Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some sights in Golden

Today's ride started late, after lunch again, like yesterday. The weather however was gorgeous, in the 60s and sunny so no excuse to not go riding. In fact, when I remarked how warm it was, my loving wife said: "why are you still here?". I elected to believe she meant I should go riding and soon made my escape.

I rode out to Golden via the I-225 to I-25 to US6 route, slabs all the way to make up some time. I was going to try and go up Quaker Street up to the top of South Table Mountain which is next to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) which is located near Golden, CO.

Google: an aerial view of the two mesas: North + South Tabletop Mountains

courtesy: google maps

The sign at the entrance said "Unauthorized motor vehicles are prohibited". So I found my way to the NREL's visitor center but found it closed.

There was however a guy working on his car in the parking lot, I stopped my motorcycle by him and asked if he worked there. He said yes, so I asked him where I could get permission to go up the road. He told me I should be able to ride up but would soon encounter gates, one to the Colorado State Patrol's Academy training track and the other to the NREL's facilities up on South Table Mountain.

So off I went, rode up Quaker Street which turns into a dirt/gravel road, up its gentle slope until I was indeed at the top. Two problems though, I soon hit gated areas with lots of NO TRESPASSING signs. I spotted State Patrol cars chasing each other on the track, I guess they were training on high speed pursuits and such. The other gate was locked and had NREL signs on it.

It was a hazy day today so the views from my position were hazy and very distant. I'll have to return some other day perhaps.

I rode back down Quaker street, thinking how much of a bust the top of the mesa turned out to be. At least for a motorcycle, I am sure there's stuff to see and admire for hikers but that's not me.

Instead I rode about the city of Golden, looking for stuff to photograph:

One of Golden's Round-abouts

Part of the Coors Brewery Complex, its quite large and lies mostly between the two mesas

A view of the ridges along South Tabletop Mountain

Nearby the above location I found a stone historical marker. It showed the site of Arapahoe City back before the Gold Rush days. Nothing remains but the marker I'm afraid. I wasn't able to google any old photographs of the town either.

Former site of Arapahoe City

Further wanderings up and down the main streets of Golden resulted in these photos:

Eye-catching artwork on the site of a building

The Center of the World Direction Pole at the Rock Rest Lodge and Saloon

It was close to 4 PM by now so I took US6 back east towards Denver. It being a clear and sunny day, one could see the downtown Denver skyline quite clearly. I looked for a good spot to stop as I drew neared to the downtown area.

I turned off of US6 onto Galapago Street and took it North for a bit. Ended up finding a good spot in back of the Denver West High School Building. I was a bit taken back by the size of this high school, large and historical in architecture. Anyways, by the school's track and field section, I managed to pose Brigitta:

From the Denver West High School Track, looking towards downtown Denver

That's it for pictures, the rest of the ride was just taking the slabs in reverse order back towards my home neighborhoods. I think the thermometer hit a high of 68 degrees as I neared the house! 96 miles and about 4 hours of riding, a good day.

Snow showers tomorrow, I was glad to see other motorcyclists and bikers out enjoying the weather.


dave said...

what no "Howdy Folks" sign pics? :)

Great pics. Shame about the butte.

Charlie6 said...

funny, you must be alluding to the "howdy folks" at the downtown golden tourist trap area.....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Once again, a great selection of local color and snow-free this time! The city of "Golden" sounds like an interesting place. The artwork in town certainly covers a broad array of styles.

It hit 70 degrees, and a line of thunderstorms, the first of the year, roared through, dropping the temperature 10 degrees. I may get out this week.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

hopefully the rains washed away the salt and gravel from the roads.