Saturday, February 10, 2007

Seeking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, found the Spanish Peaks instead.

Temps ranging from 40s to 30s to 50s. Mostly sunny, fog in one valley, overcast skies.

[removed previous commentary re stupid neighborhood kids and their mom, no sense clogging up a riding blog with them]

So, that unpleasant beginning aside, I rode on down to the I-25 super slab and cruised at about 10miles over the speed limit of 75mph, through Colorado Springs and then Pueblo. My destination was to take a picture of the motorcycle with the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background. Once I cleared Pueblo I could see an approaching bank of what I thought as first to be smoke from a forest fire. It turned out to be fog of all things, cold wet fog. The temps dropped very fast from the low 50s to the high 30s and I was freezing! I stopped at an exit called Stem Beach and donned long underwear shirt and my electric heated vest. It was even cold enough that I mounted the QuadBoss covers on the handlebar grips! After that, I was nice and toasty and set off heading South again.

Of course, soon as I had all the gear, I cleared the area covered by the fog bank and was able to once again ride in the full light of the sun and temps back again in the low 50's. I made pretty good time, turning off I-25 near Walsenburg which I cruised through and then took CO 160 West towards what I thought were the Sangre de Cristo mountains which had been visible just a little bit after clearing the fog bank south of Pueblo.

Spanish Peaks from just South of Apache City
Stayed on 160 and headed toward La Veta, a little bitty town that sat close to what I thought again were the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Turns out, I was wrong, should have broken out the map when I stopped West of La Veta to take pictures. Here's Maria with what turns out to be The Spanish Peaks in the background.

This is the closest we got to the Spanish Peaks

I left La Veta and headed back North towards I-25, on the way back to the super slab I was able to pose Maria with another shot of the Spanish Peaks.

To the North of La Veta I had also seen this great range of Mountains which I had mistakenly taken to be the Spanish Peaks, these turned out to be The Wet Mountains. Yep, that's what the map says. Part of the San Isabel National Forest.

One last shot of the Spanish Peaks

I got back on I-25 and sped North so I could get home before dark and water started freezing again. The trip back was uneventful, I once again endured a cold spell through that cold pesky fog bank south of Pueblo. What a miserable area to live in that must be. I had stored away the handgrip covers for the return trip but the electric vest kept me warm enough until I cleared the area.

I got back home by 1630, safe and sound and just a bit chilled. Got Maria gassed up, had stopped twice for gas during the day, averaging from 38-51mpg. Not too shabby. Maria again performed beautifully, I was a bit sore from the riding this time, probably the cold. I think I'll give the gelpad a try next time I do a long ride. Knees were a bit sore as well but not too bad. A great ride overall in spite of the tense beginning and the cold fog bank.

Turns out if I had been able to leave a bit earlier I was just maybe one hour away from the entrance to the National Sand Dunes Monument! As I checked the map back home, it turns out the original objective, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains had been further west along CO 160! Oh well, another day. The trip was roughly about 350 miles or so, most of it on the super slab.

Note: You start seeing "gusty winds are likely" signs as you near Walensburg and really, they mean it. I had some pretty strong gusts heading south but they were REALLY strong going North on the way back, kind of reminded of the winds East of Sturgis on the day I bought Maria. Wow.

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