Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday ride to the Garden of the Gods

 This past Sunday, I left home around 9:00AM under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s.  The day would warm to a high of around 60°F before things would cloud over with incoming weather.

I took Parker Rd south through the busy town of Parker, looking to find the snow that had fallen on Friday of last week.  I started seeing traces of snow on the hills on both sides of the road shortly south of Franktown and by the time I cruised by Castlewood Canyon State Park; it was snow-covered fields as far as I could see.

The temperature seemed to drop as I cruised by these snowy fields on Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer.  I stopped to don my neck gator and along with my heated grips was quiet comfy in wind chills that I guess were in the 20s.

I cruised comfortably on CO83, Brigitta holding 75mph easily where Natasha would have struggled to hold 65mph.  Truly a dichotomy of performance, my two motorcycles.

I turned west on Old North Gate Rd just north of Colorado Springs and saw this wagon by a windmill at a stop sign.

Along the Old North Gate Rd

Proceeding along Old North Gate Rd (it refers to the North Gate of the Air Force Academy which makes its home in Colorado Springs), I soon arrived at its junction with the I-25 Super Slab.  I got Brigitta up to 75mph easily enough and though the wind gusts were pretty strong, it was smooth riding to the scenic overlook alongside the highway:

At the I-25 Highway Scenic Overlook

Staying on the slab, I got off a Woodmen Drive hoping to get a closer look at Pikes Peak, I would end up wandering about the Colorado Springs Tech Center where I found a spot near an office building complex for this shot:

I really don't know how one could get any work done with scenery such as this outside one's office window

I cruised further south, and finally ended up on the road that leads one to the Garden of the Gods park.  I rode up the Mesa Overlook road where the fancy houses are and stopped at the Mesa Overlook for these pictures.

At the Mesa Overlook parking lot, that's Garden of the Gods in the near background with 
Pikes Peak in the far background

A closer look at some of the large rock formations visible from the Mesa Overlook

A panoramic view of the gorgeous scenery visible from the Mesa Overlook

I circled back around towards the main entrance to the Garden of the Gods and joined the slightly busy stream of cars filled with tourists and locals out enjoying the view of the many large rock formations that make up this park.

Here's the rock formation at the park's main parking lot.  I stopped here to remove my cold weather liner and neck gator and switch to light summer gloves as it had turned quite warm.

My favorite spot on the loop road that circles the massive rock formations of the Garden of the Gods

I hope you like this panoramic view of my favorite parking spot at the Garden of the Gods

One last shot of nearby Pikes Peak from the Garden of the Gods

Exiting the park due to the now numerous cars on the loop roads around the park, it was around Noon and I elected to ride east into Colorado Springs.  I cruised through the "historic district" of Old Colorado City but saw nothing worth stopping for a look or a picture.

Soon I was in the western side of Colorado Springs, past the many buildings belonging to Colorado College.  I turned north on Union and made my way north and out of town.  I stopped just past Powers Blvd to don my warm weather gear once more for the ride home.

As you can see, incoming storm clouds have almost completely hidden Pikes Peak from view

On CO83, heading North away from the springs.

Shortly before I took the last two shots above, I was passed by a herd of Harley Davidson bikers, all clad in their motorcycle club colors with no helmets, doing their best to deafen me with their loud pipes.  Ironically, I think the name of their club, from what I could see of their "colors", was "Sons of Silence".

Still, to each his own I say, at least they were out riding.  I got back on Brigitta and we cruised up through Franktown and Parker.  I took Inspiration Drive out of Parker to get me back to my home neighborhoods.  Perhaps 160-170 miles of riding today with perhaps 5 hours of saddle time, not too bad for a Colorado spring ride.

I hope you were able to get out and get some riding this weekend!


Chris said...

Thanks for the photos. I rode through Garden of the Gods last year on my SV650 and enjoyed every second of it. I wasn't able to ride this weekend due to thunderstorms :\

cpa3485 said...

Have not been there for many years, but your pictures bring back lots of memories of the place. Nice shots.
I seem to remember one rock that appears to be balanced almost on a point.
The snow reminds me that it isn't quite summer yet. Many mornings recently I have been warmly dressed only to shed some clothes for the ride home.