Sunday, March 20, 2011

Riding into Spring with Vikki

Ah, the first official day of Spring here in the great state of Colorado and I was riding Vikki, my 2007 Suzuki V-Strom into the mountains.  The weather was sunny and forecasted warm in the Denver Metro area, it would be a bit overcast and colder up at Loveland Pass, today's destination.

I at first rode along the standard non-fast route into the mountains, then quickly realized something: I was riding a motorcycle which could go fast!  I got on the I-25 slab and motored north at a good rate of speed, Vikki just humming along with no seeming effort, and then we headed west on US-6 to its eventual intersection with westbound I-70.

The winds were pretty fierce as they rushed out of the canyon walls formed by the I-70 super slab.  I got off the highway quick and continued on US40, hugging the northern walls of the hills which border the I-70 highway.  I got all the way to Buffalo Overlook and stopped Vikki at the usual spot where I see the snow-clad peaks of the Rocky Mountains for the first time:

The winds continued to be pretty strong, making things "unsettling" at times while I rode along.  So I got off the El Rancho exit, tanked up and then continued on US40 from there.  I enjoyed relatively solitude on this two lane road which parallels the hectic pace of nearby I-70, past Floyd Hill and rejoined it three miles east of Idaho Springs.

The winds had steadied down to constant speeds by this point thankfully, so I was able to make good speed on the superslab as I continued westbound towards the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Continental Divide.  As I emerged out the western end of the tunnel, I saw snow-capped peaks filling the horizon and it finalized my decision to ride towards the town of Dillon for photos.

I got off at the Silverthorne exit and headed north on CO9 for a few miles in order to find a nice spot to pose Vikki at with a couple of mountain formations one can see from I-70.

 Vikki poses by someone's driveway entrance on CO9

 Panoramic view of the far of Eccle's Peak and Mount Silverthorne
(I think)

Mount Silverthorne?

I then headed south on CO9 past the small downtown area of Silverthorne towards Dillon Reservoir.  I was looking for the spot where I'd photographed Brigitta last year:  LINK.  I found and rode along the Dillon Dam Road, the folks downstream of this dam before hope it never breaks, they'll be completely swept away by the huge amount of water held in check by the dam.

I rode into a spot called the Dillon Marina I believe, which provided these nice views of the frozen-over reservoir and bordering mountain peaks.

Motoring onwards, the road lead me back near the I-70 Slab and Dillon itself.  I spotted the sign for Swan Mountain Rd and knew it would lead me to the spot I wanted.

Panoramic view of Dillon Reservoir
Click HERE for a pic of the same spot in June 2010

The photo objective for Dillon achieved, I continued east on US6 away from Dillon and soon was climbing rapidly upwards towards Loveland Pass.  The roads were fine, wet in spots which were easily avoided but not much room on the shoulders for motorcycles to safely stop.

I got up to the pass with no issues and here's some of the views from there today.   You'll note the heavily overcast skies; things were quite "brisk" at the pass.  I did not linger there very long.

 The mountain views to the north of Loveland Pass

The ride down the pass was dry and smooth as well.  I was soon motoring eastward now on I-70, Vikki once again in her element, her overdrive sixth gear smoothly rolling up the miles back Denver.

I'd gotten quite cold up at Loveland Pass but I could feel the degrees climbing steadily as we plunged downwards in altitude.  The sun came out from the mountains as well and it felt good on these old bones of mine.

I got home shortly after 2PM, perhaps 200 miles and about 4.5 hrs in the saddle today.  The new topcase did fine and came in quite in handy when I had to shed layers once it got too warm for me in the city.

A good way to greet Spring here in the Rockies, hope you got a ride in today.


Andrew said...

Good stuff! Hope you enjoy the new DL - just picked up one myself. First ride report here:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

What a great ride report and good adventure for you and your V-Strom. A few more rides like this one and I can see you abandoning the sidecar idea. There is nothing like discovering your bike likes to go fast.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

RichardM said...

Nice RR. As usual, I especially like the shots of the snow covered mountains. I guess I differ from Jack as I think that fast is over rated....


George F said...

Nice RR and pics as usual. Silverthorne looks a little different from when I was there last July. I did exactly the same got off in Silverthorne and followed 9 north then into 40 all the way to Salt Lake City. Here's my report:

SonjaM said...

What was that white stuff again?
Sounds like you had a blast on Vikki. She looks mighty pretty 'solo'. Are you sure you want to attach her to a sidecar?

bobskoot said...


Nice mountain shots. We're getting to recognize the backgrounds, perhaps one day we will be able to see those mountains with our own eyes. Like RichardM, I like ths lower pace. It is easier to stop for photos than going fast and having to turn around all the time.

You are bonding with Vikki very well

Riding the Wet Coast

Chris Luhman said...

Nice photos. It is easy to want to 'go fast' after riding the ural for a while :)

The views near i70 look familiar. I came through there on my way home in 2009. I think 2011 may be the year i get back to those great mountain views.