The arrow points to the Incline that hardy
runners/hikers like to climb on the face of Rocky Mountain. It's
an abandoned section of the cog railway that goes to
the summit of Pike's Peak, which is in the background.
We had two basic choices for routes since we
were leaving from the north side of Colorado Springs.
was to go north on I-25 to I-470 and I-70 west and down CO 91 to Leadville. That
route is longer but probably faster with all the freeway miles. However,
we'd have metro Denver traffic to deal with and two 11,000+ foot passes to climb
US 24 west
of Colorado Springs
We chose the more scenic route with less traffic
and several lower passes
-- south on I-25 through the Springs to US 24 west and north.
That way was 141 miles and took us three hours with one stop along the way.
US 24 is fairly slow through the western part of Colorado Springs and as it winds
around the north side of Pike's Peak. It remains four-lane through the
towns of Cascade and Woodland Park, then becomes mostly two-lane the
rest of the way to Buena Vista and north to Leadville, where it runs
contiguously with US 285 for a while. It's a hilly road but you can
drive pretty fast if you want. The pavement is smooth
and we didn't run into any construction today.
Traffic in Colorado
Springs doesn't begin to compare with Denver, fortunately (that's a
compliment to Colorado Springs).
late in the morning we missed rush hour. There wasn't much
traffic at all through the mountains and broad valleys between Woodland Park and Antero Jct. where
US 285 joined US 24. Traffic was a little heavier from the junction to
and through Buena Vista and on up to Leadville.
Above and below: approaching South Park, a
scenic valley with huge ranches
weather was mostly good the whole way. We could see some storms over the
mountains that form the Continental Divide to the north and west of us
but we got only a little bit of rain where we were.
The scenery is simply fantastic in either direction on this road and
today I was also fascinated by all the clouds:.
Going westbound you can see the Continental Divide to the north, then
There is more snow on the peaks than usual for this time of year.
Two of the 14ers in the Collegiate Peaks are dead ahead when you drop
down to Buena Vista; that's when we got into some rain:
The drive north on US 24/285 from Buena Vista to Leadville is
also very scenic with more 14ers, including Elbert and Massive on the
left and the Arkansas River on the right:
South Park valley and
other range and forest lands are very green now. This part of Colorado doesnít look
like itís in a drought, nor does Leadville.
We saw a range of diesel prices from $3.76/gallon in Colorado Springs
and Woodland Park to $4.19
in one little isolated town along the way. The price in Leadville where
we will get fuel is $3.84. That's still plenty high but lower than we
SETTLING IN -- LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY
at our friend Jack's home construction office, which is really a nice
house he built to serve as his office for several years, on McWethy Dr.
about 2 PM. Weíve stayed here many times over the past eight or nine
It looked like it would pour down rain any time, but we didnít get all
that much through the afternoon and evening. Temps were in the upper 60s F.
Jack is in Canada on business for a few days. We called him this morning
to make sure it was OK to arrive a few days early. He was fine with that
and told us to just park in the same place we did last year. He would
like to build several houses on the acres he owns around the
office/house but the economic recession has gotten in the way of the
project the past five or six years. That's bad for him but good for us,
because he continues to let us park temporarily on the land while it's
I haven't taken any pictures of
the site today but it looks like this view from last year:
We have water, 20-amp electricity, protection from the wind, some shade,
a scenic view of the two highest mountains in Colorado from the yard, a
near front-row seat for the bike and foot races, a paved, 13-mile
multi-use path a couple hundred feet away, and very nice neighbors
inside the house.
Jack's gone temporarily but a cardiologist named Bill is staying inside
the house/office for a couple weeks. Jim talked to him for a few minutes
to let him know that it's OK for us to be here, too. Bill's here to
acclimate and train for the LT100 bike race, the first time heís ridden
it. The house has several bedrooms and guests often stay here in the
Jackís daughter was in and out today, too. She welcomed us back again
like we are family.
The view out my desk window is forest-y.
After we got settled in this afternoon we relaxed and started to get
acclimated to the 10,200-foot elevation. The weather wasnít very conducive to walking or cycling so we stayed
inside -- we're weather weenies. (When we could run it didn't
matter as much because we could stay warm if it was cold or wet or
We have a good phone and internet connection. We're using our MiFi again
now; it was nice to save our gigabytes for more than half a month
at the Academy when we had free WiFi. The only thing Jim misses
is TV. We canít get any stations here without a satellite dish.
I'm OK with the silence for a while; I don't watch much TV in the
summer and I get most of my news from various sources online.
We're looking forward to seeing friends at the LT100 bike and foot races
and getting out on some bike paths and mountain trails while we're here. Stay
tuned for lots of stories and photos from Leadville.
Next entry: beatin' the heat at 10,200 feet
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil