Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Ropeguns

Day: 275
Cedaredge to GJ and back
Time: Most of the day

In climbing circles a ropegun is a climber who always gets the hardest pitches and always climbs them in style, without falls, flaws, or faults.

After shaking off the concert from last night Leslie and I rose early to go hang out with our nieces for the day. Leslie went down early while I hung out a little with my grandma for breakfast. I went down a little later and found Leslie and the girls finishing up the breakfast dishes. We hung out a little bit longer and then headed on over to the big city of Grand Junction. Our oldest niece had some birthday money burning a hole in her pocket and had her eye on a new iPod Nano. I guess that is the new walkman, so I can’t argue since I had a walkman her age. After her big purchase we headed over for a little lunch so the girls could get loaded up for our date at the climbing gym. After letting our lunches settle a little bit we made our way over to the climbing gym so the girls could get their climbing on. Leslie and I both became belay slaves as the girls hammered out lap after lap on the climbing walls. The real excitement came when they both ended up in the bouldering cave and strutted their stuff. The younger niece was working on a problem which required her to dyno up to a hold she couldn’t quite reach. A dyno is where a climber throws their body upwards propelling themselves with their arms and legs while balanced on holds. She would just reach her hold which got her to the bottom of the roof. After that it involved her climbing up under the corner of the roof and making a long exposed reach to the finishing hold in the middle. Needless to say Leslie and I were very impressed. The older niece took a little bit to figure out the problem, but after a try or two put the moves together and grabbed the finishing jug only to slip off with a belly flop on to the mat. Her moment of grace was a long sustained overhanging climb on small holds. The first time she attempted it she made it half way up before slipping off and doing a giant pendulum out into space. Her second attempt I told her I wanted her to focus and tag the top. She replied “Oh, I’m tagging the top!” She did, without a slip and without a rest. I think Leslie and I have our little ropeguns.

Are You Derek’s Brother?

Day 274
Paonia Reservoir to Cedaredge
Time: 4:49:00
Distance: 52.9
Avg Speed: 11.0
Terrain: Reservoirs, River Valleys, and Mesas
Location: 38°53'47.5"N, 107°55'34.08"W

It’s the classic question when you get to the land of the Kehmeiers; “are you Derek’s brother?” Yesterday we were on the homestretch coming over Cedar Mesa, we were out of water and not looking forward to the last few miles of pedaling. After climbing the last hill, we rode around the corner and a woman walked out into the road. I was out of earshot, but Chris gave me the recap of the inquiry, “are you Derek’s brother?” Turns out that Heather is a friend of our sister-in-law (Derek’s wife Dasha) and had been looking for us all morning. She was really excited to see us and was kind enough to make us each a very refreshing glass of ice water. If only she knew how much that H20 made our day. Our arrival in Cedaredge at 1pm wasn’t the end of three days of hard riding, it was only the beginning.
And now, here’s the rest of the story…
About ten days ago we found out that Joe Cocker was giving a benefit concert in Hotchkiss on the same day we arrived in Cedaredge. We had to ride through Hotchkiss anyway but couldn’t figure out how to get our destination after dark on the bikes. Oh well, we thought, perhaps the stars would align another time. Fast forward to last weekend and an exciting voicemail from our sister-in-law. Sure enough, Chris’ brother had scored VIP tickets to the concert and wondered if we could join them. They weren’t particularly excited, but I was downloading the greatest hits while Chris worked out the details on the phone. We lead a charmed life, that’s for sure.

