Monday, September 07, 2009

Riding the Cache La Poudre Byway

Today, I woke up in Walden, CO where I had overnighted enroute back to Denver and home from Silverthorne.

It was a brisk 42 degrees outside at 7AM when I initially headed out after a restless night of sleep. I was glad to be on the road in spite of the cold though. Trouble is, about 15 miles out from Walden, I realized the morning sun's light angles would play hell with trying to get a decent picture or two of the Medicine Bow Mountain range.

So, I turned back towards Walden and settled in for a leisurely breakfast while I waited for the sun to be higher up in the sky.

Breakfast over, I headed out once again on eastbound Co14 towards Gould. The sun was higher up in the sky and it was only in the high 40s in terms of temperatures. Trouble is, the light angles were still all wrong and I would be fighting the sun in terms of lightning all day. So, no pictures of the Medicine Bow Mountain range.

Just a note for anyone planning a ride to take pictures along CO14 which is also the Cache La Poudre Scenic Byway. Plan your ride so you traverse the interesting areas in the afternoon, morning light is not good for this route.

Here's a semi-decent picture of the scenery just before you hit Cameron Pass and cross the Continental Divide on CO14:

Shortly after the above location, you come up on the summit of Cameron Pass where I stopped for the requisite picture of the pass sign:

Here's a view of the scenery just north of Cameron Pass, the Cache La Poudre scenic byway is a really pretty road, with lots of forested areas and easy gentle curves for the most part.

Along the way, you pass the rock formation known as the Sleeping Elephant. Sorry for the picture glare but the sun was in a bad position relative to my position.

The Sleeping Elephant

I kept cruising eastbound on CO14 and stopped where possible to get pictures of the interesting rock formations one sees; also of the massive rock ways one rides by as the road follows the Cache La Poudre river:

Soon after the rocky canyon walls, I came upon the junction with Stove Prairie Road. I turned south onto this nicely paved road with many curves, heading towards Masonville. This is a nice road to use to go south of FT Collins without actually having to traverse the city itself.

Stove Prairie's curves can be quite tight and technical at points but for the most part they're just fun. I kept catching up to a couple of slow cagers so I had to drop back several times in order for them to get ahead of me. Here's a picture of the road at one point where I waited:

Soon enough, the road ended and I turned east to pick up US287 southbound, trying to avoid the I-25 super slab traffic to/from Fort Collins from Denver. Made it down to the Longmont area and decided that was enough. Picked up the I-25 slab and made it home by 1:30PM.

I had not being paying attention to the tripmeter and realized about 25 miles out from home that I had hit reserves. Whoops. I thought I could push it and get to my home gas station but nope, ran out of gas five miles short. This was the first and only time I had to tap the spare fuel tank for gas.

I cleaned up Brigitta once I got home and checked her oil level, it was all good. I rode less than 940 miles though for the entire Labor Day weekend. I've got to get serious about racking up more miles if I am going to break 100K by next summer!

Hope you had good riding during this past long weekend!


cpa3485 said...

Well even If you are not impressed with your mileage, I remain in awe of what you do and where you ride. Looks like a really nice ride. I did a total of 8 miles over the weekend and you can see partially why on my next post.

Martha said...

I know how you could rack up some miles...perhaps a road trip to OK in search of a good deal?

Wifey...or should I say enabler? :)