Friday, February 06, 2009

Taking the meandering way home

We've had highs in the low to mid 60s yesterday and today. Gorgeous weather all around. Of course, having to work cut into my riding so it was basically just commuting back and forth from home to work.

In order to enjoy the great weather a bit longer during the commute home, I deviated from my normal route and entered the Cherry Creek Park via it's western entrance after having seen from the top of the Cherry Creek Dam road how blue the water was looking in the afternoon sunshine.

I rode over to the Maria at the reservoir which is part of this park. The parking lot was mostly empty, not surprisingly, since winter is not exactly the best season for boating around here. All the boat slips were empty and what boats I saw were out of the water.

That's Cherry Creek Dam on the left, the Dam road is on top and is normally my commute route

I then wandered over to the boat ramp/launching area which remained blocked off due to winter. Even though most of the ice had melted in the reservoir, I guess it still wasn't clear enough to allow boat operations. Still, it provided me with a good spot to pose Brigitta by:

Nice looking blue water, isn't it?

Afterwards, I continued on the single two lane road which traverses most of the park and which led me to the eastern entrance to the park. Along the way I meandered in and out of the several areas in the park where one can park and admire the views of the reservoir and prairies. There were several people out enjoying the sunshine and mild weather, jogging/walking or riding bicycles. Soon though, I ran out of park and I exited onto Parker Road south and from there it was an uneventful commute again.

A little relaxation during one's commute, it really does not add much to the normal commute and is a welcome break. It's Friday and I am looking forward to one more day of really good weather before a cold front moves in on Sunday. The front is supposed to bring a chance of snow, I hope not much if at all.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My First Published Motorcycling Article

Ok, first and ONLY published motorcycling magazine article. Unlike the prolific and entertaining articles written by Jack Riepe which he's gotten published in the BMW Motorcycle Owner's Association's Owner News magazine, I've submitted only one article for publishing. I really do have to get my butt in gear and generate more stuff if I want to be more than a one-article author.

Be that as it may, I'd mentioned before that I did get my first overnight motorcycle trip published in the JAN 2009 edition of the Owner News.

This past weekend I sent an email to the editor, Vince Winkel, asking for a pdf version of my article. He responded today with some kind words and the pdf itself!

For those of you unfortunate enough to not own a Beemer and also be a member of the BMWMOA, here's a link to the article: LINK

Note: Yes, I am counting on some readers being trapped by snow/ice conditions where they live and being so bored and eager for motorcycling content that they'll actually want to read the article.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge at Fort Morgan and making it to Last Chance

Temperatures in 38-40 range and sunny. I went riding of course, had plenty of time before sitting down to the Super Bowl at a neighbor's house.

I decided to try again for Fort Morgan and it's "famed" Rainbow Bridge. Weather and fuel had stopped me the last two times but this time I made it.

I took Quincy Road to Watkins Rd Northbound to Watkins, then CO36 to Bennett. Then it was a couple more county roads northbound till I intersected with I-76. Eastbound on I-76 for about 40 minutes perhaps, Maria running strong as always and I exited at the first exit sign for Ft. Morgan; which turned out to be too early.

I had to get gas anyways so I did, double-backed after meandering through Fort Morgan and not finding the dang bridge. Got back on I-76 after consulting the map and located the bridge by 1240 or so.

The bridge serves also as marker for the entry point to the Pawnee Pioneers Scenic Byway

Snuck a picture of Maria right on the bridge, on the Northern end

A blurb from Fort Morgan's Chamber of Commerce:
Built in 1922 – 1923, this landmark was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Additionally, in 1992 it was designated a Colorado Civil Engineering Landmark. This bridge has survived major floods and in 1935 braced a 10 foot wall of water virtually undamaged. Today it is used for foot traffic and offers a beautiful view of the South Platte River.
LINK to Fort Morgan's Chamber of Commerce Website.

