We had no trouble waking up in the morning with anticipation of the ride. But, we weren't in a hurry either. There was a long way to go and unlike many other rides we have done there wasn't any kind of schedule other than to ride, eat, sleep and repeat the next day. Leslie took care of breakfast and we did final prep and loading of the bikes. With bellies and bikes fully loaded we were ready to hit the trail. Bikes: 2000 DR-Z 400 and 2004 KLR 650. After this trip my DR-Z has 26,500 miles and Perry's KLR has 36,000+
This is the view my sister gets every day leaving her neighborhood. Pike's Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. Not bad.
Our route was loaded into my Zumo 550 gps and Karen would be whispering directions into my ear for the trip. I've tried many of the different voice programs and found the Australian accent to have the nicest tone with the no perceptible attitude. The American and English versions get snooty when they have to recalculate due to wrong turns.
We rolled out around 0830 and had to make our way across CO Springs. The weather was perfect. West of IH 25 we went through some very posh neighborhoods on our way to Cheyenne Mountain. This is just one of the homes we passed. Not too shabby.
We stared to climb very quickly and were directed onto Old Stage Rd. which continues to climb high above The Springs and heads to the west side of Cheyenne Mt. In less than 30 minutes from leaving base we were riding through pine and aspen forests on dirt roads. It took a while for me to get my "dirt legs" as I had not been on any dirt rides since our trip to Big Bend in the spring. So soon into the ride the beauty of the trees was breathtaking.
Before getting to far we were treated to one last look at CO Springs.
Old Stage Rd soon transitions into Gold Camp Rd which would take us all the way to the mining town of Victor. We took one detour which which was labeled on the maps as Short Cut. It cut the corner on a large lopping section of Gold Camp Rd. It saved about a mile. It was a short up hill followed by a short downhill section. It was obvious the jeeps had been using this and there was no maintenance. This would be the first challenge with ruts and loose rocks. Here is the view from the crest of the hill looking down.
We both made it though with little difficulty and a couple of jabs on my part. Back on the main road we continued west as we skirted the south slopes of Pike's Peak. Like many roads in Colorado this is and old railroad route converted to dirt road. There are many cuts through rock and even a cool tunnel to go through. You have to go slow and stick to the far right due to many blind spots.
Gold Camp is a really nice road, well maintained, that could be driven by any type vehicle and for me is the preferred way to get from CO Springs to Cripple Creek and Victor.
Perry on his KLR catching up.
After a couple hours we arrived in Victor, CO. An old mining town that is a town frozen in time. Lots of old mining equipment can be seen by just driving through.
In between Victor and Cripple Creek is the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine
. An active open pit mine that produces around 250,000 ounces of gold annually.
Welcome to Cripple Creek, CO.
Cripple Creek is the more tourist oriented of the two sister towns. Complete with casinos and restored hotels this is the place most people visit when in the area. Across the street there was a cool sand sculpture. There had not been any rain around here in about a month.
This is my kind of municipal building; a Colt Firearms add on the side.
The view down Main St.
We were in need of a rest stop so we thought we would check out the fire station. We speak the lingo so figured we could talk out way in. :trust:
We were greeted by one of the local firefighters and within minutes were invited in to take care of business.
She gave us the cheap tour of the truck room and we exchanged uniform patches, a tradition in the fire service. I try to take a few on every trip for just such and occasion.
Next: Skeletons and the first fall. ;-)