Sunday, April 27, 2008

Riding to Steamboat Springs via Loveland Pass

Temperatures from low 20s to mid 60s. Sunny.

The Colorado Dept of Transportation or CDOT website reported darn near every major road in the state as "dry". I took them at their word and decided to make for Loveland Pass for pictures of the snow clad mountains and to see how far north I could go from there on CO9 towards Steamboat Springs.

I left the house at 0900 and by 1030 0r so I was making my way up Loveland Pass which is also US6. You take it instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel to cross the Continental Divide along I-70. There was plenty of snow on the sides of the mountains but the road itself was nice and dry. Brother was it cold up there! Maria's thermometer read 24 degrees and that's with some engine heat still coming off the motorcycle! My hands got quite numb as I snapped pictures, mostly for panorama shots. A lot of pictures did not come out usable, but here's some that are passable.

Looking towards the East from top of Loveland Pass

I hooked up the heated vest and turned the heated grips on high as I left Loveland Pass, continuing west along it and its winding turns till one ends going past the Loveland Ski Resort (which was still in business), past the Keystone Ski Resort and the Town of Dillon and finally the town of Silverthorne where I-70 junctions with CO9.

On the way into Silverthorne

From a school parking lot near the center of Silverthorne

I headed North on CO9 towards the town of Kremmling to see how conditions were. The ride up is pretty scenic and I got to Kremmling around 1230 I think. Here's some shots of the rock formations near Kremmling.

I stopped to look at the map and decided I was close enough to Rabbit Ears Pass to try and bag it for the ColoradoBeemer's Passbagger 50. So I took US40 from Kremmling and the roads remained nice and dry and as one approaches the pass and the Continental Divide, the snow comes up to the edge of the paved road. It was not as cold as Loveland Pass, perhaps 32 degrees tops.

At this point, I was only like 26 miles from Steamboat Springs so I decided to go for it as use it as the high water mark for this ride. Road conditions remained perfect all the way to Steamboat Springs. The mountains around the town had mostly lost all their snow, leaving the town looking less "touristy" than when I'd last been there for some skiing with friends. Oh well.

It was now around 1320hrs or so, I checked in with my loving wife and then started heading back down US40 back towards Kremmling, crossing over the Continental Divide one more time over Rabbit Ears Pass.

I stopped for gas at Kremmling and ate a quick sandwich from the sack lunch my loving wife had made for my ride. Staying on US40, I quickly got to and passed through Granby, Fraser and Winter Park. Then the road got twisty as I neared Berthoud Pass.

The US40 road through Berthoud Pass was very twisty in spots and had several hairpin turns to get one's attention. The snow made for really no safe spots to stop and take pictures. I had my hands full watching for wet spots on the road from the melting snows, potholes and cagers who seemed to want to race through the pass. I made it through Berthoud Pass with no issues, but did have to let some cagers pass me when possible by hugging the side of the road when I could; there just was too much gravel, wet spots and debris on the road to keep up any kind of good speed on the turns.

US40 dumps you at I-70 once past the town of Berthoud Falls. I was tired by this time and elected to stay on the I-70 super slab all the way into Denver. Traffic was not too bad for a Sunday afternoon and I made good time. I stayed on I-70 once I was in Denver and then cut across the city using the I-25 slab to the I-225 slab, to Parker Road and my home neighborhoods. I was home shortly after 1700hrs. So, about 7 hours in the saddle and 398 miles ridden. A glorious day for riding, saw a few other motorcyclists out and about, I crossed the Continental Divide four times today, not too bad.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Good stuff. I really like those panoramic shots. I stopped for lunch at a little Mexican restaurant in Kremmling when I was out there last summer. Pretty good food... I remember those rock formations when I went through there.