Woodland Park, you missed it. While you're in the Colorado Springs area, make sure you check out the Garden of the Gods. Truly an amazing collection of giant rock formations.

Sunset at the Garden of the Gods


Courtesy: PikesPeakGallery.com

May on Pikes Peak

Here's my rides involving Pike's Peak: LINK1 LINK2 LINK3

Info site on Pikes Peak: LINK


Mount Evans
The highest paved road in the US I am told. You can get to the Mount Evans Road from CO103 from either Idaho Springs on I-70 or Bergen Park on CO74. CO 103, near Squaw Pass was where I discovered one should not downshift from second to first while going downhill on packed snow. I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of my R1150RT, Maria, on her right side, spinning down the hill on her right valve cover while I slid along a few feet behind her.

Why do I mention the above, check road conditions before you go when in the late Fall and Winter months! Parts of CO103 don't get as much sun so you could, like I did, encounter no snow on the way up from Idaho Springs and suddenly find yourself on snow.

Courtesy: Google

My first ride up Mount Evans, back when I still owned my first motorcycle, a Honda 750 Aero Shadow. LINK

My second ride on Mount Evans: LINK

Info site for Mount Evans: LINK


Independence Pass
The second highest paved road in North America with the summit at 12,095 ft, open from late May to the first snowfall in late autumn
.

You get to Independence Pass either by way of Leadville using CO91 from the I-70 Superslab and its junction with US24 Southbound till you get to CO82 which is also the road to Twin Lakes. Conversely, you can go through Colorado Springs heading west on US24 and come at CO82 from the South.
I first traversed this pass and its portion of the Continental Divide back in September of 2007. I was seeking shots of the aspen trees as they turned colors in the fall. It's quite the tourist activity, this seeking of the fall colors, so beware the cagers if you decide to cross this pass then.

You'll end up in Aspen, a world renowned ski resort, continuing on CO82 will eventually take you to Glenwood Springs and it's awesome canyon walls. You can catch the I-70 superslab back again here.

Riding Independence Pass: LINK Another day, another ride on Independence: LINK

Ken Bingenheimer's info page on Independence Pass: LINK


Loveland Pass

Loveland Pass, at an elevation of 11,990 ft is another place where one can cross the nation's continental divide with relative ease. It's an alternate route for hazmat/oversized cargo carriers who cannot use the Eisenhower Tunnel. The tunnel is what the I-70 superslab uses to cross the continental divide as do 99% of all cagers who cross the divide at this point. According to wikipedia, Loveland is the highest mountain pass in the world that regularly stays open during a snowy winter season.

The exit for Loveland Pass is just before the signs for the Eisenhower tunnel so keep an eye out as you near the tunnel. Again, beware the weather, its more than two miles up from sea level at this point and you can encounter ice even in June!
I did: LINK



Here's my rides involving Loveland Pass: LINK1 LINK2


The first installment of this series is here: LINK The category is "Ride Recommendations"

CDOT's Road Conditions and Cameras: LINK This is a great site to see if a pass is open or not and what kind of road conditions exists at said passes.

Byways.org
's great listing of great riding roads: LINK

4 comments:

Richard Machida said...

All beautiful drives. Unfortunately, I've only made them in rental cars when I've been there for business and had some free time. I love your pictures. Thank you!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dm):

You should have called this post "Riding On The Roof Of The US," and used if for an artyicle in the MOA's "Owners News Magazine." This is the kind of post that takes an aftewrnoon to read, over a nice drink, as the reader is compelled to go friom link to link. One more time, I am compelled to include yoir blog as a headline item in my "Dispatches Frim The Front" section, if you don't mind.

And if I could as a favor, might I request a photograph to include in the same.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

Richard, the rides are much more fun on motorcycles as you probably suspect....thanks for your thoughts.

Jack, I like your title before than mine, but going with a theme here....there's a part III in the works as well. Thanks for the honor in being included in your "dispatches from the front".

What photograph would you like me to send to you?

motoroz said...

Awesome reviews. I have hiked up Pikes Peak, but never driven or ridden up it. In 2006 a group of us from Texas rode up Mt. Evans - Awesome!
I have never been over Loveland pass, but that looks awesome.