Showing posts with label Rides - Gretl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rides - Gretl. Show all posts

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A cruise down to Monument, CO

Today was a beautifully sunny day here in Colorado, though a bit cool, which is kind of fitting since it is the first Fall weekend! I had lunch with my wife and set out on a motorcycle ride shortly after 1300.

The weather was deceptively sunny and beautiful so I chose not to wear my jacket's liner or overpants as I cruised on down to CO Highway 105 picking it up East of Castlerock off of Wolfenberger road 39.370N/104.955W. The road was pretty empty heading South on 105 and I was able to keep some good speed on the turns which were not too twisty for the most part. A very enjoyable stretch of road down to Monument. The breeze had a bite to it as I cruised along but it was not bad at all.

By the time I reached Monument though, the comfort level with the temperatures, in spite of the continued sunny coverage lead me to stop and don my jacket liner and study the map.

I headed back North on 105 from Monument and caught up with a convoy of four corvettes out for a drive. Not sure what was going on with these four cars but there were strictly following the speed limit of 40mph on 105. It did not bother me much since I was content to cruise along behind their convoy and admire the sights at a more sedate pace.

I must have not been paying enough attention to stuff behind me because all of a sudden I was surprised by the roaring pipes of a dualsport motorcycle speeding past me! This squid and his partner on a crotch rocket apparently weren't happy with the cars and I doing only 45pmh at best so they decided to pass the lot of us with a double yellow line in plain sight. Idiots, besides ignoring the double yellow, they cut in and out amongst the four corvettes causing them to lock up brakes at times.

Luckily, nothing bad happened to the squids or worse to us and they roared off out of sight. Soon after this I stopped and took these pictures:

Looking North on CO 105, the rock formation reminded of the skeletal spine of a snake, or perhaps a dragon!.

Looking South on CO 105 towards Monument.

This allowed the speed-limit-abiding corvette convoy to get ahead and out of the way. Once I got back on the road it was smooth riding, I spotted Dakan Rd which was paved till it went out of sight so I took a detour to see where it led. Unfortunately, after a promising twisty start it petered out into a hard-packed dirt road that just lead to some ranches in the hills. Still is was a nicely packed road as opposed to the dirt roads I was on yesterday!

Coming back onto 105 I started feeling stiff/sore and clumsy. I wonder if it was a mild hypothermia reaction for when I had been riding without my liner? Regardless, my riding skills were off, and I experienced a very sloppy turn coming off the hill on Dakan Rd and then once more on Wolfenberger road as I turned N to get on Prairie Hawk Drive (39.381N/104.868W). I had been feeling pretty good about my turning skills as of late but today was a wake up call to ensure the weather does not get taken lightly by me.

Got home fine but felt sore and stiff for quite a bit afterwards....perhaps it was the cold, perhaps it was the long ride yesterday, or a combination thereof. I must learn to also take more frequent breaks while riding. After all, I think I only stopped twice for less than 5 minutes each time in the space of four hours of riding!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Out to Limon, almost, and back

Weather: Blustery, cold and spitting light rain.

Set out a little after 10am, all bundled up, heat grips on max as it felt quite chilly as I prepped the motorcycle for today's ride. After looking at the map I had decided to go almost to the city of Limon which is East of Denver on I-70. I was taking CO 86 most of the way, picking it up at Elizabeth(39.361N /104.606W).

The ride was chilly as expected but the riding gear kept me warm enough. The wind however, after about 45 minutes from the start of the ride, started really gusting to the point I was riding a bit leaned into the wind most of the time as it blew with much force out of the North! That wind pretty much "blew" all the fun out of the ride for me. When I was riding in the sunlit areas, all was well in spite of the wind, but once I entered overcast sections of road then it chilled rapidly and the wind seemed stronger. Not sure if it really was stronger, just felt that way as the temperature dropped a bit.
Freese Rd, E of Elizabeth, CO. (39.294N/104.353W)

Worst direction to head into of course was Northwards and the times I did I could feel the wind coming at me from both front-right and left sides. Again, not much fun.