I like how the arches give you symmetry-inducing views

One last shot of Maria at the bridge

Info LINK: The present day city of Fort Morgan was founded in February, 1919. It began as an agricultural town but later diversified into areas of manufacturing and international exporting. It was named in honor of Colonel Christopher A. Morgan. The area was incorporated as a city in 1887.

A bit more history about Fort Morgan here: LINK

Fort Morgan is also the boyhood home of Glenn Miller for you big band fans. Frommer's Colorado website has additional information as well.

I left Fort Morgan heading towards Brush and CO71. This would, after about 30 minutes or so, take me finally to Last Chance, CO. Yeah, I'd been here before apparently but had not stuck around for pictures.

A small cross-roads community established in 1925 at the intersection of what is now US 36 and Highway 71. In 1925, no matter which way you were traveling, if you passed up Last Chance you had a long distance to travel to find another place to get gas for your Model T. Last Chance never had an official post office but residents remember individual mail boxes in the general store. LINK

The only historical marker site, the information plaque had been removed

The Dairy King back in "the day" Source: LINK

Present Day Dairy King

The Last Chance Motel, back in the day, source was a postcard on Ebay

Present day vestiges of the motel buildings

Didn't take me long to "cover" the remnants of this old town, not much remains as you can see. There is however, one man's recollections of living in Last Chance: LINK

I hurried on home using US36 to speed straight westward back towards Bennett and Watkins. I retraced my route back homewards using Watkins Road. I had spotted a white-painted structure out in the middle of fields, near a shooting range before. This time I turned onto the dirt road that is Jewell Avenue to try and get closer.

At that point I wished I was riding Brigitta, she does much better on dirt, specially the loose stuff I encountered today. Anyway, I did find the access road that led to the structure but two things stopped me. A no trespassing sign and a dirt trail covered in loose gray gravel rock. Another day perhaps.

Here's what the structure looks like, any ideas out there?

What the Heck is this?

So a pretty good day of riding, mystery notwithstanding. Finally got my pictures of the Rainbow Bridge at Fort Morgan, finally got my pictures of Last Chance before the town eventually blows away with the eastern winds and a small mystery site to investigate on another day.

Update:13MAR09: Finally got a closeup shot of the object which commenters had beforehand identified as a VOR or VHF Omni-directional Radio Range. It had an FAA warning sign on it so I figure it's part of Denver International Airport's infrastructure.

A Return Trip to Perry Park's Rock Formations

Yesterday, after wandering about the area near Bee Rock, I headed down to Perry Park Blvd off of CO105 to get more pictures of the cool rock formations I had found there late last year.

The rock formations are near the Perry Park Country Club. I had not realized it the first time I found these rocks but I'd been there way before. In fact, it was one of the places that John, aka Sanoke, had guided me to while I still rode Gretl, my 2006 Honda Shadow Aero 750 motorcycle:

October 2006

Here's a link to the posting associated with the picture above: LINK I can't believe it took me almost 2.5 years to find the place again. Oh well.

So I went past the houses bordering the Perry Park Golf Course and rode by familiar rock formations:

I'd shot the above formations before, then I stopped to look at a real estate ad nearby

After reading the ad, which refered to the rocks as "Sleeping Camel", it hit me, I'd been here before! I can't believe I didn't recognize the camel when last I was here. Doh!! So here's Brigitta, repositioned so you can see the "camel". $99,900 gets you the above property including the rocks I believe!

I shook my head and chuckled at the "full circleness" of this discovery. I wandered about the area some more and after a walk-through on foot, decided the trail that led to the below rock formations was not as bad as it looked:

It looks worse than it actually was, I just had to take it nice and slow

These rocks made the above trail worth risking I believe

Not much else after the above pictures. The sun was setting and I could not get a good angle on the sunlit rocks bordering the golf course dammit. So I headed back towards CO105 which I headed North on as the temperatures cooled down to the low 50s.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful, a bit cold since the sun was setting and the clouds were moving in but not too bad. I got home around 1630 hrs, about 153 miles ridden yesterday.

Mileage Notes: EOM for Brigitta: 68755, Maria: 64,626. Total for JAN09: 1306 miles.