Vilmar's Coast to Coast:
SATURDAY JULY 19, 1997
BLACK HOLE OF KANSAS
Another night of air conditioner troubles. These small hotels with A/C problems are really bothersome. Last night it would shut off automatically but never come back on so we’d begin to swelter and I’d have to get up to turn it back on. What a pain in the ass. However, when it worked, it worked really well.
Got up at 5 to get the hell out of there by 545. Took almost two hours for the high overcast and fog to burn off. Very humid, too. Unusual.
Crossed into Colorado after about 18 miles. The road got worse and we were disappointed in that it made riding rougher on our hands, shoulders, and butt. It also slowed us down by about 1-2 MPH. Then all of a sudden they got better and at one point I was cruising along at 20-22 MPH.
Stopped in at the café in Sheridan Lake for coffee. It’s on the north side of 96 at the intersection of Route 385. Since they were out of cinnamon rolls I ordered 3 pancakes. The waitress brought me back one but I didn’t question it as I thought they were taking creative license to use 3 pancakes’ worth of batter on one pancake. It was big enough to look like it had the batter for three in it. When I went to pay the bill I was charged for ONE pancake. This thing was a monster! And to think I thought the ones at the Plantation House Restaurant back East were big. This thing put those to shame. Had I ordered three I’d be there until 12 o’clock trying to finish eating them. It easily overlapped the sides of a large dinner plate by one inch and was a full ˝ inch thick all around.
Riding along, I’d get a perverse enjoyment watching cars pass us and see them slowly disappear into the horizon, getting smaller and smaller until they finally disappeared from line of sight as if being sucked into a black hole. It took, literally, 15 or more minutes for them to be lost from sight. Figure line of sight was 20 miles where something as small as a car could be seen for at least 10 of those miles. Then, with their forward velocity of 60 MPH and ours of 20 reducing theirs to 40, 10 miles would take 15 minutes to be traveled. Hey, you math wizards out there, are my calculations right?
Soon as we crossed into Colorado we lost the farm fields and saw lots of scrub brush similar to what can be found in most deserts. Saw a few farms, too.
Kept hearing these pinging and rattling noises, not really paying attention to the road surface but when it started getting more and more frequent I realized I was in a grasshopper zone. I originally thought I was picking up small pieces of gravel, rolling it under my fenders, and then they exited at angles sometimes catching my spokes. These insects seemed to be lining the road. Many of them turned into sacrificial victims for cars, and now bicycles. Quite a few did not make it through the spokes (which were causing the pinging sounds.)
Pulled into Eads, elevation 4220 and the hostel was no longer open because some cyclists trashed it. So Hugh and I stayed at the Country Manor Motel. Hugh picked up the tab. I thought that was nice of him. We ate at the restaurant across from the hotel.
Did it again! Soon as we were in the motel, the skies darkened, winds whipped from west to east, picked up speed to about 30 MPH and all I could think of was having it as a tailwind. Wow! Now that would be interesting. Had lots of lightning and rain.
SUNDAY JULY 20, 1997
It was clear and cool this morning and we made a good average despite the fact we were climbing all day. Had no place to get anything to eat until Sugar City. Pretty desolate. Found water in a park in Haswell. Maybe it because all the places that normally would have been open were closed either for Sunday or that it was harvest season and everyone was in the fields. Who knows?
For entertainment I count railroad cars. So far the longest one is 102 cars pulled by a single locomotive. They were empty coal cars or else they’d have required another couple of engines.
Eastern Colorado is much more desolate than Kansas. I’d go for miles and miles and not see a tree, a house, NOTHING but
It must have been mating season or something but we kept running into huge clouds of small flying insects that would stick to our clothes, get in our hair, eyes, and mouth. I was literally covered from head to toe with them. Pulling into Ordway I was still finding them crawling around my leg hairs or in some crease in my clothes or on my head under the helmet where I could not get to them. They didn’t bite or sting. Just irritated by crawling around.
Stopped at Sugar City for coffee and a piece of pumpkin pie. Chatted with the locals and after a half hour did the last 5 miles into Ordway.