So I finally hit my goal where CO 86 ends at I-70 a few miles W of Limon(39.312N/103.823W). My initial map recon had shown some promising roads to head west on without having to use I-70 to get back home. Alas, it was not too be. I got on I-70 for a little bit (the headwinds were such that I could not get above 70mph with the throttle wide open!) and the next exit was Cedar Point where I picked up CR 134 which turned out to be a dirt road with muddy spots interspersed with cattle guards and not much else except windswept prairie and ranchland. Took CR134 to CR153 and headed North for a bit until I got to the very small town of Agate (39.462N/103.943W). I think I saw perhaps two people, one who was stopping at the small post office to get his mail.
Looking NW from Agate's main drag.
Looking SE from Agate's main drag.

I was quite tired of muddy dirt roads by now and my read of the map showed no paved roads for a while so I got back on I-70. It was only after I had gone down the road W a bit that I noticed I'd missed the old US40 PAVED road which paralled I-70 for quite a bit. Damn. I could have avoided a bit of the superslab and caught it at CR178 instead. Oh well.

The wind continued to try and push me around as I cruised up the I-70 superslab, the headwinds made it an effort to maintain 70mph at times but otherwise I made it to the Strasbourg exit (39.738N/104.326W) with no problems at around 1320hrs. I gassed up there at a Quick Stop (48.2mpg) and scarfed down a small pizza and a coffee to warm up a bit and peruse the map further.

Less than 30 minutes later I was back on the road, this time taking Westbound US36 which paralled I-70 out of Strasbourg for a bit. The road led me to Watkins (39.742N/104.603) about ten miles further west and from there I headed South (blissfully with the dang wind now at my back) on Watkins road until I got to Quincy Road and headed West again and once again got to feel the gusting winds still blowing at me from the North.

Got into Aurora soon enough and home soon thereafter. I was glad to get home and out of the wind. Gretl picked up quite a bit of mud from the "roads" I had taken returning home so I washed her down and put her away.

Quite a ride, much too windy in final judgement, should have stayed home....but it was quite the ride. At points, specially on the dirt roads, I had a very small taste of what the guys who made the journey around the world in the film "The Long Way Round" must have endured. Dirt roads, windswept vistas with not another soul around, rain in your face (or visor in my case) and only a vague idea of where one was.

This was my first trip where I experienced muddy dirt roads and while I negotiated them with no mishap, they're not the most fun thing to deal's tires get quite squirrely and I remembered repeating to myself to not touch the brakes, use engine braking and keep steady throttle to keep the motorcycle going straight when things got a bit slippery.

I think if I keep hitting these dirt roads as I explore Colorado, I must get a mudflap for the front fender. Quite a bit of mud/dirt/small rocks stuck to the bottom quarter of the radiator cover and underlying motorcycle frame. I can see where paint is starting to wear thin on the front of the motorcycle frame in fact, I must repaint that soon.
Must get a mudflap if I keep doing dirt roads! : )

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rainy Ride in to Work

The weather forecast called for rain showers in the morning, clearing at noon. A quick look outside made it seem pretty benign in terms of rain chances so decided to ride in with Gretl. Had all the rain gear on and I did get showered on for a few minutes during the commute but it was not bad at all. The bad part was the cagers who either get real timid or real aggressive during rain.

Got off Arapahoe road soon as I could and took Peoria to Orchard and although I was slowed by school traffic and slow cagers, it was better riding than on Arapahoe Road.

Rain gear came through with flying colors, specially my new gaiters which prevented rain from running down into my boots from my overpants. Everyone at work, specially my fellow-coworkers who own bikes were surprised that I had chosen to ride in instead of driving my cage as they did with theirs. There were kudos expressed by them, although one mentioned that I was skirting that fine line between stupid and brave by riding in the rain.

The point is however, when they drove in earlier, it was really raining hard. When I rode in, after 0730am, it was a light sporadic shower type of rain. I knew the roads had been thoroughly washed of its usual oily scum and such by the rains from last night so I was pretty comfortable with the traction available. I had ridden in to work last night and on the way back it started raining pretty hard when I was less than a few blocks from the house so I lucked out there.

I did ride slower than usual of course and took turns very gently. No sense tempting fate either eh?

