Time to get up! We’re going to head up rt 50 and home today. I intend on stopping at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison park to show Samantha. Plus we’re going over Monarch Pass which is at 11,000′ so it’ll be cold! We might even get some snow. The lady at the desk said it was calling for snow at the higher elevations. I checked the weather at various places and over at Vail it was calling for some snow showers but nothing at Gunnison so I figured it was better to continue with the plan.
I let Samantha know it was going to be cooler and after some discussion, I offered my spare pants and she took me up on it. It’s a tad bit at the waist but we had a strap from the bike and we tightened it up. Hilarious! 🙂
We got all dressed up, warm and rain gear on. She’d picked up a hooded sweater thing she had under her coat. We need to be warm! Now generally I’m pretty used to the different weather and personally I enjoy colder conditions so I’m warm enough but Samantha is a bit more susceptible to colder weather.
We stopped at the gas station to fill up before heading out and then we were off. I passed vehicles when I could and Samantha would catch up. Good job! 🙂 At one point we got to a construction area and we were on the muddy shoulder so it was slipping just a little. I wanted to remember to remind Samantha to be careful in such situations in that you might feel a bit over confident and forget that you have mud on the tires and slip and slide. Also safely passing folks. Keep an eye on oncoming traffic and if there’s a line behind a semi or someone pulling or driving an RV, to try and stay to the right of the road so folks see you sooner and don’t try to pass.
I kept looking for the turn off for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison but never saw a sign. I suspect there was a different sign we missed. Ah well, we eventually stopped in Gunnison to get gas and take a break. It had been slightly snowing on the way to Gunnison so I expected a bit more when we got to Monarch Pass. Samantha snagged a neckerchief to keep her neck warmer (blocking the wind anyway) and I picked up a gaiter. Warmed up, we’re ready to head up Monarch Pass
The ride up was pretty cool in general. It kept getting colder and snow on the trees. Then it started snowing a bit more and the roads were wet in places. As long as the temps were high enough, it was just water but we were still pretty careful and in a couple of places as we approached Monarch Pass there was a little sand in the road so the back tire stepped out a couple of times. Nothing I couldn’t deal with but I was concerned about Samantha but she handled it like a pro.
I was tempted to pull in but it looks a bit sketchy and I was concerned that Samantha would have a problem on the gravel and potential ice and snow so we kept heading down the mountain. We stopped in Salida to take a break and get gas. In the background is the pass with the blowing snow. I suspect it got worse as time went on.
We headed on looking for lunch. In Canon City we stopped at a Dairy Queen and stripped off the warm gear. We grabbed lunch and I checked the map. It looked like we should take rt 115 up to Colorado Springs if we planned on getting home before 6pm.
Heading out rt 50 was a pretty straight four lane road and we took advantage of the road and hit it in places. I certainly hit triple digits to avoid some of the traffic.
At rt 115, we took the exit and headed north towards Colorado Springs. Again it was a pretty clear road but I was a bit more subdued making sure Samantha was behind me. Once we got to I25 we headed north. I was looking for an easy off and on exit so we could gas up and take a quick break.
I let Samantha know it was freeway time and to drive safe. We were heading north so look for the 20th street exit. On the left side is the HOV lane where motorcycles can ride without paying a toll. Then we’ll want to hit rt 36 towards Boulder and we’ll stop for gas when we can. I said if I reached the toll road before she did, I’d wait where she could see me and if she reached it first, she’d wait on me.
We had to take a right out of the gas station and find a place to turn around and get back on I25. We made it to the freeway and headed north.
Personally I hate being surrounded by cars and if I can find a path out and into the clear I’ll do it. I also like being in the left lane but will move over when someone overtakes. It gives me just one side of the lane to guard vs having to worry about both the left and right sides. We got on next to a couple of cruisers and a truck in the front with a couple more in a trailer in the left lane. I was looking to get in front but it didn’t seem to open up. I spotted an opening coming up on the right and took it, right and then left in front of the car that was in front of me, then left again into the left lane and clear sailing. I kept an eye out for Samantha but she didn’t get out of the clot of traffic.
I kept heading north and getting into Denver, I slowed and moved into the middle lane waiting on Samantha. It wasn’t long as she moved up in the left lane and kept on going. I dropped in behind her and she was really moving. Eventually we got to the toll road and we headed on up with me taking the lead. We got off on rt 36 and headed up. It took a bit before I was comfortable enough to take the exit for Sheridan Road. I waved her over and we got off to get gas. I made the light but she missed it so I waited up just a touch until she made the light. Then we headed over rt 36 and into the right hand left turn lane (two left turn lanes). There was a truck to our left. Light changed and we made the turn but the truck tried to merge into our lane. BEEP!! Asshole!
The cards weren’t working at the pumps so I had to prepay for both of us. I gave the guy a serious head shake as I headed to the shop. After filling up, we headed back to rt 36 and headed towards Boulder.
Traffic wasn’t too bad and we got off on Baseline Road, headed up to Broadway, then a left on Canyon and headed up toward Nederland. At Hurricane Hill, we made the right, then a right on Ridge Road, then a right on Rocky Knob Lane and we’re home.
Total trip miles: 781.7 miles per Streets and Trips