Noticed that the muscles I used for climbing are different that those used for pounding away at flat surfaces. My shins hurt after about an hours of pedaling away at 17-18 MPH. I need to rest or else become a wreck.
Hugh finally convinced me to send back my cooking gear. I really have not used it in days and days. I can eat yogurt, grab coffee, eat lunch at a restaurant or deli and then have sandwiches in the evening.
Pulled into the Ordway Hostel and BOY were we surprised!! It is very nice. Clean and large lobby with reading materials and TV, the biker rooms, although not having A/C, have a sink, bed, and desk. Showers are down the hall. For $5 you can not beat it. I could stay there for days. Spoke with the owner and her son quite a while.
I was on the phone to my parents when Bill pulls up. It was nice to visit with him again. We chatted for a while and then went to lunch at the Saucer Block Restaurant. The finest restaurant we’ve eaten at so far. The one at Breaks was nice; the one at Jenny Lake was nice; the one on the approach to the Tetons was nice. But this one was nicest. Linen on the table, cloth napkins, western decor/motifs, and-------------Jazz on the sound system!! Talk about visual and aural conflicts! Got a chance to sign their visitor log and had a lot of fun talking to the owner/manager and our waitress. The waitress is 17 and extremely poised and self assured. Joked with us and had a good knack for selling her product. We all had the prime rib. Was it $12.95? No. Was it $10.95? No. Was it $8.95? No. Was it $6.95? No. Try $5.95. What a deal!! An excellent cut of cow. Very tasty and very highly recommended. Best so far. Also found out that Ding’s Café, where we intended to get breakfast, was closed. The owner died and new management still does not have the place open for business.
Bill is getting a transfer to Turkey (base close to the border of Syria) to be the Deputy Chief of Supply in an organization going to full contractor support and phasing out the military members.
Did it again, dammit! Beat out the rain. I am in room 212 and when writing this day’s journal was watching it rain cats and dogs. Beats the hell out of being in a tent.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks in the high country. Should be cooler in the evenings and much drier. Also observed the greater Hispanic influence in this part of the country. Dennis, Kurt, and Merle had been through here. Merle on the 16th, the others on the 17th. Still no messages. Tomorrow I will know for certain what I will do and when I can expect to be home.
Did laundry at "The Junction", a mini-mart, restaurant, gas station, game room, laundry facility. Also picked up two small flags to put on my handlebar bag.
MONDAY JULY 21, 1997
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
For the first time today in many days the sun was up and there were no clouds blocking it as had been the case previously. Got a relatively early start--550 AM and made for Pueblo. Hugh and I were just a few miles outside Olney Springs topping a rise when LO! and BEHOLD! there were the mountains. All the while they'd been hidden to us behind these smallish mounds we've been having to crest. Highway 50 merged with 96 and the traffic picked up quite a bit. No more wildflowers to take pictures of. Just traffic, traffic, and more traffic. With an occasional 18 inch long bull frog laying on the side of the road to divert our attention and some fairly decent headwinds, we had enough to keep us busy. Also saw a whistle pig community alongside Highway 50. Strange place for them, I thought.
Stopped about 20 miles east of Pueblo, in Boone , for some coffee and cookies and spoke with the owner of the store. He'd had it destroyed several years ago by a renegade train. Fortunately no one got hurt. He had lots of photos to look at. The city used to have many businesses but Pueblo with its large shopping centers, cheaper prices, faster cars and better communications eventually encroached and became the demise of the small businessman. We hear that repeated over and over across the Midwest.
Upon arrival in Pueblo, we went to the visitor's center and Chamber of Commerce to see if any messages were left by Dennis or Kurt. No luck. I assumed they'd taken off and were ahead of me. Merle is long gone also. I did, however, see where Eric had signed into the City Park log on the 17th. I left a message for Dick in case he shows up sooner than I expect.