Pic below is a snap of the storm that went through Denver today, it was clearing SE Denver by the time I got on the ride so all I caught was the tail-end of the rain.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

9/16 Ride to Deckers

I woke with the dismal prospect of having to go in at 10pm to do some work, 2300-0100hrs was the time granted by the customer since we were going to have a possibly impactive outage during the change.

My loving wife made me breakfast and basically encouraged me to get out of the house and go riding and I did not argue at all.

Here's the route I took, details below.

The weather was sunny most of the ride, it was briskly cool at times and I was glad I brought along the jacket liner and overpants for parts of the ride. The heated grips worked fine when needed, had my windshield with me so the gusting windy conditions were no big deal though they did tend to raise the "excitement" level up when the really big gust would try and blow one sideways on the roads.

Note: Route 67 is a dirt road once you enter the Pike National Forest! I had been enjoying some really nice twistys on Colorado State Rd 67 but once in the Pike National Forest, it became Douglas County 67 (39.348N/105.120W) and turned into a dirt/gravel road for the next long 9-10 miles or so. I barely got Gretl into second gear during this stretch of dirt road and spent it mostly in first gear. This road was also named Sugar Creek Road.

After that slow stretch, was back on CO State 67 and headed south towards Deckers, passing the picturesque villages of Ox Yoke (39.303N/105.204W) and Trumbull (39.266N/105.221W) that sit by the South Platte River. The waters were running quite swiftly on the Platte river and I saw several fly fishermen trying their luck along the way.

Once I got to Deckers (39.254N/105.226W) I continued on CO 67 hoping to get to CO 24 and from there up Highway 22 or Rampant Range Road back to Sedalia. Alas, it was not to be. There was road construction barely 5 miles from Deckers and while they were slowing letting cars through, they were not letting motorcycles through at all! Apparently, according to the flagman who stopped me, some other motorcyclist had gone on before and gotten into an accident due to road conditions. So now the rider was suing the construction company and the construction company was not letting any more motorcyclists through!!! Not sure how legal their authority was on barring my way but decided not to make an issue of it.

I turned around and headed back to Deckers where I talked to the convenience store clerk. He said to try and get to woodland park(which is where I was heading) by way of Forest Road 211 which was up the road on 126 (39.241N/105.261W). I found the road, dirt again, and tried it for maybe two miles and gave up and turned around when I saw signs saying motorcycles were not allowed. I was bummed at this point but saw no point to continuing on the narrow dirt road that comprised Forest Road 211.

Back on Highway 126, I headed north away from Deckers, transited through Buffalo Creek (39.387N/105.275W) and kept heading north towards US 285. On the way up this nicely paved, winding highway, I saw this cool mountain and took this picture:

Long Scraggy Peak

Once I got to US285 headed towards Denver on it until Turkey Creek Road or the TinyTown exit which I took to get to Fenders Junction where Turkey Creek Road meets Deer Creek Canyon Road (39.572N/105.217W). The weather was continuing to hold as sunny and brisk but the winds were now really picking up so I decided to take Deer Creek Canyon Road home, the fact that I saw a silver Rolls Royce Phantom turn onto it helped make that decision as well. : )

I followed this Rolls Royce all the way to the end of Deer Creek Canyon Road where it ends at the Chatfield Reservoir (39.549N/105.087W) and that's were we parted company, he headed north and I headed south on 121 to Waterton Road, riding south of the Chatfield Reservoir and eventually back onto US 85 and Sedalia (39.438N/104.961W) where the loop had started earlier in the trip.

The way home was uneventful until I got onto Inspiration Drive from Parker. There was a bike race apparently and I caught the tail end of it. I could see the "peloton" of bicyclists about a mile ahead with cars stacked up between me and them slowing things way down. So we crawled along, me making slow s-shaped turns to pass the time, until eventually the peloton turned off to the right and traffic was able to pick up speed.

I know I am always close to home when I see this golfball:

I see it each time I use the backroad from Parker to get back to my house. It means another great ride is near its end and I always find myself in pretty good spirits after my six hour motorcycle riding therapy session.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Up and Down the Front Range

My loving wife ended up letting me have the whole day instead of just the morning to go riding. I spent the morning riding around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the county roads East and North of the Arsenal, Brighton and neighboring small towns. Very scenic and nice long flat roads with little traffic. The weather was in the 60s so it tended to get a bit cool when the sun was hidden by clouds but otherwise perfect riding weather.

