(Click on any of the photographs for a high resolution version)
Day 3 - Up at the crack of dawn to hammer up Mount Evans. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America. You start at 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn off Interstate 70 to 14,240 feet to the summit. I've driven it a couple of times before but never in an open top Jeep but it was a bit nippy at 37 degrees at the top. The road gets a bit bumpy about mid way up which is perfect as many visitors stop at that point and turn back. The were a fair number of very energetic spandex speed bumps pedaling their way up the mountain but close to the summit I got stuck behind a couple of larger vehicles with trailers. They were transporting powered hand gliders so I presume they wanted a very high launch point. If they were un-powered I could see it but they had engines so they could have just flown up. Again, there were a few nervous drivers that came to a complete halt and hugged the inside lane regardless of the direction they were travelling. I guess some people just don't like shelf roads.
Mount Evans is a 14,265 feet (4,348 m) mountain in the Front Range region of the Rocky Mountains, in Clear Creek County, Colorado. It is one of 54 fourteeners (mountains with peaks over 14,000 feet (4,300 m)) in Colorado, and the closest fourteener to Denver. It is often compared to Pikes Peak — (been there, done that) another Front Range fourteener within a short distance of a major city — which it exceeds in elevation by 154 ft (50 m).
I spent the obligatory 14 minutes looking around, taking a pee and side steeping all of the goat poo and headed back down. Then is was hammer down back to Boulder to reload the LJ back on the trailer. I took the scenic route via the casino towns of Central City and Blackhawk and the ski town of Nederland. Didn't stop as I had another 400 miles to drive across the Rockies to Silverton.
EXTREME POINTS TOUR - Highest paved road in the United States - Been There, done that.