With Hugh leaving today, I was busy as hell getting my stuff sorted out. Mailed back my cooking kit and various other things. Sure made for a lot of room in my panniers! Pigged out at Pizza Hut's buffet, bought lots of film at K-Mart, and did other little chores like grocery shopping. Said goodbye to Hugh at the visitor center located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Interstate 25.
Pueblo seems to be a nice town to come back to visit. I'll just need to get some more literature on things to do (in Denver when I'm dead?) and return for a few days.
I found out that the City Park allows bikers to stay indoors in a large hall adjacent to the office. Sure beats staying outdoors subject to sprinklers and rain. The place has swamp coolers (all you need in a dry climate), bathrooms, and plenty of sprawl room. Pool and showers are just down the street. Yep, this beats dealing with Mother Nature's whims and vagaries.
Should be quite interesting to do this trip alone.
Had supper at the lake sitting on a park bench enjoying watching the people feed the ducks. The sky is cloudy with impending thunderstorms. I have no idea what tomorrow will be like other than it'll be a bit cooler than the last several days. Re-arranged my gear to facilitate getting at my cold weather clothes. I've fairly well convinced myself I will press on with the rest of the trip without stopping for a rest. If nothing goes wrong (knock on wood) I should be done on the 23rd. That'll give me a three day window for emergencies. I should be able to change my reservations towards the end if it is necessary.
TUESDAY JULY 22, 1997
Day 52 of this trek finds me pounding along on my own. Let’s see how it goes. I have a certain amount of concern and trepidation but obviously not enough to stop. As long as the bike holds up fairly well, I’ll be OK.
Last night was a weird night. I’d laid down and began reading around 7 PM when all these people showed up. Turns out they were a group of C&W dancers who put on exhibitions in the area and had the place booked for practice. So much for turning in early.
The leader used to dance in national contests and is now an instructor. He’s often asked (along with his wife) to give lessons in all sorts of places. Hardship places like Mexico, on board cruise ships, etc. Poor guy! All expenses plus salary. It must be rough! He’s danced for and taught at Dennis Weaver’s ranch and also for a guy named Redmon (sp?) who does hair products. Interesting fellow.
They left at 9 and at about 10 PM there’s a knocking on the door. I tried ignoring it thinking it was a bunch of kids messing around. The knocking was persistent and I looked up to find a park ranger asking me to open up so a late arriving biker could get some sleep. The biker’s name is Don and he came 114 miles from Fairplay. Not sure why he tackled such a long day. He started in San Francisco, rode up to Florence, OR and then shot across. Has huge tattoos which covered his back and has a daughter about to retire from the USAF.
All the disruption caused me to sleep badly so I was not fully rested.
I got on the road at 630 and did OK until the approach to Wetmore (6100’). It was a nasty little climb and I was hoping for a cup of coffee but both restaurants were closed.
Finally got to see my first dead porcupine! OOOH! What excitement.
Had a great downhill ride to Florence, CO where 2 tandem riders caught up with me. As we rode we got closer and closer to the mountains. It was absolutely beautiful and they seem like they are right on top of me.
The riders’ names are Donna and Carl. She’s a pharmacist and he’s an RN. They work weekends to get week days off and be able to ride. They own a gorgeous tandem, custom built, with S&S couplings, disk brakes in the back, all top end equipment and fully suspensioned. What a piece of work!!
They plan to go to Ireland this September and with their bike capable of almost total disassembly due to the couplings, shipping is not a problem. I’d read about the S&S stuff and this was the first time I saw it up close. Very fine work.
Had coffee in Florence (5100’) and afterwards we rode Highway 50 to Canon City but cut off on Ash St. to avoid traffic. They recommended Mr. Ed’s restaurant to me and that’s where I had lunch.
I was expecting a rough climb up to Royal Gorge but it was not so bad. The only thing that bothered me was the afternoon sun which caused me to sweat like a pig. I stayed at the Fort Gorge Good Sam Park at 6300' elevation and the owners gave me a special price on a site.
As I write in the journal I have humming birds literally flitting around my head. I think they are attracted to the red neckerchief I have on my head.
It looked as if a big storm was brewing so I put up my tent just in case. I really wanted to sleep under the stars but I guess it was not meant to be.