After a shower and a short nap we found ourselves again in Hotchkiss. The town was a buzz with all walks of life. From the beautiful people, to those who looked like they had been left out in the sun too long, the crowd filtered down to the Delta County Fairgrounds for a chance to spend the evening with one of rock and roll’s greatest legends. The Subdudes opened the show and get everyone loosened up. As they jammed out their mix of blues, rock and funk, I was captivated by the scene. The grandstands, the blue sky, the mountains, and the hometown crowd – it doesn’t get any more Colorado than this.
As night fell, Joe took the stage and electrified the crowd. He played well into the night and I had to pinch myself a few times to believe I was there. My favorite song was well worth the wait. I have to think it would be a great theme song for the last year of my life and I really believe that “I get by with a little help from my friends…”
You are (all) so beautiful to me,

Chains and Chains, Rivers and Passes

Day: 271 to 273
Vail to Paonia Reservoir
Time: Day 272-4:11 Day 273- 6:00
Distance: Day 272-53.23 miles Day 273-59.25 miles
Avg Speed: Day 272-12.7 mph Day 273-9.9 mph
Terrain: Flat and Rolling

I am going to combo a few days on this blog. Day 271 was Saturday for us and we celebrated by volunteering with some friends to help clean up the top of the Vail Bike Path. It is an annual event that brings out about 20 people to help clear the top five miles of the pass from a winter’s worth of garbage. Our group of four got mile #2 and we set out quickly with our orange bags and vests clearing any and all garbage in sight. This year the organizers decided to recycle all the metal that we gathered off the road. Our friend John helped by driving Vail Pass and picking up the little piles we made for him. The biggest contributor of metal this year was the trucking industry. In our section we hauled out at least 20 sets of tire chains. When all was said and done John had around a ton of metal in his truck ready for the recycle man. I would say that 90% of that was tire chains. After the clean up we gathered back in Vail and rallied for a ride on the North Trail. The trail starts right in town on the north side of the valley and switch backs its way up the hills. We had nice cool weather and dry conditions as we wound our way up. Our friends Sean and Scott joined us for the ride. Once at the top we had the decision to either return the way we came or have a rocky descent into the creek bottom. Sean elected to return the way we came and Scott, Leslie and I did the descent. We all survived the descent just fine but on the climb back out Scott caught his rear derailleur on a rock and snapped it off. After fiddling with it for awhile we decided that he was going to have make his bike into a kick bike and walk it on up hills and coast or kick his way down. We survived with flying colors and Scott now is the proud owner of a multi thousand dollar kick bike.
The next day Leslie and I were leaving the comforts of Vail and heading to Glenwood Springs. I guess I should back up here and say that before we could leave town we were scheduled to be on the local TV channel’s Sunday morning show. We weren’t too sure what to expect so we tried to go in with pretty open minds. The interview only lasted a few minutes and all went well until the host asked us if anything funny happened while we were on the road. I couldn’t help but sharing our Laos brothel experience. She didn’t miss a beat and looked right at Leslie and said “I bet you were popular there”. She then added for all the viewers that if you are in Laos and you try to check in a ‘resort’ be careful because you might get more than you bargained for.
After that we got on the road and had our second guest rider of the trip. Our good friend Jennie rode with us for 10 miles or so before she peeled off and headed back home. I think Leslie and her had a good time chatting it up on the bike path the whole time. The ride was great on the way the Glenwood until we got to the canyon and figured out that the bike path was still closed due to high water. Luckily we were able to ride quite a ways and have our friend Andrew come pick us up at a rest stop. It worked out really well since we were staying at he and his wife’s place that night. When we got home we were immediately fed and watered (I guess beered would be a better word) and put in the shade to rest before dinner. Nothing like bouncing from friends to friends to really make a bike tour comfortable.
After a great nights sleep we got on the road towards Paonia Reservoir. The ride took us on a rail trail, through historic Redstone and Marble and up and over McClure Pass.
I even had a run in with a dog in Carbondale while the day was still young. He decided that my foot looked good to bite, so he did. I came out of the altercation a lot better than he did though. We rolled into Redstone around lunch and stopped at the Redstone General Store for a little food before the pass. We had a nice relaxing break and were pleasantly surprised by the small town hospitality. The cook in the store filled up our bottles and decided that they looked a little dingy so she washed them for us. It was a great note to get back out on the road to. We passed Marble at the foot of the pass and settled in for an hour long slog for the three miles up to the top. At the top the rain started so we donned our rain gear for the descent to the reservoir. We had heard that there was a private campground near that dam so we decided that we would stay there. Imagine our surprise when we learned that it had been sold and was now closed to the public! We really didn’t want to ride back the four miles uphill to the campground we passed earlier so we ducked into a picnic area to mull it over. The picnic area happened to be the home of the campground hosts so after researching our options with him, he said that if we wanted to wait an hour he would drive us back up there. He had to go check the campgrounds and would be happy to give us a ride. He and his wife even filled up all of our water containers so we wouldn’t have to filter.
Hospitality is alive and well in Colorado!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Vail Daily Article