One small incident heading back on Gun Club Road, there's construction near where one turns on Missisippi to get back to Gun Club. It was a gravel filled dirt detour and I failed to slow down to a crawl before traversing the gravel. (the fact there was a crotch rocket rider riding pretty close behind me did not help things either but I should have ignored him, lesson learned) Front wheel slipped a bit but I managed to keep the motorcycle upright by putting down the right foot quickly and gunning the engine a bit to stabilize the motorcycle. Close one!

Found out after I got home for lumch that the afternoon was mine as well, so after cleaning up the motorcycle a bit, headed out towards CO Springs by way of backroads to Parker and Franktown. First though I went up Gun Club road to negotiate that detour where I had the close call, no problems this time! : )

I did some meandering on backroads until I got to Powhaton rd which lead me the back way to Parker via Inspiration Drive. A quick traverse of Parker's main drag and headed south on US 83, passing a large gathering a motorcyclers at a bar in Franktown, kept heading south towards Colorado Springs.

The main goal had been at this point to rack up the mileage and empty the main tank to observe behavior of the motorcycle when one's main tank empties. She sputtered once at 192 miles and I reached down and switched to reserve while maintaining 65mph. No problem! Decided that since I still over 20 miles to the Springs that I would detour towards Monument instead. Glad that I did since I found some rather scenic views on Douglas County Road 53 heading North out of Monument. This is the best out of four pics I took on that road.

Rest of today's pics are here

Kept heading north but missed the turn to get to Perry Lake Road in Larkspur, and ended up being forced onto I-25 heading North. Oh well. Took this to Castlerock and got off on the Founder's Parkway exit and used Crowfoot Parkway to get back to Parker and from there the back way to home. A glorious day of riding, Gretl performed beautifully and my butt was not too sore from the riding.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Riding to the top of Mt Evans

Today dawned as a gloriously sunny day here in Colorado so I decided to ride up to the top of Mount Evans. The weather was just perfect, it was 60 degrees on the way up and 71 degrees on the way down. The cold was not a factor though due to my riding gear and this time I remembered to attach the windshield onto Gretl which helped cut down on the wind while on highways and such.

It was a great twisty road up from I-70 and Idaho Springs all the way to the summit. A couple of those hairpin turns near the top I had to take in first gear! $3 at the ranger station near Echo Lake gets you a pass and off you go to the top. Luckily there were not a lot of cars going up or down as I went up to the top. Only one car went over the middle of the road towards me but a few beeps and she moved back on over. This was good since I did not have anything to stop me from going over the edge!

I saw many bicyclists chugging their way up from Idaho Springs all the way to the top, an amazing show of stamina on their part. I can only imagine what kind of a nice ride it must be for them on the way down. Hope they've good brakes!

The parking lot at the summit was full most of the time but I managed to snag a parking space for Gretl with no fuss. I then hiked up to the very top of the mountain to take pics, took three and of course the camera batteries died at that point! I had a spare set on the motorcycle thanks to my loving wife but I did not go and hike back up to the top. Once was enough and I was breathing pretty hard the first time I got up there! It's 14,264ft at the top and the air seemed quite thin to me for a while until I caught my breath.

The hike up caused me to heat up and I had to open up the mesh jacket and liner on the way down to cool off a bit. Note to self, carry a soft cap with the motorcycle, that way you don't need your helmet on to keep your head warm! I am sure the people there were wondering who this guy was with the motorcycle helmet on but oh well.

The ride down was as enjoyable as the ride up, I took highway 103 down to I-70 though instead of heading back to Idaho Springs. Quite a twisty road in itself and very much fun to ride though one must keep in mind that some of the curves are quite intense! But I made it down fine, took the highway home from Bergen Park. This has to be one of the better day rides I've had so far in my short motorcycling life!

