Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Royal Gorge Bridge

This Saturday, the plan had been to ride down to Cañon City and shoot some more video riding up and down Skyline Drive.  It took Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, fighting a strong quartering/headwind all the way, about 2.5 hrs from my home to the town of Cañon City.  I know it was a headwind because I was having trouble holding 50 mph on the straightaways!

I took CO83, Aka Parker Road south all the way to Colorado Springs, transiting this metropolis by way of the I-25 Slab to the junction of CO115 which takes one eventually to the small town of Penrose and the junction with US50.

Cañon City lies just a few miles from Penrose and by 11:00AM I had refueled, checked in with my loving wife and arrived at the start of Skyline Drive.  I got there only to find the gate locked!  No signs saying why and no one arrive to ask.  Dammit.

Thinking perhaps they'd open it in the afternoon, I motored onwards on US50 towards the Royal Gorge Bridge.  I've been here many times before, but never thought to spring for the $26 entrance fee.  Today, was the day.  

I paid and rode in, taking a few minutes to setup the GoPro and the tripod on top of Valencia's spare tire.  The video is at the end of this posting, apologies for the slightly out of focus effect.  I'm not sure what is wrong, and I must wait till tomorrow for bright daylight to see what kind of video quality is being produced.

I'm suspecting the fall from the rig last weekend might have caused it damage.  Oh well.

Here's some pictures I took throughout my wandering about the Royal Gorge Bridge complex.  Quite the tourist attraction/trap.  The bridge is on the National Register of Historical Sites and is open to vehicle traffic as well as you can see.

 If you don't want to pay, you can take pics of the bridge
from overlooks located in the site's parking lot

 A little bit of information about the Royal Gorge

 A view of the bridge as one starts out on it from the main site of the attraction.

 Looking back towards the main portion of the site.

 A closer view of the eastern end of the bridge.

 A view of the western side of the bridge.

 A shot of the entire bridge, from the overlook located on the 
western side of the bridge.  That's the Arkansas River down there.

 The Royal Gorge is spanned by an aerial tramway.  It's part of 
the entrance fee, if you decide to go in.

 A view of the Arkansas River, from the middle of the bridge.

 The Royal Gorge Bridge, showing its position above
the gorge and the Arkansas River

 As I was riding the aerial tram, the Royal Gorge Train was 
riding by underneath us, alongside the river.  You take the train from Cañon 
City and it shows you the view from the river.

 From the parking lot, you can see one of the trains that apparently used the bridge
before it became just a tourist attraction.

I left shortly after 1:00PM or so and by 1:35PM I was once again passing by the entrance to Skyline Drive.  The gate was still locked!  I wonder if its closed for the season?  Something to look into.

I proceeded through Cañon City, home of several of the major prisons that Colorado boasts, including the Supermax.  Arriving back at the junction of US50 and CO115, I stopped briefly at the closed down site of the "Apple Shed" to take a picture of the world's largest rocking chair:

The Apple Shed is sadly out of business, so that's as close as one can get to the rocking chair.  I proceeded northbound on CO115 and soon enough was cruising through Colorado Springs once again and retracing my route back onto CO83.  Except for a couple of tailgating asshole cagers, the ride back was uneventful.  Temperatures dropped as I approached the Denver Metro area, and it was in the mid 30s as I got home shortly after 4:00 PM.


Gary France said...

Great pictures Dom. Skyline Drive is a magnificent road, but your loss at it being closed was our gain, because we got to see what the Royal Gorge and its bridge was.

SonjaM said...

Gorgeous! What a nice treat, that bridge is pure eye candy, I love the shots from all the different angles. Thanks for this, Dom.

RichardM said...

I really enjoyed this post and the pictures are wonderful. I've always balked at the entry fee the few times I've been in the area...