Sunday, June 21, 2009

Some sights along US85 or Santa Fe Drive

As I rode out of my garage this morning, the objective in mind was a ride to Loveland Pass near where the Eisenhower Tunnel crosses the Continental Divide on I-70.

However, I got distracted by a passing gaggle of riders on crotch rockets as I was cruising North on the I-25 slab and missed the Hampden Road exit which would had been my route out of town.

So instead, I exited at the US85 or Santa Fe Drive off ramp to check out what remains of the once vast and imposing Gates Rubber Factory Complex. I'd often seen this large industrial complex from a distance as I cruised up or down the I-25 corridor, and wondered what it I know.

The factory reached its heydays I think in the late 30s and 40s. It manufactured rubber V-belts for automobiles amongst other rubber items. Now, it's a dilapidated group of buildings and equipment slowly being demolished and removed.

For a drawing and photos of the Gates Complex,
Go to Call# rh-3502, x-24517 and x-24532

Only three major buildings remain, the rest of the complex is rubble waiting to be carted off or empty fields where buildings once stood.

Denver's Light Rail Train system uses some of the rails used to ship supplies in to the factory or products to retailers. The above photo was taken from the parking lot of the I-25/Broadway Light Rail Station.

I wandered about the vicinity of the factory searching for other angles to photograph and instead came upon the Denver Design Center. Apparently where several architectural and building design firms have set up shop amidst their own kind.

One building that caught my eye on Broadway was what used to be Engine Station #13 for the Denver Fire Department.

Today, it's the home of an architectural firm of some sort. I am glad though that they retained the outer shell's historical look:

For a photo of the Engine Station #13 Circa 1930-40
Go to DPL:Call# x-20654

Nearby, within the Denver Design Center and quite visible from the highway was this piece of "modern architectural art". It's quite striking and pleasing to my eyes. Upon a closer look, I found its made of rectangular blocks of concrete....must have been quite the sight to see assembled. Sort of a giant's version of the game Jenga in a way.

A little bit about the creator of the "Articulated Wall"

I headed on South on Platte River Road. It wends its way southwards following the Platte River through several industrial parks. Looks like quite the nice bike/jogging trail built along it. Along the way, I posed Brigitta in front of this eye-catching power generation plant:

I continued on for a few miles, and the road ended at some large mall. I got back on US85 southbound and while I could see where the river was to the west of me, I never did get back alongside it.

Since I was on US85 again, I rode on past Sedalia to Daniels Park Road aka County Road 29. I was looking for a glimpse of the Cherokee Castle again but instead found myself in Daniels Park. It's a hard packed tarmac road, with some gravel, that travels partly along the rim of a ridge line. It offers nice views of the Front Range and I found a spot near the Tall Bull Memorial Grounds to pose Brigitta again:

I returned back to US85 headed towards Castle Rock. From there I took Crowfoot Parkway towards Parker but turned into the Timber Canyon housing development. It was here that I found a spot with a nice juxtaposition of Castle Rock's namesake and distant Pikes Peak:

I turned back onto Crowfoot Parkway which I took all the way to Parker after a brief detour in another housing area called Pradera. No picture opportunities there though I did climb and descend this rocky trail to "see what I could see".

Transited through Parker and took Inspiration Drive back to my home neighborhoods. About 106 miles of riding, perhaps 3 hours of saddle time. A very relaxed and meandering Father's Day ride. I was home in plenty of time to help my youngest son put together his float for the neighborhood's Fourth of July parade and later savor my Father's Day steak dinner made by my loving wife. Good day overall.


cpa3485 (JIM) said...

The articulated wall is pretty cool. Your before and after pics are great also. Keep it up. I have a post planned on artwork in our fair city coming up soon. Some of our local artwork is cool, some strange.

irondad said...

I'm getting to sort of like this then and now thing. It's nice to go back and see pictures from my childhood years!

How many sport bikes in a gaggle?

Charlie6 said...

Jim, isn't most publicly funded artwork a bit on the weird side most of the time? : )

Irondad....five is the number and they were MOVING! I felt like an old man, which I am....but still.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

It's hard to beleve that I hae been in the business travel industry for 31 years! I mention this because I used tio know the business travel manager for the Gates Rubber Company!

It's hard to believe this bastion of US manufacturing has gone the way of other companies, now subject to heavy environmental laws and the lower wages of off-shore laborers.

I think it's amazing how you turned the husk of industrial decline into the subject of a ride. I regret I have been slow to comment on your posts these days. I really like to read yours and Sojourner's at leisure, and there hasn't been much of that lately. Work is in a state of flux and my time is not my own.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"
Twisted Roads

. said...

I enjoy your blog and the historic and present photos of the areas you travel. I wish I were able to visit Colorado once again.

Do you find the historic photographs, then seek out the current site?

Charlie6 said...

Bucky's ride....

re your question as to which I find first in terms of photo's both. In this postings, I actually saw the modern versions first, then did some research.

mostly though, I find stuff in the archives and then see if its still around.

thanks for reading this stuff.

Charlie6 said...

Jack, sorry, somehow I managed to not publish your comment earlier...thanks for writing in, yeah its a shame Gates offshored all that work but then again, he's not the only one who's done it.