Sunday, October 21, 2012

Loveland Pass and another try at Jones Pass

A heartbreakingly beautiful day here in the great state of Colorado yesterday.  The forecasted high was 72°F and sunny skies, there was no excuse not to go riding!

Buffalo Herd Overlook

I left the house shortly after 9:05AM and about two hours later, I had taken the usual highways and roads up into the mountains along the I-70 corridor, heading for the Continental Divide and US6, also known as Loveland Pass.  This is the route that hazmat cargo trucks must take to cross over the Continental Divide instead of staying on I-70 and crossing the divide using the Eisenhower Tunnel.

The temperature was a bit cool at altitude, but it would not get below 42°F the whole time I was up there.  The roads were dry and clear of snow, and I made good time up Loveland Pass Road.

 At the first big hairpin turn, heading west on Loveland Pass Road.
As you can see, not much show on the mountain sides.

 Above and below, near the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort.
Today was opening day for the 2012 Ski Season for this facility.

 The peaks one can admire while cruising up and down Loveland Pass

 Approaching the summit of Loveland Pass

 The requisite picture of one's motorcycle by the summit sign above
and below, the view from near the summit sign.

 Icy reflections of the mountainside in a small alpine lake near the summit.

 Above and below, overlooking the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort

I retraced my route back towards I-70, this time heading eastbound towards the US40 Junction, I wanted to take another shot at reaching the summit of Jones Pass, snow and slippery conditions had stopped me after meager progress last weekend; it was time to see how far I could get this time around.

I reached the parking lot where Jones Pass Road begins, and saw a group of four on quad ATVs heading out.  I caught up with them pretty quickly and had to stop and let them get ahead for a bit.  The going was a bit tougher than last week, if you can believe it.  The melting snow had caused slippery mud conditions and I had to engage 2WD way sooner than last time!

 As you can see, a clear sunny day, and most of the snow is gone

 This was the furthest point I reached last weekend while the road
was snow-covered and the snow was falling.  

 The road's slippery conditions where mud and snow made life interesting, caused
me to stop several times where I could find a flat spot to let 
the clutch mechanism cool down.

 A bit below my furthest point of climb, you can see the Henderson Mine
down below, that's where Jones Pass Road begins, way down there.

The top of the next rise, is the furthest I got with Valencia.  
It was also there that the group of ATVs had become stopped by the snow levels
so I didn't feel too bad about quitting at the same point.

Valencia and I rode down with no issues, occasionally switching into 2WD to get me past the slippery/snowy points in the shadow of the trees alongside the road.

I rode safely into the parking lot, waved at the ATV riders who were tying down their vehicles onto trailers and was soon heading eastbound again on I-70.  I elected to stay on I-70 for most of the way back to the Denver Metro Area, as it was downhill and Valencia could hold an indicated 60 MPH with no issues.

About 300 Kilometers (180 miles) and eight hours in the saddle later, I made it home around 5:00PM, quite the day in the office huh?

Hope you got a ride in, the snow comes soon to the rest of Colorado, and I for one, am eagerly expecting it.


SonjaM said...

You are taking Valencia up there only because you like the contrast of her against the scenery so much, right?

You are really looking forward to the white stuff, eh?

Bluekat said...

Yep, you are definitely ready for snow! Great photos as always.

We had some snowfall in our mountains this weekend. First for the season and not that much of it, but it's here.

RichardM said...

Why does the clutch heat up? Does it need to be slipped a lot even when in 1st gear?

redlegsrides said...

I have one word for you and Ron: sidecar

redlegsrides said...

Well, first gear is not very you run up the steep inclines in first gear, rpms high, throttle down for the hairpins and you have to slip the clutch to regain momentum .... This behavior heats up clutch to point where it no longer engages and you have no forward motion. Gets to the point you have to stop for about ten minutes at each hairpin turn.....

bski28 said...

Great Pictures....

redlegsrides said...

Hi SonjaM, sorry, having issues with my spam filters......thanks for your comment, and yeah, she does contrast nicely doesn't she?

redlegsrides said...

bski28, thanks very much

Uralitrider said...

Wonder for pix showing your trips.

Seeing a URAL at those locations is a real charmer for those wanting a Ural but are waiting for what, I do not know.

Very well done & thanks for sharing