Sunday, June 01, 2014

Uraling Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

It was the last day of May and Trail Ridge Road had been declared open for the 2014 season, it was time to ride with Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig and introduce her to the views of the Rocky Mountain National Park's (RMNP) mountain peaks.

I left the house shortly after 6:30 AM  and elected to slab it towards the RMNP.  There was however, heavy fog along the I-25 corridor, from I-170 to just north of Longmont, CO.  Visibility was crap and all I kept remembering is past news reports of massive car pileups in similar foggy conditions.

Finally breaking out of the fog, it was clear sailing to Lyons via Colorado State Rd 66.

Unlike the last time I was up by Lyons, US36 had active construction work going on, with signs warning of up to an hour delay.  I saw that the recommended detour from Lyons was to take Colorado State Rd 7, through Allenspark, and that's what Scarlett and I decided to do.

The weather over the RMNP turned out to be clear skies, sunny and temperatures in the low 60' was perfect timing on our part.  Weather would close in as I finished riding Trail Ridge Road and returned towards Estes Park.

 Near Allenspark, a nice view of Mount Meeker

 Long Peak Overlook, with a closer view of the peak below

 A view of the valley one transits before ascending onto Trail Ridge Road
Everything you see, I believe is part of the RMNP

 Mountain Peak views one can enjoy while riding Trail Ridge Road

 The coldest reading on Scarlett's onboard thermometer would be 44°F but
I was quite comfortable with just my windproof liner under my riding jacket.

Snippets of Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park

 Final views of mountain peaks as I exited the park via the Beaver Meadows Station
As you can see, clouds and rain had moved in, but it wasn't bad at all.

Heading south of Estes Park and the RMNP, the weather once again turned sunny and clear and I was able to cruise on CO 72 to my usual stop:

Saint Malo Church.

Last year's massive floods had caused quite a bit of earth damage and erosion near the base of the small hill that the church was built on.  Still, there were folks visiting the church so I guess it wasn't damaged or has been repaired enough to be safe for folks to visit.

I chose US36 southbound out of Lyons and took it to the junction with CO 119 which took me east towards the I-25 Slab.  Temperatures soared from the 40's in the RMNP's Trail Ridge Road to low to mid-80s in the Denver Metro area.  Quite the temperature differential, wouldn't you say?

There were the usual slowdowns due to too many cars in the stretch between 144th and 84th Streets, but it wasn't too bad.  I made it home in just shy of four hours due to the traffic with no incidents or close calls.  

Scarlett did great!  Her EFI allowed her to idle smoothly from 5000 feet all the way to 11, 796 feet at the RMNP's Alpine Visitor Center.  Surprising even me, she got 71.9 kilometers per gallon on the way down from the mountains!  That's 42 MPG for you non-metric types, unheard of for a URAL sidecar rig!


Richard M said...

Gorgeous roads through the park. I've only been there a handful of times but have never done much exploration. Thanks for th photos!

terry said...

stunning photography and the video was inspiring. Scarlet made the scenery even more epic. Thanks for sharing your ride. xo

terry said...

stunning photography and the video was inspiring. Scarlet made the scenery even more epic. Thanks for sharing your ride. xo

Susan Black said...

Hi 'charlie6, I love your photos and adventure stories. Scarlet sounds like a sweetie.

Best wishes, Susan

SonjaM said...

Oh my, gorgeous! Looking at these pics I am sure you would also love the Triglav National Park in Slovenia (I am going to post some pics soon). And despite being rather close to Russia, compared to you, I haven't seen one Ural hack on our trip.

Trobairitz said...

Beautiful photos Dom, as always.

Sure glad the weather cleared up and the fog broke - much better for photos. And your MPG was great!!

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, you're welcome, its easy to photograph such magnificence.

Terry, thanks to you as well.

Susan, glad you liked them, Scarlett has been a good girl so far.

SonjaM, thanks for the kind words, looking forward to seeing the mountains of Slovenia. As to not seeing URALs, they were the poor person's version of a truck/car so not sure how they're doing within Russia these days.

Trobairitz, thanks very much. As to the MPG, it's unheard of!