Saturday, October 16, 2010

Loveland Pass, before the first major snow storm

We here in the Denver Metro area enjoyed a beautifully sunny and cool day today, with temperatures barely reaching the mid to upper 60s and a low of 40°F for me on the summit of Loveland Pass.

I had decided today to take pictures of the scenery of Loveland Pass before Mother Nature hit us with the first snow storm of the season.  We usually get the first one during the third week in October so this was the weekend to do it if on two wheels!  This is not to say that the pass is covered with snow all winter long, far from it, but sometimes it's better to be on three wheels when at that altitude.

I rode out of town using US285, I was riding Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer and the air was crisply brisk as we motored along the highways to Morrison where I filled up her tank.  Then it was the twisty curves and turns on Bear Creek Canyon Rd, through the towns of Idledale, Kittredge and Evergreen.  I was a bit pressed for time today so I took CO74 up through Bergen Park and settled onto westbound I-70 for another 30 minutes or so before I got to US6 and the east entrance to Loveland Pass.

I am happy to report the roads were nice and dry, no sand to speak off in the curves and traffic was pretty light.  By 11:00 AM I was nearing the summit of Loveland Pass and paused at my usual spot for a shot of the lightly snow-covered mountain tops visible from the road:

Sitting at the first big hairpin turn as one climbs up from I-70 towards the summit

That's a brief view of I-70, way down there...

Brigitta at the last big curve before one arrives at the summit

I reached the summit soon after the above shot and parked Brigitta near the summit sign for the requisite shot of one's motorcycle by the sign:

Loveland Pass, OCT 2010

I walked on over to the small hill on the south side of the road and took this panoramic shot of the view from the top of the summit, overlooking the west side of the pass.

Panoramic view to the west from the summit of Loveland Pass
(warning: big file)

I got back on Brigitta and motored across the Continental Divide and made my way down the road for perhaps a half mile or more.  I wanted to get a better shot of the mountains the the background of the above panoramic shot you see.

A somewhat closer view of the mountaintops to the west of Loveland Pass

I elected not to continue on US6 which eventually takes one to Dillon, CO.  Instead I raced back towards the summit and made my way down the curvy road back towards I-70, getting on it heading eastbound now towards Denver.

On a whim, I took the Bakerville exit which is shortly after one gets on I-70 from Loveland Pass.  Not much there except a small parking lot and a very tempting dirt trail with a sign:  Grays Peak.  I wandered up the trail for a little bit but soon had to turn back due to ice and snow.  I'll have to return with the Ural soon and see what there is to see!

There was a frontage road from the trailhead to Grays Peak so I rode parallel to I-70 until I got to Silver Plume.  Here I decided to stop and get one more "color" shot depicting the aspen leaves as they continue to change into their Fall colors.

Aspen Trees near Silver Plume, CO

The Georgetown Loop Railroad Station at Silver Plume

From Silver Plume, I basically stayed on the I-70 Super Slab in order to make good time back to the house.  Not much to report, Brigitta did great and struggled not one bit to not only keep up with the fast moving traffic but at times passing the slow vehicles with alacrity.

I was home by 1:00 PM and errands had to be done, electronics exchanged (bad cable modem) and installing a new HD DVR as the previous one had given up the ghost.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures I took, there's precious little time left if you wish to ride your motorcycle up to Loveland Pass!  It's the time of the year when it pays to check road conditions on before heading into the mountains!

Bonus: Here's a link to Steve Farson's video of his ride up Loveland Pass, same day I was there:  LINK


RichardM said...

Beautiful photos and, as always, I especially like the panorama. They seem to show the scale of the Rockies.


Gary France said...

Great post and pictures. Riding that high up in cold weather must be great fun if you are well prepared for it, as I know you are. I loved the summit photos. I see the Aspens have really turned now. If we had more bad weather in the UK, I might have needed a Ural....

irondad said...

Just offering greetings. Been out of contact for a while. Glad to see you're still having fun.

By the way, I clicked on the link, too!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dom:

This comment also appears on the Examiner site, WHICH YOU GET PAID FOR. I realize I may be the least credentialed rider you know, but I can certainly follow instructions. Then again, I am a BMW K75 rider.

Dear Mr. Chang:

Once again, you are leading in the "Most Beautiful Pictures Taken On A Regular Basis" category for motorcycle rides. I especially enjoyed the panorama, which took a non-second to download on my Mac, and the shot of the Georgetown Loop train station.

Why has the Georgetown Loop train station not figured more prominently in your prior pieces. Next to naked women, I like trains best. I would appreciate a special story, dedicated to other stops along this narrow gauge line. There is no rush. Tomorrow wll be fine.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, thanks for the continued kind words....that pano shot really did come out pretty good didn't it?

Gary F: Urals are great in rain as well...I hear you get a bit of that back in Old Blightly. : )

Irondad...good to hear from you again.....thanks for the visit and the click!

Jack: to paraphrase the pharaoh in the movie Moses....So it has been written, so let it be done....I believe I can accomodate your wishes though lining up a trainful of naked women might be a bit beyond my capabilities. You may have to settle for pics of trains+tracks....I actually spotted a good spot to snap a shot of the loop which is seemingly suspended in air....

Brady said...

Nice ride, nice bike, nice scenery. Looking good, what have you got there, a /6? I'm not good at calling old BMW models, but I love the style, really good stuff. One of these days, I'm going to get me one.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Brady for your comment, it's an R80, made after the /7 series was discontinued.

BMW quit using the / designation a bit before Brigitta was manufactured.

Charlie6 said...

All, a fellow rounder shot video of his riding up Loveland Pass, same day I was there.....I posted the link into the posting.