Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Ride the Peak-to-Peak Highway, Twice!

Temps in the mid-40s and peaking in the high 70s, sunny. A beautiful day to ride and ride I did.

I left the house at 0739hrs heading out to Morrison and the Red Rocks Grill hoping to find a ColoradoBeemers club officer to sign off on my mileage contest entry form. Unlike the last time I went to Morrison, there were some club members there and two I recognized. Turns out though that Ziggi is an "appointed" officer as the Club's Ride Captain....and not eligible to single-sign my form. Turns out also that I can take the form to the local Beemer dealer and I might do that.

Today's gathering just reinforced onto me a growing feeling I'd been developing that perhaps being member of a motorcycle club is not for me. Perhaps it's the vibes I've been getting lately when dealing with club members, perhaps its the perceived politics currently marring club activities such as the weekly breakfast meetings, perhaps its my inability to break into the inner circles. Who knows, perhaps it's just this club which is seemingly struggling with itself on some issues. All I know for sure is I left the breakfast meeting feeling unhappy about being a member. I did not hang around to see what kind of group ride developed but instead took off on my own.

I left Morrison shortly after 0900 and took C470 slab to the I-70W Slab. I exited short of Idaho Springs on the Central City Parkway which led me to the casino towns of Central City and Blackhawk. There was very little to no activity when I got there shortly before 1000hrs. Guess all the gamblers had not arrived yet to be fleeced. I cruised through the small town of Central City, some quaint buildings and such but basically a gambling town.

I stopped to get some coffee at a coffee shop across the street from this casino:

Gold Mine Casino

After coffee, I headed back out on CO119 towards Nederland to see what was out there.
The road was lightly traveled and I was able to take in the sights while winding my way through the mountain ravines. Here's a steam shovel I found as I left Nederland, I think, can't recall exactly where I was when I stopped. It's one of the steam shovels that was used to dig the Panama Canal!

1923 Bucyrus Model 50B

I headed out of Nederland on CO72 which turns onto CO7 just past the small town of Raymond. Not sure if any of the little towns on these roads really qualify as towns, some were just a couple of buildings but there you go. By the way, you're in the Arapaho National Forest at this point and later on enter the Roosevelt National Forest as you do this ride. Here's a couple of pics of Mount Meeker, a mountain that dominates the scenery on CO7 which is the way to Estes Park which is North of Nederland. I was near Allens park when I took these shots.

Mount Meeker

Mount Meeker from Allenspark

Longs Peak

Around 1215hrs I hit upon a historic site marker, I turned off CO7 and found myself at St Malo's Church. A quaint stone church with an interesting Saint's name. Why interesting to me? Because in Spanish, Malo means bad.....I wonder how he came to be named this name? I stopped briefly to take pictures of the outside and the interior. I saw many bikers race on by, not stopping, barely glancing over at the church. Too bad for them, they missed out. I for one, was glad I stopped.

Once I got to Estes Park I cruised through the town and saw a sign for Devil's Gulch. The name was intriguing so I turned down what turned out to be Larimer County 43, it winds through ranches and the small town of Glen Haven. Not great shakes on the scenic department but perhaps all the rocky walls, rapidly running creeks, quaint dwellings just did not leap out at me and my rocky mountain-jaded eyes.

Larimer County 43 ends at CO34 and I took it back towards Estes Park. I think I hit this wonderfully winding road at just the right time when I got on at around 1300. The light was hitting the quartz crystals in the rocks on the hillsides just right, making them appears as if they were covered in golden dust. It was very pretty, this golden glow on the rocks. Made me think of the old time pioneers who scrabbled about this countryside seeking their fortunes in gold and silver. The road itself has a speed limit of 30mph which you can push a little bit and really enjoy some of the winding turns. This road also borders a rapidly running river which apparently is the norm for all the roads in the mountains.

CO34 took me back to the Estes Park outskirts where my eye caught sight of what appeared to be Noah's Ark! Turned out it was an ark, of sorts. It's called Estes Ark and it's sort of a roadside attraction for a grouping of shops. It does its job well don't you think? I did not go in to take a look. If you're really curious, here's a link.

I had lunch at a McDonald's near where CO34 and CO7 intersect. I've had lunch there before it turns out, last year when I rode to Rocky Mountain National Park for which Estes Park is the gateway.

After lunch, I did not relish the thought of taking US36 back to Boulder and since the Trail Ride Highway is not yet open to traffic due to winter, I elected instead to ride back the way I came, hence the title of this blog entry. The Peak-to-Peak Highway Ride is roughly from Central City to Estes Park and I did it twice, by riding up it and back down. It's a very nice ride, highly recommended to any rider with a few hours on their hands and some nice weather.

Once I neared Central City, I took CO119 over to US6 rather than traverse the casino cities to get to the Central City Parkway since by now all the gamblers were there and traffic was heavy. I saw many more cars headed up CO119 and US6 towards the casinos than were going away from them towards Golden with me. For that I was glad since traffic was heavy enough. The warm weather had brought everyone out it seems.

CO119 and US6, by the way, from Black Hawk to Golden is another gorgeous ride down the mountains, following whatever rapidly running river it is that serves as the channel through high steep rock walls through which the road was hewn. You traverse three short tunnels on the way to Golden, inside of each you can glimpse the tough rock that was tunneled across to allow access to this beautiful mountain region.

I saw many fly-fishermen, some kayakers getting ready to brave the waters, people stopping by the side of the road to dip their toes in the cold mountain streams and of course many many bikers and motorcyclists.

Once I got to Golden, I elected to go home via the C470 superslab. There was an accident just West of the Quebec Road exit which brought traffic to a standstill. Police cars, ambulances and fire equipment with sirens wailing forced traffic towards the right lane as they used the left shoulder to get through to the accident. Just when we'd all mosey'ed over to the right, we hear sirens on the right and we're all forced to mosey back to the left as a sherrif's truck screamed past on the right shoulder!

I did not look at the accident, it's a pet peeve of mine that all the "looky-lous" slowly creep by an accident sight eyeballing it, further tying up traffic. Traffic picked up to normal speeds after the accident and I made it home with no further incident. About 7 hrs of time in the saddle, covered roughly 295 miles and the thread of the tires don't look any more worn than they were in the morning! : )

Maria did beautifully as usual, averaging about 45mpg. Which is good, since the price of gas up near Estes Park was $3.45/gallon! A great ride, the anti-slip material worked great so am I thinking perhaps its a keeper for the motorcycle. My knees still got sore but not unbearably so. I still went through all the usual gyrations to relieve the pain in the knees. I am beginning to think that it's going to be a loooong ride to Wisconsin this coming July.

1 comment:

ESTES ARK said...

Thanks for posting info and a photo of our store Estes Ark on your blog. Since you did not come inside you may want to visit our website: and take the video tour on the home page. Also click on the slot car button then raceway info to see our slot car raceway: Rainbow Curve Raceway. Thanks, Estes Ark