with a ride up Mt. Evans. This is advertised as the highest paved road in America. And
it is; it is 20 feet higher than Pikes Peak. That's right, only 20 feet (6.5 meters). If
the owners of Pikes Peak took a bulldozer to the top and piled up some dirt. they
could be taller. The parking lot at Pikes Peak is about ten acres in size so there
is room to do it.
The parking lot at Mt. Evans is much smaller and not at the top. There is a trail
that leads about another 100 feet in elevation to the actual top. There is no tourist
trap here, only an observatory for the college and the ruins of an old restaurant
(at the far end of the parking lot) that blew up in a propane explosion in 1979. The
US Forest Service owns the site and has made an observation platform out of the
floor and walls of the old restaurant.
Also getting in was free with my senior card. (If you're over 62 you can get one
at any National Park or National Forest office for $10.)
We walked to the top and found a musical group playing. They are named Gungor and
played soothing music for the 20 minutes we were there. At over 14,000 feet you
could say that they are the "highest acclaimed band in the world"! It was an interesting
experience finding them there.
We then worked our way back down. As with Pikes Peak the road is narrow, windy and
has little to no guard rails. If you went off the side on much of it you would not
stop bouncing for several thousand feet.
Back at the bottom we followed a good motorcycle road to I-70, then west a few miles
and we turned north again to cross over Rocky Mountain NP. This is a through road
and is very crowded. One gets in line and follows the road up above the tree line
to about 12,000 feet and then down the other side. There are no passing lanes and
traffic was heavy on this rainy Sunday. We and two other bikers stopped and put
our rain gear on before riding up the road. This assured that we would not get wet. And
it worked again. We had thunder storms to the right and to the left of us, but we
That night in the campground named Estes Park at Mary's Lake we did get drowned.
This is a Estes Park city campground run by Larimer County, and done so very poorly. Do
not stay here. I made reservations over the internet and would have gone somewhere
else if I had not prepaid. It is very expensive for what you get and the staff do
little cleaning and maintenance.
We are now headed out into the flat prairie of Eastern Colorado. Colorado, like
Washington and Oregon, has a split personality. With Colorado it is a very mountainous
western half with lots of recreation and a very flat eastern half with lots of farming
It will be like this up through Nebraska and into South Dakota.
The only interesting stop is at "Carhenge".
This is a collection of cars that has been built into a replica (however weird) of
Britain's Stonehenge. We have been to the real Stonehengeand this is poor replica.
There is also some other "artworks" made from car parts. Most of these have been
heavily vandalized by taggers with spray paint.
As we entered the Custer State Park there was a sign warning about how dangerous
the Bison are. But this is what we saw.
We are now camped in the Custer State Park. We will be here for a week until we
leave with our Italian friends. They are due to arrive in five days. Before then
we will be riding the local area and seeing the sights. Follow along as we Tour
the Sturgis Area.