Thanks to Ian Cropp and Dominique Taylor for words and photos in the Vail Daily article published today. We really appreciate their time and effort.
Here's the link to the article:
Be sure to watch the video as well (click link under the photo in the article) - Chris gives the low-down on our summer touring set-up.

Have fun,

(photo courtesy of Dominique Taylor at the Vail Daily)

The Evening Ride

Day 269
Son of Middle Creek
Time: 1:54:00
Distance: 13.10
Avg Speed: 6.8 mph
Terrain: Vail Singletrack
Location: 39˚ 38’ 50.8” N, 106˚ 23’ 44.3” W

We’ve been in Vail for the last couple of days. As usual, we are bunking with friends and enjoying some time catching up on all of the latest in our lives.
We arrived from Eagle on Wednesday after a pleasant ride along the Eagle River. It was fairly uneventful until Edwards when we were waved off the road by a man wielding a camera. No big deal, we just figured it was someone interested in what we were up to. Sure enough, it turned out to be a very well-traveled bicycle touring couple, who maintains the Full Loaded Touring Galley website. They had just moved to Eagle County from Utah and were on their way to Vail to see the sights. We’ll definitely have to look them up the next time we roll through this area. I’m sure their stories from the road can run circles around ours.
Tonight we enjoyed the classic evening ride on the Son of Middle Creek trail. It was the perfect time of day to go; nice temperature and beautiful light. The sun rays were filtering through the trees and highlighting the distant mountain peaks. I had forgotten about the great views of Mt of the Holy Cross and the Gore Range. The route is a favorite of ours and is becoming an annual tradition. Last summer when we stayed in Vail, a group of us went out as part of our farewell weekend. I hope the tradition continues.
Enjoy the alpenglow,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Singletrack Bums

Day 266
The Boneyard Trail to the Pool/Ice Rink Trail
Time: 1:17:00
Distance: 10.5
Avg Speed: 8.2
Terrain: Singletrack
Location: East Eagle Trails

We arrived in Eagle last Thursday and we’ve been riding singletrack ever since. The weather is beautiful, the wildflowers are in bloom, and life is good. (And yes, we know how lucky we are…)

When it comes to singletrack, Vail probably gets the most recognition compared to other towns. It’s a world-class destination and it does have a stellar collection of trails. However, I’d have to say that Eagle has the best riding in the County. Given the length of season, the amount of trails, and the variety of routes, “down valley” is tops in my book.
Overall, Eagle County has endless opportunities on a bicycle. From Vail Pass on the east to World’s Greatest on the west, we’ve ridden just about everywhere on pavement and dirt. We’ve also reinvented ourselves many times over with regards to our bicycling personalities. Whether it was riding, racing, commuting or touring, we always found a way to be on a bike. In fact, our first bicycle tour together was a three day push from Gypsum to Leadville and back by way of Crooked Creek, Hagerman, and Tennessee Passes.
After today’s ride we cruised by the shop looking to get our bikes washed. We ran into an old friend, Larry G. He’s one of our favorite “bike people” and is always doing something on two wheels. Larry invited us to his house where he has a nice wash station set up. While we washed the grime away, he got us up to date on all his latest escapades. In addition to his day job, Larry is training and racing; he’s promoting cyclocross events and working (sort of) as rep for a new company called Squirt Lube. Squirt Lube is a new dry lube for bicycles that is wax and water based. It does not have any solvents so it’s pretty environmentally friendly. We like that. Anyway, we had a great time catching up with Larry G and we look forward to testing a new product.
Happy Monday,

