Monday, August 25, 2014

Uraling to near the Top of Rollins Pass (Eastern Route)

Yesterday was a great day to be Uraling here in the great state of Colorado, sunny skies, mild temperatures and good riding companions.

Back in June of 2010, a group of Uralisti had tried to ride up to the top of Rollins Pass, using the eastern route; we didn't quite make it all the way.  The pass is divided into two sections because the narrow railroad tunnel at the top, known as Eye of the Needle, had been closed so you can't really ride a Ural sidecar rig or car through.

Three Uralisti, including yours truly would attempt this same route once again.  I met Dan K. and Scott M. at the Last Shot Diner near Blackhawk, CO and after some chit chat we headed off towards Rollinsville and Rollins Pass Road.

We made good time and soon we were motoring our way up Rollins Pass Road.  We weren't the only ones on the road today, there were 4x4 trucks, mountain bikers, hikers and even cars that really didn't have the ground clearance.  I wonder how many of them would go home with new dents?

Rollins Pass road was as rocky as I remembered it, with some sections that threatened to shake my fillings in my teeth loose as well as cause parts to come off my 2014 URAL sidecar rig, Scarlett.  Some minor issues, both Scott and I had our respective rig's left muffler knocked loose by rocks.  No problem, but I think I should start packing heat resistant work gloves to hold the hot tubing in place in order to bang it back on.

There were many steep sections as well but not very steep as this road was once a railbed for a narrow gauge train which went over Rollins Pass.  Still, there were some sections that had us all wondering what we were thinking at times!

 At Yankee Doodle Lake
Quite a scenic location

 You can see the western end of the Eye of the Needle 
tunnel way up there on top of the mountain

 The furthest point motorized traffic can go, its at least 
another 15 minutes of walking to get to the eastern end of the
Eye of the Needle tunnel.

source: googlemaps
Red Arrow #1 points to tunnel entrance visible from Yankee Doodle Lake
Green Arrow #2 points to tunnel entrance visible from furthest motorable point
which is indicated by the blue arrow #3

 Jenny Lake, a view while standing on the other side of the 
obstructing rocks.

 As you can see, quite the walk to get to the tunnel and you can't
get in anyways.  Below you can just make out the 8ft tall barriers
just inside the entrance to the tunnel.

source wikipedia
pic of inside of Eye of the Needle tunnel circa 2006

 Panos on the way down

 Pano of Yankee Doodle Lake

 Nearing the valley where the small settlement of Tolland is located.

 You can see the eastern entrance to the Moffat Tunnel 
in the distance.

Looking west at the Continental Divide.
Three rigs went up, three rigs returned.

Tired and famished, we rode back to the Last Shot Diner near Black Hawk and had us a late lunch, good timing on our part too, as a large group of Harley-Davidsons (mostly) were leaving at same time that we arrive.

A good day of riding once again, finally checking off the eastern portion of Rollins Pass Road from the "to do" list.  Got my left muffler knocked loose once on the way up and once on the way down, other than that no issues with Scarlett besides having to re-glue the heated grip on the throttle hand side.


VStar Lady said...

Three up, three down ... that's an excellent record!

Trobairitz said...

That looks like a really fun road with beautiful views.

Gorgeous pictures of Yankee Doodle Lake.

Anonymous said...

Was a good day for a ride with good company. Cheers. Dan K.

Richard M said...

Really nice shot of the lake. i like the landscape at higher elevations. The entrance to that tunnel looks like an landslide waiting to happen...

SonjaM said...

Breathtaking vistas, Dom. Thanks for the panos. You know well how much I love those ;-)

The hacks did well, obviously. But did you expect otherwise from a 2014 model?

Charlie6 said...

VStar Lady, we never leave anyone behind! :)

Trobairitz, I'm not sure I'd call it fun....rock strewn, full of holes, bone-jarring, muffler-denting...sure....its fun now that we're off it. :)

It was good riding with you Dan K!

Thanks RichardM, my present camera does tend to do Panos very well. The tunnel actually has caused injuries/deaths so has been shut down.

Thanks SonjaM, my panos pale compared to your panos however. As to the 2014 performance, she did great but as always with a first year model....everyone is wondering.

spat said...

It looks like an excellent day and even better ride. I have been wanting to finsh Rollins 2 or 3 wheels. Sorry I missed it, I don't keep track of FB any longer so drop an e-mail.

Charlie6 said...

Spat, I'll try and remember to drop an email to you next time.....

Cliff W said...

Excellent ride and your photos are fantastic as usual.
There is a tunnel in Tasmania that I used to frequently ride through on a trail bike years ago that serviced a mine. I will be there in about 2 month and will get some shots.


Charlie6 said...

Thank you for your kind words Cliff W aka Coyote.....

Steve Williams said...

For some reason the first reaction I had after reading this post was, "I can't believe URALING has become a verb.". My mind doesn't often function the way it should.

But then I read the piece and looked at the pictures and kind of salivated at the riding landscape and the lovely URALs.

While I'm still not ready for the sidecar world they are growing on me. A little. Maybe...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Charlie6 said...

Steve, think of Uraling as my contribution to the American lexicon.....come on over to te sidecar side, the water and trails are fine....

Paul Stone said...

Awesome ride for the 3 amigos/uralistas ! Glad to see Scott's paw healed enough to ride .