Moonlit Ride To the Top of the World
One of the best things about living in Colorado is the wealth of beautiful paved roads we can choose from to ride our motorcycle. Even better for Tonya and me, we are within 50 miles from two of the highest paved roads in the North American continent. We have been atop them both many times, but a recent post from the local “meet up” group brought a new twist: a moonlit ride to the top of Mt. Evans, the highest road in North America. This is something that I would have never thought of, even being a native of the area. I thought that the Mount Evans Highway would be closed at night due to the fees incurred during the day to ride it, but to my amazement, it is considered a public road and can be used any time during the warmer weather without having to pay fees.
Over thirty riders met up on a late Friday night. This was a gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts from different motorcycle groups across the Denver metro area.
From sport bikes to Cruisers to full touring dressers, it was a good mix. The skyseemed clear when we started down from Bailey, but while we waited, an unwanted storm began to form an ominous darkness eating up the once brilliant stars that recently shown on our trip down. After a little mingling, we started out. During the short distance on Highway C-470, strong cross winds gave us the first impression of the impending storm, but it wasn’t until we reached the top of Floyd hill on I-70 that the rain began. We rode through wet roads until the Idaho Springs exit where, once on highway 103, the clouds broke and the moon began to peek in and out over the ridge. I don’t remember anyone donning raingear at the beginning so, unless they pulled off, much of the riders got a bit wet.
We re-grouped at Echo Lake Lodge, put on any additional clothing (over our slightly wet bodies) and started up Mount Evans Highway. It was a bit cold here but with the impending climb to over 14,000 feet, we knew it would get colder.
The ride was exciting, with the looming drops now being lit only by the moon and every noticeable section of mountain below us disappearing into darkness like a bottomless pit. The Mount Evans ride is always a rush during the day, but now, on slightly wet roads and a temperature dropping with each bit of height gained, well, you need to ride this at least once in your life…what a cool experience. The top was freezing but you get perhaps the best view of the Denver lights standing at 14,264’.
As I came into work this morning, I noticed the results of the overwhelming rainfall that has flooded much of the low lying land east of our mountains. It appeared as snow atop Mount Evans and the adjacent peak, Mt. Rosalie. So next year, plan your trip for a moonlit ride to the top of the world for July through August (September might be too late).