Saturday, April 18, 2015

Snowy Riding on Loveland Pass

Well, the forecasted "big snow storm" never did really materialize for us in the metro Denver area.  The computer models had ranged from several inches to a couple of feet of snow accumulation, we got pretty much squat.

It was under brightening skies, the sun forcing its way through disappearing overcast clouds, as I rode the I-70 Super Slab with Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig.  There was a big slow down on the western side of Floyd Hill and before the twin tunnels near Idaho Springs but no one was stupid and no accidents happened.

As we climbed higher and higher, snow began to fall first sporadically then lightly once we passed the Bakerville exit.  Semi-Trailer Trucks were pulling off into the "chain up" parking areas next to the highway as the "Chain Laws" enforced lights on the signs started flashing amber.

Traffic remained reasonably slow as we slowly approached the Continental Divide mountain peaks.  Scarlett and I turned off at the junction with US6 or Loveland Pass Road.  The roads had been wet since Georgetown and remained so as we climbed the road towards the summit.  There was plenty of snow on the hillsides next to the road, and the nearby peaks were shrouded as if in fog but really it was falling snow up in the heights.

I rode past the Loveland Ski Area, choked full of cars with more cars seeking non-existent parking spaces as skiers tried to squeeze a few more runs out of the ski season.  I was passed, on double-yellow sections of road mind you, by impatient a-holes in cages as they  raced to A-Basin probably to just stand in lines there waiting to ski.  Apparently, maintaining 30 mph, in a 30 mph zone, in sub-optimal traction and weather conditions was something unreasonable for me to be doing.

It would now lightly the whole time I cruised about the summit area of Loveland Pass.  Gray lighting conditions, no real views of the nearby peaks, and lots of skiers and snow-boarders being ferried up to the summit so they could ski down to lower sections.

 The requisite picture of the summit sign

 Looking back towards the east side of the Continental Divide

 Near the last hairpin turn before A-Basin, I dared not wander too
far away from the road since although the snow wasn't deep, 
it was very slick.

 Walking over to the edge, a view of the A-Basin Ski Resort.

 Returning back towards the summit from the west side of 
Loveland Pass.

 Nearing the summit, there were some nice cloud formations
framing the snowy hillsides.

 I tried a photoshop filter on the above picture, it brought
out the snow clouds but doesn't look quite right.

 Stopped at the bridge that crosses Georgetown Lake for
pictures of the surroundings.

The sun broke out and dried out the roads some time after I 
left Idaho Springs behind me as I descended towards Denver
using US40.

I swung by Red Rocks Park on the way home, thinking that the rock formations would look nice with snow on them.  I found the entire area dry as a bone with the flat afternoon sunn making the rocks look more brown than red.  

It was also quite warm to me so I shed a couple of layers and enjoyed the now cool temperatures as I motored on home via US285.  Bright sunshine in the front range, snow clouds at the Continental Divide, that's Colorado for you!


RichardM said...

You truly sound disappointed due to the lack of snow. Some would question your sanity, but then again, you're in CO and the local economy does well in the winter with snow sports. But after the week in Barrow, I'm fine with 50°F weather. It was -9°F this morning…

Spat said...

Dom brave man you are and always to go the extra mile for an ultimate ride, in search of snow. Speaking of, want more? come join us in Moab it'll be snowy in the morning heading up over the passes.
I enjoy every mile you share with us

Diamond Dave said...

Well not actually squat, six to eight inches of wet snow that didn't stick is more like it.

redlegsrides said...

Funny you should say that about my sanity....had a short conversation with a skier at the summit and both agreed that we were all nuts to be out there today. :).

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Spat, if I do end up going it won't be till latter half of this coming week. :(

redlegsrides said...

It was basically fat rain Dave, I stand by my statement. Thanks for commenting though.

Diamond Dave said...

it was snow. rain isnt white.

SonjaM said...

Oh my, what will you do in summer? When there's no snow? Might I then suggest the other extreme: the quest for a desert?

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM...summer tends to be the slow riding season for me, as you know. Heat and riding gear don't make for a lot of fun and I must follow ATGATT. Desert terrain tends to remind me of my time in Saudi Arabia and Iraq....not great memories.

Unknown said...

Enjoyed you blog as usual.
Send some of that cold weather down to Floriduh. We have been running our A/C all winter.

redlegsrides said...

Vincent, thanks for commenting and reading my to sending some cold your may have to move closer to here.

Trobairitz said...

It sounds like a great day that would have been a little better had the skiers been a little saner with their driving.

As always though, beautiful pictures. I'd much rather see the snow in pictures than actually have to deal with it in person. Half an inch will shut down our town and close schools. We just shake our heads. Never had a snow day in BC.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Trobairitz, Martha (school nurse) and the boys have been known to do "snow dances" in order to get a snow day...but it takes quite a bit to shut down schools here....