Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The East Side and Some Very Cool Cars

After a good meal and a few glasses of wine, I had a great night’s sleep in the smallest and cheapest room of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The hotel is rather splendid....

The front of the hotel....


















The lobby....



















What good is a lobby if it doesn’t have a vintage car in it?....



















The make of car is appropriately a Stanley. This is a 1906 Stanley Steamer made in Newton-Watertown, MA.....



















I should imagine that a lot of people probably ride to the Rocky Mountain National Park via its west side, on US 34. This gets you quickly to the Trail Ridge Road in the park which is where all of the high and splendid mountains are. That is how I got there. But, it would be very easy to miss the roads on the east side of the park, namely Colorado Highways 7 and 72. While the views are not as impressive as those on the west side, these roads are much better for motorcycling with their tight twisty and sometimes flowing bends.

I also took a side diversion down the St Vrain Canyon which is very picturesque and well worth riding through. As I went down the canyon I rode behind two other bikes and took a few pictures of them as I rode....















































The two bikers stopped to check the map and I stopped also and chatted to them for a while. They are Kirby and Joan from Nebraska....





















After a quick chat I rode back through the canyon and then joined Highway 72 heading south. As I rode I marvelled, not for the first time and how the original road builders had done such a magnificent job. It is down to their skill, determination and hard work that we are able to enjoy riding (and even driving) such terrific roads. Just consider this one photo where the rod had to pass through where a hillside used to be. Can you imagine the difficulty in creating this gap just so the road could pass through it? This one short piece of road probably took many men a great number of months to build and we ride through it in seconds. I say we owe a lot of thanks to the road builders!....





















I was soon heading through Nederland in Colorado and I stopped to look at two things in particular here. The first is a steam shovel. Not any old steam shovel, but this is the only remaining Bucyrus model 50-B left in the world. This very machine was one of 25 that were used to build bridges, roads and drains that were needed to shift the massive quantities of soil and rocks cut from the Panama Canal.

This means that this steam shovel and my bike, the Leading Ladies, are linked through time as my bike will go back to the UK from Los Angeles on a ship through the Panama Canal, a journey that would not be possible without this steam shovel.....





















The second thing I saw in Nederland was strange. It was a sculpture made from old steam irons....





















I got the link between the steam shovel and the steam irons almost straight away! Tenuous to say the least!

I rode south through Central City couldn’t help but notice the large number of casinos located there. I hadn’t seen any for quite a while, but then this one place has many of them, so I guess there must be a relaxing of regulations that has allowed casinos to exist in this one small city. I don’t gamble, so I didn’t feel the need to stop and try my luck!

What I did do though was to get out my map to decide where to stay for the night. I randomly picked the town of Golden, for no other reason that I liked the name. I arrived there quite early and decided the time was right to get the mud off my bike after the mess of a road construction I encountered in Rocky Mountains National Park. I spent hours washing it but I could not remove all of the mud which had dried onto the engine casing where it has a rough finish. To be honest, I am not sure it will ever come off as it has badly marked the surface. I will try again when I get the bike back to London.

While I was washing the Leading Ladies I did hear that there was a car cruise in Golden on every first Saturday in the month. Guess what! Today was the first Saturday, so I got my camera out. Now, I do love motorbikes, but I also have a soft spot for some types of cars, mainly old cars – yes, I know this will horrify some of my die-hard biker readers!

No words are needed really to describe some of these beautiful machines....

































































































































































































































































































































Just look at the rear wings on this!....




















And finally, my personal favourite....









































I think I may need to buy another car, or at least think about it..... !

11 comments:

Eve said...

I love that Bonneville Gary! My brother had one that was probably a mid 60's but this one is very nice!! My favorite car of all time is the 66 Chevelle SS, not that is the perfect car!! I love a good cruise in, so glad you were there at the perfect time!
Ride on!!!

mq01 said...

EXCELLENT!!!

Axel said...

Great pictures, and such commitment... you even took the ropes away around the Stanley in Estes Park. Is that the reason they banned you to the smallest room?? :)

motoroz said...

Great road from Estes to Golden. Nederland is a great little town. Great shots of the cars. I bet you were glad to wash the Leading Ladies.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

Our roads are constructed similarly here in British Columbia. In the Fraser Canyon it is solid Rock and they just tunnel through the rock or carve sections out of the hills for the road to go through. It's amazing what they had to do in the "old" days with limited technology. Just blood and sweat.

I hope you manage to get all that mud and dirt off the "Leading Ladies" . I forecast a non riding day coming up soon. Perhaps a good soaking the in the rain is needed.

What luck to find a car show while you were there


bob
Wet Coast Scootin

bluekat said...

Awesome hotel. I'd love to visit there. Great pics of the cars. Not horrifying at all. I think classic cars and motorcycles are a perfect mix! We've had a couple Camaros and Mustangs in the past. Not quite as old as some shown here, but we have an affinity for 60's classics

Freely Living Life said...

Wow! What a spectacular post!

The hotel you stayed at is fabulous! And the sculpture made from old steam irons is very interesting. =)

Thanks for the update!

{{hugs}}

Brian Bascle said...

Checking back in after a couple of weeks away from your blog. Have caught up and it's all great reading. You've got a knack for storytelling. It's a multimedia extravaganza! Even have one of your Colorado Monument pics as my current PC wallpaper. It's heartening to see that my fellow Americans have been so kind and hospitable to you (save a couple of dodgy hotels and tourist attractions here and there). Looking forward to your Route 66 and Death Valley posts. And autumn is the time for classic car shows, so you'll definitely see more fins and chrome along the way.

Gary France said...

Eve – I was so lucky to be there when that cruise was happening!

mq01- Indeed!

Axel – Well spotted that I removed the ropes. Well, they were in the way....! No, I chose the smallest room as it was the cheapest!

Oz – Thanks about the pics of the cars. The first few I took were blurred as the cars were moving, but I soon worked out that they stopped if I walked into the road and put my hands up signalling they should stop! That makes for much better photos! I was really pleased to wash the Leading Ladies and they seemed happy about it too!

Bob – There must have been a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the “old days”. Hmmmn. I didn’t get all of the mud off and I have written to the National Park Service about it. The worst place is the engine casing at the bottom end, which when cast is left with a slightly rough finish, which if mud gets baked onto, it is almost impossible to remove. We will see what happens.

bluekat – The hotel was terrific and so were the cars! I too like old cars – they have so much more character than modern vehicles.

Freely Living Life Family – Thank you! I enjoyed doing this posting as it had plenty of good material to work with. I am a lucky chap to be seeing all of this!

Brian – I am pleased that you have one of my pictures as your wallpaper. I am honoured! Generally everyone has been fantastic and not at all like portrayed in Miami Vice or Hill Street Blues! LOL. I will keep an eye out for more car shows. I can’t wait for some of the places I have yet to see!

Susette said...

Your blog continues to be entertaining, educational and very personal... the car parade is great...also, it's so nice you can connect with other bike riders all across the country... you must be enjoying that. What an adventure!

Gary France said...

Susette - Thank you for your kind words and yes, it is quite an adventure!