The rest of the pics I took on this trip are here

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Weather-testing the gear again

An overcast Saturday today, gray skies, temps in the 50s I think with mists in the mountains and rain droplets floating in the air as I cruised south through Parker, Sedalia, the Chatfield Reservoir, Deer Creek Canyon road to US285 and ended up at Tiny Town.

I gassed up and took a coffee break there at the "Little Log Cabin" gas station around noon and read with amusement the signs from from the Dept of Wildlife advising one how to deal with the mountain lions and bears which apparently roam that area!

I forgot to mount the windshield (which I regreted several times during the ride) and forgot my glove liners but otherwise my riding gear came through with flying colors except for the helmet. There's a gap between my chin and the helmet and the cold air was causing my eyes to tear up. I put a rag into the space which fixed that issue only to cause another when I stopped at lights and would instantly cause my visor/glasses to fog up! I think if I had the windshield on this would not have been an issue but since I forgot it, must test another day. I must also remember to bring along the anti-fog spray for my helmet visor.

Cool rock formation on Buckhorn Road.

Had to keep remembering to flip the visor open when coming to a stop or deal with no vision until I did so. Not a good thing, not being able to see. So after a bit, the rag came out and I dealt with wind coming in via the bottom of the helmet instead. The weather conditions: wet and cold, were perfect to force me to crack the visor to keep the visor fog-free. I kept having to wipe the rain droplets that formed on the visor from the floating rain droplets but that was no big deal.

Buckhorn Road, off of Deer Creek Canyon Road.

My fingertips kept getting cold but not unbearably so, I am now really looking forward to receiving and installing the heated grips I recently ordered. Then my digits should be nice and warm during these "cold and wet" rides.

All total, about 4.5 hrs of riding mostly county roads with brief highway intervals.
And no, I was not the only fool out there on a motorcycle! I saw perhaps ten other fools out there on bikes braving the less than perfect riding weather.

I also saw bambi and friends in the foothills, perhaps a total of six spread out through the ride. One was close enough on the side of the road on Deer Creek Canyon road for us to exchange looks before she lopped off away from me as I got nearer. I was watching her closely in case she decided to walk onto the road instead!

Intersection of Deer Creek Canyon Rd and Turkey Creek Rd.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rainy start, sunny ending....colorado riding

They've a saying here in Colorado, if you don't like the weather, wait a few and it'll change. That's sometimes quite true specially in any season but summer. Summer, it's just hot and sunny most of the time. Today though, I got rained on quite heavily about 5 mins into ride to rendezvous with Sanoke. Luckily I had started of with all my rain gear on and my "herman the german" army boots. Stayed quite dry and comfortable.

I had my summer gloves on at the start and my hands started getting cold fast. There's no such thing as warm rain here in CO so that was no surprise. Got to the rendezvous point, put on some latex gloves and my Olympia leather gloves and my hands were nice and warm again as the rain tapered off.

Once I met up with Sanoke, the rain had pretty much ended and we started riding the county roads towards Kiowa, ended up taking a coffee break in the small city of Elizabeth and then Sanoke showed me a back way into the Denver Tech Center which was quite nice. Not to mention also the backway to Parker Rd and Lincoln Avenue which dumped me in the middle of Parker. Nice.

It was a short ride today as we both had commitments this afternoon. I tested the Vista Cruise control on Gretl and it worked perfectly, the highway pegs once again allowed me to stretch out my legs on the long straightaways, and my riding gear kept me dry and warm. Good tests all around. Sanoke gave me some tips on installing the heated grips I intend to buy soon, made it sound pretty simple overall.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rush hour on the Dam Road = no fun.

Today I had to work later than usual and hit the Cherry Creek Dam Road after 5PM and during full rush hour. It's a long dam with a road on top that one must use to get past the water reservoir that stands between where I work and where I live. Traffic was crawling along and I did not get out of walking speed until 3/4 of the way atop the dam. What a pain it was.

I got to practice my slow speed riding during this time but even going as slowly as possible, still kept catching up to the car in front of me and having to put the feet down momentarily.

All the while, the skies above kept getting darker and angry clouds continued to build and move closer to me.

The weather also played havoc with FM radio reception so I didn't even have quality sound/tunes as I crawled along with everyone else!

