Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Fall Colors on Independence Pass

Coming back from the Colorado National Monument this past Sunday, my route took me towards Aspen from the small town of Hotchkiss, CO where I had stayed overnight.

The weather was warm, the sun was out and the skies were partly other words perfect riding weather.  To top it all off, there was a brilliant amount of color in the forests of Colorado, what with the advent of Fall and all.  Tourists tend to flock to the mountains to see the Aspens change color and this weekend showed them in full color change mode!

 The motel I stayed at, was a bit rustic but homey and inexpensive.  
A bit of an unusual combination though, service station and motel.
Still, it beats camping!

I said my goodbyes to my fellow Uralisti who'd invited me to the rally, had a couple cups of coffee and a donut courtesy of the BMW Club of Western Colorado and I was on the road by 8:00AM, heading east on CO 133.

 Coming down from McClure Pass

 Did I mention the hillsides were bright with fall colors?

 Still on CO 133, the mountains spanned by McClure Pass
now behind me.  This road is part of  the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway.

 I liked the way the sun was shining through the leaves of these Aspen

 Sights on CO 133, while heading towards Carbondale
from Hotchkiss

After arriving at Carbondale, I turned south on CO 82 heading towards the ski resort of Aspen.  Once you get across this tourist trap of a town, you follow the signs for CO 82 and soon you're on Independence Pass Road.
 A view of the road I just rode over, looking in the direction of Aspen.
The pass summit is just a few miles from this point.

 The requisite picture of the pass with one's rig near it.
I did ride across McClure and Fremont Passes this day, just didn't stop 
for pictures as the scenery was "lacking" at those passes.

 Here's Yoshie sitting pretty at Twin Lakes, with the nearby 
mountains as backdrops with their patches of Fall Color
I believe that's either Quail Mountain or Mount Hope in the far background.

After pictures at Twin Lakes, I continued east until I got to the junction with US24.  Here I turned north and made for the I-70 super slab and the Copper Mountain Ski Resort.  On the way there though, I rode on part of the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, through Leadville, onto CO 91 and eventually to one of my favorite stopping points for picture taking, the Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir.

The rest of the ride home was just I-70 superslab riding.  Yoshie continued pulling strongly on the inclines and keeping up with the majority of the traffic with no issues, I am happy to report.  Got home after 765 miles or so of riding over the last two days, no mechanical issues or injuries, participated in my first small BMW rally, saw some great sights....a good weekend's worth of riding.

If you've a few minutes to kill, please take a look at the video I shot while riding up to and down from Independence Pass.  Long video (it was much longer before I edited it) but it shows the large extent of Fall Colors in evidence along the ride and surrounding mountain sides.


Utah Motorcyclist said...

I went on a long ride last Saturday through the Utah mountains. The colors this year seem to be more brilliant than ever.

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!


RichardM said...

That's a wonderful video. I've been on the road between Aspen and Independence Pass several times but always in rental cars. At the time, I thought it would be a great bicycle ride (both up and down). I like the bright, fall colors especially the photo with the sun shining through the aspen leaves.


Brady said...


I'm glad to hear your new chain hasn't exploded and destroyed your lovely machine. I would cry for you.

Also, I envy your position in the mountains. Living in Virginia provided us with a lot of difficulties, but I fell in love with the mountains. It took a while to get over the claustrophobia, but that first autumn blew me away.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

motoroz said...

I have only visited Colorado once during the fall and loved it. The photos are great. The aspens are so pretty.

Brady said...


Now that I'm living in Germany (and now in the mountains) I'm missing what I had out in Virginia. The boiling, flesh melting heat lets up in fall, and the colors change to welcome it. I loved riding through the Blue Ridge this time of year - I envy what you've got going on.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

SonjaM said...

Thanks for the ride, Dom. The pictures look crisp and fall is my favourite season of the year.
And kudos to Yoshie's performance. It looks like you have found your perfect new 'partner in crime'.

Chillertek said...

Simply amazing pics, loks like a fantastic ride.