I've fallen asleep while motorcycling on that boring stretch of 70, but I'm older now, get enough sleep, and will have some books-on-CD burned onto an MP3 player this time.
Arches is indeed ridiculously hot, but i would think that it would be spectacular on a motorcycle, as would either the route south of the LaSals into Co, or the CO River Road that diagonals up from Moab to I-70.
Thanks again Valygirl.
Guess I'll embark from St. George early enough to get past the Sun's Anvil before it gets crazy-hot. I've really got my heart set on motorbiking up to Ouray from Durango. Might even shoot for Ouray that night, so I can have a good mineral soak and a wee nip to retox before bed.
I just rode Pikes Peak last weekend. Yes the road is paved to the top and has been for a few years now. The pavement is very nice and smooth. Better plan on nasty weather even if it's hot at the bottom. Last week was windbreaker weather but a few weeks ago doing Mnt Evans it snowed on us. It was 22 degrees on top with 40 mile winds. It's way better to be over prepared than to freeze.
Lastly there is a nice Bed and breakfast just on the far end of town in Brekenridge. The web site says they have a minimum stay of days but if you call them you can just stay overnight if that's all you want.
I also rode The Death Ride in June and in my limited experience I know of no better bike route to ride in Colorado.
One time my Army roommate Joe and I hiked up Barr Trail on the 4th of July. He was kind of a funny-looking guy who shouldn't have cut his hair that short, but he was determined he wasn't going to turn back and allow me to tell everyone else in the barracks that he didn't make it. We were in shorts & T-shirts and it DUMPED nearly a foot of snow. The wind was howling, and the trail was buried in snow, but we made it to the summit, and were surprised to find there was a car race going up the other side of the mountain, and the summit was naturally chaos.
We were waiting in line to get cog-railway tickets, when a nice woman tapped Joe on the shoulder and said, "You better hurry... your groups getting on the train..." and she gestured to a group of special-needs kids who'd come up to see the car race that day.
Instead of getting indignant, Joe just gave her his usual gap-toothed-grin and hopped aboard the train.
Turns out the trains were all booked, so I had to buy a sweatshirt in the gift shop and make my way back down the slushy, snowy Barr Trail. My old frostbite spots were killing me, but I made it down to warmth, and found Joe with the empty Triscuit box sitting in my truck: "Hey man, don't tell nobody about this..."
And I already booked a room at the Village Hotel in B'ridge, because I needed to have an address to UPS my bike, which went out yesterday. Gonna be big fun in them mountains next week!
That's a good story
The plan is to assault Pikes Peak on Tuesday, 7/30. Aside from the weather, any other tips for pedaling up that sucker? I'm going to spend a few days pedaling around Breck before assaulting Pikes, and I'll bring plenty of water and aspirin. I expect it'll be tougher, coming from sea-level like this. Going to be an adventure, sure.
safe travels, squid man
Sorry for the delay. Got home last Sunday, and have been playing catchup with work and life ever since.
Here are a few pics from my two-wheeled Colorado Adventure:
The whole trip started with a vivid dream I had back in late May about Highway 50 between Gunnison and Monarch Pass.
I know it's not Colorado's most spectacular road by a longshot, but it's always been a special one for me.
Jul 24, My trusty old Kawasaki (Gold Wing )needed a little TLC before the trip, and my garage dog was on hand to help.
Jul 26: Loading up the Goldwing prior to embarking. It was 104 at midnight in Las Vegas that night. Well, got to go through hell before we get to heaven.
Sat, Jul 27: Kiva Koffee in Utah, in the Escalante Petrified Forest National Park. Didn't take many pics through Zion & Bryce. It was hot as hell, and I just wanted to get across the desert to Colorado's cool greenery. There was some old car rally, and the traffic on the highway through Bryce & Zion was stopped for nearly an hour while a helicopter landed. Sadly a woman died when the 100-year-old car lost a front wheel and careened off the road and flipped.
Passing through the land of Wile E. Coyote & the Roadrunner
From the frying pan, directly to the icebox. As soon as I got to Ouray, it started raining, and was clearly getting ready to dump, so I booked.
The heavy rains caught me after Gunnison and pretty much hung over me the whole way to Breckenridge. I should have come here a month ago and put out your fires!
Jul 27 on a rainy Monarch Pass.
Pretty miserably heavy rain followed me the whole way. My goretex motorcycle suit works pretty well, but I might as well have been scuba diving, as hard as that rain was.
I was hypothermic and all my clothes & luggage were sopping wet when I got to Breckenridge. Fortunately the hotel had washers & dryers. It continued raining pretty steadily for both days I was there.
Being from San Diego, my poor Goldwing ain't used to this kind of shabby treatment.
