Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Three for the Road

Day 286
Lake Irwin CG to Lottis Creek CG
Time: 3:23:00
Distance: 37.0 miles
Avg Speed: 10.9 mph
Terrain: Flat/Rolling
Location: N 38 46 28.5, W 106 37 39.8

Guest cyclist #3 has joined us for the last few days of our Colorado tour. He probably picked the hardest part of the trip. Luckily, he probably also picked the most scenic.

We said goodbye to Scott’s fiancĂ© after breakfast. Heather was a bit emotional and it was almost like he was going off to war. Hopefully, riding with us isn’t like doing battle. We had a downhill, but very bumpy ride into Crested Butte. The Kebler Pass road is notorious for washboards and this year is no different. It was such a rough ride for Scott that his little yellow B.O.B flag wiggled out and is lost somewhere on the side of the road.
As we hit town we took a right and headed down Highway 135. It was a beautiful morning and Mt Crested Butte was awash in the early sunlight. The gradient was in our favor as we headed down towards the Jacks Cabin Cutoff, a short cut to the Taylor River Valley. The bonanza of wildflowers kept us occupied as we pedaled the hardest climb of the day.
By taking the Jacks cutoff we found ourselves 8 miles up the Taylor River. We saved ourselves a few miles and more time on a busy highway. I had never been up this valley and really enjoyed riding along the river. The granite rock formations reminded me of being in the Poudre Canyon. It’s amazing how diverse the landscapes can be in such a small area. Just an hour before, we were gawking at the volcanic peaks around Crested Butte.
Around hour three we decided to wrap it up for the day. We wanted to save our legs for the big grind up Cottonwood Pass tomorrow. We cruised into Lottis Creek CG about 1:30. We must have sensed something about the weather because it started to rain about ten minutes after we had camp set up. As we crawled into our tents, the woman from the next camp over offered up the awning on their RV. They were headed out for a few hours and didn’t mind if we hung out on their “porch”. It was a really kind gesture and little did we know that it was just the beginning of the generosity to come.
After a short nap, Chris and I headed over to the RV. Chris cooked up the usual post-ride meal while a light rain sifted down. We roused Scott out of the “biv” and warmed ourselves with soup and hot tea. We lingered on into the afternoon and the hosts returned to find us still occupying their chairs. They were more than happy to share their campsite and we talked for quite awhile. As we thanked them and started to go back to our camp, they insisted that we cook dinner with their equipment and stay for s’mores. It was so easy to be around Larry and Darian, they had wonderful stories and were really interested in our travels.
After we ate our dinner, Larry built a fire and the weather allowed us to enjoy the evening. The stories lasted well past dark and it was hard for Chris to tear himself away. I can’t blame him, our little campsite just didn’t have the same atmosphere. Before we left, Darian invited us for huevos rancheros in the morning. I stuttered a little, but Chris said “we’ll be over between 8:15 and 8:30…”.
As we walked to our tent I was just overwhelmed with the hospitality of our camp neighbors. I think our new friend Larry was right – people are basically good, you just have to give them the opportunity.

Thankful for the charmed life we lead,

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