It is a bit strange being alone with no one to talk to but it is also good as I am alone with my thoughts and no distraction. After a while I went up to this motorhome and started chatting with the owner. The motor home was a 77 GMC model well sought after by collectors for its styling grace, front wheel drive, quality, and reliability. The owner was 77 years old with his bride of 52 years! It is incredible to think someone could be married that long! More power to them. Having always wanted to see what one was like inside so he gave me the grand tour.
By 7 PM I was beat and wanted to sleep but it was too light. So I filled in some post cards and looked through previous journal entries to try and determine when the last time was that I had my tent up. Turns out it was the 4th of July! That’s a long time!
WEDNESDAY JULY 23, 1997
What a weird day! Got up later than usual—545 AM, packed my gear, and snapped a couple of photos of the sunrise on the distant mountains. Finally hit the road about 7 AM. At first the road was downhill and then it was a solid pull all the way to the Schecter Hostel. I had a couple of rollers where I cruised at 35 MPH but then had to climb back up. What a bummer!
Along the way I saw a coyote crossing the road as well as a deer and other assorted small furry and winged critters.
The scenery was absolutely stunning everywhere. It helped that the day was clear, warm, with virtually no wind.
I took lots of pictures of road kill. Somewhat of a morbid fascination but, what the hell, it’s my trip!
I stopped at the hostel (8100 feet elevation) and noticed it was nice. Five bunks, radio, fridge, wood burning stove. I knocked on the house door and initially got no response so I made myself some lunch and sat around resting and contemplating whether I should head on to Fairplay. Then I heard music from inside the house and knocked again and Hannah, the owner’s 18 year old daughter opened the door. She’s lived there all her life and went to grammar school in Griffey (the mayor of which is currently a dog. It used to be a cat but the cat ran away.) Her high school was in Canon City and her parents carpooled with 5 other parents in the area to get the kids to school. She’s going to college in Gunnison to get a recreational degree for a possible job with the Forest Service. She gave me some iced tea and tried to push some leftover food from her 18th birthday party the day before. I wasn’t hungry so begged off. We were chatting for a while when there was this knock on the door. Who should it be but Dennis! What a surprise!
Turns out he’d left a message for Hugh and I in Ordway but we never got it. Kurt was a half hour behind so we went outside to wait. When Kurt arrived we caught up on news and ate a bit more. Then the owner of the hostel showed up.
Our conversations led to weather and weather patterns. Turns out they used to get lots of snow and now they get only a few 6 inch falls along with some other scattered 2-3 inch snowfalls. Obviously this has serious repercussions for the water table lower in the valley. This is, after all, at 8120 feet and should get lots of snow, eh?
We stayed a while longer and headed out to Hartsell. Climbed to Currant Creek Pass (9350 feet) and started a nice downhill with some climbing to Hartsell. Fairplay was out as the wind had picked up and the weather looked inclement. We rode like hell to beat the rain and we ended up not getting nailed but as soon as we pulled into town we looked back and saw that several miles back up the road they were getting drenched. So the effort paid off. Hartsell sits at 8900 feet and we climbed about 4500 feet total today (2600 vertical, the rest in ups and downs.)
We stayed at the Community Center yard and it was not a pretty picture. Hartsell is the 21st Century equivalent of a 19th Century ghost town without the quaintness or antique feel to it. It’s run down, gray, and the only entertainment is the bar. Other than those folks at the bar virtually no one else was out.
One good thing came out of our stay here, though. Betty Boop now has some sunglasses to keep the sun out of her eyes. Found them in the community center yard; cheap plastic things you buy your kid.
Fortunately I’ve not yet been affected by the altitude. Occasionally my sinuses will act up but only for a few seconds. All is OK so far but tomorrow will tell.
Having met back up with Dennis and Kurt, we’ve decided to finish on the 28th/29th. Kurt thinks he may Amtrak it back with me. Robin was supposed to have met Dennis in Pueblo but her car got rear-ended in an accident so Dennis and Kurt decided to rent a vehicle and go to Santa Fe to see her instead. They left on the 18th and returned yesterday late morning and then rode on to the Royal Gorge.