It was sunny & lovely in Manitou Springs when I decided to jet down to Colo Spgs for a water-bottle belt, so I could hike up Barr Trail until my bicycle arrived.
Of course it started dumping heavy rain on the way back.
More to come soon. Heading home for dinner & such.
Great stuff. Looking forward to the coming installments!
At least it wasn't raining constantly in Manitou Spgs while I was there, just brief, very intense showers whenever I stepped outside my hotel room.
There was this crazy dog, just hanging out on the roof of this auto-shop in Manitou, while the lowly, filthy humans toiled below in his domain.
I had a little time to kill until UPS brought my bike the next day, so I decided to hike up Barr Trail. Such a beautiful place!
There was a LOT of new growth, young trees, and even ASPENS growing at the treeline, where there used to be just mangled, dead trunks.
This young tree was actually coiling vine-like around this trunk...
Don't know if it's evidence of global warming, but there certainly weren't this many aspens when I used to come here 20 years ago. Bizarre, since I read somewhere a few months ago that all the aspens were dying, which was supposed to be a symptom of climate change. Maybe they're just shifting into a different ecosphere?
Either way, I was really just looking for that magic place above the treeline where the incline steepens...
And the oxygen gets scarcer & scarcer. You can't really tell from this pic, but my fingernails were fairly yellowish-green, and my hands had puffed up something fierce.
Made it to the top in 5:25, despite noodling along and enjoying the view.
There were these kids from Texas hiking up together, and the one kid (behind me in this pic) looked positively green, but he still made it to the top.
My bike arrived at the Willow Green Motel that day, and the next morning I rode my bicycle up the other side of Pikes Peak. The road condition was first-rate, and the views, specatacular.
Made it to the top in just a little under 4 hours from Manitou. It was pretty tough and steep, but the effects of the altitude weren't as bad as I was expecting.
There were these Canadian semi-pros bicycling up that day. I gave them a 5-minute head-start before riding back down the mountain, but then I forgot to turn my Garmin back on. I caught & passed them, as well as 4 more motorcycles and dozens of cars and that wicked-fun descent. Don't know if I cracked 60, but I definitely spend a few minutes above 50, and that makes 9 motorcycles I've passed while descending on my bicycle.
From Manitou, I rode down to Canon City and tried to look up my old Harley friend in Pueblo, Stoner Mike, but no dice.
It was pretty hot, so I kept moving. Riding Highway 50 along the Arkansas River up toward Salida & Monarch Pass was like finding a 20-dollar bill in the couch cushions. Forgotten how much I loved riding my little Harley Sportster through here back in the day with Stoner Mike. This Lab seemed to enjoy it too.
Here's a pic of me about 20 years ago, back when I used to be an outlaw...
It's strikingly beautiful up by Monarch Pass! My Goldwing just seemed to float up the mountain and around the corners, and it cooled off nicely the higher we went. It was so beautiful, I teared up a couple times.
The downtown Salida hotels were booked, so I ended up just spending the night in Gunnison, and farting around the North Rim of the Black Canyon,
before heading to [harp music] Ouray.
I got lucky and there was a cancellation at the historic St. Elmo Hotel, which is just about the coolest ol' place on Earth.
Then had a great soak in the mineral hotsprings pool there.
I asked around Ouray while barhopping back from the mineral springs pool, and most folks agreed that Bonton was the swankest restaurant in town. I was walking around trying to find it, but it turns out it was right in the basement of my hotel.
It was indeed the best meal I had my whole week in Colorado.
(And one of the prettier views too.)
A little sad the next morning, because it was to be my last day in Colorado. But at least I got to ride the Million Dollar Highway and the weather was lovely this time.
There were dozens of cyclists on the 550, going up and down the hill from Durango.
Couldn't get over all the young aspens that weren't there the last time I came through here.
Alas, after Durango the mountains become a happy memory. I had a great farewell lunch there before leaving the land of lovely scenery and good food.
It was hot as hell, and my hands were sizzling on this metal disk on Four Corners.
I assumed the Code Talker Museum would've been moved to it's own building, but it's still inside the Burger King. ("Kayenta" must be Navajo for "Fly Haven.")
I stopped off in Cameron, AZ to dodge an heavy thunderstorm, and when I embarked, there was a vivid double-rainbow.
This girl at the gas station kept telling me to back up farther and farther. I tried to get her to understand that I wanted to be in the pic, but I was just happy I wasn't going to be riding through the heavy rain.
Spent the night in a sticky Flagstaff Motel, and there wasn't much to take pictures of after that. Made it safely back across the wretched desert and so did my bicycle.
Sure had a lovely time in your beautiful state. Sorry I couldn't leave work sooner and bring my rain back in May.
Thanks for sharing your fantastic pictures.
Nice! I can see why people suggested to ride the Million Dollar Highway. Stunning!