Sunday, June 30, 2013

Colorado Trip 2013 - Part IV

This is the continuation of a trip my dad and I took at the end of May.  The previous day we had taken a break, and hung out with family, visiting the various sights around Lakewood, CO.  Day 5 my dad and I got back on the road, heading north towards Estes Park.  Our plan was to work our way west, through Colorado and Utah.  Then south, back into Arizona.

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The ride between Boulder and Estes Park, on U.S. Route 36, had been extremely beautiful.  Soft rolling green hills, and every once in while we'd pass packs of bicyclists heading the other direction.  There had been a race planned that morning and bicyclists were everywhere.  Eventually the road turned up into the hills and we gained some elevation before rounding a curve and spotting the Estes Park town sign.
 One of these days I'm going to have to invest in one of those odd looking helmet cams.  The ride down into Estes was spectacular!  Before you come into the city you have to cross over Lake Estes.  Since I don't have any video to show you, I'll just borrow from Google Street View to give you an idea of what it's like approaching the lake.  The water was extremely blue as we drove by.
We didn't stop in town.  There was some sort of street fair going on and the roads were packed.  We made a beeline for the Rocky Mountain National Park and headed in.  My dad used his senior  national forest pass(no comment), so he got in for free.  It only cost me 10 bucks, which somehow I got him to pay.  Those classes on Jedi mind tricks are really paying off.  Here we are getting ready to tackle some serious elevation so we decided to pull over and add some layers.
 I wanted to take some pictures at a particular viewpoint so we pulled over at a rather crowded parking area.  After getting off the bikes an Indian family came over and asked if they could take some pictures posing with my dad's bike.  I thought it very amusing, so I took some pictures of them taking pictures!  My dad chatted with them for awhile.  I can't remember now which state they were visiting from.  My dad loves it when his bike gets more attention then mine.;)
 I thought the color of this lady's dress was pretty so I grabbed a quick picture.  I also wanted to show the vantage point everyone was stopping for.
 Amazing views!
 I like this picture because you can spot the names of all the peaks and their elevations.
 We kept climbing and eventually made it past the treeline.  I'm guessing we're somewhere between 11000 to 11500 feet?
 The temperature was actually quite pleasant.  With my skinny shirt on I was quite warm.  The weather was so nice we even saw bicyclist riding up the mountain. 
 Panorama time!
 Eventually we made it to what I think is the highest point in the park. 
 12,090 feet!  Second time I've ever been this high on a motorcycle.
 We walked down the road a bit to show the level of the snow near the road.  There were a few sections where we'd have this on either side of the pavement for a quarter mile or so.  Coming from the desert, it's an amazing sight.
 There was a trail that led off to a small rise.  I wanted to hike it all the way to the top but after starting out I found it was a lot farther off then it looked.  This is looking back towards the road.  I felt like I was on top of the world.
 Magical white powdery stuff.  Very bizarre!
 I zoomed the camera all the way out to take this picture of the bikes.  I liked how it came out.  Notice the skier at bottom left.  My dad asked her how they get back to the cars once they head down.  She didn't even hesitate before replying "We walk."
 My dad and I continued on.  Back in June of 2011 Vern and I had stopped at the Continental Divide on my first pass through this area.  Here's what it looked like then.
And here's the same spot in May of this year.  We couldn't locate the sign.  I don't know if it had been removed, or just buried by the snow.
 We continued making our way down, out of the white stuff.  Here's looking out towards the west end of the park.  The road snakes it's way to the bottom of this valley and then exits the park at the far end.
 We saw a moose down in the valley, which we should have stopped and taken pictures of.  It was one of those, "Well do we stop?" moment..and we never did.  So when I saw these elk we pulled over to take some pictures.  My dad was like "Pfffth I've seen elk before.  Next time we're stopping for moose!"
 As we came out of the park we were getting pretty hungry.  I thought this place was called the Roadhouse Grill, but I can't find it on Yelp.  It was somewhere between Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby.  Pretty nice place.  They even had a large Patrick Swayze poster inside referencing that horrible movie.
 I had the bacon cheeseburger, while my dad had the special.  They called it hangover chile.  I believe it had an egg on top, then a hamburger patty over chile, over fries.  Yes I know the heart attacks are right around the corner, but it tasted sooooo goood.
 After leaving the park we made our way west over some spectacular roads.  It was such amazing riding that I didn't take that many pictures.  We just rode!
 The open road! It's calling your name.
 After checking out a few state parks, we decided to just camp at a small, KOA type, place called The Craig Campground just east of the city of Craig, CO.  Of the three places we camped out I think I liked this place the best.
 The temperature was perfect and it was just a nice place to relax.
 After setting up the tents we drove into town and stopped at a local grocery store to pick up supplies.
 You have to know my dad, but this was a highlight for him.  He got to cook Dinty Moore stew over a small burner.  We bought some french bread and a couple of beers. 
 It turned out to be a pretty nice evening!
 Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for next week when we ride into lovely Utah!

1 comment:

  1. What a great day. I love all the pictures of the bikes with the snowy mountains in the background.

    Your dad looks pretty pleased about cooking that stew too. Was the altitude getting to you two? Just kidding. I am glad you had so much fun.