Sunday, November 25, 2007

Passbagger ride to Pawnee Pass

Temps from 24 to 54 degrees as the day warmed. Windy and sunny.

I had to be at work today at 0600, was done with work by 0800 and headed NE from Denver on the I-76 slab towards Sterling, CO from the old Stapleton Airport area.

My destination was the most NE-located passes I'd gathered from the list of Colorado Passes that were doable by road motorcycle. These were Pawnee Pass and Pawnee Pass North. I inputted their GPS coordinates onto my Nokia N800 tabled and rode out into the 24 degree morning. It was cold but bearable even though I was not wearing my heated vest or had the grip covers mounted until after I stopped for a late breakfast at a McDonald's in the town of Fort Morgan shortly after 0900.

Note: Wind Chill calculator: 24 degrees air temperature with 85mph winds = -2 °F, cool! : )

I finally got to Sterling shortly after 1100hrs and Pawnee pass was located to the West of town on CO14. The pass itself traverses a low rocky set of ridges. Not very impressive as passes go but it's named and part of the list so I can now add it to my list of passes ridden.

Looking back towards East from Pawnee Pass

Looking West from Pawnee Pass

The ridgeline that Pawnee Pass traverses

I then tried to get to Pawnee Pass North which was really close by. I was however, unable to ride the pass due to it being blocked by a gate, must like many of the passes I found blocked during the last passbagger ride I tried. I did take some pictures of the area just in case I can eventually add it to the "list"

At the blocking gate, looking South towards the ridge

Looking North, from closes point to Pawnee Pass North

I then headed back East on CO14 towards Sterling and spotted this rock memorial to a couple of Colorado Highway Workers who'd apparently died while helping build Pawnee Creek Bridge which is located just East of the marker. I figure the fact the memorial mentions Pawnee Creek, it substantiates me having been on Pawnee Pass since there was no actual sign at the actual location of the pass.

The ride home was unremarkable, took the I-76 slab back to the Roggen exit and then county roads back towards Bennett and Watkins. From Watkins I soon got back on Quincy Road and was home by 1400hrs. About 300 miles covered today, some six hours in the saddle perhaps. Pretty good ride, windy and cold but kept warm enough with my electric gear and clothing layers. One, perhaps two passes bagged on this ride. It was remarkable to me how the temperature "soared" from 24 to 54 during my ride.

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