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Day 262
No Name to Eagle
Time: 30 minutes by car, 50 minutes by bike, 1:15 on singletrack
Distance: 24 – 8 – 8
Avg Speed: 50 – 9.8 – 6.4
Terrain: Interstate – New Bike Path - Singletrack
Location: 39˚ 39’ 39.52” N, 106˚ 49’ 3.0” W

Eleven months ago today we were saying farewell to co-workers and packing up the last of our personal items. Eleven months ago today we said goodbye to the structure of an 8-5 job. Eleven months ago today we took the first step in the “journey of a thousand miles”.

Today we caught up with eleven months ago and pedaled our way from Gypsum to Eagle. I definitely felt like we were coming full circle. We’ve made a few trips to Eagle County since we’ve been home, but today was obviously different. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with emotion, I just felt good. I knew the territory and I was looking forward to the familiar faces. Life was good here and this part of central Colorado will always have a special place in my heart.
The ride through Glenwood Canyon was made with a vehicle instead of a bicycle. It was an unplanned shuttle, but necessary since the recreation path is closed due to high water. No matter how many times I’ve traveled through the canyon, I’m always in awe of its dramatic natural beauty. The sedimentary rock walls carved by the Colorado River tell the story of millions of years of uplift and erosion. This unique landscape on the south side of the White River Plateau is one of many special places in Colorado.
The super special part of the route today was my maiden voyage along the new bike trail from Cooley Mesa Rd to Eagle. I had commuted many miles on US Highway 6 for six years from Gypsum to Eagle. Thanks to the ECO Trails committee there is now a safe route between the two communities. I think this group deserves a lot of credit for what they do.
Once in Eagle, we again we found ourselves taken in by friends. We can’t thank all of these good people enough for giving us room and board. We are very humbled by their generosity and compassion.
Now the real riding begins – ha ha. Many miles of singletrack adventures await. It is now day 12 of my attempt to ride every day in June. I’m a little tired but I think it will be easy to stay motivated by all of the great trails in our old neighborhood.
Welcome home, LK

The Scout Trail

Day 261
Boy Scout Trail
Time: 3:15:00
Distance: 23.2 miles
Avg Speed: 7.3 mph
Terrain: Classic Colorado Mountain Bike Ride
Location: 107° 17' 56.353" W, 39° 32' 36.116" N

Our quest to ride singletrack on our days off continued today with the Boy Scout Trail, a classic Colorado ride. Starting on the newly completed Rio Grande Trail, which continues through Carbondale to Aspen, we rode south along Highway 82 to access Red Canyon Rd. A couple hours of stiff climbing lay ahead of us and we settled in for the long haul. Luckily, the spectacular views of Mt Sopris distracted us while we made our way to the radio towers above Glenwood. After two hours of climbing we were rewarded with a fun and challenging singletrack descent into the city. The trail is perched on the side of Lookout Mountains and, at times, I felt as if I might fly off the trail into the canyon below. It was just as spicy as I remember.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I-70 Time Trial

Day 260
Rifle Gap State Park to No Name
Time: 4:04:00
Distance: 38.3 miles
Avg Speed: 9.4
Terrain: Rolling
Location: 39˚ 33’ 34.8” N, 107˚ 17’ 42.6” W