So far the hills have been challenging. They are not as easy as I expected but neither are they as hard as I had been led to believe. Colorado is a very beautiful state rife with photographic opportunities. I’ve taken lots of photos and have recently concentrated my efforts on wild flowers.
There was no place to take a shower today nor will there be tomorrow. Boy, will we be skanky!! Good thing I have a small bottle of Aqua Velva.
THURSDAY JULY 24, 1997
HOO! HOO! HOOSIER PASS!!!!!
Today was one hell of a busy day! As I wrote these entries it was 9 PM and we were just about winding down from the day’s activities. It seemed as if we rode our bikes all day long.
Last night none of us could sleep well. First off, I could not fall asleep. Then I kept getting wakened by loud people and their stupid trucks. At 330 AM the Volunteer Fire Department responded to a jeep that spontaneously caught fire near the bar. Now, that’s a stretch!
Up at 630 and 49 degrees. BRRR! Had breakfast at Hobb’s Restaurant. The same place we had beer yesterday. The same guy that sold us our beer was waiting tables this morning. We originally went to a different restaurant next door to Hobbs but they had nothing worth while so Dennis went to check out Hobbs. I grabbed the coffee I’d purchased and left. At the first café, the water had an awful lot of iron in it, strong enough you could smell it. The sink and toilet were black from it.
What an unappealing little town. Unkempt, falling down, in disrepair. Makes you wonder why anyone lives there.
Got on the road before 8 with the sun up and the weather nice---until we were 10 miles from Fairplay. That’s when the winds picked up and we struggled into town. Fairplay is a restored mining town sitting at 10,000 feet. The altitude is its claim to fame as the highest populated town in the US. It’s a busy little place with lots of tourists. We ate at the Brown Burro where the coffee was only 25 cents. Its the cheapest coffee I’ve seen to date. The restaurant was recommended to us by someone back in Hartsell, home of the "Man who is ignorant and reveled in proving it."
Let me tell you a little story from yesterday. Soon as we pulled into Hartsell, we walked into the Hobb Café/Bar and this clown says bicyclists are responsible for more accidents than drunk drivers (this from a fuckwheat who’s drinking beer and proceeds to leave BY CAR 45 minutes later). Then he tells us we can’t get to Montana without going through Idaho first. Then he graces us with this gem: "the US got its independence from England in the 1400s." And people still think abortion should be illegal?!?!?! His lady friend wanted to crawl under a table. Fortunately, he left.
Back to today.
I noticed Colorado days fall into a pattern. Clear in the AM and cloudy in the PM. Fortunately we’ve been able to evade all the storms but sooner or later our luck will run out. The mornings are also much cooler and day time highs aren’t as extreme. The sun’s rays, though, are stronger. DUHH! I wonder why? Because of the coolness we are no longer too pre-occupied with getting up too early. Our primary concern now is winds developing later in the morning or afternoon.
Huffed and puffed into Alma and bought a bottle of Schnapps to celebrate our soon-to-be victory in climbing Hoosier Pass. Then the real grinding uphill began. Again, it was not as bad as I had been led to believe as I was able to maintain 4-5 MPH for most of it. The most intimidating part, though, was to see the road cut through the side of the mountain from very far away knowing full well you need to pedal your ass up that thing.
Saw a dead deer along the road so, naturally, I took a picture of it.
On the way up, everywhere you looked was astonishingly beautiful. A great sight was a backwards shot into the valley from which I’d just climbed.
Finally made it to the top thanks to a burst of energy from a king sized Snickers bar.
11543 feet!! We whooped and hollered when we made it, slapped some high 5’s and in general acted foolishly to those that were in cars. But they did not make the pass under their own steam as we did.
