Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cycling Colorado National Monument

At Monument entry - L-R Herb, Dennis, Peter, Frank, me, and Bob A.

The Colorado National Monument, created in 1911, embraces 32 square miles of rugged high plateau and canyon country. Rim Rock Drive climbs 2,000' from the valley floor to the rim of the plateau. Numerous viewpoints and overlooks offer breathtaking and glorious views of the Grand Valley and canyons carved into the plateau.

We completed a 44 mile loop from our campground through the Monument taking our time to visit every viewpoint to absorb the beauty of the magnificent scenery.

One of the cycling race scenes from the movie American Flyer starring Kevin Costner was filmed here.

The day started out sunny but we got caught in the Rockies infamous thunderstorms on the last leg from Grand Junction to Fruita. Our first unglorious welcome to Colorado moment.

Crossing the high-flowing Colorado River

Dennis and I turned 62 and purchased our lifetime Golden Eagle (Geezer) National Park pass. A bargain at only $10 and deal of a lifetime.

Climbing Rim Rock Drive

Road carved through magnificent red rock sandstone

Passing through several tunnels (above and below) carved through the sandstone

Overlooking Grand Valley and Fruita

Road weaves it's way to the top

First view of Independence Monument, a major landmark

A nifty viewpoint overlooking Monument Canyon

The wide side view of Independence Monument

Frank, Peter and Herb on overlook

Little rocks on big rock

Eroded sandstone "fin"

After a 3 mile; 2,000' climb, the road levels off a bit

View of Coke Ovens

Group shot of riders

Group shot of bikes

Two riders across canyon

Looking down one of many canyons

Ghost of Marco Pantani zooms by

Peter and Herb waving to me from across the canyon

On the curvy descent into Grand Valley from the rim

Fantastic hair-pin turns weaves into valley floor
Click on pic for expanded view

The last turn of Rim Rock Drive sweeps into Grand Junction

My cycling girlfriend has a great tan!

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