There was just no way around it; we had to go through it. Between exits 109 and 114 on eastbound Interstate 70 we had the BOB Trailer ride of our lives. Chris called it the “I-70 Time Trial”. Nothing like pedaling all out while pulling 40lbs. of gear. “It’s all training”, as we like to say…
Day 260 started out with a pleasant ride up the Rifle Falls. We had never been there and it’s been highly recommended to us. We weren’t disappointed at all. Three huge waterfalls raged and tumbled over limestone cliffs about 60 feet tall. A fine mist from the water sparkled in the morning light. It was awesome and well worth the detour.
After the quick sightseeing trip, we retraced our route down from the falls and pedaled our way southeast toward New Castle. The hay meadows and side roll irrigation gave way to new developments and a golf course. The transition from urban to rural is ever present these days on the western slope.
After a couple of $5 footlong sandwiches at Subway (now you have that song in your head), we did the I-70 time trial and arrived in Glenwood Springs. We’ve been there a thousand times, but it was a first on a bicycle tour. It’s amazing how excited I’ve been to travel through places on my bike that I’ve been before. Simple things can make a huge difference I guess.
Glenwood Springs is probably one of the most recognized mountain towns in Colorado. It has a beautiful setting at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. The area was first inhabited by the Ute Indians and then settled in the late 1800s. Glenwood was developed into a world class resort that catered to the wealthy. The famous Hot Springs Pool was opened in 1888 and the storied Hotel Colorado was opened in 1893, design after the Villa de Medici in Italy. Over the years we grew to love a day trip to Glenwood from Gypsum. We usually found something in the way of good food, interesting history, fascinating geology or just a relaxing atmosphere.
On our way through town, we stopped for some groceries and then finished the ride to No Name. We’ll be staying in Glenwood Canyon with some good friends for a couple of days. We’re looking forward to catching up with each other’s trips, eating, and laughing a lot.

Day 259: Meeker to Rifle Gap Reservoir

Time: 4:46
Distance: 43.04 miles
Avg Speed: 9 mph
Terrain: Rolling
Location: 39˚ 38’ 00.2” N, 107˚ 44’ 45.9” W

We left the comfort of my mom’s place this morning. There was light frost when we got up, but due to us dragging our feet and having that second cup of coffee the frost melted and the sun came out. We only had to dodge oil rigs for a few miles before we turned off of the highway and onto county road 13. We were grateful for a parallel route that kept us away from more oil traffic. The road went from two lane country road to one lane dirt and took us up over a small pass at 8150’. That elevation looks familiar. We crested our last hill and decided that we would just head to Rifle Gap State Park for a campsite rather than bush camp. Leslie wanted a picnic table and I guess I couldn’t argue. We rolled into the camp area and much to my surprise the gal that took our camping info knew our last name. She remarked that her principal in high school had that name. Small world, it turned out to be my uncle. After getting settled in among the fifth wheels and RV’s we made up some soup and took a little nap. While we were eating dinner we had a nice conversation with a fellow camper from Grand Junction. He had just gotten back from a volunteer stint in Louisiana helping with the hurricane repair. He had spent his time working with a local tribe south of New Orleans. The Homa Indians lived way south on the bayou and weren’t even acknowledged by the US government until the mid 1960’s. Evidently they were brushed aside by both the French and the Americans during the Louisiana Purchase. Our camper friend also remarked that he had never eaten so good while doing volunteer work. His menu sounded a lot like the seen in Forrest Gump where Gump’s friend, Bubba, lists all the dishes you can make with shrimp. It sure did sound good while we ate our chicken and rice chili (secret recipe!!).
We are both a little cooked from the day’s effort. I think it is from not really riding for a couple of days. Hopefully tomorrow is a little easier on us.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The World According to Bicycles

Day 258

I ran across some really interesting information on Patagonia's blog a few weeks ago. They always follow National Bike to Work Week very closely and published some really cool statistics related to world bicycle production. In an attempt to exercise my brain, I compiled the statistics and information together in a map. It was pretty exciting to see the data behind the hype - there is a whole lotta potential with that two-wheeling machine...
Have fun,

Thursday, June 05, 2008


It's not a picture size - it's the most common gear ratio for a singlespeed bicycle.

