Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A ride to Georgetown, CO - Then and Now

Another gloriously sunny and warm winter day here in Colorado.  Today's ride was to Georgetown, CO.  It's located along the I-70 Super Slab, a few miles west of Idaho Springs.  On my Ural Sidecar, it took me just shy of two hours to get there from the southeast side of the Denver Metro area.

I left at 9:20 AM, taking US285 as usual to cut across Denver, heading north on Kipling to Morrison Rd which I took west to the town of Morrison.  From there it was a short ride up CO93, past Red Rocks Park, to its junction just past I-70 with US40.  I like to take US40 west into the mountains as its only a two lane paved road where traffic is much less frantic than the traffic on I-70!

There is a brief sprint on I-70 between Buffalo Overlook near Genesee Park and the exit for CO74 at Bergen Park.  From Bergen Park you can then pick up US40 once again and cruise your way down some steep and twisty turns to where US6 and I-70 junctions.  Today, I was exploring county roads that act as frontage roads alongside the frenetic traffic on I-70.

The county rd from the exit for the Central City Parkway didn't work out, as the city of Idaho Springs has fenced off the road at its outskirst!  So you have to get back on I-70, sprint to Idaho Springs and then once you exit into the town, cruise through town at 30mph until you get to the western edge of  Idaho Springs.  It is here you can pick up Stanley Rd aka County Road 312.

As you near Dumont, you have to go under I-70, and get on County Rd 308.  CR308 will take you through the small settlement of Lawson where you pick up Alvarado Rd or CR306.  Alvarado becomes dirt pretty quickly, it's a bit bumpy but doable on two wheels if you are careful.  Once you get to the lake that is part of Georgetown, the road becomes paved again.

I wandered around a bit, looking for the Old Georgetown Road, turns out its next to the I-70 highway exit!  The dirt road, which apparently used to be the main road to Georgetown back in the day, is now rock strewn and not very well maintained.  It reminded me of the rougher sections of the Alpine Loop in Southwestern Colorado, but on steroids!  Natasha was bouncing all over at times, had to go really slow as some of the exposed rocks were pretty large.

Maybe a mile in, I ran into a gate.  Points beyond were for "wildlife study" and authorized vehicles so that's as far as I got on Old Georgetown Road!  Apparently, it used to stretch all the way back towards the town of Empire and was accessible via Empire Pass.  Oh well.


As I headed back towards Georgetown, I noticed about halfway that the handle to my sidecar's trunk had come loose and the trunk lid was loose from all the bouncing around on the rocks.  So I stopped to secure the lid and noticed some Bighorn Sheep grazing a little distance up the hill from me!



The viewing of the Bighorn Sheep is one of the attractions that Georgetown is known for, and I can see.  They were pretty close to me and didn't seem to wary of me though they did keep an eye on me and Natasha.

Back in Georgetown, I set about finding the old buildings which I'd found while searching the Denver Public Library's archive of Old West photographs.    So, here we go, Georgetown's landmarks today and how they used to look   Note: Sorry but in order to comply with copyrights, you have to click the link provided.

 The Hotel de Paris, built circa 1890
Click here for a photo from the Denver Public Library
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for CHS.X4557

 Georgetown's Fire House
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-1048 

The Fish Block, named after its builder: Charles R. Fish
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-1359

Masonic Lodge
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-1490

Public School House
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-1114

First Presbyterian Church
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-1419

The "Old Missouri" Fire House
Click here for a photo from the
If the link doesn't work, go here and search "Historic Images" for  X-62973 

That's it for then and now pictures.  Sorry to make you click on an outside link, but only way for me to easily meet copyright requirements and avoid usage fees charged by Denver Public Library et al.   
It was now a little after 1:00 PM, I started heading home, this time using the I-70 Slab to get me past Idaho Springs and onto the junction with US6.  Traffic was "light" on the slab so it was no issue cruising along at 60 mph.

Instead of retracing my route on US40, I elected to stay on US6 and enjoyed the flatter terrain since it follows the path of Clear Creek.  This road is also known as Clear Creek Canyon Road.  I went through six small tunnels, had towering rocky canyon walls on both sides of the road for viewing and slow traffic due to construction trucks.  This was fine by me as it allowed me to take in the scenery.



By now I bet you've noticed that large flat panel mounted on the spare tire on the side car.  It's a 15 watt solar panel, furnished by a fellow rounder for only the cost of shipping!  Thanks Mike D!  I was doing a "proof of concept" today to see if it made a difference since it only produces a bit over 1 Amp of charging power.   Jury is still out on it.  I've got to come up with a more secure way of carrying it around though it stayed secure in spite of the rough terrain on the Old Georgetown Road!

 15 watt Solarex Solar Panel

 216 Kilometers ridden today (almost 130 miles) and about 5.5 hrs in the saddle, another good day of riding on my Ural Sidecar Rig: Natasha.  She was idling a bit rough near the end of the ride, I think the ignition module was overheating.  It had warmed up to the 60s by 3:00 PM when I got home.  I must ventilate the plastic cover for the ignition module and see if that helps.

TLS Note:  New electrical range with two batteries is 388 miles with headlight on estimated 90% of the time.  Switched to no headlight and got another 100 miles before "running voltage" was at 11.7 volts.


Oz said...

I love the pictures. Once again I have been in that area in summer. Never stopped in Georgetown, but now I will on my next trip through. Love the solar panel.

RichardM said...

Very nice tour of the area. I like the shots of the older buildings.

TLS question: 2 batteries=1 deep cycle + 1 motorcycle?

IMHO, the 15 watt panel doesn't seem worth the weight and additional aerodynamic drag but it is a cool idea. How much current would be needed to be significant?

redlegsrides said...

Motoroz, thanks for the read and comments. your TLS question, two batteries in parallel so they have to be same type/capacity etc. They are two 125amp/hr 12 volts.

15 watts = 1.25 amps charging power, so really negligible considering the bike draws estimated 7 amps/hr with headlight on, estimate less than 2 amps/hr when headlight off. Must get hands on a DC ammeter to see for sure.

To keep battery charged up? I'd need a solar panel that supplies at least 7 amp/hr or about 84 watts. Current tech says that's one big panel! I'd have to pull a trailer! : )

I guess I'll just have to "get by" with having about a 400 mile range between battery recharges.