Took a picture of ourselves making it to the top (Dennis and I staged ours, I took one of Kurt) and then had pictures taken by the sign. (NOTE TO THE READER: I just re-read that last sentence today, 6 Feb 98, fully 4 months after I posted it and just now realized how horribly wrong the grammar turned out. "pictures taken by the sign"? Puh-lease, signs can NOT take pictures! DUH!!) It should have read, "pictures taken NEXT to the sign. OK, you can continue now. Dennis took out his cigar and I, my bottle. We shared in drinks but not in smokes. It was the first of nine crossings of the Continental Divide I will make on my journey.
I must admit that along the way I did feel a bit oxygen deprived but nothing close to being debilitating. My leg muscles also did not want to play but that’s understandable considering the climb itself and then the altitude thrown in for good measure.
Started the downward ride to Breckenridge and OOOHH what a blast! Averages 25-30 MPH almost all the way into town. Would have gone faster were it not for a head wind and the fact that the road switch-backed quite a bit. There were moments where I felt that the winds would drag me to a stop and at times made the downhills feel like uphills. Weird. One thing I know for sure, I would not have wanted to climb the road I came down. The grade looked considerably steeper and longer.
Along the way I took great big breaths of the mountain air scented with pines, flowers, and the smell of forest floors. Add to that the sound of brooks babbling and wind rushing by your ears as you go downhill and you could not ask for a better ride.
Breckenridge is a total tourist trap! I did not like it. Seems all the beautiful people with lots of money were there trying to show themselves off. Lots of preppie types and even the local cyclists seemed full of themselves. Too much money here and where there is money there are beautiful women. Yeah, I know, it’s a sexist comment but in all the small towns we went to there were hardly any beautiful women. Come to Breckenridge and they’re lining the street.
We went to Fetty’s to eat since it came highly recommended. The exterior was beautifully decorated with tons of flowers. We ate on the deck and took in the warm air and sunshine. Then we jumped on a local bike path to Frisco. What a great bike path! It was lovely not to have cars to deal with. We did our laundry and grocery shopping. Then took the path to Heaton Bay Campground on the Dillon Reservoir. What an idyllic setting. Mountains to all sides, a lake, tall conifers, and QUIET!
It cools off quite quickly so we tried to start a fire but could find no dry wood. What a sorry sight we were. The Boy Scouts would not have given us a passing grade. Went to the lake to witness a ferocious thunderstorm about 50 miles away. We hoped like hell it would not come our way. I saw a falling star and stood staring as a blue-black diamond studded cap was fitted over our heads. Sure was nice not to have a bunch of city lights ruining our view.
Beautiful as it all was the fact remained we were getting pretty gamey and skanky. We need showers!
FRIDAY JULY 25, 1997
ALMOST ANOTHER HARTSELL
What a contrast today was from yesterday. Whereas yesterday’s ride was challenging but ended in a beautiful location, today’s ride was relatively easy but ended in completely the opposite.
The day started well but a bit chilly—45 degrees. I slept in until 6 AM. OOOHH, what luxury.
We were about to roll and head for Silverthorn when Dennis noticed his rear rack was broken. We tied it together and headed out. Had breakfast at a McD’s in Silverthorn and waited for Kurt. Instead of buying a new rack, Dennis decided to buy wire and tie it up so we found a hardware store and did just that. Ended up leaving a bit later than we had intended but we made fairly good time in spite of a head wind. We did a bit of climbing but nothing approaching the previous days’ rides. We put in about 1300 feet, though.
God’s beautiful creation kept spreading itself out for us as we pedaled so I took lots of pictures. Got to Kremmling (elev. 7350) and I thought we had been transported back to Hartsell. Then it cleaned itself up as we got into town proper and we had lunch at the "Quarter Circle Saloon." Quite a good lunch.
Then the fun began. We checked out two hotels. One wanted $36 for three, had no A/C, no TV, no phone, and a common bath. The other wanted $45, had TV, phone, no A/C. Camping was free behind the fire station but had no showers and was infested with mosquitoes. Showers were $5 at the hotel. The campground was $7 and had showers and not as many mosquitoes. What to do? What to do??
