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Winter Solstice Ride - 2013

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Back on the First Day of Winter 2013, though the temperatures had been quite cold and also quite warm here in the great state of Colorado, that day would be a day spent in below freezing temperatures.

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I left the house shortly before 9:00 AM and headed west through Denver's Hampden Avenue, aka US285 until I left the metro area and arrived at Morrison. I continued westward through the mountain towns of Idledale and Kittredge, not much of a snow accumulation to be seen at all.

Transiting through Evergreen, Valencia and I diverted onto Upper Bear Creek Canyon. We watched the crowds skating and fishing on the frozen lake on the west side of Evergreen as we wound our way towards Witter Gulch Road.

The distant peaks were partially hidden in mist and fog today. Valencia and I then turned onto Witter Gulch Road to ascend towards CO 103, aka Squaw Pass Road. This is the road that leads one to CO5 which is the Mount Evans Road; it was of course closed for the season.

Upon reaching Squaw Pass Road, I turned left and ascended slowly towards Echo Lake. The road conditions weren't bad at all. Hardly any snow/ice covering the road until perhaps the last mile or so before Echo Lake.

The clouds pretty much obscured the views of Mount Evans and the peaks visible from Echo Lake so Valencia and I just proceeded on down towards Idaho Springs. Surface conditions were a bit "less optimal" for two-wheeled vehicles on the western portion of CO103. There were some pretty long stretches of road that were completely snow/ice covered and I had to adjust my speeds accordingly.

Close to Idaho Springs, there's the turnoff for the West Chicago Camping Area run by the National Forest Service. I'd been down this road a couple of times, never having quite made it to the campground itself. That day would be the day. The road conditions started off fine, but as we got near the campground, I started loosing momentum on the snow covered trail. Soon, I was stopped and had to move out of the way for a car behind me.

Once the car was past me, I engaged the 2WD lever and Valencia strongly pulled onward and upward on the trail. We made it to the campground shortly afterwards and I decided this was a good time to try the snow chains on the pusher tire. The chains took perhaps ten minutes to put on seven of them of pusher tire, I elected to not put any chains on the front or sidecar tires.

Valencia and I ended up in Idaho Springs around 12:30 PM. The weather had soared into the mid-20s from a low of perhaps 19F near Echo Lake. It was almost balmy as I motored slowly through Idaho Springs to snap pictures

After Idaho Springs, it was frontage roads back towards the Denver Metro Area.

Valencia and I motored onto our home neighborhoods via the usual routes. About 130 miles covered that day, with temperatures ranging from 19F to about 30F, and an occasional view of the sun. Pretty good riding day overall, hope you got some riding in.....no sense wasting that time on travails such as Christmas shopping!

Ride Safe. Ride Aware.

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