August 1 Falcon to Manitou Springs, CO – 21 Miles

August 1 Falcon to Manitou Springs, CO – 21 Miles

It was a new day and when I left the campsite, I putted down through Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs to Pikes Peak RV Park.  There was a lot of traffic through the city. I think when I leave, I will be leaving early in the morning. There are 5 Military bases close to town, so all the work traffic seemed to be out at the same time.

I got settled in at my campsite and I had to admire the beautiful view of Pikes Peak and surrounding mountains. It crossed my mind to run Johnabilt up Pikes Peak, but I decided not to do that, as there was so much traffic with all the tourists in town.

I looked at Smiley and said, “Girlfriend, lets you I make history and ride up to Pikes Peak.”

I had about 12 miles until I got to the gate. I pulled up and the Ranger kind of looked at me and said is that more than 50cc (that’s the limit)? I proudly said Smiley is 150cc. He said OK, but be careful and told me not stop to take pictures on the way up because they were  forecasting the possibly of a bad storm up there at 14,000 ft.

I gave him one of our fliers and asked him, if I could run a tractor up. He said, no way, he would have to ask his boss and there is going to be a lot of traffic. I decided it was going to be just Smiley and me.

As I started Smiley up, she was running great. The speed limit was only 20 mph at that point. Further up it’s more like 10 mph. The mileage to the top is 19 miles.

I was OK until I got up above the tree line, then we started having hard switch backs and thousands of feet drop offs, without guard rails on a very narrow road. I do not do well with heights. I kept looking down on the road and staying in the middle until a car came and I had to move over to the side of the road where it dropped off a thousand plus feet. My knees starting shaking and I could feel the sweat running down my back, it did not feel good. I just know that I am going to have extra laundry to do later!

I made it to Mile 16, and that’s where they shuttle everyone up the rest of the way, because of all the construction they are doing at the top of the mountain and they don’t have enough parking.

There were 14 of us in the van and the driver was talking with his hands and driving close to the edge, and I kept looking to the floor. When you looked out the window all you could see was thousands of feet down.

I was sitting beside a medical student, and he was looking down on the floor too. He said, “ I can’t look out,” so it just looked like the both of us were praying.

I was glad that I went, but there was no way would I want to run Johnabilt up. This is the highest mountain I have ever seen!

Driving back down to the parking lot at the 16 mile marker, someone in the van said, “Look, I can’t believe someone rode a little scooter up here. I would be scared to death!” I spoke up and said that would be me and you could hear a hush throughout the van. I’m sure they were thinking that I needed to have my head examined.

Smiley was parked among bikers that also rode up, so I didn’t feel as bad.  I noticed that while I was riding up some bikers on the way down were going very slowly and dragging their feet on the ground.

When I started down I was only going 10 mph around those hard switch backs. I never thought about Smiley not have gears to gear down, so I had to brake a lot. I stopped a couple of times to cool my brakes, because I could tell they were getting hot. Once I got to the tree lines where there were trees on each side, I felt better going faster and Smiley held back on her own.

All in all, it was a great ride. I just didn’t feel good above the tree line, like the last 6 miles or more you are coming down around the bend and all you see is thousands of feet drop off. It was humbling to say the least. Smiley and I got down and we had a nice ride back to our campsite and if anyone asks us how it went, we will say there was nothing to it. We flew up and back as fast Smiley would travel. lol

I did check my pants and they were dry. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were wet. It was a great experience and a fun day. I put over 60 miles on Smiley. Then she and I rode up town and had a nice dinner.

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