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  • Road Trip: Day 32

    Posted on September 29th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    The past few days have been a bit scrambled due to the inclement weather “dumping” snow on the roads I wanted to drive. I could have moved-on early, but I spent yesterday relaxing while I waited-out the storms. When I woke-up this morning I checked the various webcams and it looked like my patients paid off!

    With blue skies and a road that looked to be snow free I rushed out of the hotel and set my sights on Pikes Peak! Turns out yesterday I was just down the street from Pikes Peak, but with all the clouds I didn’t realize it. After paying my admission I began my climb to the summit!

    I was somewhat disappointed by the slow speed limits, mostly 25 or 35mph, but I can understand it. There were quite a few cyclists on the road, and with few guardrails, high speeds wouldn’t have been advised. As a reminder, I even saw the skid marks on the pavement from where a competitor had their throttle stick at this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb. It’s really hard to believe these guys can make the climb in less than 10 minutes!

    The climb to the summit took me almost an hour, but it hardly felt that long. The weather was perfect and the road was completely dry. There were so many scenic vistas to take-in; and of course I had to stop a few times for photos.

    When I reached the summit (14,110 feet) I was feeling a little light headed… I guess that’s why so many of the items in the gift shop said, “Got Oxygen?”! After wandering in circles for a while, I set out to taking some photos to document my expedition.

    On the way down Pikes Peak I did a great job keeping my brakes from getting too hot, and when I reached the mandatory brake check area the worker just laughed and waved me on. Using 2nd and 3rd gear worked well and my transmission temperature never even went above 200°F. I’m still running my track brake pads (HP+ on front and HPS on rear) so would have been fine even if I’d pushed things.

    After finishing the descent I proceeded towards Aspen on my planned route for the day.

    View Larger Map

    Highway 24 had more traffic than I was expecting, but there were still a few places where I could stretch my legs and have some fun. I did a good job avoiding the unmarked police cars and worked my way towards Highway 82 and Independence Pass.

    From here I found myself surrounded by “leafers”… which made the roads impossible to drive in a “spirited manner”. Fortunately I too was caught-up with all the brilliant colors and didn’t care that I was creeping along in traffic. Every turn could have been a postcard, so I found a quiet place to stop and take a few photos.

    I never planned on being in this area to see the leaves change colors, but I really lucked-out. Add in the great weather for today and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

    Tomorrow I make the drive to Grand Junction (~1.5hrs via I-70), but will do my best to drive as many twisty roads as possible (~5.5hrs)!

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