Monday, November 23, 2009

Up and Down Bear Creek

The idea yesterday, with the beautifully sunny but not too warm weather we're experiencing here in Colorado, was to explore the small mesa-like hills to the south of where I now work. I can see the hills with their flat tops, hence mesa-like, from the third floor of the building where I am captive 8-9 hours every workday....glistening with snow in the distance, beckoning to me.

T'was not to be, the dirt road leading to them is fenced off and while the gate was open, large no trespassing signs kept me from further exploration.

So, you'll have to make do with pictures I took below along Bear Creek Rd and Bear Creek Canyon Road. I headed west on Lincoln Avenue until it gradually turns north and becomes University Blvd. Westward again on County Line rd finally got me to Santa Fe Blvd where one is forced to do a quick sprint on the E-470 super slab to the Wadsworth blvd exit.

I got off on Wadsworth and turned south till I could get on Deer Creek Canyon Rd and head into the foothills. Road conditions were pretty good, the areas in the shade still sported a "wet" look to them and accumulations of snow/ice and sand were in evidence. I've seen it worse while on two wheels and turned back, but today I was on Natasha and as I've said before, three wheels makes a difference!

Deer Creek Canyon road, while wonderfully twisty and turning in parts, generally does not lend itself to pictures as the rocky canyon walls are so close to the side of the road. I did manage to find a suitable spot for pictures though I had to turn around to get into position safely.

Rocky wall along Deer Creek Canyon

Once at Fenders, I took Turkey Creek North until it passes under the US285 highway. Winding my way further into the mountains on Turkey Creek, I arrived at the junction with CO73. I headed north on CO73 and eventually things started to look really familiar and I found myself in the town of Evergreen.

Foregoing the usual turn for CO74 and the Bergen Parkway, I instead turned onto Upper Bear Creek canyon road as I remembered a scenic location there from a past ride:

The view of the mountains one sees when clear of the town of Evergreen, along Upper Bear Creek Canyon Road.

After the above pictures, I had me a near encounter with about three deer on the road. Luckily they were in the other lane and as I tried to slow, they scampered off away from me and into the woods. Close one!

I continued on Bear Creek rd but it eventually dead-ends in a sparsely populated housing area where it must get real quiet at night. Didn't see but one person the whole time and the area was thickly forested.

Once back to Evergreen, I went east to start heading towards home. I was on CO67 which eventually becomes known as Bear Creek Canyon Rd. I've said it before but it bears (no pun intended) repeating, Bear Creek Canyon Rd is really twisty and on two wheels can be quite technical at speed. Being as I was on Natasha, I kept to the speed limits, making sure I didn't fly the chair by accident. I'd pull off where safe to let the cagers who wanted to go faster than the speed limit get by.

Sometimes, this having to let faster traffic go by would result in my being in a good spot for pictures:

Bear Creek Canyon Road

I am very glad that I was heading east on this road, as I saw a line of about 10-12 "rice boy" wannabe mario andrettis zooming along westward. They were going at a fast clip, closely following each other through the curves. I'd be very surprised if tonight's news doesn't mention a multi-car pileup in the mountains.

Got to Morrison and turned south to US285 which I took North into the Denver metro area. From that point on, it was highway, city streets and mild Sunday afternoon traffic all the way home.

I got 170km in today, with perhaps 160km yesterday. As I filled up my gas tank, I did the calculations and Natasha's MPG really climbed once I took the sidecar's windshield off. I went from 24 to 33 mpg! For a 70 year technology motorcycle with a 750cc engine, dragging the weight she does, that's pretty good!


SonjaM said...

I certainly enjoy your excursions as a virtual traveller in your side car. Thanks for another wonderful road trip.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Domingo):

Once again, you tantilize me with sensational pictures of what is probably one of your more common warm-up runs. Man, if I had stuff like this to stare at, I'd carry a Kermit chair in the hack and break out the cigars and coffee to take in the view and quietude.

This was a very stimulating ride synopsis tonight. I think of you like an astronaut on this Ural though. Riding around in this hybrid machine, that requires you to carry your electricity from home.

Any word on the alternator?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

Sonja, thanks for your kind words....

Jack....thanks to you also for your nice words....some of the stuff I saw this weekend was worth a pause or two to take in fully.

As to the alternator, am holding off for now...the TLES system is working just fine and a viable alternative is still in the works. The "newer" nippon denso's are still in the unobtanium category....they're rumored to be on some slow boat from Russia....probably will sail by Somalia and get pirated.

bobskoot said...


I wouldn't have believed that a windshield would have made such a difference. If you are not carrying a passenger (in the sidecar) then perhaps have a tonneau cover made which will aid in air flow, giving you even greater MPG.
I also think that your 2WD Ural makes all the difference. Imagine a one wheel drive trying to get traction on slippery/muddy surfaces, you would probably just spin.
Again nice photos to document your ride

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Charlie6 said...


yeah,taking the windshield out of the equation is really an impactful change. MPG improves, less air turbulence hitting me from the right side....I do have a tonneau but it flaps quite a bit. Let's face it though, it's 70 year old technology....I am pretty sure I am at the limits of its efficiency. : )

I agree re 2WD, that's why the newer models have selectable 2WD for when stuck in mud/snow. The expression amongst the uralisti is that 2WD will just get you further in the woods before you get stuck! : )

bobskoot said...


I agree with you about digging yourself in.

I used to have a jeep to travel on the gravel roads. I never used the 4x4 while going in, only to dig myself out. Same reason as you. I've heard of too many cases where people have gotten so far in and got stranded and had to walk out

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

irondad said...

If you're going to ride so slowly, you should at least have a little melody playing and an ice cream sign hanging. Then you could make a buck or two while stopped to take photos!

I'm happy you have sunshine. Truly. At least since you have along with me, and not instead of me.

By the way, who said this riding thing was supposed to be fun? Oh wait, that might have been me.

Steve Williams said...

What a fine ride and story. And you are so lucky to have such a beautiful landscape to ride in.

Darn nice!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Charlie6 said...

Irondad....yeah, not breaking any land speed records any time soon....however, damn near always have a big grin on my face....specially when I stand up on the pegs at 30mph plus while on dirt....quite the novelty.

Charlie6 said...

Steve (Scooter in the Sticks), thanks for your kind words....