Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Silos of Bennett

Grain silos that is, not missile silos like in this posting: LINK

Today's riding started pretty late, I was to meet my wife and sons after they attended a movie at the nearby Southlands Mall at around 1230. So, while killing time, I wandered an undeveloped neighborhood (paved streets, no houses yet) off of Smoky Hill Road and Aurora Parkway. Found a nice open cul-de-sac and grabbed this picture of what the Front Range of the Rockies looked like today.

If you look closely, you can see the locally famous "brown cloud" over metropolitan Denver. It forms when there's a temperature inversion layer, trapping dust/pollution in a cloud over the city.

I met up with my family and the boys wanted to try their hand at ice skating. Mind you, they'd never had lessons and neither my wife nor I knew how to skate. Not sure what she and I were thinking when we said yes to the boys request to do this.

Predictably, they found out its harder than it looks. Some falls and really hesitant moving on the ice later, the boys called it quits way before their hour on the ice was up. Oh well.

As my wife took them home, I headed towards Quincy Road on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer. The intent was to take pictures of the town of Last Chance, CO then head north towards Fort Morgan and take pictures of the bridge of arches there. These goals proved a bit over-optimistic given my now really late start time.

From Quincy Road I took Watkins Road to Watkins and from there US36 East towards Strasburg and Bennett. I kept going east and took the US40 turnoff instead of staying on US 36 near Byers. Not only was I now not heading towards but parallel and south of Last Chance, but I also missed a chance at gasoline in Byers.

Not thinking clearly, I realized my mistake but instead of heading back to the junction with US36, I took County Road 197 north towards US 36. All well and good I thought to myself even though I was now at the 1/4 mark in terms of gas. I still foolishly thought Last Chance was close enough and that Fort Morgan was within range of my remaining fuel.

I liked the symmetry presented by the I-70 over pass

I cruised up CR 197, a packed dirt road with small loose gravel, making speeds up to 30 mph at times. Brigitta sure handles these county dirt roads better than Maria.

Within ten minutes or so I was back on US36 and continuing to head East. Nothing much to see for miles around but prairie, the odd ranch building, some cows and remnants of a wheat harvest. My trip meter was nearing 170 miles and I usually hit reserve at around 185 so I was beginning to really worry about my fuel status.

Soon I passed County Road 265 and stopped to check my map. Dang it, Last Chance was not even close, I would have to go past County Road 295 before I was close! I turned Brigitta around and set Last Chance as a target for another day.

I kept the RPMs at 4K or lower, trying to make my gas last longer. Right at 184, the engine told me that it was running out of fuel and I switched to last reserve. Based on previous experience, I had now perhaps 20 more miles of range before I'd be pushing the motorcycle. I was unfamiliar with where I was so was quite glad when I spotted a sign for a gas station in Byers when my trip meter read 191.

Unfortunately, their best gas was only 87 octane so I only got 2.5 gallons of it since I usually use the 91 octane stuff. Brigitta ran fine on the lower octane stuff but I prefer using the better stuff on my motorcycles.

I passed through Byers and retraced my path now westbound on US36 back towards Bennett where I intended to salvage the ride with some pictures of the silos there. I was feeling chilled in spite of my layers and heated grips and the sun was getting close to the horizon. Still, I got to Bennett at a good time in terms of lighting from the sun:

The older Co-Op Buildings, today

The "newer" silos

I got back on the road after taking the above pictures, still feeling a bit chilled but glad to have stopped for the pictures. I rode on through Bennett, through Watkins where I headed south on Watkins Road back towards Quincy Road.

Quincy Road took me back to my home neighborhoods soon enough, I tanked up at my regular gas station with the good stuff and headed on home, tired and chilled.

Still, a good ride for the most part. Didn't make it to the original objectives but still got it perhaps 100 miles or more of dry roads and sunny skies.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous shots. Enjoyed reading about your ride. New reader (and rider, for that matter) here.

92' R100R
79' R65

Allen Madding said...

funny how the silos of Indiana and Kansas look the same as Colorado. I used to know my exit for my Grandparents home in southern Indiana by the grain silos.