We made a run to the dump today. On the way down the road we picked up the paper and I immediately noticed a sports article about singlespeeds. Even the Grand Junction paper is hip with the times. If you haven't noticed (or maybe you have), singlespeeds are all the rage right now. Cruisers, fixed-gears and mountains bikes; one speed is all you need.
It's not like they haven't been around - singlespeeds were the original bicycle. Even the Tour de France cyclists raced with one gear in the early days of the historic stage race. In addition, I just read an article about a Colorado woman named Dora Reinhardt who rode 20 centuries in 20 days back in 1896. She did it wearing a dress AND pedaling only one speed.
Today singlespeeds have an entire culture surrounding them. Hey - if one speed makes you feel cool, go for it. The more bicycles in the mix, the better.
Keeping it real,

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Colorado Bike Month

Day 253
Steamboat Springs to Ten Miles East of Craig
Time: 2:47:00
Distance: 34.0 miles
Avg Speed: 12.4 mph
Terrain: Rolling
Location: 40 1 39.2 N, 108 1 13.4 W

As the pink neon sign of the Rabbit Ears Motel gave way to morning, we packed up our bright yellow bags and hit the road. Steamboat was good to us and we’re looking forward to exploring the area more in the future.
Once again we headed west on US Highway 40. The traffic was definitely heavier but a nice wide shoulder provided some good spacing from the dump trucks and long haulers. In this region of Colorado where energy development is at an all time high, it’s no surprise to see these large vehicles. What was unexpected was the variety of signs representing bicycles on the road.
Halfway into the ride we stopped in a cute little town named Hayden. As we took a break in a little town park I noticed the Colorado Bike Month poster on the community billboard. I almost forgot about June being all about bicycles and commuting. A few summers ago a friend of mine wanted to try to ride every day in June. I thought it was a great idea but a reality of work, family and life made the goal difficult. Given our current situation and lack of employment, I’ve decided to give it a try. I will try and ride my bike every day in June. For more info, see this link:
Tonight we’re enjoying our first night in an extended stay with Chris’ mom and husband. We’re looking forward to a few days of relaxing at the ranch.
Happy Tuesday, LK

"I only ski blacks on my birthday"

Day: 252
Steamboat Quasi Rest Day
Time: 1:54
Distance: 17.38 miles
Avg Speed: 9.1 mph
Terrain: Hills and Singletrack

We had a quintessential day of living on the road today. We had wanted to meet with our tent manufacturer, meet with our energy food sponsor and ride some singletrack today. We did so much more.
We started the day off with a little ride up to the Hot Springs Trail north of town. The ride wound us through spectacular country with views of the ski mountain. The actual trail starts out near Strawberry Park Hot Springs. We had thoughts of grandeur and were going to try to time a soak in the middle of the ride. We finally thought better of it and decided to do a soak later in town at the town hot springs. The ride was a great little section of singletrack that kept us near Mad Creek the whole way and eventually spit us out on highway 129. We rolled back into town in time to meet Chris at Big Agnes to thank him for taking care of us on our tent rain fly. He was very down to earth and quite cordial to us even though he was very busy. If you ever have a chance to buy a Big Agnes product, do it. It is a great grass roots company based in Colorado that takes care of the customer. We also ran into Nate, who is the sponsorship director for Honey Stinger Energy Foods. It worked out nice that both these guys work in the same building for the same parent company. Nate hand delivered our latest food order and shot the breeze with us for a little bit as well. It was great to finally put some faces with some names.
We got over to the hot springs in town around 2:00 for a little soak. We ended up in the mineral pool where we got into a conversation with a very interesting guy named Win. He found out we were touring through Colorado for a couple of weeks and added that for his 70th birthday he rode across the U.S. on the southern route (California to Georgia). After about an hour in the pool he invited us to dinner with him and his wife for some Mexican food at the Rio. We met Win and his wife Elaine at 6:00 and headed off to a great dinner at the Rio and they followed it up with a nice little tour of Steamboat Springs. Eventually the conversation steered towards Elaine’s 70th birthday. She had a great day skiing with her five grandkids and her daughter. Evidently her daughter had trouble keeping up with her, because “I only ski blacks on my birthday”. The beauty of it is they only learned to ski at 62. I guess there is hope for Leslie and I.
Backcountry Wilderness Rangers, Skiers, Hikers, Cyclists and married for 51 years. Talk about an inspiration.
How Cool Is That!!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The ‘Boat

