Sunday, August 10, 2008

Delta to Highlands Ranch, Colorado

We woke up to a beautiful day. Since we didn’t make it to where we were supposed to be last night we had to adjust out route today to make it shorter. We wanted to arrive in Highlands Ranch in the afternoon where we were staying with Mike‘s uncle.

Our nice room at the Riverwood Motel in Delta, CO

Outside Riverwood Motel

From Delta we headed east on 92, then in Hotchkiss we turned north east on 133. In Carbondale we went north on 82 to Glenwood Springs and then I-70 to 470.

92 is a great road south of Hotchkiss, the portion we rode was a bit straight, the scenery consisted of barren hills. Past Hotchkiss on 133 the curves started quickly and for the longest time there were large mountains ahead of us. The section of road through McClure Pass at 8,755 feet in elevation was very scenic and fun. 133 is a great road, except for a few slow moving trucks there wasn’t too much traffic on this road on this Sunday afternoon.

A scenic stop on 133

Paonia Reservoir next to 133

Paonia Reservoir

Today’s temperatures were mild and it was definitely cold at the top of the pass, even though as Colorado passes go, this wasn’t a very high one. Extra layers were needed today.

Heading towards McClure Pass on 133

133 heads in to the mountains

We turned on 82 and arrived on Glenwood Springs. There was a lot of traffic in town and we inched along with the traffic. We were looking for I-70 but the signage for the interstate wasn’t all that great. There was no warning that it was coming up. I saw it on my gps, got ready to intersect it and all the sudden the interstate was to the left and we were stuck in the right lane. We headed out of town and got on I-70 past Glenwood Springs. I think next time when in the area, I’d like to avoid this town.

I-70 east of Glenwood Springs

There are a few long tunnels on I-70

Inside the tunnels

The interstate past Glenwood Springs is not boring interstate, it’s full of twists and turns and has a low speed limit. It’s a very fun road. After a while the interstate starts to climb in elevation and stays at high elevations for a while. We needed to layer up again, it was rather chilly up here. We were also hungry now and wanted to stop somewhere for a late lunch. Unfortunately we were tired of fast food so we rode into the tourist trap called Dillon. For some weird reason, many of the restaurants weren’t even open in Dillon. We rode around the tiny town, decided to park the bikes and walked to another restaurant, but never made it past the front door and the menu that was posted there. $12 for a hamburger? Not on our budget.

It seemed like going in to Dillon, which was a bit off the interstate, turned out to be a waste of time. We decided to get back on the bikes and hit one of the fast food places near the interstate and save some money.

I got on my bike again but it wouldn’t start this time. There was no mystery to what was going on either. I killed the battery. With the large tank bag, the GPS and camera mount, there just wasn‘t a lot of space left for my hand to reach the key. Each time I had to turn the ignition key, I had to somehow squeeze my hand through all the obstacles and feel for the key and attempt to turn it, sometimes it took 4-6 tries before I managed to grab the key and be able to turn it.
Toward the end of the trip I started to get lazy and many times I’d turn the engine off but I’d leave key turned to the ‘on’ position leaving the headlights on. That was of course if I knew I was going to be turning the engine back on in a minute or two. Well, after weeks of doing that and each day of doing it more and more, I had finally drained the battery.

I’m glad Mike was there to push start my bike, but it wasn’t easy. My bike was loaded up to the gills and so heavy and there were no large hills here to roll the bike. It took a at least 20 minutes for him to get the bike running but finally it started. Yea! We rode toward the interstate and grabbed some fast food. This little stop in Dillon made us lose an hour and a half and now we were in a bit of a hurry to get to Highlands Ranch.

I-70 was OK for a while but once we got closer to Denver the traffic started to build and slow down. It looked like a lot of people were heading back home to Denver from the mountains on this Sunday afternoon. I thought the traffic on I-90 in Wisconsin was bad on a Sunday afternoon, with all the Illinois people heading back to Chicagoland. This traffic heading in to Denver was way worst, mostly because the highway was not only packed full of cars but was also very curvy and there was no secondary roads to escape the traffic. The traffic was stop and go all the way from Idaho Springs to Denver. 470 was also packed full of cars and now the dark clouds overhead decided to purge their load. Stop and go traffic and heavy rain! This was so far one of the worst rides I’ve had in Colorado, but we were almost there and not too much further the rain got lighter, we found our exit and we were pulling over at Mike’s uncle’s house in Highlands Ranch just south of Denver.

Today's route was 280 miles long: 92 to 133 to 82 to I-70 to 470

This weekend's route from Monticello, UT to Highlands Ranch, CO was 635 miles long


Anonymous said...

Great blog but I think your dates are off. Unless you are robo-traveler, you have been stuck in the month of August for a while ;)

Anna said...

I'm just WAY behind on the blogging :)