Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas on the South Platte River Road

I hope everyone had a great Christmas yesterday and that you got some riding in as well.

Today, there were no social engagements or plans. My sons were busy playing with their new toys and I was free to ride.

I headed out around 09:15 AM, taking Arapahoe Rd west across the bottom third of the Denver Metro Area until it junctions with Broadway Blvd. This I took south to County Line Rd, continuing west until it ends at US85. From there it was the usual 3 mile sprint on E-470 westbound until I got to the Wadsworth Blvd exit and the entrance to Deer Creek Canyon:

Looking west towards the entrance to Deer Creek Canyon, the gloomy overcast skies would give way to brilliantly clear skies later on in the day.

The roads in the city were slushy and messy with loose snow and ice, not a pleasant experience. Things got a little better once I was away from the main roads and on Deer Creek Canyon Rd. This road was "mostly" clear, mostly wet with occasional patches of snow in the shadows of the canyon walls. I cruised till I got to Deer Creek Rd which I took, making my way slowly up High Grade Rd and eventually climbing higher on Pleasant Park Rd till I got to the town of Conifer.

The roads higher up were mostly snow-covered, with packed snow and lots of sand/gravel dumped on them by the municipalities I transited through. No issues with traction, just having to pull over once in a while to let cagers zoom by. Note, I was keeping to the speed limit, but apparently snow is not something to slow down for in the minds of some of the cagers I saw today.

I tanked up at Conifer, checked in with the family and then headed to the next exit on US285, Foxton Road. Foxton Road was also pretty much snow-covered with stretches of wet looking pavement to break up the monotony. I stayed at or below the speed limit the whole way down to where it junctions with the South Platte River Road and becomes a dirt road.

As I did a few days ago, I continued on South Platte River Road to see what sights the recent snowfall had created for viewing:

The sun is starting to make its presence felt through the overcast skies, this and the picture below are near the junction of Foxton Rd and S. Platte River Rd.

A view of the cool ice formations covering the still moving S. Platte River

Under clear skies now, the color of the rocks really stood out with their snow covering making them look like big chocolate formations with white frosting on them

The bridge over the S. Platte River near the remains of the South Platte Hotel

Can you see the small bridge that leads to someone's mountain home?

At the start of the big boulder fields, some of which as you can see have come to rest in the river, if you look uphill, there's plenty more giant boulders waiting their turn to come crashing down some day.

The river bends almost in a U at this point due to this massive rock formation

Yep, the boulders I always take a picture of, not much snow remaining on them as they're quite exposed to the sunlight

At a parking lot near the junction of S. Platte River Rd and Douglas County Rd 67 aka Pine Creek Rd. That's the top of Scraggy Peak in the background.

It's almost 5 miles of twisting narrow roads and steep grades until you get to the settlement of Spruceview and the pavement begins again. Natasha had a bit of difficult gaining traction from the stopping point above but we made it up this and several other steep grades with no major issues.

The rest of the ride was on partially covered to fully covered with snow pavement all the way down to Jarre Canyon which was "interesting" in the way the remaining snow forced you into small narrow channels. Soon that was over with and I was in the town of Sedalia. From there it was US 85 to Castle Rock, Crowfoot Parkway to the town of Parker and Parker Rd all the way home to my home neighborhoods. I took Natasha over to a self-service carwash and washed the crud off of her.

The rest of the afternoon was spent replacing her oil filter and oil for both the engine, transmission and final drive. A bit early but there's a 10% chance, given current weather forecasts, that I might be riding her down to Arizona for New Years. More on that as the day comes closer.


Mike said...

Great shots with the snow and blue sky! It's nice to see the Colorado landscape too- thank you!

Chuck Pefley said...

Looks like great fun riding in the snow. Not sure how my MP3 would fare in those conditions, and given the fact that I still have to balance the thing I don't think I would willingly test fate. Your Ural, though, looks absolutely perfect for the task.

Happy New Year!

Rob said...

Great photos. If you do ride out to Arizona then keep warm on your journey. I thought I was brave for taking my cycle out yesterday for a 50 mile jaunt along Lake Ontario but you are fearless.