Day 251
Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs
Time: 2:25:00
Distance: 25.2 mi
Avg Speed: 10.0 mph
Terrain: Another Mountain Pass
Location: N 40 28 53.3, W 106 49 42.4

We accomplished the first goal of our Colorado Tour – we made it to Steamboat Springs. We got on the road at our usual time – 8:30. I was expecting a long arduous climb to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass. To my surprise, we reached the East summit in twenty two minutes. Another beautiful bluebird day made the pedaling pretty easy.
The landscape was vibrant green as we descended into the Yampa Valley on Hwy 40. With higher temperatures the snow is melting fast. The rivers are up and all of the water is doing its thing. It’s a little too much at times as the area is part of a two county flood warning. It might be interesting for us as well travel west to Craig on Tuesday.
The ‘Boat was settled in the late 1800s and has a rich history in ranching. The streets of downtown were even built to accommodate longhorn cattle drives from Texas. In the early 1900s skiing came to town by way of a man nicknamed the “Flying Norseman”. The ski area that bears Carl Howelsen’s name is the longest continually operating ski area in the United States. Today Steamboat is a major Colorado resort town that still maintains a strong western heritage.
After four days on the road we were really excited to ride our bicycles into town. In the past we’ve usually arrived via automobile from Eagle. Back in the day (1890-1908) the only way to get to Steamboat was by stagecoach. After taking the train to Wolcott, one could pay $6.50 for the two day trip over Red Dirt and Yellow Jacket Passes. As I read about this journey at the visitor’s center I was amused by the list of “stagecoach etiquette”. It goes something like this:

-Don’t smoke a strong pipe inside, especially early in the morning.
-Spit on the leeward side of the coach.
-If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by
himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling.
-Don’t swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping.
-Don’t grease your hair before starting, or dust will stick there in sufficient
quantities to make a respectable ‘tater’ patch.
-Don’t ask how far it is to the next station until you get there.

Perhaps Chris and I can incorporate some of these rules into our own touring etiquette…

Happy June,

Guest Cyclist

Day: 250 (WOW!!)
Gould to Rabbit Ears Pass
Time: 5:10
Distance: 48.3 miles
Avg Speed: 9.4 mph
Terrain: rolling

We had our first guest cyclist of the trip today. Anne came up from Ft. Collins this morning armed with her mountain bike and a bag of food. We had requested more food from her, and she exceeded our expectations (chocolate chip cookies). She left her car in Gould at the good old KOA and we took off on some back dirt roads heading for Rabbit Ears pass. We made good time across the vast openness of North Park and even had time to take some pictures and grab some lunch. Our guest’s departure came only 3 hours into the ride, so Anne missed out on the 15 miles of headwinds to our camp for the night.
The ride through North Park took us from Gould to Rand and over Muddy Pass. The whole time we were either looking ahead at the spectacular Mt Zirkel Wilderness or behind us at the rugged and amazing Rawahs. Most of the ride kept us in cattle country with only the occasional glimpse of antelope. We did have a little concern at one point riding through an open range section with about 10 bulls grazing in a pasture off the road. I think I would have been the sacrificial lamb since both Leslie and Anne would have dropped me. We ate lunch sheltered from the wind near a dump truck parked on the side of the road. Cheddar and jalapeno bagels taste great with peanut butter on them. After lunch our guest cyclist took leave and left Leslie and I the 15 miles to Muddy Pass. At 8300’, Muddy Pass marks our first crossing of the continental divide on this trip. It is also pass #2 for us. We will make #3 tomorrow. We will be enjoying some food that arrived via special delivery for us and having a good sleep parked on the side of the road tonight. Tomorrow…Rabbit Ears!!

