Sunday, December 20, 2009

South Saint Vrain Canyon Ride

A very late start for my Saturday riding yesterday, I was helping my wife clean house during the morning. I didn't leave the house till after 11:30 AM with the goal of checking out Barr Lake, a State Wildlife Preserve.

I took a very meandering route to get to Tower Road after tanking Natasha up. Even though her replacement clutch perch and lever have still not shown up, I wanted to take her for a ride as the temperatures were not forecasted to get above 50°F.

I got to the vicinity of Barr Lake but somehow missed the turn to get on I-76 and the entrance to the preserve. Instead I ended up on the road bordering the preserve, south of the lake itself.

As I turned around and headed back West, I saw the front range mountains before me and a nice view of Long's Peak:

East 128th Avenue, South of Barr Lake Wildlife Preserve, looking west towards Long's Peak

The Front Range and foothills

Another view of the Front Range on a dirt road leading towards the preserve's border

After a few more wrong turns, I ended up instead on US85 headed North towards Fort Lupton. Once there, I elected to head towards Long's Peak to see what I could see. This involved taking CO Highway 52 to CO119 to Longmont, cruised north on Longmont till I got to 17th Avenue which is also Long's Peak Avenue (I thought this would get me a good viewing point of said peak, but houses ended up in the way). I ended up instead in the town of Hygiene.

I got my bearings and continued west and got closer to the foothills. I turned north on US36 and arrived soon enough to the town of Lyons. There was road construction going on and I ended up heading southwest of town on CO7. This turned out to be a good happenstance. This road is known as South Saint Vrain Drive and is carved through the canyon by the same name. It is a beautifully twisting road with high rocky canyon walls. I'll have to come back here someday on Brigitta to take full enjoyment from this road's curves.

I spied many rock formations bathed in the mid-afternoon sun. I rode up to where the road intersects with CO72 and one can go south to Nederland or north towards Estes Park. I turned around instead and enjoyed another run at those twisty curves as I headed back towards Lyons and the gas station there.

An eye-catching rock formation on South St. Vrain Canyon Road

The St. Vrain River, mostly frozen over

The sinking afternoon sun highlights the top of this group of rock formations

Cool rock formations near the town of Lyons

I stopped for fuel at the Diamond Shamrock gas station in Lyons. There were four white vans there with slogans written in soap on their windows. I didn't pay them much mind but one window caught my eye as I waited my turn for a gas pump: Gangstas for Christ. Not something you see often.

A fuel pump became available before I thought to get my camera out, so I quickly parked by it and fueled up Natasha. My MPG for the last tank was 38MPG, cool stuff. Natasha really likes riding the highways in cold weather.

A couple of the young girls from one of the vans, came up to me as I was getting ready to go and asked to pose on Natasha. They asked me to be in the picture as well and two of them ended up taking turns sitting on the sidecar's tonneau cover. They moved so quickly that I never had a chance to remove it, oh well, no damage done. They left giggling and I left before the other van loads of kids got the same idea.

That weird UDF (Ural Delay Factor) behind me, the rest of the ride was about 90 minutes of heavy Saturday afternoon and evening traffic as I used US36 to get through Boulder and enter the Denver Metro area. It was all slab traffic to I-25, I-225 to the Parker Road exit and from there onto my home neighborhoods.

Natasha did great. The only "issue" was the cold finally congealed the lubricant inside the speedometer cable and the needle would go into "windshield wiper" mode anytime I was above 55mph. Quite annoying since I didn't want to go above 55mph and put undue strain on the engine. Oh well. About 160 miles or so, almost 6 hours in the saddle with one stop for gas.


RichardM said...

Another farkle opportunity! A tach. Great pictures, almost enough to make me want to move to Colorado.

redlegsrides said...

Hi Richard, maybe you missed the posting...I do have a tach....I just used my ear mostly though, Natasha sounds "nice" when running at 55mph...can't quite explain it.

I do find the "windshield wiper" motion annoying though. Must lubricate the cable more next time I have the headlight assembly apart.

Chris said...

LOL. I thought the wiper mode for the speedo was normal! It has done it since the day I bought it.

redlegsrides said...


in the newer models, its rumored that the housing holding the headlight presses against the cable causing the wiper mode....some have introduced a dent in the housing....something to research anyways...

Chris said...

Thanks for the tip. Right now, it's all part of the Ural charm for me, but I will look into it later when I get some time. It also might be that it has been less than 32F everyday since I took delivery.