Yesterday I went on a ride that I've been looking forward to for awhile. I met up with Hope & her daughter on Hope's Spyder, and Mtnceguy and went to the top of Mt Evans. 14,260ft up in the atmosphere! Justintyme was invited but unfortunately couldn't make it...maybe next time!
The ride began at one of our standby meet-up locations, a conveniently placed Starbucks in Golden Colorado at the foot of the mountains. We got a late start because we all had life events encroaching on our "Fun time", but even so, we hit the road just after noon.
We started by riding over Lookout Mountain where Buffalo Bill is buried, which is a nice twisty road...it's a pretty technical road if your moving at a decent clip and you have to share with tons of bicyclists and slow cars. After assaulting Lookout, we headed west up to Idaho Springs, CO on I-70where we caught CO 103 Chicago Creek Road up to the foot of Mt Evans. Co 103 is a really great motorcycle road, I can see spending a lot of time there this summer! Beautiful scenery and excellent winding, twisting road....
We arrived at the Echo Lake Lodge at the foot of Mt Evans and took a short break, and then headed on up....and up....and up. There was a $3 fee for entering the state park, which is well worth the price! The temps were in the low-mid 80's down in the flatlands, but up in the hills it was in the 50's...the rangers at the fee station had a bulletin board which posted the current temp at the summit...a chilly 36 degrees! add in windchill and it was well below freezing. The rangers also warned us to slow down for the frost-heaves in the roadway...we headed on up! This road is one of those that resembles a bunch of Z's and W's all linked together. it also is not very wide and has no guardrails...despite many places with a sheer drop off of thousands of feet....
The wee little speck on the road at the ice field is ME!
We stopped at Summit Lake, which is a couple thousand feet short of the actual summit, but is well above timberline, so there were unobstructed views that extended virtually to the ends of the earth...marvelous! We hiked a bit, past the lake which was mostly frozen over so that we could admire the views and take a photo opportunity.
After taking in the thin air, we hopped back on the bikes and went for the tippy top. The road ends only 150 feet or so of the very top of the mountain, and there is an observatory and viewing platform there....there was once a small lodge, the ruins of which make up the viewing platform. Apparently the lodge suffered a propane explosion in the late 70's and was never rebuilt after it went Kablooey. I think thats kind of a shame, from the poster boards it looked like a cool place!
Juan Valdez and his trusty Mountain Goat were evidently in attendance. Hope's daughter Deena got up close to it, and I warned her not to get all goaty. It was a sight to see...
It was very cold up there, and there is not much air to breathe at that altitude, so we decided to head back down. We stopped at the Echo Lake Lodge at the base of the mountian for a cup of hot chocolate with one of colorado's most rare residents...
After finishing our cocoa, we went out to get on the bikes and Mtnceguy quickly realized he had killed his battery by leaving his grip heaters on. He swears he's gonna build in a relay for them soon so that it doesn't happen again. Fortunately it's really
downhill from there...for like ten miles in either direction on the road, so he coasted off to pop-start his 919. It started, sort of, but was running really badly and would not idle well for a few miles so we kept going downhill trying to see if it would improve. eventually it did, and neither he nor I really knew what was causing it to run badly. The RPMs were surging up and then dropping abruptly and the exhaust was popping...we guessed that his battery discharged pretty deeply when he killed it, and I think the extreme altitude may have been a factor too.
In any case it got better all by itself so we finished up the ride by zipping down to the town of Evergreen, and then hitting the interstate back home. All in all, it was a great ride and I'd like to do it again in a month or so. I also really want to attack Pike's Peak this year...stay tuned!