Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Day Trip: Louisiana & Illinois

Tomorrow we leave for an 11 day - 3,220 mile trip that will take us through 11 states. The purpose of this trip is to visit with family, eat a turkey and also bring back more of our stuff from Illinois.

Our route: 1st stop LA - 2nd stop IL

Even though we’re bringing the trailer on this trip, we’re unfortunately not bringing the bikes. The trailer is going to be used for hauling the rest of our stuff from Illinois to Colorado.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roaming the Redstone Canyon

Today was a day of chores and getting ready for our Thanksgiving trip. By 3PM I felt that I had a good handle on things and decided to head out for a short ride. The high temp was 57 degrees today but by the time I started riding it was already cooling down. The sun was setting tonight at 4:37PM, I didn’t have too much time and couldn’t go far. I had a road in mind, I’ve passed this road before and it looked unpaved and my Colorado atlas showed it as a major gravel road.

25G also known as Shoreline Drive

Lots of houses with a views of the Horsetooth Reservoir on 25G

I headed out but I got side tracked by another road, 25G, which was paved and ran on the west side of the Horsetooth Reservoir. There were nice curves here and scenery but just like on the ride I did earlier this week, sooner then later I ran in to a sign stating that the road is now a private road. I turned around and continued southwest on 38E arriving at the road I was looking for; County Road 25E. I think this area is known as the Redstone Canyon.

At the beginning of 25E I see this, which is always a good sign

Deer hanging around

It's open range here, some of these cows were in the road but moved to the grass when they saw me coming

Redstone Canyon

This road looks like it used to be paved long time ago, in a few places the pavement looks really good, but the majority of the road is covered in a thin layer of gravel, the pavement underneath all beat up or nonexistent.

That peak on the left is Horsetooth Mountain

More red rocks, washed out in the picture by the setting sun

County Road 25E is about 9 miles long, I only rode about 4 miles of it. As always, I had to stop and look around, admire the scenery and take some pictures. I really didn’t want to get caught riding after dark, the deer are bad out here and on this road there were already small heards of deer hanging around in the fields and near the road.

I turned around here

The road continues north, I'll have to comeback and finish riding it some other day

That's more like it, less houses and more scenery, I could live out here

My last stop of the ride, the Horsetooth Reservoir just after sun set

So right when the road and scenery got really interesting, I turned around and headed back. Total mileage for today, 32 miles.

My route today was 32 miles round trip

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fort Collins: short & twisty motorcycle loop

With snow in the forecast for tomorrow and 60 degrees and sunny today, Mike and I took off for a short version (63 miles long) of the twisty loop west of Fort Collins. 38E to Stove Prairie (27) to Rist Canyon (52E) to Centennial Drive (23).

On Stove Prairie heading in to the mountains

The longer loop would have been 90 miles long and one would continue on Stove Prairie then head east on Poudre Canyon (14) then on to Centennial Drive (23).

To change it up one could ride the loops in the opposite direction, it’s like a completely different ride.

My 954 still needed to have the servo motor problem resolved. Many had suggested to check for loose battery connections first since that might have caused the error code for the Faulty EGCV and air intake valve servo motor . The battery connections seem fine. I was hoping that maybe it was an electric fluke and on this ride the light wouldn‘t come on, but it did. Mike will have to take apart the servo motor next, but that can wait for when it’s cold.

At the the top of Rist Canyon Road

A close up of where I came from

It's a steep climb to get up here

And behind me is where I'll be going down hill on Rist Canyon

This isn't even bad, there was more sand further down the twisties

A deer crossing the road in the middle of the day toward Bellvue on Rist Canyon

We had to get out for a short ride today a enjoy the above average temps we’ve been having. This might be our last bike ride for November since we’re traveling for Thanksgiving and won’t be back in Colorado until the beginning of December. And even if the weather continues to be nice in December we won’t be riding Rist Canyon until Spring. Apparently in the winter time they sand the high elevation section of this road which reaches 8,011 feet. Unfortunately the highest part is also the twistiest part and the steepest part. I did not enjoy riding down the twisty hair pin turns with all this loose sand on the road. And I don’t even have pictures of the sandiest section since I wasn’t going to take one of my hands off the handle bar to take a picture… that would have been scary.

A short stop on Centennial Drive

It was a bit windy up here

There was a fire in Fort Collins, you can see the smoke in the distance

Twisties on Centennial Drive

Even though I rode Centennial Drive Northbound yesterday, the views are much better going Southbound the way we rode it today

So I guess in the winter time before the snow flies the only twisty loop one can do is the long loop, even though parts of the Stove Prairie Road that were at above 7,000 feet also had sand on the road but at least the road there wasn’t all covered with sand and it’s wasn’t steep and really twisty.

And of course the best part of the ride, and one of the reasons why we moved here, is that when the weather is nice there are awesome roads near by.

The short twisty loop west of Fort Collins

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Putting around Fort Collins

This is what I call temptation. The sun shining outside the window. The weather channel indicating that it's a balmy 70 degrees outside. Just one of those days that can’t be wasted indoors, after all winter is coming and who knows how many more warm days we’ll have before the snow flies.

Having only a few hours to ride this afternoon and not being able to go too far I looked at Streets and Trips and figured out an interesting route that headed in to the foothills. Since most small roads outside of town are dirt, I decided to do some exploring today in hopes of finding some cool dirt roads to ride near by.

A gravel road just 3.6 miles from home

I headed south then west. Within a few miles of the house I was riding a gravel road that was heading toward the hills. Unfortunately just before the road started to climb I arrived at a gate with a sign informing me to turn around. Apparently beyond the gate was private property. Too bad. The road looked really nice on the map.

23, aka Centennial Drive, runs to the east of the Horsetooth Reservoir

That's Centennial Drive up here and twisting in the background

Looking at Fort Collins from Centennial Drive

Horsetooth Reservoir

Just to the north of the Horsetooth Reservoir

Since I had no easy and quick way of getting to the other roads I wanted to ride, I decided to save the route for another day when I could connect the roads without having to trespass.

If I couldn’t ride twisty dirt roads I at least wanted some scenery, so I took off toward the Horsetooth Reservoir. I haven’t been on the Centennial Drive since this summer. Riding around the reservoir is really neat especially when the road starts to climb. Not only do you get amazing views of the reservoir from this road, but you also get to see the whole town of Fort Collins. Not too many cars out today, but plenty of motorcycles and bicycles.

This road was only 1.5 miles long

Some friendly four legged residents

Playing with Photoshop

Playing with shadows

Taking a break at one of the many nature preserves around town

I rode a few more roads Northwest of town, did find some dirt roads, but nothing exciting. Also found quite a bit of dead end roads, private roads, and roads that just looped around and brought me back to where I started from. In all I rode 50 miles today and my ride ended with a beautiful sunset. So beautiful, I had to pull over and take some pictures of it.

The ride ends with a spectacular sunset