Whatever caused the slow logjam on Dam road cleared finally and I scooted off it and onto the rest of my commute with no further issues. I even managed to make it to the house about 10 minutes before a huge rain hit the house!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Into the high country with Sanoke

Went riding again this weekend with same riding buddy from the forum, this time we went into the high country west and south of Denver. Roughly 5-6hrs of saddle time, well worth the sore knees and getting wet from the sporadic showers. We covered a little over 220 miles of beautiful colorado scenery:

Cathedral Rock(Cathedral Spires), not too far from Littleton, CO.

Another view of Cathedral Rock(Cathedral Spires)

Here's the epicenter of the town of Turkey Creek A "Mercantile" store, it was like stepping back a few decades. Felt like I was walking into one of those museum displays of old Americana, but it was a working store, post office and a small taste of the past. (Sanoke's photo)

A cool little bar called the Buck Snort Bar, in Sphinx Park.....hidden away among the rock and pines. It was closed when we got there so we kept riding. (Sanoke's photo)

Here's a view from Kenosha Pass looking down into the valley where the towns of Jefferson and Fairplay are located:

The continental divide as seen from a dirt road west of Jefferson, CO: (Sanoke's photo)

A ride with Sanoke

Today I went on a four hour ride with a rider named John, who is userid Sanoke on He's been riding on and off since 1965 and rides a 1100 Shadow. He showed me some of the county roads SE of Denver, the town of Elbert, Palmer Lake, Kiowa, Perry Park and byways and backways I'd never seen before. It was a great way to spend Saturday morning, on a motorcycle, just cruising.

Here's a pic John took of the motorcycles while parked in front of a rock formation he calls "Camel Rock" which I thought was quite fitting. Next time I must remember to bring my own camera.

My motorcycle did the trip fine, the seat modification I'd done recently was proven to be a good one and now I just need to add some flip-out highway pegs to Gretl and I think I'll be good to go for the longer rides when my legs need to stretch out. We covered around 150 miles or so before we parted ways and headed to our own homes. I look forward to riding with John again, it was a good time.

My 1st Group Ride

Today I joined a group of co-workers who are also bikers on a group ride to Echo Lake which is about ten miles short of Mt Evans, which I think is the tallest mountain on this side of the continental divide. We started off from a place near home at 1015am and we arrive in time to be seated at the restaurant near the lake by 1300.

Nice ride up, not too twisty or fast. I did however pull the "classic" noobie mistake and left my turn signal on most of the way up the mountain! Doh! Some other guy did it on the way down so I was not the only one forgetting his turn signals. I had been doing so well up until then too, oh well.

We experienced about a 30 minute delay as we entered Evergreen because we happen to hit it as they were winding up their Evergreen Rodeo parade. Traffic was blocked in the direction we wanted to go so we took a breather and watched the parade go by. Typical hometown parade, the fire department was out with the marchers along with some wagons with waving people. There was one guy with a bullhorn haranguing passerbys and the crowd attempting to be amusing, not sure he succeeded.

We had a nice lunch at the restaurant and then proceeded down from the mountain to Idaho Springs where we go on I-70 for a couple of miles till we could get to Highway 6 which we took into Golden. Traffic was surprisingly light on the interstate which was fine by me during the really short while we were on it.

The road to Golden was nice and twisty too, not as bad as the way up Mt Evans/Echo but nice. I had been trying to figure out the best position for my feet on the footpegs as I had been experiencing some pain in the knees on the way up. Finally found the right position just before we stopped for lunch so I should be good to go from this point on.

Once we got to Golden, we stopped at this restaurant/bar called Buffalo Rose. There were many other bikers there and the place was quite crowded. We had one drink together and then a couple of the group split off to go their own ways. The core group then headed down Highway 6 and to 285 which we used to cross Denver and back to our respective homes. We split apart on Parker Road at the intersection with Quincy, waving goodbyes to each other as we went our own separate ways.

Quite a fun day though I did not realize it would be an all day affair. Quite enjoyable overall, my Honda Shadow performed flawlessly and got me home safe and sound.

I rode a total of 144.9 miles today, started with a full tank and when I went to fill her back up, was only able to put in 2.007 gallons before she was full. Works out to just over 72mpg! Wow.