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Archive for July 2nd, 2009

Day 206– 2nd July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 2, 2009

Thursday – Idaho Springs, Colorado

Thunder, lightning, snow, hail, rain, steep dirt roads, sharp corners not a good combination!

Another bad day with the old stomach complaint, or as I call it, the revenge of the chinese food!! This meant I was going nowhere in a hurry except one place. I checked the distance, I am only 70 miles from the turn off to Pikes Peak, so as long as I was gone by about 11am, I should be OK. This is the quaint old motel I stayed at, them wind chimes were a tad noisy, lucky it calmed down during the night, or they would have been history!

One of the Andy Strapz I was using that got burnt on the exhaust finally broke 😦 If it had not have broken there, the other burnt area would have broke I guess.

I had the new one that I chose as a prize from the other night, but it was smaller than this one and is not going to be able to do the job unless I can work out a better way of mounting the bags. I may have to buy another bigger one from Chad. Anyway, off I go finally and head back the way I came a little way then east towards Woodland Park way.

I put that fence photo in for a reason, a chap called muddy supplied the definitive answer in a comment the other day, so go read it here at the bottom of the page, click on comments. I am riding through some nice relaxed countryside, next to lots of meandering rivers and some nice bendy roads.

I finally spot what looks like a tall mountain, which I assume is Pikes Peak, it is shrouded in cloud by the looks, that’s not good is it?

I get to the entrance shortly after, this was after buying a Subway for lunch to eat at the top, or whenever I decided to eat 🙂 My national pass only works on National Parks, this is a state park, so I fork out $10 for the cause. The lady advised me there were 6 miles of dirt and I said no worry. She also said there would be afternoon storms, I said thanks and I would try to be off by 3pm or so, it was now just after midday, so with an hour up and down each way, plenty of time eh.

Then it is up amongst the climbing curves, paved to start with, but fun 🙂

I had to make a U-turn after seeing this sign, now that was an eye opener and a fabulous one for my collection as well 🙂

I really hoped to see one of these 🙂 Curves and hairpin bends, they can be fun and exciting if a car is over the centreline, which they tend to do, so pick the moments!

Then the dirt started, but this first 3 miles was not that bad, very hard packed and clean, still fun on hairpins though, but now you get dust into the bargain 🙂

More hairpins on the paved section and a nice view of where I have come up from.

More dirt section, this had some corrugation in it, not bad but quite constant, it kept you on your toes around the corners, and on the pegs!

But I got to the top all too soon, it was fun, but a doddle really, yesterdays run through Guanella Pass was a lot more challenging for me. Now this is not a sight you see every day, a Dakar in the back of a ute and two Harleys that have ridden up and that are not in utes!

You can tell by the background of the Harleys the cloud has moved in and created a white out nearly 😦 That means no views!

I had some lunch while watching the arrival of the cog railway, if you look at the map of the park road you can see the squiggly line of the road I travelled, but at the bottom is a railroad track from down below, I could not fit the whole lot in 🙂

Did I mention it was freezing up here, as soon as I stopped it started to snow and I had all my jacket liners in, but not the water proof pants nor boots. Anyway I made it to the top and have a photo to prove it 🙂

Just after this it really started to storm, it was snowing as I mentioned, but then there was thunder and lightning real close and the snow turned to hail and sleet, so I just hopped on the bike and took off, no point staying up here in a cloud to attract electricity. The ride down was different, some of it I could not even see!

Below the cloud layer I saw the man with his dog running downhill, crikey, I mean I was again affected by the altitude and was a bit dizzy at times, but they were both running, probably away from the storm!

It had stopped snowing and was now swapping between hail and rain, brrrr, it was bloody freezing and cold and wet, I had forgotten to put my wet gear on and I had nowhere to stop here, that was safe!

By now I am soaked below the waist and my poor old family jewels had shrunk to the size of ping pong balls, what a way to go, hopefully they will recover! This is hail which I managed to hit while on the dirt sections.

That storm was up high but still managed to pelt me all the way to the bottom. That was a nerve wracking experience, it was fun in its own weird way, but I would not like to try it again. I got to the bottom where I took stock and tried to work out where to go next. There was a Santas workshop theme place, well it felt like the north pole to me! Condensation on the lens, sorry 🙂

In the end I just dialled in north, I had been planning on some more twisty mountain rides to get north, but that storm was still around, so I just slabbed it towards Denver.

I was riding and trying to dry out my stuff, my boots were full of water and my gloves were soaked as well, but I could see more stuff happening, so I pulled over at an illegal spot and added the rest of the gear, it certainly felt better afterwards when I ran into more rain and lightning and whatever 🙂

After an hour or so I managed to get off the crappy freeway, it was choked badly in the rain, the two car crashes did not help either, I then headed west to a place called Idaho Springs. I actually was going to go back to the exit near where I met Jim and Lesley, because 2 miles back from there were cheap motels, but I ended up 10 miles west of there and kept on going. I found a reasonably cheap motel that backed onto a creek. The first thing I did was have a long hot shower, after that I felt better and did not mind watching people play in freezing cold mountain water!

I had a relaxing afternoon and evening, trying to catch up on this, but also trying to research where to get some tyres, I need them soon, also oil, filter, air filter has never been done, naughty me, plus I need a mail drop for a few weeks hence. Pacsafe are sending me another tank bag base but I need to know where I am going to be in two weeks, like I know where I am going tomorrow, not me!

Anyway, I had a quiet night, no beer no pubs, a rest evening after a very exciting day, read a book for a while, I have reached the exciting part. Well, I mean 2 pages a day on average is a bit slow for me, I am normally a book a day person 🙂 That is why I want to go camping, time to sit down and do bugger all for a while, hopefully away from the traffic 🙂

Day 252 ml and 406 km
Trip – 22,862 ml and 36,793 km


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