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Colorado Pics! 9/16/12


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#1 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

Hi All!

As mentioned elsewhere in my VSC forum here... my wife and I went to Colorado!

We spent several of our days there riding our dual sport motorcycles over (mainly) old railroad roadbeds. We just got back last night and am slowly processing the many pics I shot while there. I hope to have the tenacity and engery to share some of them with you over the coming days/weeks/??? while typing out some experiences along the way as well.

As an appetizer... here are a couple from our trek from Pitkin to Alpine Tunnel (on the Denver South Park & Pacific narrow gauge line)!

Wife and I both LOVE Colorado!!!!

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#2 TheGrindre

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:55 PM

It is a very beautiful state. Unfortunately, it's far too cold for me and I hate snow, too. LOL
Been there many times, myself and just don't like cold weather.

:-)

#3 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:36 PM

Rick: Understand on the c-c-cold weather!

All:

Okie doakie... off on the first adventure...

The first railroad we both wanted to see was the Florence & Cripple Creek narrow gauge railroad from near Canyon City to Victor/Cripple Creek. The F&CC was a short lived NG RR that only survived about 15 or so years. It ran through a very rugged canyon by the name of "Phantom Canyon". Though I have read and seen the photos in my F&CC book... I had never had the pleasure of seeing the F&CC's territory firsthand... so Sharon and I decided to go for it this year!

We left Canyon City bright and early the first day we were in Colorado. I was backpacking the essentials we would need to spend the night in Colorado Springs. Our intention was to ride the F&CC roadbed to the Victor/Cripple Creek area, then ride the Gold Camp Road (the roadbed of the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek std ga. RR) from Victor to Colorado Springs, spending the night at Colorado Springs, and return to Canyon City via the Gold Camp Road and Shelf Canyon Road on Monday morning.

This wouldn't work out as planned! (More on that later!)

Anyway, we hitched up and left Canyon City bright and early. It was a very nippy 4 mile ride on the hiway to reach Phantom Canyon Road. However once we turned onto Phantom Canyon Road, the speeds were lower and thus less nip in the ride. (Must point out that our gear does a great job of allowing us to comfortably ride in temps down into the low 30's.)

Oh, before you view the pics: Bear in mind that you absolutely, positively, CANNOT bring Colorado home in a camera. No way. The vista's are too grand, the canyons too steep, etc. Simply cannot. I'm not the best photographer, anyway, so I've done the best I could.

We hadn't gone far before we approached the first tunnel...

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#4 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:39 PM

After passing through the first tunnel, the canyon narrowed, and the grade REALLY begin to steepen. (4% as I recall?)

My photos just don't do the area justice. You can't imagine how quickly this was becoming spectacularly rugged.

Here's a scene as we climbed... see the roadbed cut ahead?

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#5 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:46 PM

Another scene as we climbed and did our things on our dual sport bikes. The smells of the trees and all were fantastic as we continued up Phantom Canyon!

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#6 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:47 PM

Up we climb as we pass through another tunnel...

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#7 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:49 PM

The state of CO has left some of the bridges in place, converted for vehicular travel. Here is what is called "Steel Bridge". My picture can't convey the tightness of this curve, nor the steep grade on which the roadbed is rising. Incredible to be there!

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#8 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:51 PM

On up into the canyon. Here we look back at what we've come through. Can you see discern the tiny notch where the rails/road pass between the rocks?

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#9 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

The last day I worked before leaving for Colorado it was 95 degrees and high humidity. It was still very uncomfortable in Oklahoma. Up here, the leafs are already turning!

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#10 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:57 PM

Eventually we climbed our way out of Phantom Canyon, and arrived in the high meadows of the area. We had climbed something like 5000' in 30 miles or so. That's quite a feat for a railroad! Here's Sharon looking over at the town of Victor, where we would eat a delicious meal at a diner that was in one of the 100-120 year old buildings. (The building used to be a bar with a bordello upstairs! Or, as the lady owner said, it was a "Gentleman's Club". smile.gif )

It is SO cool how that you can find so many towns in Colorado that are literally steeped in history. It is also cool how that many of them take pride and care in preserving that history.

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#11 laming

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 04:03 PM

I'll close this first segment with a closer look at Victor.

We arrived just in time at Victor. You see, with the ridiculous prices of gold nowadays, they have reopened the mines around Cripple Creek and Victor. Money wins out every time: Some of the old mining sites are being covered up with the tailings of the new mining that's taking place. The lady at the diner said that within 2-3 years, some of Victor's historical mines were going to be forever lost to the new mining that's taking place.

Get up there and enjoy it while you can!

If you would like to read a bit more about the Florence & Cripple Creek RR, hit this link:

http://www.cripplecr...extinfo-fcc.htm

Next up: We ride a portion of the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek standard gauge railroad... and then litterally DROP down into Colorado Springs on an old stage coach road... where Mayhem awaited!

Later!!

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#12 milepost56

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

Awesome series of shots. That whole trip looks spectacular.... smile.gif

#13 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:51 PM

Thanks for sayin' Kev! Glad you're enjoying this. Hope others are too?

And now, on with the show!

After a very good meal at Victor, it was time to hit Gold Camp Road (the old CS&CC std ga. roadbed) and ride it almost all the way to Colorado Springs. Once near CS, we would pick up Old Stage Road and ride it to the outskirts of CS. We were travelling very light (I was carrying a backpack w/essentials therein). We already had a room booked at Colorado Springs for the night. No rush... just take our time and groove to the scenes before us!

We hadn't been on the Gold Camp Road long when I spied this very large and very oddly shaped rock formation. Had to take a pic! What does it look like to you?



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#14 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:55 PM

Leaving the above rock formation, we continued to twist and turn along the roadbed-turned-road of the old CS&CC. Splendid scenes would unfold before us so often, you just can't take pics of all of them. The CS&CC was a fantastic piece of railroading.

Here's another scene along the way. Note the roadbed/road ahead that we'll be soon be riding on?

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#15 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:58 PM

The neat thing about riding roadbeds is that many of the cuts and fills remain. The CS&CC had some significant cuts and fills! I'm confident that early on in the CS&CC, many of the fills we road across were trestles, being filled in after the intial construction, which was common practice.

Here's a rock cut that I thought interesting...

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#16 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:00 PM

A few curves later, we see these fascinating rock formations. They are almost like hot lava had oozed out, and solidified... forming these amazing rocks walls! Oh... and Sharon thought that one very unsual rock formation reminded her of a type of person... can you see it too?

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#17 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:01 PM

More of the amazing rock walls that abounded on this ride...

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#18 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:02 PM

And even more...

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#19 laming

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:04 PM

Eventually, we rounded a curve and ahead was another tunnel. This made three tunnels we would pass through. This was was the longest of the three. It, too, was single lane. It was still lined with timbers!

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#20 milepost56

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:08 PM

Andre that looks like a blast wink.gif Do you know if you can rent bikes like yours in the area?