It was the last day of May and Trail Ridge Road had been declared open for the 2014 season, it was time to ride with Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig and introduce her to the views of the Rocky Mountain National Park's (RMNP) mountain peaks.
I left the house shortly after 6:30 AM and elected to slab it towards the RMNP. There was however, heavy fog along the I-25 corridor, from I-170 to just north of Longmont, CO. Visibility was crap and all I kept remembering is past news reports of massive car pileups in similar foggy conditions.
Finally breaking out of the fog, it was clear sailing to Lyons via Colorado State Rd 66.
Unlike the last time I was up by Lyons, US36 had active construction work going on, with signs warning of up to an hour delay. I saw that the recommended detour from Lyons was to take Colorado State Rd 7, through Allenspark, and that's what Scarlett and I decided to do.
The weather over the RMNP turned out to be clear skies, sunny and temperatures in the low 60's....it was perfect timing on our part. Weather would close in as I finished riding Trail Ridge Road and returned towards Estes Park.
The coldest reading on Scarlett's onboard thermometer would be 44°F but I was quite comfortable with just my windproof liner under my riding jacket.
Heading south of Estes Park and the RMNP, the weather once again turned sunny and clear and I was able to cruise on CO 72 to my usual stop at Saint Malo's Church.
Last year's massive floods had caused quite a bit of earth damage and erosion near the base of the small hill that the church was built on. Still, there were folks visiting the church so I guess it wasn't damaged or has been repaired enough to be safe for folks to visit.
I chose US36 southbound out of Lyons and took it to the junction with CO 119 which took me east towards the I-25 Slab. Temperatures soared from the 40's in the RMNP's Trail Ridge Road to low to mid-80s in the Denver Metro area. Quite the temperature differential, wouldn't you say?
There were the usual slowdowns due to too many cars in the stretch between 144th and 84th Streets, but it wasn't too bad. I made it home in just shy of four hours due to the traffic with no incidents or close calls.
Scarlett did great! Her EFI allowed her to idle smoothly from 5000 feet all the way to 11, 796 feet at the RMNP's Alpine Visitor Center. Surprising even me, she got 71.9 kilometers per gallon on the way down from the mountains! That's 42 MPG for you non-metric types, unheard of for a URAL sidecar rig!
Ride Safe. Ride Aware.