Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Uraling to Victor's Mining District

Steffen, a fellow member of the DAU: Denver Area Uralisti, had emailed the rest of the DAU,  links to some awesome photos he'd taken on a recent family camping trip which involved his Ural Retro Sidecar Rig.

It had been some time since I'd last ridden in the area of Victor, CO and so the pictures inspired me to take ride out there on my Ural Sportsman Sidecar Rig, Natasha.  As a big bonus, my oldest son Patrick wanted to come along!

We left the house shortly before 9:00AM and took CO83 through the town of Parker to Crowfoot Parkway which led us to the town of Castle Rock.  We crossed over the I-25 super slab and took Wolfenberger road to its junction with CO 105, a favorite riding road for local motorcycle riders.  We took CO105 southbound, passing the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument in short order.  We got onto the I-25 super slab at this point and did our best not to impede the rushing traffic heading south into Colorado Springs.

We turned onto US24 by the using the Cimmaron Avenue exit once we got into Colorado Springs.  Traffic was a bit slow at first on US24 westbound but soon cleared up once we got past Manitou Springs.  Soon enough we were at the city of Woodland Park and I stopped to get lunch for Patrick.  After that little break, we headed past the city limits and took the CO67 southbound route to the town of Victor.

Lots of riding, took us a bit over three hours to get there but Patrick did great as my monkey, riding without complaint and I think sneaking in a short nap here and there.  Using CO64, and then CO81, we got to the vicinity of Victor, famed for the gold mines of yesterday shortly after 12:00 Noon and toured the Theresa Mine first:

Patrick walks up the trail to the Theresa Mine's structures

A closer look at the structure which is visible easily from the highway

$20.67 for an ounce of gold, you can do the math for today's gold price 

We walked along the gravel path past the above mining structure and came upon Shedview.  I think it's so named due to there being a small metal shed on the hillside near the overlook.

A shot of the landmarks visible from Shedview Overlook, 
you can compare with a shot of same from today

Here's a shot of the Theresa Mine from the town of Goldville, back in its heyday

A drawing of Goldville's City Hall from back in 1978

Here's the town City Hall today, not much has changed, has it?

A view of the other side of the Theresa Mine structures

I wonder if the machine is still operable, with some work?

The control station for whatever those large winches were meant to lift/pull

Patrick and Natasha at the Theresa Mine Site

Our walking tour of the mining site structures over with, we went looking for the road which would lead us to the big mining dump trucks we could see in the distance, higher up the nearby mountain.  Turns out, there's an overlook called American Eagles Overlook, which uses CR83 to climb up the mountain.  It's a wide gravel/dirt road, easy negotiated with our Ural or any dual sport motorcycle.

We proceeded to the very top of the trail, crossing over two wide dirt roads that the mining company uses to haul the rocks they're carving out of the mountainside in their search for gold.  

Near the top, there was an overlook which mandated a stop by us.

Patrick stands at the lower overlook, with the open pit mine behind him

A panoramic shot of the mining, hopefully it gives you an idea of how big it is.  
That little square dot in the middle?  One of the monster dump trucks.

I am not sure if this old dump truck bed is the same size as the ones that are operational, 
it wasn't till I looked back that I realized what it was!

 Near the overlook, we stopped for these two shots of the large tire used by the dump trucks


We made it easily to the very top where some more mining structures are located.  We elected not to check out these structures, since I wanted to get closer pictures of the huge mining dump trucks that kept cruising back and forth from the open pit mine area.

I positioned Natasha and Patrick on the median area between the two wide dirt roads used by the dump trucks and we waited.

Doesn't look that big, does it?

OK, it's looking a bit bigger now

yeah, that's a big dump truck!

I don't think there's much that is going to contest this truck's right of way!

Here's a shot of a different dump truck, with a full load of ore/rock

Quite impressive, these dump trucks!  It was now close to 1:30 PM and time for Patrick and I to head on home as we had at least 2.5 hrs of riding to do.  I retraced my route back to Woodland Park where we hit some kind of rush hour.  Took us a good 20 minutes of stop and go riding to get to the other side of town and some clear highway!

We got back down to Colorado Springs and got back onto the I-25 Slab heading northbound.  We were lightly rained on at this point but it was no big deal, it felt quite refreshing actually.  Soon there appeared the exit for the Interquest Parkway and just in time as traffic was bunching up on the slab.

We motored onto the parkway and soon it became northbound CO83, with about 30 miles or so to go to the town of Parker.  The riding was in light traffic and without incident.  I think Patrick managed to get in a short nap or two along this portion of the riding as well!  I tanked up at Franktown and we were home shortly before 5:00PM.

Almost 250 miles of riding or so, with about 7 hours or so in the saddle.  Patrick and I had a great time riding together I might add, what a fun day.


cpa3485 said...

How great that your son went with you. Looks like a very interesting ride.

motoroz said...

I was in Cripple Creek July 22-23 as part of our motorcycle trip to Yellowstone. Did not make it to Victor (this time). That is a great area. Don't you love it when your son can go with you. Mine is 13 and he rides with me and I love it.