July 6, 2007

Jay (Jammin) from the Chicago area talked about a trip he and a group (Andy on the BMW, Aileen on the GSX-R750, Rick on the Ducati, Steven on the red Kawi) would be taking to the southwest - the Grand Canyon, beautiful parks in Utah, and sections of Colorado. On their second to last day of the trip they'd be passing through my area and were willing to have me tag along.

I awoke about 5:30 and took the direct route to Dillon: I-25 to I-76 to I-70. Being early (not knowing how bad the I-25 commuter traffic into Denver would be) I had time to jump over Loveland Pass. It is a pass that has been in my mental to-do list for some years. It's the "old route" that the current Eisenhower Tunnel of I-70 replaces. Loveland Pass is still active with trucking as [I think] hazardous materials trucks can't use the tunnel.

The group would be starting from Leadville and we'd meet in Dillon. The order of the day would be a ride up and through the Eisenhower Tunnel then immediately exit the freeway to take the Loveland pass - returning to Dillon. From Dillon we'd head north to Kremmling for fuel, east on US-40 to CO-125. CO-125 would be the second spot of interest (aside from a mile or two of canyon runnnig just west of Hot Sulphur Springs CO).  

We'd have wide open spaces of North Park which is where Walden is located. Leaving Walden we'd have one last pass, Cameron Pass, on CO-14. CO-14 is scenic though filled with more houses, cars, driveways than CO-125. Instead of taking CO-14 all the way to Fort Collins we deviated southeast on Stove Prarie. This would cut out a fair bit of city stop-n-go riding on a hot afternoon.

The end, for me, would be at Aileen's brothers home for a bountiful lunch and good conversation!

Clockwise loop - about 400 miles

I-25 southbound.
Morning commute traffic heading towards Denver.

Isn't this view preferred over the above?

US-70 disappearing into the eastern portal of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel [the highest vehicular tunnel in the world] from US-6 nearing the 11,990 foot elevation Loveland Pass

Dillon Reservoir / Dillon CO.

Click for a larger size

I'll meet up with the group near I-70's exit 205 @ Dillon. We'll then hop onto the freeway to ride through the Eisenhower Tunnel and then to ride up and over Loveland Pass. Since I had enough time this morning I already jumped over the pass.

Waiting at one of two construction sections...

A couple turns and we'll be at the top.

Jay taking a photo of the sign - Loveland Pass, elevation 11,990 Feet, Continental Divide
The orange sign, plastered with stickers, says "Warning - Back country users - Avalanche blasting at any time using long range weaponry". I'll stay on the roadway today.

Down the western side of the pass.

The second of two construction zones. With the scenery there is NO rush.

There it is - Jay taking a photo of my unorthodox riding position. I ride the twisties with my feet hanging over the highway pegs.

Back at the Dillon Reservoir

On CO-9 North of Silverthorn. Some sort of mining / dredging operation.

Green Mountain Reservoir - filled with holiday weekend travelers

I felt that the ride from Silverthorn to the upcoming Kremmling to be a bit bland. The roadway right along the reservoir was nice tho. It wouldn't be on my list to re-visit.

We fueled up in Kremmling. Heading out of town I spotted this static display helicopter. It was some sort of school - I didn't quite catch the sign.

One interesting section of roadway, no photos though it is in the video, is US-40 for about 1 or 2 miles west of Hot Sulphur Springs CO. You're winding along a rock wall canyon with the Colorado River and the railroad tracks. There was a westbound AmTrak train slowly rolling through - giving the passengers time to soak up the views.

Colorado 125 heading North from US-40 with a destination of Walden CO. This road IS on my list of "re-visits". The first time I was here was with Ken in 2003. The last two photos of this page might look familiar to some of the ones here.

Much of the scenic, twisty section is in the Arapaho National Forest. There are few houses or spots of "people". It is a great place for some relaxing camping or fishing in the Willow Creek.

Aside from enjoying the twisty road I do wish to return for some camping.

Between Rand and Walden. Rick passing by.

From our last roadside stop I headed out first (was getting hot sitting).

There are six bikes in the group and I only paid half-attention as they rolled by me (I had a somewhat "just tagging along" attitude - this was their trip so I tried to follow at the rear). Anyway I saw one headlight behind and thought I mis-counted and one member was still behind. I would have time to pull over and ready the camera for a nice ride-by shot (similar to Rick's above). Anyway - this person was not part of the group - but gave a nice wave anyway.

This wide open area is known as "North Park". A wikipedia article is here.

If you're thinking "South Park" as in the animated TV series - you'd be correct. Here's the "South Park" wiki.

With cattle and rivers come bugs - the camera images are becoming 'dotted'.

Colorado 14 heading east from Walden (along with a cleaned camera lens). They're looking at one final pass - Cameron Pass @ 10,276 feet

The trek from the North Park floor to the pass is quick - it's an easy ascent while the descent to Fort Collins will take many miles.

We're already heading down. The Joe Wright Reservoir is to our right.

As we progress, the valley walls tighten.

The Cache La Poudre River runs alongside - sometimes switching places with the roadway.

Instead of taking CO 14 to Fort Collins we deviated onto Stove Prarie / CR 27 / CR 38E taking it through Masonville and around the southern tip of the Horsetooth Reservoir.

Hidden from the plains by the first uplifts of the Rockies we're not given any hint as to what's ahead. Rounding a final curve of CR-38E gives a dramatic "welcome to the plains" vista.

Waving goodby to our generous hosts - Aileen's brother Mike & his wife Kathlean

The look of "I have 1000 miles to go".

Thanks for letting me join in! It was a fun day.

Eisenhower Tunnel, Loveland Pass, CO-125
WMV, 16.7 MB, 1 min 9 sec

Trip Stats

9:36 Overall time
6:52 Moving time
403  Miles
41.9 MPH Overall Average
58.6 MPH Moving Average