Day 47 07/07/22
Guess what? We slept in until 6:10am! What was the occassion? We planned to take a shorter ride today and go out for a real breakfast. We left the hotel and had a seven mile ride to the town of Frisco to a favorite breakfast spot. It had rained most of the night but the morning surprised us with those brilliant blue Colorado skies. Standing between us and a great breakfast was the Dillon Dam. There is a great bike trail that traverses its way up to the top of the dam but it's not for the faint of heart. A thigh and lung burner! Once on top of the dam the lake spreads out in all directions with jaw dropping views of the mountains. The trail runs along the shoreline and through some beautiful meadows bringing you right into the heart of Frisco. A sidewalk table was available and we ordered some breakfast. The waithuman (waitress) was so excited about our trip that she brought another staff member to talk to us. Right about then a couple sitting at the table next to us began asking questions and we spent a good 40 minutes talking with them. We finally had to get going because we had a mountain to climb. Even though we had planned for a shorter day we also had a larger goal to accomplish, Hoosier Pass. With an elevation of 11,542 feet it would be the last pass we would have to climb for a while. It started out with a gentle uphill but the last three miles were steep and we ended up pushing the bike to the summit. But we made it!
We then made a mad descent in an attempt to beat the rain; but the rain beat us. A little wet but exilerated, we rode into the town of Alma looking for a hostel that had been recommended. Upon arriving a guy with waste length, unkempt looking hair came out and greeted us. Since I am long past my 20's the cool factor had little impression. We toured the facility and it had a nice relaxed, coffee house feel to it. Men and women only bunk rooms were available but they also offered private rooms. When Sarah inquired as to the cost of the private rooms he said he would have to look it up. And when I asked five minutes later he sat down at his desk doodling for a few minutes, asked me if I had cash and then handed me a piece of paper with an amount he had scrawled on it. $120 per night for a shared bathoom in a hostel setting. I told him, "No thanks, I can get a hotel for less and I walked out. As I was standing outside he came out and said I could have it for $80 and I declined and he went to $60 and then $40. Each time I said, no thanks. Maybe I should have taken his offer at $40 but I was in no mood to negotiate. If he had initially offered me a better price he would have had a customer. So we went to the next town of Fairplay and paid $120 for a room. Your principles don't come cheap! We ate some great Italian food and ice cream and slunk into bed.
Rode 41 miles today.
Day 48 07/08/22
Woke up in our cozy hotel room and headed downstairs for breakfast around 7:00am. I couldn't believe my eyes. There sat a serving bowl of fresh fruit, not fruit loops or fruit cups but the real deal. I loaded my bowl with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I even grabbed a bananna to go. The fruit complimented our quiche nicely. Sarah and I talked with a few guys hiking the Colorado trail. They seem like a happier bunch than the Continental Divide hikers, maybe because they haven't had to walk as far. After breakfast we loaded up the bike and headed to the grocery store for a few items. Traffic was light between Fairplay and Hartsel and best of all it was downhill with a tailwind. To say the least it was a fun ride on a beautiful morning. We stopped at the gas station in Hartsel and bought some milk and Hostess, chocolate covered, mini bagels:-) There was a nice bench out front where we took refuge for a while and people watched as they came in and out of the station. How is it when you spend time watching others you begin to realize that you consider yourself among the normal?
We were planning to ride to Guffy where we had been told the proprietor and the hostel is a must see. The drawback it that there is no running water, no flush toilet, the guy loves to talk and it's very rustic. When we got to the turnoff for Guffy there happened to be a market in a log cabin building. There were no signs outside other than a small one in the window that said open. As we pulled up a couple walked out with iced latte's in hand. The owner followed behind them and we said, "We want what they have." So we went inside with low expectations given the location and outward appearance of the building. We could not have been happier to have found a diamond in the rough. The place was amazing and well stocked with an assortment of healthy foods and gifts for purchase. She had moved there from Florida and home schooled her three kids. I am not on a gluten free diet, but she asked if we would like a muffin to go with our drinks. It was not until after we devoured a rasberry almond muffin that she broke the news that is was glutten free. I could have eaten five more!
As we discussed our options, a nice shower spoke more to us than a rustic hostel so we decided to head down the road another 20 miles where we got a camp site at a KOA, 10 miles due west of Canyon City. We had a rude awakening of temperature inequity, mid 70's to mid 90's in a matter of miles. We are now sitting outside the office of the KOA under a sail shade waiting for the sun to retreat so we can go lay down in our sweatlodge (tent) for the evening. No worries we figure it's just a warmup for what is to come.
Rode 68 miles today.
Day 49 07/09/22
With only 9 miles to canyon city we decided to sleep in and head for breakfast in town. It was all downhill going 40+. You all know by now that Sarah loves that out of control high speed feeling! We arrived in canyon and stopped by the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility that houses a gift shop. Didn't have time to stop in but one can only imagine what they sell in there. Breakfast was served up at the Waffle Wagon but I kept calling it Waffle World it has a much grander ring to it. We are planning to stay at a families house that hosts cyclists that we found on the Warm Showers app. Warms Showers is platform similar to Air BnB but for cyclists only and free of cost. We had time to kill because we had a short day of riding so we went into the town of Canyon and poked around the shops. We got back on the road around noon with the temps reaching into the high 90's. We are both beginning to wonder how we are going to handle the heat going East. Time will tell. Stopped in Florence and ate lunch at Carl's Junior and figured we only had 10 miles to finish our ride to Wetmore so we hung out a while gulping down water. That was a huge underestimation! It was one of the longest, hottest, most exhausting, thirst producing, sweat dripping and physically draining ride of our trip. A 1,400 foot elevation gain in 10 miles into a heat furnace headwind and crosswind at 98 degrees! We made it in non-record time but our host Kristen greeted us with a huge welcoming hospitality.
It was our first Warm Showers visit and Johnny, Kristen, Zoe and their dog Toby made the day worth it. We arrived as they were heading off to church but they showed us around, pointed us to the showers and we did laundry by the time they got back. Kristen and Zoe made some homemade pizza that was better than most restuarants and then we got schooled on the Tour de France as we all sat and watched it. I had no idea it is a team sport and all the strategy involved but it was fun to learn about it. I was planning on eating my bluberry muffin that I had purchased but it seems Toby had a differen't plan as crumbs were falling from his lips. We had to laugh! It was finally cool enough outside where we pitched our tent and we headed off to bed.
Rode 31 miles today of which 10 were miserable.
Day 50 07/10/22
Unfortunately we did not get to say goodbye to our hosts as we rose early to beat the heat. The 30 mile ride to Pueblo was mostly downhill and we clocked 48mph on some of the steeper sections. We rode into town and found the first convenient coffee shop. It happened to be a Starbucks which we haven't seen since Astoria, Oregon.
We are planning to hold up in a hotel in Pueblo for two days. Tonight our family is coming to join us for dinner tonight and tomorrow we plan to buy food, repack, service our bike and get some rest for the next half of the journey.