Posts Tagged ‘Denver International Airport’

What Happens When Motorcycles Are Not Included In Planning

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
motorcycle with DIA in the background

Riding your motorcycle to DIA was not something the planners ever even considered.

I took Judy to the airport early on Tuesday and as I drove home I thought about one of my first visits to Denver International Airport when it was just new.

I actually had been out there even before it was completed. One day I led John and Bill on our bikes riding out on the then under construction Pena Boulevard, going past areas where it was posted to stay out, this being a Sunday with no one to stop us. It was the first any of us had had the chance to see what was taking shape way out there northeast of the city.

But then the airport opened so we decided one day to ride out there again and see this new creation now functioning. If you were around back then you may recall that initially they set things up a bit differently than they are today. That’s because this bright idea about controlling traffic turned out to be a really bad idea and they quickly revamped things.

That is to say, it was set up so that all road traffic to DIA had to stop at a row of toll booths about a mile from the terminal. You were issued tickets and as you exited you handed over your ticket and paid for any time you were there beyond half an hour. Everybody did this, every time. What a waste of time. Now you drive in and drop off or pick up your passenger(s) and there’s no stopping. You only pay something if you park. Who had that dumb idea in the first place?

But it was worse if you were on a motorcycle. Apparently they figured that no one on a motorcycle would ever drop someone off or pick someone up. So when you pulled up to the toll booths there were signs saying “No Motorcycles.” I’m not sure we noticed those signs this day but either way, we pulled up to the toll booth and I don’t remember if we got one ticket for all of us or one apiece or what. Whatever, we drove on in, made the loop past the terminal, and then headed out.

That’s when we really hit trouble.

At the exit toll booth they didn’t know what to do with us. The equipment was not set up to deal with motorcycles, so either the weight or the mass of one bike was not enough to alert the machines that someone was there seeking to exit. Plus, the system was set up so when you picked up your ticket on entry a photo was made of your license plate and the person at the exit booth confirmed that this was the same vehicle.

So when one bike wasn’t enough, they had us pull all three bikes up to increase the mass. That worked but then they had to confirm that this “one vehicle”–really three–was the same “one vehicle” that had come through the entry gate. What a total mess! What a fiasco!

Needless to say, this whole procedure did not last very long. Somebody with authority realized how idiotic it was and the toll booths were eliminated.

And you have to wonder, what might have been different if they had included motorcyclists in the planning process. Surely there would have been extreme protest over the “no motorcycles” part of the plan. And maybe that would have triggered some other thinking about the necessity of inconveniencing every single person coming out there. Isn’t it amazing how generally smart people can have such stupid ideas?

Biker Quote for Today

She told me to whisper something sexy in her ear, so I said, “I ride a Harley.”

A Ride Around DIA

Monday, February 15th, 2016
motorcycle with DIA and the mountains in the background

That jagged bit of white there is DIA.

Unlike so many of my rides, I had a plan this time. I saw that if I went out to Watkins I could go north on Imboden Road to 120th and thereby go around Denver International Airport. It was an incredibly gorgeous day and that looked like a good plan.

The ride to Watkins was pretty standard. I’ve done this a number of times recently. I-225 to Iliff, which becomes Jewell, to Watkins Road, then north. I was interested to see that even way out that far east, US 36 is also called Colfax Avenue. Take that about half a mile out of town east and you’re at Imboden.

So we’re really out in the country here, OK? There are some old houses scattered around but it’s basically wheat fields and pasture. And there’s no kind of development up ahead. Nevertheless, what do I encounter coming south but a couple of guys on Harleys. Guess they like getting out in the open spaces, too.

I had done a Google street view thing to make sure Imboden was paved but I hadn’t gone far when I saw a sign that read “Pavement ends.” OK. This was part of why I had ridden the V-Strom. And it did end, with a hard, smooth surface with a lot of loose gravel, but then after about a mile the pavement started up again. And I did hit another short stretch of gravel before I reached 120th.

At about 88th I found the spot I was looking for, where I could see the airport terminal with the mountains behind it. So I stopped and shot that picture above.

As warm as it was I had not worn my heated gloves but I did wear my electric vest. Good thing, because I turned it on before I even got to Watkins Road. I was hoping I wasn’t going to be kicking myself about the gloves. When you have a top bag you can just throw stuff into in case you need it, why don’t you do it? I haven’t yet found an answer to that question.

120th is pretty empty way out there, too, but the further west I came the more development there was. I turned south on Tower Road, with C-470 right over there, and had a chance to see all the airport-related development going on up there. Back at Colfax I turned west as far Airport Blvd. and then south. East on Alameda Parkway to Havana so I could stop at CostCo and get gas. That annoying little icon on my instrument cluster had been shouting at me for quite awhile now. The tank holds 5.8 gallons and I put in 5.25 gallons. What was I worried about?!

And on home. I love living in Colorado.

Biker Quote for Today

I never lose. I only run out of laps, gas, or time.