Monday, March 23, 2015

Pikes Peak, twice in one day.

Yesterday, Sunday, it was time for Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol and I to ride to the nearby "church" of Our Lady of the Snow-Clad Mountains: Pikes Peak.

Before I left shortly after 9AM I called the Pikes Peak information line.  The recording from Saturday said the Pikes Peak road was open all the way to the summit!

So we headed on down to Colorado Springs, using the I-25 Super Slab, and yes, moving at URAL speed I was the slowest vehicle in the right lane.  I did manage to pass someone though, a nervous cager in the Colorado Springs portion before Cimmaron Road/US24 West.

I got to the toll both for the Pikes Peak Road and was disappointed to find out it was only 13 of the 19 miles that was cleared of snow and ice.  Well, I was there anyways, and elected to go on up for pictures.  Note to self, if in doubt, call AFTER 8:30 AM, according to the toll booth operator.

The dam at Crystal Reservoir

I was a bit bummed but my spirits were raised slightly when Mile Marker 13 came and went at Glen Cove and I actually reached close to Mile Marker 14, or what I call the Rock Pile from previous rides up the mountain.

 Between MM 13 and 14, is the Rock Pile, and here was a Park Ranger
truck making sure folks didn't sneak past and interfere with the
work of the snow clearing crews further up the mountain.

 Note the top of the mountain on the left portion of the 
picture, that's around MM 16 I was told and below I 
managed to capture a glimpse of the snow plow at work.

 Pano of the Rock Pile Area.

 A view of Colorado Springs from the Rock Pile

There was a bunch of us waiting, hoping for news that the road would be cleared further up since there were crews on the job.  So with some time to kill, I took the above and below pictures:

 On a clear day, you can see forever....

I went perhaps a half mile down the mountain for the below shots:

 Pano of the hairpin turn before the Rock Pile, it looks icy
because it was icy....windy and cold at times, I would see
a low of 27°F (-2.7°C)

As I was finishing with the above pictures, a park ranger truck stopped near me and I queried him as to the road status.  He said he'd just heard on the radio that they would be stopping for the day at MM 17 due to icy conditions on the road.  The skies overhead were pretty overcast and there was doubt the sun would be able to shine on the ice on the road to melt it.

So I decided to motor on down towards Colorado Springs to find the "America the Beautiful Park" which I'd seen pictures of on FaceBook.  It has an interesting sculpture:

Kind of fitting, don't you think, since the series Stargate
was based out of nearby Cheyenne Mountain and NORAD.

It was so warm and sunny (a 30 degree difference in temperatures from the mountain) that as I finished up, I called the Ranger Station at Pikes Peak to check and damn if they now hadn't opened the road to MM 17!

I checked in with my loving wife and she said to go for it, quite the enabler she is.  So I rode back towards the Pikes Peak Road and breezed through the toll station where the ranger confirmed that it was clear to MM 17.

Mile Marker 17 came and went, and my hopes climbed as Scarlett climbed the mostly clear and dry road towards the summit.  It was nice and sunny up there and before I knew it, I was in the parking lot at the summit!  Many other folks were there ahead of me, blocking a clear view of the summit sign:

 Scarlett at the Summit of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,115 ft or 4302 meters.

  Exiting the summit parking lot, one is presented with quite the view

As I descended with Scarlett towards the Rock Pile, I would stop where safe to take pictures.  Such a clear day for the most part, with some cloud cover to give the sky some depth, conditions were damn near perfect.

Along with other visitors, we were shooed off the mountain by a park ranger truck once 4PM rolled in. I was off the mountain a little after 5PM and it was time to do some highway riding to get back home.

I got home shortly after 6:30PM, using the I-25 slab again with no issues, moving at URAL speed which is about 55 mph.

Hope you liked the pictures, it was a good day at church, so good, I went twice!  :)

Previously: Mountain Peak Views along the Front Range


Trobairitz said...

Such dramatic skies in that last picture. Makes it look like a big worm coming.

Great pictures as always.

SonjaM said...

Dom, you've outdone yourself! Again. Brilliant pano shots... the views... wow. I'd like to see this and ride this road one fine day. The last photo however, with the dramatic sky is the best.

Richard M said...

Wonderful photos! And I like the Stargate sculpture.

Charlie6 said...

Trobairitz, thanks very much.

SonjaM, Vielen Dank.....just get yourself and Roland back over the pond and over can borrow Brigitta.

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, thanks....I like the sculpture too, I must catch this place at sunrise/sunset....

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Good to see Scarlett back on the road. Getting to the summit is a huge bonus.

bluekat said...

Beautiful. Like being on top of the world. I love the dramatic skies. Can't think of a better place for a worship service! :)

Charlie6 said...

Thanks, AZ Harley Dude...

Thanks Kari, me neither.

agent713 said...

Stunning photos!

Charlie6 said...

Thank you, Agent713