Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Ride to Victor, CO and Cheyenne Mountain

Temps in the low 70s to high 80s. Sunny and very little wind.

I had today off since I have to work this coming weekend so after a late wakeup and start, was headed out by 1020 just for a short ride to see if I could find a compact weather radio to take along with me on the rides with iffier weather.

Well, that was the original intent, however that was quickly thrown by the wayside and I just kept going past the shopping mall and took familiar back roads down towards Parker where I picked up CO83 and headed through Franktown towards Colorado Springs.

The day was just made to order for motorcycling in the morning and early afternoon. Traffic was very light and there were times when I was by my lonesome cruising down the two lanes which make up CO83. I got to Colorado Springs in good time and cruised on the I-25 slab for a little bit and turned off on US24 intending to go towards CO67 North towards Deckers.

Like the original intent, this too was thrown away as I neared the junction with CO67 and instead I stayed on US24 only to turn shortly afterwards south on CO67 towards the towns of Victor and Cripple Creek. The idea now was to see a good view and pictures of the "backside" of Pikes Peak. I followed the signs which led to the small mining town of Victor and it's "active mining country" and Cripple Creek with its casinos is nice and windy with some steep grades in spots. Very nice riding and the roads were nice and clear of gravel for the most part, unlike last winter when I went to Cripple Creek and spent a lot of time dodging gravel in the middle of the lane!

Here's some of the sights one sees as one approaches Victor from the North:

Historical Mining Structures one can peruse

The town of Victor is small and a bit delapidated. Still it has its own atmosphere and the people seemed friendly. Here's a rather unique way to advertise to visitors that one has arrived at the town of Victor:

Victor's Town Hall

After I went through the town, the next town along the "Gold Belt Tour" byway is Cripple Creek. It's a larger town than Victor and it's claim to fame is casinos apparently. I did not tarry here long as I'd been here before. I kept going on CO67 and some more winding roads along mountain sides and ridges. I must again repeat myself I'm afraid, some very lovely winding roads on south CO67 which ends up at the town of Flourissant and its fossil beds.

By following the signs to Flourissant, I ended up back on US24 and started heading back East towards Colorado Springs. Its while I was on this heading that I spotted what turned out to be the best view of Pikes Peak:

Pikes Peak from Woodland Park

Once I got to Colorado Springs, I spied Cheyenne Mountain to the South and decided to try and get some pics of it as long as I was this far south from home. I got on the I-25 Slab for a little bit and took the CO115 exit towards Canon City. Fort Carson, the home of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment makes its home here and I stopped by the post's Gate 1 to take these pictures at a Soldiers' Memorial site which featured some military hardware and a statue of Kit Carson for whom the post is named.

Bet no cager would cut me off with such an escort!

Soldier's Memorial Site with Cheyenne Mountain as background

Kit Carson in his "younger and wilder days"?

Across CO115 from Fort Carson's Gate 1 is the Cheyenne Mountain State Park where I got this picture of Cheyenne Mountain itself. I did not go towards the NORAD entrance which lies on CO115 right of Fort Carson's Gate 2 exit. The road is now clearly marked but full of dire warnings for "trespassers". Make sure you've your military ID or you won't get too far I think.

Another shot of Cheyenne Mountain

After the Cheyenne Mountain State Park part of the ride, I headed North on CO83 towards Academy Boulevard. Unfortunately, I did not realize I would have to do several miles of city traffic on CO83, with lots of cars and temperatures in the mid to high 80s! I had noticed that my internet-enabled phone had reported me in a 3G connectivity area so I pulled off at a sandwich shop for some water and a geek break where I checked out how much faster 3G speeds are when compared with Edge speeds which is what we still get in Denver for now. It was much faster, with speeds averaging 4 to 5 times faster! I can't wait till Denver's 3G service gets activated.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, I was glad to leave the heavy city traffic behind and hit the open road portion of CO83 as it took me once again through Franktown and Parker and from there the usual back roads towards home.

Got home at 1730 or so, I estimate about 240 miles ridden today with about six hours of saddle time perhaps. A very nice ride day.

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