Saturday, January 10, 2009

Castlewood Canyon State Park Ride

Pretty sunny day today, high in the mid-40s and a bit of wind. Good riding conditions for a motorcycle with fairings like Maria, my R1150RT. However, opted for Brigitta, my R80 instead as I was looking to do some dirt trail riding.

I headed south towards Parker, meandering down county roads until I ended up on East Parker Rd which becomes Mainstreet, leading one into downtown Parker. From there I turned south on CO83 or Parker Road until I got to Franktown.

From Franktown I headed East for less than a mile and took the South Castlewood Canyon Road turnoff. This road becomes dirt right before the entrance into the Castlewood Canyon State Park. The road was a bit gravelly but at least it was not ice-covered in the shady areas. I found good traction even through the shaded portions of the road, but still kept my pace slow just in case.

It was this was for a mile or so, going up and down slightly hilly terrain. I could see rocky canyon outcroppings to my left where the road dropped off into a ravine. No real place to stop and take pictures there though, too many trees blocking the view.

I finally happened upon the remnants of an old dam, half of which was gone. I don't know the history of this dam. I went past it the first time, and turned myself around about a quarter of a mile beyond it to take these pictures:

Looking Northwards on South Castlewood Canyon Rd, you can just see the remains of the dam

A better view of the remaining half of the Dam

About as close as I could park Brigitta to the Dam

Not much traffic on this dirt road, saw all of two trucks, one of them driven by a park ranger. I continued on the dirt road which wound through a few ranches, unremarkable scenery and some prairie grass covered areas.

Historical Picture from when the dam was still existing: Source

I finally junctioned with Lake Gulch Road aka Douglas County 11. This I took north towards Castle Rock. County 11 is a really nice paved road with a couple of sets of twisty portions. Today was not the day to turn up the wick on these curves though, lots of sand in the middle of the lanes which forced one to slow down a bit. Still, it was a nice ride.

It was at this time that I noticed my heated grips were no longer putting out any heat. Damn.

Still, the scenery as one reaches the valley just before Castle Rock is nice:

I took this shot of Castle Rock itself from the bridge at the beginning of Crystal Valley Parkway:

I stayed on Crystal Valley Parkway and took it into downtown Castle Rock. Once past the downtown area, I merged onto northbound I-25 until I got to the Founder's Parkway exit.

From here it was the usual route, Crowfoot Parkway to Parker. Through Parker on Parker rd and right on Lincoln Avenue to Inspiration Drive back towards my home neighborhoods and Smoky Hill Road.

My hands were quite cold by this time and the fun factor in the ride was a bit low. Still, no frostbite and no incidents. Got Brigitta home, did some troubleshooting and found (maybe) what may have been the cause of no heat from the grips: loose electric connectors on the on/off switch.

I crimped them more securely and felt heat on the grips so we'll have to see if that was all there was causing them to not produce heat while riding. Brigitta is definitely a motorcycle more suited for riding when the temperatures are above 50 degrees I think.

Still, I found a nice dirt road through Castlewood State Park, a dam to explore in the spring/summer when the road is drier and got in a couple of hours of riding. It's all good.

1 comment:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6

Another glimpse into your riding environment on a milder than average day. I do not share your affinity for dirt roads. In fact, I avoid them like the plague. The first real motorcycle rally I ever went to was the Square Root Rally in Thurmont, Md. I was really green at this re-entry rider stuff. But I felt like Marco Polo on this ride down to Maryland (below Gettysburg) right up until I got to the turnoff for the event. It was dirt and loose gravel for about three-quarters of a mile.

I cried real tears all the way, thinking, "Dear God, don't let me drop this bike in front of all these guys!"

I bet you never had moments like these. I get them all the time.

Fondest regards,