Sunday, June 20, 2010

Riding the CO9 - US6 Loop

Father's Day dawned cool and sunny here in Colorado.  After a sumptuous breakfast and Father's Day greetings from my sons, I left the house set for a daylong ride, my now traditional Father's Day present along with a couple of cool books I'll bring up in later articles.

I rode out of the Denver Metro area on US285 and stayed on this fast moving two lane highway (for the most part) until I left the city's traffic behind and enjoyed the cool ride out to Kenosha Pass (10,000 ft).  Cruising right past the sign at the pass, I was soon plunging down to the valley below (Colorado Basin) where the towns of Jefferson, South Park and Fairplay reside.  The winds really picked up at this point and had to go into my "dances with the winds" mode to stay on the road!  I climbed out of the valley through Red Hill Pass (9,993 ft) and I was glad to see the turnoff for Colorado State Rd 9 or CO9 at Fairplay, which I took north towards Breckenridge which was 23 miles away.

Climbing steadily from Fairplay I arrived at the small town of Alma (highest incorporated town in US) where I stopped to don my jacket liner and heavier gloves, I soon had to stop for this shot just shy of Hoosier Pass:

Just to the south of Hoosier Pass

Continuing on, I saw a turnoff for Park County Rd 4 which looked interesting.  I got on this dirt road and slowly rode along until I came to Montgomery Reservoir.  It's a nice little reservoir where I found families fishing and enjoying the view:

At Montgomery Reservoir on Park County Rd 4

The small dam which created Montgomery Reservoir

One last look at the view at Montgomery Reservoir

Getting back on CO9, I transited through Hoosier Pass (11,542 ft), negotiated several tight hairpin turns down to this point where I usually stop to pose the motorcycle I am riding.

I continued on CO9 until reached the town of Breckenridge (9600 ft), one of the several major ski resorts in the state.  The mountainsides looked nice and green, with the ski runs covered in grass.  I wandered through Breckenridge, foregoing the temptation to go down Boreas Pass Rd.  I got to Frisco (9075 ft)  and near the vicinity of the I-70 super slab when I spotted a promising road.  This road is Swan Mountain Road and it takes one up into the hillsides near Frisco and Dillon (9111 ft).

This very nice mountain road takes you around Dillon Reservoir and soon you come upon a magnificent sight of cliff-side houses overlooking Dillon Bay:

Pretty nice bay huh?  Specially since it's at above 9000 ft above sea level!

Dillon Bay

I took Swan Road until it junctions with US6, the plan at this point to go see Loveland Pass (11,90 ft) on the way home.  As I left the Dillon area, the sight of these mountain peaks caused me to pause and try and capture the majestic peaks I saw:

Continuing on US6, I soon came upon another of Colorado's major ski resorts, this one was Arapahoe Basin(13,050 ft) which is located close by to Keystone Ski Resort  (9173 ft) and the town thereof.

Continuing to climb on US6, I stopped once again for this last show of A-Basin, the nickname for Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort.

Eastbound US6 is a nicely climbing, gently curving road with mountain scenery aplenty.  However, it's got no guard rails so it pays to keep a close eye on the road as you catch glimpses of the nearby mountain peaks.

Some of the majestic mountain peaks visible from US6

Near the summit of Loveland Pass on US6

I finally got to the summit of Loveland Pass, there was open space near the Forest Service sign and so I stopped Brigitta nearby and got this shot.

Loveland Pass

I rode down a bit from the summit and turned Brigitta around and parked her at the same spot (more or less) where I had parked Natasha the last time I was up at Loveland Pass this past winter:

January 20, looking towards Loveland Pass

June 20, looking towards Loveland Pass

Views from just below the summit of Loveland Pass, a couple of minutes before one gets to the treeline

I made my way down from Loveland Pass, and endured the usual frenzied Sunday afternoon rush from the mountains until I got to Georgetown where I exited to get fuel.  From Georgetown, I managed to stay on frontage roads past Idaho Springs

I stayed on US40 which is a winding two lane road all the way to Genesee Park where I once again jumped on the I-70 slab for a couple of miles till I could get on the turnoff/death merge exit for US6/US40.  From this point on I basically had the two lane road all to myself until I got back to the Denver Metro area's vicinity.

I used CO93 to cut south towards the town of Morrison and from there it was Morrison Rd to Kipling Blvd to US285 once again.  Traffic in the city was not bad for a Sunday afternoon and soon I was taking the I-25 exit south to I-225 and from there, Parker Rd to my home neighborhoods.

I covered 259 miles today, including 4 mountain passes, in about 8 hrs of saddle time, a pretty good day's worth of riding.  I managed to beat the incoming weather home and Brigitta performed great.  What more could I ask from a Father's Day ride?


SonjaM said...

Happy Father's Day to you, and thank you for another great ride. Of course Birgitta performed well, nothing less is to be expected from a Beemer ;-) The Dillon Bay pics are my favorites!

cpa3485 said...

Must be nice to go for a ride in the summer and end up someplace with cooler temperatures. Doesn't work that way here anymore. Went for a little ride myself for Fathers day and enjoyed it. But Colorado has better scenery. Looks like you had a great day.

irondad said...

Just wanted to offer greetings and let you know I was here. Your photos are as beautiful as ever!