Monday, September 03, 2007

A Ride to Sphinx Park, CO; then meandering up the South Platte River

Beautiful but hot day for riding today, sunny with not much in terms of cloud cover until the afternoon when thunderclouds threatened to the East. Definitely was a day to wear the compression shirt with sleeves wetted down, cooling vest and drinking lots of water!

I started the ride at 0845 by slabbing it via E470 to C470 to Wadsworth Blvd which took me to Deer Creek Canyon Road which I usually use to twist my way into the foothills and mountains to the SW of the Denver Metro area. Road conditions were perfect for some spirited riding of the twisties here, also on S. Turkey Creek Road which I then took to US285 Southbound.

Shortly after Shaffers Crossing I went Southbound on CO126, more twisting turns, wide sweepers and basically no traffic. It was great! I got to Pine Village? and took County 83 towards Sphinx Park. Note: It's easy to miss this turn, look for the town library, that's where you turn off the asphalt onto dirt roads.

The dirt road is gravelly and today it was also slightly moist due to the rains that hit last night. It was quite navigable though since there was no mud. It's a narrow road as you can see below, bordered closely by amazing rock formations and rock domes. At the top is the Bucksnort Saloon, a tourist landmark apparently. I had lunch there last time I was in Sphinx Park, it was pretty good but nothing memorable.

After finishing with pictures in Sphinx Park, I headed back down to CO126 and continued heading south. Once I got to Deckers, I took CO67 North and followed the course of the Platte River on its way north. There were plenty of fly fishermen in the river trying their luck, saw many groups/families camping and enjoying the day as well.

A view of Scraggy Peak

Shortly after County 67 turns East (and becomes quite rough a trail) it runs out of pavement for about five miles. I slowly made my way, rarely going faster than 20mph, avoiding washboard ridges, puddles, potholes and loose gravel while taking the below pictures.

Shortly before you get to the remnants of the South Platte Hotel, you once again are back on pavement of sorts. Not very smooth but it beats gravel and dirt! I took the opportunity here to soak my cooling vest in the cold waters of the Platte River nearby. I set off from here in a much cooler condition, let me tell you!

Here's a shot of an imposing rock formation bordering the Platte River, the curve was pretty tight here so it took me some jockeying and a couple of u-turns before I got Maria in the best position.

Finally, S. Platte River Road junctions with Foxton Road. I took the road North until I found a spot just shortly after the miniscule town of Foxton where I shot what Sanoke had described to me as Cathedral Rock. It's real name is Cathedral Spires.

I then headed back to the junction where Foxton Rd and S. Platte River meet. I took Foxton which started off as very twisty and winding while doing a steep climb into the hills. It then became more of a sweeper kind of road, still very enjoyable and traffic was light to nonexistent! Awesome road, I'll have to ride it again. Foxton Road takes you back to US 285, just west of Conifer I think. It'll be a bit tricky to find it's northern entrance but I think I can do it.

From there, it was just a matter of taking US285 to C470 Slab, I decided to take a slight detour and exited off Santa Fe Drive to US85 which I took South to Sedalia, from Sedalia I went South for a bit and then road a popular biker road CO105 southbound.

I used Wolfenberger Road to head East back towards Castle Rock where I stopped at a McDonald's for a very late lunch. After a quick lunch, I charged up the cooling vest again before heading out taking back roads all the way home. It was quite warm by this point in the day and I was running out of water so getting home was a good thing.

I am thinking I rode somewhere over 500 miles this weekend over the last three days. Not too bad, Maria did great as usual. Was getting about 42 mpg as well so it's all good.

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