Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Ride to Lookout Mountain and Red Rocks Park

A gloriously sunny day here in the Denver Metro Area where we continue to deal with the heavy snowfall that blanketed the area a couple of days ago.

My Cul-de-Sac, which I "tilt-shifted" using an online app,
trying to make my neighborhood look like a toy model

 The birds roosting in the tree behind my house reminded
me of a Christmas Tree with the birds as decorations.

Closeup view of one of the birds....weathering the 23°F cold

The neighborhood streets are still snow-covered and slick to negotiate but I rode out easily on Yoshie, my V-Strom/Dauntless Sidecar Rig to run an errand and see what I could see....

I headed west through Denver using I-25 to US6 and made it to Golden with no issues and in good time.  The highways were nice and dry by the way so getting to the west side of town did not involve "adventure".

Once in Golden's outskirts, I took the turn to get on Lookout Mountain Road and started riding up this twisty and steep road towards the top of the mountain.  There were many stretches of ice-covered road and despite the liberally strewn sand and gravel, no place for a two-wheeled motorcycle!

 More tilt-shifted images:  Above is the city of Golden, with the Coors
Brewery holding the state between the two mesas.

 Golden neighborhood at the foot of the Lookout Mountain

South Table Mountain

I made my way to the top of Lookout Mountain with no issues to speak of, lots of ice and loose snow but nothing Yoshie couldn't handle with her pusher snow tire.

Descending from Lookout Mountain, I turned back eastward on US40 heading towards the town of Morrison, with a final destination of Red Rocks Park.

Red Rocks Park was pretty with its own snow cover.  The roads through the park were pretty clear mostly and there were several cars moving about taking in the sights as I was.

 Creation Rock, this shot would end up costing me a lot of energy and effort.

After taking the above shot, I thought I'd exit the snow-covered parking lot by following ruts that had been created by cars before me.  It was shorter to try and exit by the entrance near Creation Rock than to turn the rig around I thought.  Yep, there I go, thinking again.

I made it to within perhaps 200 feet of the entrance and then got bogged down in some deep snow.  There followed first several attempts to make it out the desired entrance and failing.  Then I got Yoshie turned around since going back the way I came was somewhat downhill vice the uphill way I was previously attempting.

The going was slow and hard, I would gain a few feet then get bogged down.  Then there would be more digging her out, pulling her out  of the deep snow that the sidecar kept dragging me into, then gain a few more feet.

Repeat the above, many, many, many times..... 

Over an hour and a half later, I was getting close to where the snow was not so deep.  I had made a couple of good long runs but the last one ended with me in some deep stuff that took a while for me to dig the rig out of by myself.  Of course, none of the cagers cruising by stopped to offer assistance.  In a way though, that was good as I wanted to "self-recover".  

Finally, got Yoshie dug out for the final time, aimed the right way through some pulling and pushing and gunned the engine.  Some initial spinning and then the motorcycling gods finally took pity on me and allowed Yoshie to gain enough traction to build enough momentum for me to force my way through the snow and reach the other parking lot entrance and clear roads!  Yay.  

A couple of families who had parked nearby as I went for the final push had offered to help but I declined.  They all cheered as Yoshie and I motored out of the deep snow....a very satisfying feeling I might add.

Just to give you and idea of the conditions Yoshie and I dealt with....

I drove along the road next to the snow-covered parking lot and parked Yoshie to retrieve all my riding gear I'd shed in the efforts to dig her out.  You can build up a lot of heat, I am here to tell you, when wresting a 900+ lbs rig out of deep snow.

I made my way out of Red Rocks Park, too tired now for more pictures and not wanting to get stuck again while doing so.  Made my way homewards, ran my errand, and got home shortly after 1:00PM.  Washed Yoshie down to get rid of all the magnesium chloride that the city coats the streets with; the pavement was wet with melting snow you see and Yoshie was covered in this stuff and the dirt I dug up at Red Rocks.

So, a great ride, a little bit of adventure, a chance to try rig-recovery techniques, some lessons learned and a few pictures.  

One final picture for you, my readers, courtesy of Photoshop to be sure but still, with heartfelt wishes from the Chang family.   


Richard Machida said...

Nice tilt-shift effect on the Coors brewery image and beautiful outdoor photos. I don't think I've ever spent much time in Colorado in the winter.

What did you need PS for in the last photo? Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Martha said...

Hey Richard, he needed PS for that last photo because Santa passes through well past Dom's bedtime! :)
Looks like it was a fun ride...glad the Things and I were safe at home while you played in the snow.

spat said...

Dom last new years Day I missed you at Red Rock, today again our paths cross without meeting. If you would have gotten a new Ural with 2WD I figure you would have gotten stuck in deeper snow with that. Sorry I wasn't there to help you out.
Have a Merry Christmas my friend

Circle Blue said...

As I was reading the post of your getting stuck I kept thinking: "I bet he was missing the two-wheel drive and reverse on the Ural." But, then I read Spat's comment about how you'd probably just got stuck in deeper snow and that sounded right.

Merry Christmas to all the Changs!

Richard Machida said...

Just like 4WD is for getting stuck 25 feet further down the road...

Steve Williams said...

Those places look familiar. You are ranging far and wide in the snow. Can't imagine the effort it would take to push the rig through the snow. Bet you wished you had the extra driven wheel on a new URAL!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

WhereThe HellisMurph said...

Hey Dom,nice going,great tilt-shift stuff.It's a fun app.
You've just reaffirmed me spending the money on getting 2wd for my new sidecar outfit next year in Holland,not cheap for my Beemer,but when you need it........well,you know.I'll need it where i'm going.

Merry Christmas to you all there,


Charlie6 said...

Richardm....thanks, I liked the way they turned out.

Spat...I could sure have used your help! Still, being able to self-recover is a good thing!

Circleblue-Keith, yep awd just gets you further into the deep stuff before getting stuck....I still miss the 2wd and reverse gear on my old Ural though you can remember from the elephant ride, once things get deep enough...nothing helps. :)

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Charlie6 said...

Steve, just saw your comment to this posting, sorry for the delay publishing it. Yes, I do miss the driven wheel on the Ural rig but it would have just gotten me further along before getting stuck! : )

Hope your Christmas went great...


Anthony Peterson PE said...

I love the ride up Lookout Mountain, although I usually take the car. It would be fund to take the winding road on a motorcycle but the crazy people are the ones on bicycles. That is one steep climb.