Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Riding with the Uralisti to Mount Evans' Summit

Memorial Day this year turned out to be a beautiful riding day for us here in Colorado.  Five Ural rigs and 7 Uralisti met at the Red Rocks Grille in Morrison, CO there to begin our ride to the summit of Mount Evans since it's opening for the 2010 season on May 28th.

 The Uralisti gather for breakfast at the Red Rocks Grille

After coffee and breakfast, most Uralisti don't like to ride on empty stomachs, we set off with John in the lead and Dana riding sweep.  Urals are still enough of a rare occurrence apparently that the sight of five of us exiting Morrison drew all eyes.  We entered Bear Creek Canyon and twisted and turned our convoy of sidecar rigs, moving in tight formation and I would like to think with a bit of Russian style!

Uraling through Bear Creek Canyon
photo courtesy Cookie and John

We made our way past the small settlements of Idledale, Kittredge and Evergreen.  We then turned off of CO74 just past the center of Evergreen and onto Bear Creek Rd; this time I was in the lead as I'd recently been to Witter Gulch and knew the way up to Squaw Pass Road.

Riding up Witter Gulch Road
photo courtesy Cookie and John

We cruised up Witter Gulch Road, this time seeing no deer fortunately.  Soon enough, we were gathered at the trailhead on Squaw Pass Rd where John once again led off towards Echo Lake and the Ranger Toll booth for CO5 or Mount Evans Road.

We sent Jay on his Patrol onwards first so he could situate himself to shoot a video of the rest of us once we'd all paid the $3 a person toll for motorcyclists.

video courtesy of Jay

As we rode up Mount Evans Road, the nation's highest paved roadway at 14,130 ft, I kept monitoring my odometer as I'd been getting close to the 20,000 Km mark all week.  Soon the zeros lined up with a 2 on the far left but there was no safe spot to stop!  It wasn't till one more kilometer had gone by that I found a spot to park Natasha.  I waved the group onwards and got this picture:

Natasha makes it past the 20,000 Km mark

 yours truly ascending the Mt Evans Road
photo courtesy Cookie and John

 a shot of Jay as he negotiates another hairpin turn up Mt Evans Road
 photo courtesy Cookie and John

 Jay encounters one of the residents of Mount Evans
 photo courtesy Cookie and John

 Craig and Julie riding on top of the world
 photo courtesy Cookie and John

Continuing on, I motored up the road trying to catch up to the rest of the Uralisti.  They were moving fast though and I didn't catch up to them until I arrived at the parking lot at the summit of Mt Evans.  We lucked out and got our rigs parked without much hassle or waiting.  The weather was a brisk 29°F and the sun shone brightly upon us as we stood at 14,130 feet for the following pictures:

Here's Craig and Julie at the summit of Mt Evans, that's Natasha in the middle and Jay's Patrol

Left to Right, Cookie, John (spat) and Dana (dirtydr)

A glimpse of the road we took on the way up

Survey marker for Mt Evans

It took three shots before we got everyone to look in the same direction!

Shortly after the shot above, which some nice lady took using my camera, we all separated into three groups.  Two rigs and riders, John, Cookie and Dana were going to Idaho Springs since it was closer to where Dana lives in Vale.  Craig and Julie opted for a run back to Evergreen for a late lunch.  Jay and I ended up riding down the mountain together, leapfrogging each other and shooting pics as they other rode by.

The very top of Mt Evans is visible here, funny thing, none of us elected to hike up the last 1/4 mile of trail to be on the very top of Mt Evans!
photo courtesy Cookie and John
Natasha, near the summit of Mt Evans, as we started heading back down

Some of the breathtaking views one has from atop Mt Evans

Jay, his Patrol and Natasha

 Natasha and I
photo courtesy of Jay

Jay cruises calmly past a large wall of snow

Natasha and I making our way down the mountain
photo courtesy of Jay

here's Jay riding away from Summit Lake's high rocky walls

One last look at the road which takes one to the top, at this point, you're still five miles from the top!

a parting view of Summit Lake

My turn to ride past Jay with Summit Lake in the background
photo courtesy of Jay

As you can see, there were plenty other motorcycles making the climb to the top today

Our last view of the peaks before we re-entered the treeline near the base of the mountain

Jay of the West

Natasha of the West

Yep, on such a clear day, you can almost see forever

photo courtesy of Jay

 Cookie and Dan enroute to Idaho Spring
photo courtesy of Cookie and John

The rest of the ride after the above shot was twisting and turning our way back to Witter Gulch Road, careening down the steep dirt road and emerging onto Bear Creek Road, again without any deer sightings!

Once past the town of Evergreen, we kept a brisk pace on CO74, slowing down only when going through the towns; otherwise maintaining a good clip as both of us "hung off" our respective rigs and negotiated the curves of Bear Creek Canyon without incident.

We turned towards US285 west of Morrison and stopped by the spot below to doff the remaining cold weather gear and say our goodbyes.

Taking a quick break after twisty canyon riding, near The Fort restaurant

The plan is for a ride to Rollins Pass this coming Sunday, the 6th of June, and see how far we get with our rigs....should be quite the ride.

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