Day Trips Pt.2
The next riding day it was the two of us again and we just road through the foothills, however I’d got him on some dirt roads this time, I’m not exactly sure why I was leading on this day though. They were reasonably good for the most part, but there was some definite washboarding at times, I’m not sure how much he enjoyed himself but he didn’t complain despite me constantly asking if everything was cool. He fit right in though, we saw a sport bike on the same dirt road! Not a lot of pictures, but we saw some interesting scenery including an entire forest that looked like it had been wiped out. No photos of that though, the road was too great and I enjoyed the pace I was going down it (too fast).
Everyone’s probably heard of Pikes Peak, but if not it’s the second highest paved road in North America, as far as I know, and every year they have a race up it. We were not racing, but we were going up it. I’d been here once before on my very first trip to Colorado, and while conditions looked great then, as in the sky was clear and there wasn’t any rain, the wind was crazy and almost blew me off the mountain. This time however it was perfectly calm, barely any wind at all, and the temperature was somewhere around 14°C, there were clouds though, but they only added to how high it looked, appearing as though we were almost on the same level.
Everything has to be ruined by something though, right? For whatever reason, they decided they were going to ‘fix’ the road between something like mile marker 14 and 16, but I could be mixing that up with Mt Evans which also had issues but that’s for later and they weren’t as bad. Anyway, there’s a bunch of switchbacks that mostly had no guard rails that they decided to pour oil and sand on for a couple miles. That certainly made the ride up and down far more interesting, since it was quite steep off the side and incredibly slippery. Luckily the camber of the road slants towards the mountain rather than away from.
While at the top I climbed out on the rocks to try and get some more interesting views and generally scare the shit out of myself. Everything was actually quite nice and stable, though it certainly looked like it wouldn’t be, and was easy to climb around on. That said, I was next to some steep cliffs. Since I was mostly out on these rocks by myself with Horo, no one was there to recognize her (not that they would in this outfit) or comment which was kind of a nice change. It was peaceful, and Horo was in an alternate non-canon set of clothes I’d bought her off TaoBao.
I probably spent a little too much time at the top of the mountain, I think something like two hours, though I’m not sure how I managed to spend so much time up there and come back with so few photos.
Not content with going up the second highest paved road I decided to go up the highest paved road in North America. Admittedly it’s a bit academic, the difference between the two is only 47 m. That said, you can climb higher than the road goes though I’m not sure by how much, I did climb up to the top but didn’t have my GPS with me and didn’t catch the vague elevation it would have offered. Like Pikes Peak, I climbed all over the rocks next to cliffs and generally terrified myself, though I was getting better at it and risking a bit more. I stood at about the highest point and had someone take a photo of me, there was a slightly higher point next to me, but it was too close to the drop I wanted at least a little safety.
A confusing part of the ride to Mt Evans were the road signs. I got to the road that lead to Mt Evans and it said the road was closed ahead. As there was no where to turn around I kept going until I could find one, but then a sign said that Mt Evans was opened. So was the road closed or opened? As it would turn out, both. The main road to mount Evans was closed but had a detour, and the road up Mt Evans was opened. The construction I rode through wasn’t super fun but certainly made what would have otherwise been an amazing paved road at ~3,000 m pretty terrible, the scenery as always was spectacular though.
The ride up Mt Evans wasn’t as much like Pikes Peak as I’d imagined it would be. You started considerably higher than at Pikes Peak, so there wasn’t as much elevation change from entry to top, only perhaps 1,000-1,200 m instead of ~2,000-2,400 m. Because of this you drove almost entirely across the tundra above the tree line and gave the entirety of Mt Evans a different feel, in addition to this there isn’t a visible city near by so you feel more secluded and more how you think you’d feel at the top of a mountain than Pikes Peak. Like Pikes Peak though there were some issues with the road, thankfully not oil this time, just a few sections that needed work and had been pushed up during the frost.
While at the top two guys drove up in what I believe were two MG TD2s. They’d gone up both Pikes Peak and Mt Evans in one day. As you can see they parked in a no parking zone and the motorcycle parking. They were told to move, but said they weren’t staying long and they didn’t. They got to the top, looked around, got some photos, and left. I think that’s fair.
On the ride back down the mountain I noticed a bunch of cars stopped in what seemed like the middle of no where, no actual parking or path, turns out they were all looking at the goats that were gathered around some rocks. So I slammed on the brakes, quickly parked, and took out my camera. I got way more goat ass than I’d ever imagined I’d capture, but still some interesting shots I think.