Today was one of the prettiest days of the trip so far. I got up around six and by a happy accident both Tim and Robin were rolling out at the same time. Robin told me she usually spends 3 hours getting ready to roll out of camp! We went into town and got breakfast at a cafe, and Tim got on the road. Robin told me about her previous rides and her time in the State Department! I got biscuits and gravy and she got a massive all American breakfast. I left a bit before her, saying goodbye and rolling out around 8. The plan for today was to go far and high, crossing the continental divide at 9500+ feet then descending down into one of several options for camping for the night. I didn’t have a firm plan.
The sky was scary and looked rainy as I got started
The weather was warm but not hot, the smells were intoxicating, birds were chirping, traffic was light, and the grade not too steep. Overall it was a perfect climb. At one point a car full of tourists drove very close next to me then stopped and asked me tons of questions about the ride while they idled right in the lane of traffic. They were very interested in my mileage and other details which I found funny. They waved goodbye and continued up the road. A mile or so later I was on the inside of a blind corner when I heard a car flying towards me from behind. I rode off the road into the dirt shoulder. I don’t think it was necessary, he had enough time to go around, but I wasn’t taking chances. The miles flew by and sooner than I expected I reached the top, crossing the continental divide again and setting my highest elevation record for the ride at 9683 feet (beating out Togwotee Pass by only like 30 feet).
I went to a wildlife viewing area with some tables and had a nice lunch. I called a few campsites to check availability and didn’t have much luck. I pushed on. I joined a different highway and traffic dramatically picked up, but there was a good shoulder so I wasn’t too worried. I climbed a bit and had a magnificent view down into a valley, and a great descent to go with it. As I descended at high speeds I saw a truck coming up the opposite direction. Something told me to grab my handlebars tight, and I’m glad I did, because the combination of my speed and his wind was almost enough to throw me off the bike at 20 mph. I recovered and continued down
I made good progress to the town of Hot Sulphur Springs and tried to get a shake but they took too long. I went across the street and filled my bottles and got a Gatorade. The owners were very nice but one of them was open carrying a small pistol on his hip.
The riding entered a beautiful canyon which went on for miles, and which gave me a view of the Colorado River!
After that I rode for 20 or so miles at which point the shoulder disappeared. There was heavy truck traffic so I decided to call it for the day. There was a sign for an RV park and I followed it. They had tent spots so I grabbed one and got set up. It was just starting to drizzle as I got my fly on. There’s a couple in their car next to me (a pastor named David and Diane? I don’t remember the woman’s name) and a guy named Ray on a motorcycle on his way to a motorcycle rally. I got a shower at perhaps the nicest facilities of the trip so far (towels, soap, clean floors) and started a load of laundry. Ray asked if I wanted to get dinner on his motorcycle and I said heck yes. He drove me into town to a Mexican food place and we talked about his amazing life in the air force and marrying his childhood sweetheart. I asked him if it would be ok if I rolled up to the motorcycle rally on my bike ;D He drove me back to the campsite and the rainclouds looked serious.
I came inside to plan out my next day (hopefully staying in Breckenridge for a day of mountain biking!) and go write this post. As I’m writing it’s pouring outside but I’m in the warm lobby of this wonderful RV park. I’m about to head out there to bed. Night!
Edit: I’m sitting in my tent and it’s thundering loudly outside. The rain is currently mild, but for a few minutes was very heavy and caused a minor flood, right underneath Rays tent. I helped him move it, and checked that mine wasn’t vulnerable to the same flooding.
More photos from today: https://photos.app.goo.gl/zpRNkFVXm9ApdkkTA
- Biscuits and gravy
- Freeze dried strawberries
- Kind bar
- Cliff bar
- Pb&j tortilla
- Chocolate raisins
- Huge burrito
- Beef taco
- Mexican coke