Two Dollar Wal-Mart Cokes

Day 249
Poudre Canyon to Gould
Time: 4:02:00
Distance: 34.3 mi
Avg Speed: 8.6
Terrain: High Mountain Pass
Location: N 40˚ 33’ 17.2”, W 106˚ 02’ 11.1”

I believe in karma. In most instances I never had to wait long for bad karma to bite me in the behind. Today something caught up with me that’s been years in the making.

Cameron Pass was our objective today. At 10,276 ft it was no small undertaking and is the highest pass we’ve ridden over yet. The pace was slow – a trailer loaded with 45lbs of gear will do that to you. The weather was very spring like, a mix of sun, clouds, wind and gropple. You can be sure we stopped a few times to take off or put on extra layers as we reached the summit. Earlier, Chris had mentioned a new visitor’s center that one of our friends had told him about. My thoughts immediately turned to hot soup or a nice latte. I pictured tourists parked on the pass, snapping photos of each other while sipping coffee in to-go mugs and enjoying the spectacular views. Apparently, it’s been awhile since I’ve been over Cameron. There is one small sign, no view and a pit toilet - so much for my idyllic setting. We snapped our self-portrait, choked down an energy gel, put on several layers and began the decent.
Luckily, the views opened up and we were treated to a spectacular panorama of Mt Richthofen 12,940 ft, and Thunder Mountain, 12,070. Part of Rocky Mountain National Park, both mountains are in the far northwest corner and can be access by foot from Hwy 14.
We continued our quick downhill path towards Gould and finally spotted the Moose Visitor’s Center. It wasn’t exactly at the top of the pass, or anywhere near it, but a welcome sight nonetheless. Chris fixed up some peanut butter bagels and we enjoyed a life-size moose sculpture made out of barbed wire. After a short discussion, we decided to call it a day and check out the local KOA Kampground.
As we rolled on down the highway we spotted a convenience store/restaurant. I told Chris that a couple of cokes would be nice. He went in and came out five mintues later with sodas in hand. I noticed right away that they didn’t look like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. After further inspection, I saw that they were “Sams Cola”. I wrinkled my brow at Chris and he said “Ya, and they were two bucks each!”
Here’s to my continued boycott of Wal-Mart,

Day 248: Ft. Collins to West of Rustic

Time: 5:38
Distance: 50 miles
Avg Speed: 9.09 mph
Terrain: Uphill/Rolling

We started our bike tour for real today. The ride from Boulder last week was just a ride. We saw our friends off to work this morning, patted the dog goodbye and rolled on out of the garage a little past 8:00. The ride through Ft. Collins was a little hectic this morning with rush hour drivers not really paying too much attention. We also managed to time our ride with a trash truck that we leap frogged a couple times. We finally made it through Laporte and to Ted’s Place before turning off the road and heading up the mighty Poudre River. In the canyon we raced with every rafting company in Northern Colorado. The river is up right now (it was measuring at 3.5’ on an incremented rock) and there were a lot of rafters taking advantage of the high water and warm temperatures.
Our goal was to make it up the river canyon about 20 miles on the east side of Cameron Pass. We found a nice little free camping spot across the highway from the river and set about making ourselves at home. The tent didn’t get any bigger since we slept in it last. We figured the last time we camped in it was in Torquay in Victoria, Australia. Quite a contrast from that campsite and this one. There we had to worry about drunk surfers, here we have to worry about bears getting into our food. I guess it always something. Tomorrow we are heading up and up on our way to Cameron Pass. The scenery is beautiful and the traffic is light. I knew there was a reason I liked Colorado!