Day 13 – Moab, UT to Denver, CO

Total Kilometres: 780 (485 Miles)
High/Low Temp: 4 celcius (top of Mt. Evans) and 20 (Idaho Springs, CO)
Total Riding Time: 7:00am MST – 5:30pm MST

so far i’ve had fantastic luck with the weather and only one day with rain, and it was just enough to get a light misty coating on everything. well, today is a different story. woke up in moab, UT and it’s raining like crazy. not really what i’d expected to be lucky, or unlucky enough, to actually get rained on in the desert.

put on my $12.00 home depot special rain gear over my riding gear. it feels like i’m the michelin man, puffy and uncomfortable but at least i’m warm and relatively dry. i decided in light of the crappy weather to stick to the interstate since twisty roads, a bike loaded with gear and being rained on generally aren’t much fun. plus at this altitude the clouds are basically at road level, so there wouldn’t be much to take pictures of.

threw on the ipod, and zipped down I-70 all the way to Dillon, CO. took a quick detour off the highway to loveland pass with an elevation of 11,990 ft. holy crap, this is high. the gain in elevation is in minutes from about 7,500 ft to 11,990 in less than 10 miles. i’m pretty sure this pass is a higher road than anything in canada, and it’s still not the highest i’ll ride today. i noticed i felt a bit ‘off’ when i got to the top. a bit lightheaded and dopey from the altitude.

The summit of Loveland Pass, beautiful view of both sides of the pass. Man, this is high!

Looking West back down Loveland Pass – You can see the highway from whence i came way down in the background. Did i mention this was high?

when i came back down i got some fuel and chatted with a couple guys at the gas station. these fellers were both in their 50s and were admiring my bike. one was so interested that he offered me his phone number and contact info, and even suggested he’d trade his BMW K1200LT for my bike, a $25,000 dollar bike for mine. pretty tempting as this is the bike i’d like to own in the future so fiona can join me on riding days from the comfort of the perch of a queen’s chair on the back of this big tourer. but, alas, i love my l’il honda and wouldn’t trade it for the world, at least at this point.

zipped a bit further down the highway to Idaho Springs, CO and the exit to Mt. Evans. it’s the highest drivable road in north america. my golden eagle park pass is paying off in spades, as i can get into all the parks with the card – so far it’s already paid for itself and there are several parks still to go.

as for the ride to Mt. Evans, all i can say is, wow! i didn’t know how high the highest point would actually be. the road winds and turns all the way up to about 14,000 ft, the rest is accessible by foot. this time i was getting pretty dopey on the way up with the altitude. it has an amazing view of the lower elevations in every direction. for the most part it is a really well maintained road, with the exception of a few areas with frost heaves. no guard rails for most of the turns, so like Mt. St. Helens or the Going-to-the-Sun highway a mistake or off road experience would lead to a hasty descent.

View from the top of Mt. Evans. Here comes the nastiness i rode through all day. Time to get the hell out of dodge…

i decided to get the hell out of dodge as the temperature at the top dropped to 4 celcius, and it began a light rain/snow/sleet. didn’t want to risk coming down the huge mountain on my bike in what could potentially be snow and a very slippery situation.

Looking back down the valley towards Idaho Springs, see the road way down there…

The greeting party on the way down, about 25 rocky mountain sheep.

One of my little marmot friends. They would toy with me. As soon as i shut of the motor they would wait until i reached for the camera, then they would move off the road. Apparently the warm road is a nice place for marmots to sleep.

Looking down from the road. Picture doesn’t do much justice to the steep drop. The lake was literally about 1,000 ft straight down.

got to the outskirts of denver’s downtown. went to call my buddy kim, cellphone battery is dead… i didn’t have the number written down anywhere. luckily i found a 7/11 store with an outlet below their sign outside and was able to plug in the charger and give kim a call. got the directions into town and met near his loft at the Walnut Room pub.

i’ll crash here for a few days, get some rest and begin the journey back home to calgary.