Saturday, February 23, 2008

Riding the Eastern Plains

Temps from high 30s to high 40s, almost made it to 50F°. Sunny over Denver Metro Area, overcast over Limon.

I wandered over to the Eastern Plains today since the foothills had gotten snow showers overnight and were probably a bit slick. Little did I know that heading too far East would be chilly as well.

I went to the town of Watkins by way of Quincy Road and Watkins Road. The intent had been to see how far north I could get before I hit US76. As I cruised East of Watkins I spotted signs for the Front Range Airport and could see its tall control tower way in the distance. I made my way to it to get a closer look at the tower, which seemed outsized for such a small airport.

Front Range Airport Control Tower

I then wandered over to the actual airport facilities area, lots of hangars and roads leading to them. Far as I could tell, I could have rode over into the runway area since the way to them did not seemed barred by anything except "Restricted Area" signs. Not very high security it seemed to me.

On the way out I stopped by this Russian PT-75 Armored Personnel Carrier which was on display outside the 5th Special Forces Battalion Headquarters at the Watkins Armory.

Russian PT-76 with Airborne Unit Markings

I continued my meandering, heading westwards towards Denver International Airport's surrounding areas. I stopped at the junction of Monaghan Road and 56th Avenue, which was in the flight path of planes landing and got these two shots.

You can see Denver International's Jeppesen Terminal's white roof

Afterwards, I took 56th Avenue to Tower Road, then South until it met up with the I-70 Superslab. I headed East on this slab, intending to finally make it all the way to the town of Limon. Man, was it ever windy on the way there! Strong winds coming from the North, keep me on my toes as I cruised at 80mph towards my destination. I'd been on this loop several times before, always turning short of Limon each time to go home. Turns out, I'd not been missing much.

I got to Limon just before 1300 and had lunch at the Arby's fast food restaurant. Reuben Sandwich, mmmmm. The ambient temperature had dropped ten degrees from the Denver airport area, and I was feeling chilled.

I then cruised the business district of Limon and it's not much to write about. Got gas and then found my way back to I-70, this time heading West. A couple of gents had talked to me while I was gearing up after lunch asked whether I was heading East on I-70. Apparently, they'd both come from that direction and there was snow and ice on the roads! I assured them I was not and thanked them for their advice.

Once away from Limon, I took the CO86 exit west towards the town of Kiowa. It's about 45 miles or so from Limon so I was soon there with no issues and warming temperatures. Not to mention, as I neared Kiowa, I was once again in bright sunlight which felt quite warm.

Got home the usual way when coming in via Kiowa, via Elizabeth and county roads which ultimately got me onto Smoky Hill Road and home. About 4.5 hrs in the saddle and about 210 miles of riding in pretty good conditions. A bit chilly around the Limon surrounding areas but not too bad.

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