Sunday, January 06, 2013

January on Pikes Peak

A pretty mild winter day forecasted today for Denver, with temperatures to be in the 50's!  Too warm I thought, and after a late decision, I left home shortly before 9:00AM and headed south towards Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.

I took the usual route, down CO83, through the towns of Parker and Franktown.  This is a two lane road with medium traffic and much preferable when on my Ural, to the I-25 Super Slab which connects the cities of Denver and Colorado Springs.

A view of my destination, along CO83
somewhere south of the road to Greenland.

I motored along at an indicated 55 mph or so, slowly gaining altitude as I neared Colorado Springs, or "The Springs" as the locals call it.  Temperatures were in the mid-20s with very little wind so I was quite comfortable with the riding gear I had on; there would be no need for the heated vest today.

Soon I came to the end of CO83 within the confines of The Springs, and was soon merging onto the Interquest Parkway which took me to I-25.  A few minutes of sprinting on I-25 and I got off at the junction with US24 at the Cimarron Street exit.

Scenic Overlook of Pikes Peak, along the I-25 Slab

US24 gets you out of The Springs and soon you're twisting your way upwards past Manitou Springs and you arrive within a short time to the exit for the Pikes Peak Highway.  I am sad to report the covered wagon that used to be at this junction is no more.  The property it sat on is for sale and I guess the current owner moved it somewhere else.  This was the covered wagon that had "Pikes Peak or Bust" painted on its side.

I headed up towards the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway, paid the $10 toll and was soon motoring my way up to an eventual altitude of over two miles above sea level!  The first 13 miles or so are quite tame in terms of scenery, quite twisty in some spots, quite steep in others but Valencia did it all with problems.

Once you pass the historic Glen Cove Inn and mile marker 13, then you're above the timberline and you start seeing scenic mountain views all around.  The road is paved all the way to the top now and you have to pay attention as retaining walls and barriers are few and far between.

Here's some photos I took on the way up towards the summit:

 A view of the Devil's Playground

 I love the look of being walled in by the distant peaks


 Another view of part of the Devil's Playground

A better view of the Devil's Playground.

I got to the top and in spite of a bit of rough idling on the part of Valencia, experienced no issues except for the winds which buffeted one.  Not too cold at the top, low 20s, high teens.

 The requisite picture of one's motorcycle at the summit.

 Views from the top

 20X magnification view of the distant peaks

 A view of the Cog Railway, taken from the furthest point of 
travel of the tracks.

I am the current custodian of C.C. Pancake, a mascot of sorts of
the yearroundriders.  Here's a photo of Chip at the top of Pikes Peak.

After a brief break inside the Summit Snack Bar and Gift Shop, it was time to head back down the mountain and take some pictures.  I hope you like them:

The view as one comes out of the Pikes Peak Summit Parking Lot

 The first of several hairpin turns




 I kept turning Valencia around, to pose her 



 Near the Bottomless Pit Area

 They say on a clear day, you can see for hundreds of miles


 The above should give you an idea of the hairpin turns one can
enjoy on the Pikes Peak Highway




The hairpin turn before the Rock Pile

Soon after the Rock Pile, I re-entered the timberline and it was then straight motoring past thick pine forest on both sides of the road.  There were some slick spots here and there in the shadowed areas of the road but nothing major.  Heck, I even saw 5 or 6 dual sport motorcycles heading to the summit while I was coming down the mountain.

I arrived back in The Springs at 2:45PM and tanked up before getting back on the I-25 slab for the sprint northwards to the North Gate Road exit.  Traffic had gotten heavier but still not too bad, and besides I was soon away from the slab and heading back to CO83.

The rest of the ride north on CO83 was without incident and in pretty warm conditions as temperatures were in the low 50's by now.  I got back to my home shortly after 4:00 PM with no issues and with a following wind I think as I was able to maintain an indicated 60 mph all the way.

Pretty mild winter so far here in the Great State of Colorado, I'm hoping more snow is in our future.  Hope you got some riding in today!

Previously: Five of Twelve for Thirteen

14 comments:

RichardM said...

One of these years...

Beautiful scenery and not too much snow yet. Does it mostly come in the Spring?

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Richard, March is our snowiest month, followed by January.

Canajun said...

Stunning photos as always. Not sure I'd want to do that Pike's Peak road in slippery conditions though. Seems a long way down.

cpa3485 said...

Absolutely Beautiful!

Charlie6 said...

Canajun

The slippery parts were below the timberline where the shade from the trees prevents melting snow from evaporating and it turns to ice. No cliffs, just hard tree trunks!

Thanks for the comments

Charlie6 said...

Thanks cpa3485!

Charlie6 said...

Canajun

The slippery parts were below the timberline where the shade from the trees prevents melting snow from evaporating and it turns to ice. No cliffs, just hard tree trunks!

Thanks for the comments

Thomas Osburn said...

That is so cool. I would have suspected there would be more snow up there and the road would be closed. Great photos -again.

Charlie6 said...

Thank you Thomas, unlike the road up Mt Evans, which is closed in the late fall and opened in the Spring, they try to keep Pikes Peak open all year, sometimes you can only get as far as mile marker 13 which is below the timberline due to snow or wind or both....but then things open up later.

Now that its paved all the way up, I wonder if Mt Evans retains the title of the Nation's highest paved road?

SonjaM said...

Once again I am stricken in awe. Sometimes I wish I lived closer and could jump on board and ride with you. Alas, your pics will do for now.

Charlie6 said...

Very kind of you to say, SonjaM.....

Dirt Bike Accessories said...

The photos are a exquisite sight to behold.The snow comes so alive on them.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics of Pike's Peak. I was there back in 05 and I hope to make it back again one day. Do you ever go to Garden of the Gods?

Thanks
Butch
fan in Mississippi

Charlie6 said...

Butch....yep, been to Garden of the Gods several times, very nice scenic riding there. Thanks for the kind commentary and visit.