Saturday, June 11, 2011

Late Spring, 2011, on Mount Evans

A pretty warm day forecast today for us here in the Denver Metro Area with a fair chance for thunderstorms in the afternoon.  This weather guess had me rolling out of my neighborhood just before 9:00AM on Vikki, my Suzuki V-Strom Sidecar Rig enroute to the top of the nation's highest paved road: CO2 or the Mount Evans Road.

I took the super slabs all the way there as I wanted to make some time and I had a tug that could handle 70+ mph all day with no seeming effort.  I am also "oncall" for work so I could not take too much time in areas where I had no phone coverage.  A fellow worker was "covering for me" but I didn't want to take too long regardless.

Right at two hours, I was pulling up to the entrance toll booth for the Mount Evans Road.  I was told that it was a "free day" where all vehicles could go up with no charge and two, there were high winds past Summit Lake and that I shouldn't go past that on a motorcycle.  I assured the ranger that I heard him and motored on up.

Its fifteen miles to the top of the mountain and you clear the tree lines at about mile 6 if I recall correctly.  Once you're clear of the trees, the views of the nearby peaks can sometimes take your breath away.

It was very hazy even in the mountains today so the pictures are not as far ranging at times as I'd like but it was still a beautiful day to be on the mountain, on one's motorcycle.

The only things to be wary of were not getting too close to the unguarded edge of the road hugging the mountainside; and the seemingly scared cagers who in their fear of the edge would hug and sometimes stray over the centerline of the narrow road.

 Vikki at the top of Mount Evans

 The parking lot on top of Mount Evans, you can see the dome of the observatory 

 Now heading down, this shot gives you an idea of how hazy things were today in Colorado

 I stopped at almost every spot where there was enough room for Vikki to be stopped safely, sometimes there wasn't much of a view to pose her by, sometimes I got lucky

 Last time I was here, I was riding with Ken Phenix and we had low cloud cover causing vehicles
to seemingly dissapear into fog banks

 I liked the way the haze and light caused the varied shades of blue I could see as
Vikki and I descended down the mountain

 Fast moving clouds painted the sides of the mountainsides surrounding Summit Lake
At this point, one is about five miles from the top

One last stop to pose Vikki against a wide range of far away mountain peaks.

It was a good day to be in the mountains, not too cold on top, perhaps in the 30s with mild to medium winds at best.  I was glad the ranger's warnings about high winds turned out to be off.  Not so much about the sidecar rig being able to deal with it, but more about being pushed around by the wind while trying to take pictures!

Pano shot of first hairpin turn from top of Mount Evans


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I must say you are displaying a good deal of confidence in providence as you are parking the hack rig right close to the edge of destiny in some of these pictures.

Despite the loss of power in the hack wheel, have you discoved a noticeable lack of drag to the right on this rig? Is it strictly a power thing, or do you think the overall balance of the bike is vastly superior too? And what ove the mounting mechanism between the sidecar and the motorcycle? Is this desind more Flexible, or stonger?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep
Twisted Roads

Gary France said...

Every time I see pictures of your bike(s) on Mount Evans, I am in awe of what a stunning place it is. This latest set of pictures are terrific and I especially like the fifth picture, the one looking down on Vikki – it looks like the bike is right on the edge, in danger of going over.

I laughed when I read that you said you heard the ranger you had heard him and then I saw pictures from the top of the mountain – you didn’t take his advice then!

redlegsrides said...

Jack, I'll admit the edge is a bit close at times but I don't's all good, so far.

Now to your questions: There's actually more of a drag to the right with this rig as I now lack the "driven" sidecar wheel provided by the model of Ural I had. I'd been spoiled before. Now I deal with the yaw forces all sidecarists deal with.

The mounting mechanism is very well designed and beefy looking. So far so good, we'll see how it does in the long run. The ural design was bulkier but with poorer metallurgy in my opinion. The Dauntless sidecar is designed to fit many types motorcycles, the Ural tub is designed for Ural tugs, making it fit other motorcycles requires "some modification".

redlegsrides said...

Gary, I am sure the ranger meant well....the winds were mild to medium strong at best, no danger...heck there were bicyclists making their way to the reason for me not to go as well. : )

GF said...

Your bike looks really good and the scenery is just breathtaking, beautiful pictures. Colorado is really beautiful and you're lucky to live close to the Rockies, what a playground. Love the pano ;-)

SonjaM said...

Dom, spectacular pictures. I never get tired of revisiting this place, even if it is just virtually. But hey, maybe one day, I might actually see it 'live'.

Unknown said...


while we have many mountains here in British Columbia, we have few where the roads actually hang off the sides. Often times you cannot get near the edge to see the views and our summits are just long uphills nestled between the trees. You are lucky to have switchbacks and dramatic mountain views so close .

Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Wow, more beautiful shots. I especially like the pano shot. One of these days....

redlegsrides said...

GeorgeF, thanks for the kind words, and yes, it's great being so close to the mountains...sometimes I wish I was closer though.

SonjaM, all you gotta do is schedule all these business trips to include a day layover in Denver....the R80 is standing by.

Bobskoot, you do have to get past the treeline here to get to the good views.....thanks for commenting. No hairpin turns in the mountain roads in BC?

RichardM: what I told SonjaM, applies to you as well as you jet about the country. As to Bobskoot, he's just going to have to ride down here I guess since work does not have him flying around.