Rode 1.5 miles to the RV campground and the proprietress had it in for cyclists. Said that for 10 years she’d had bad experiences with them and couldn’t understand why Adventure Cycling had us go through this area. If nothing else, she could have kept her comments to herself. She disliked cyclists so badly she even recommended we go to the fire station and camp for free. Obviously, the $21 was not that important to her. We really had no better option and ended up staying but avoiding her. In retrospect, we paid $21 for showers. I do not understand the attitude of these folks. It’s like they have a hard-on for the world because they happen to be stuck where they are.
Set up camp and then spoke with a couple with a really fancy motor home, a 1975 MCI conversion. Bob and Jody French are from Arizona and Bob did most of the work himself. Quite a good job, too. Kurt asked them why, if they had such a nice motor home, were they staying in this campground. Turns out they were waiting for a spot to open up at another campground in Steamboat Springs so had to wait here for when that happened. Bob also offered to make us coffee in the morning because he gets up early every day.
One last note on today: for the first time since western Missouri, we ended the day lower in altitude than we began.
SATURDAY JULY 26, 1997
Boy howdy! It was cold this morning—39 degrees. As promised yesterday, Bob and Jody had coffee waiting for us. What nice people! Of course, they didn’t have to but they did. Even had cream and sugar for lightweights like me. We were tearing down our tents and here comes Bob with a carafe on a tray. We went over to their motor home and stood around BS’ing.
If anyone reads this and knows of Bob and Jody from Arizona, please let me know their address. I tried looking them up on the net but without a town, there are just too many "French's".
At 615 we went to the Lone Moose Café for breakfast. Ordered the pancakes but for some reason I could not eat them all. That’s the second time it has happened to me. And, as it turns out, would not be the last. Maybe I am getting tired of pancakes?? We were rolling by 7. Good gracious, it was cold! I had on a shorts, tights, my jersey, long sleeve shirt, and a windbreaker. I felt warm but my fingers were bitterly cold. For about 26 miles we climbed a mild grade through wide open country. The last couple of miles were a bit steeper but I still managed 6 MPH. Got to the top of Muddy Pass (our 2nd crossing of the Divide at 8772 feet) and rolled downhill on Route 14 for nine miles. At the nine mile point we got a nasty surprise---an unexpected hill! Boo Hiss. At mile 24 to 26 we had another long, gradual pull upwards in which I averaged 5-7 MPH. Not bad but we were not expecting it. Then it was downwards or flat to Walden. In all we climbed about 3000 feet today.
It didn’t take long for Mr. Sun to make his presence known for at 1030 it was already quite warm and I was sweating like a pig.
A bit of useless trivia: got passed by a car and as soon as it passed I saw the passenger door open and the passenger spewed on the road. YECH! I quickly got in the middle of the road to avoid that mess.
All day long the scenery was just grand. The Rockies unfolded on all sides as we rode through the valley. Once again, God was watching over us as we had a nice tail wind all the way to Walden.
Got to town at 12 and had me a very large beef and bean burrito for lunch. Dennis was waiting on a friend to visit him from Denver so he and I went to the park to wait. The day was lovely with a nice breeze blowing. Kurt was not feeling well (his sinuses are bothering him and he feels dizzy) and decided to get a motel room. Dennis and I had our tents set up and were on our way to find Kurt when we ran into him looking for us. He got a room at the Westside Motel with three beds, a kitchenette and living room for $30. Guess what we did? Went back, tore down our tents, and went to his room. What a bunch of mooches!!
I re-packed my bags after doing some grocery shopping and then Kurt started feeling badly so Dennis went to the manager to ask for the phone number of a clinic. They said they’d send a nurse! She arrives in short order and thinks Kurt is suffering from altitude sickness and dehydration. He needs to have his electrolytes replaced so I went to the store and bought several bottles of sports drinks. Dennis bought him a pizza. Kurt ate and drink and almost immediately began to feel better. Turns out the nurse’s services were free and a part of the service the county offers. What a deal!
Saw a spectacular sunset and pondered the question of why there were seagulls in the town. Remember, this is in Northern Colorado near Wyoming. No oceans or seas nearby.
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