Day 44: Pueblo, CO–rest day
June 29, 2011
After breakfast in the motel room (yogurt!) we saw Collin off. He is doing the entire TransAm route which goes through Wyoming and ends somewhere in Oregon, so we part ways after Pueblo. We ran some more errands in the morning–a haircut for Andrew, a fruitless search for Hillary’s preferred flavor of deodorant, and replenishing our supply of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap at the hippie grocery store. For some reason we were expecting Pueblo to be really cute, but it isn’t really. Our instinct was to go see a movie (read: air conditioning. It is 103 degrees today) but we decided to give Pueblo a second chance and eat at the cafe recommended by the hippie grocery cashier. It was a good decision. Vegetarian lunch in a cute coffee shop called Wireworks, followed by cappuccino and a muffin and sitting around indoors, not wearing spandex, and not in a gas station/dollar store/motel room. All in all, a restful afternoon. In the evening, Andrew did the laundry and Hillary sat around eating Bon bons (not really, she wrote this post and then achieved cold fusion). Also, because of Andrew’s stellar foresight, he had to ride his bike home from the laundromat in his underwear, because he washed all of his shorts and didn’t want to pay for the dryer.
- Miles around town: 10
Day 45: Pueblo, CO to Westcliffe, CO
June 30, 2011
We got an early start out of Pueblo-what a sprawling city! It has ~100k residents but it goes on forever. And, there is a disturbing number of lawns. This is the desert, people! It felt like someone flicked a switch on the west side of Pueblo because it was really flat coming in to town and suddenly there are hills around us and it looks like the moon. About 9 miles outside of the city we could start to see definition in the Rockies, specifically the Wet Mountains. About 20 miles in, a dude pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride because there was a thunderstorm coming and we were in the middle of nowhere. We took him up in his offer and my goodness, there was a lot of lightning. 47 lightning bolts in 5 minutes. Collin was hit by the storm later and reported 70 mph winds that blew a guy off his motorcycle. We spent the night in Westcliffe, a small but cute mountain town in the Wet Mountain Valley. It’s a really pretty spot, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains looming to the west. And, there is a tasty Mennonite-run bakery in town and a pawn shop called Loan Ranger. What’s not to like? For dinner we made kale and broccoli ‘dillas (quesadillas for the unaware). It was delicious.
- Start: Pueblo, CO
- End: Westcliffe, CO
- Slept: motel
- Miles: 20
- Avg: ?
- Notes: got a ride during quick but nasty storm
Day 46: Westcliffe, CO to Maysville, CO
July 1, 2011 (July?!?!)
It was a refreshing 41 degrees when we hit the road this morning. Leg and arm warmers were plenty to keep us warm until the sun got a little higher. We road northwest through the valley with the mountains all around us–a really spectacular scene. We dropped about 1500 feet into to Cotopaxi, where we stopped for a snack, and then rode up along the Arkansas River to Salida. It feels great to be up in the mountains! Despite calling 2 different coastal cities home, we both really love the mountains, particularly when it comes to outdoor activities. (Note: the Appalachians and the Ozarks don’t count.) The air is clear, crisp, and DRY, all of which make for much more pleasant biking. The only downside is riding on US 50. The shoulder is small and there are tons of RVs headed for the mountains. In Salida we ate lunch and visited yet another bike shop. It’s a little embarrassing to admit it took this long to realize it, but the gearing on Hillary’s bike was not really low enough for touring. (For bike nerds: she was running a 30 tooth small front ring with a 32 tooth rear cog. We replaced it with a 24 tooth front ring.) In other words, the Granny Gear wasn’t granny enough, but now it is. It feels amazing and explains why she wore through her chain so fast, why Andrew was always silently wishing she would ride in an easier gear, and possibly why her knees have bothered her intermittently. “You rode the Appalachians with THAT?” -guy at bike shop. Quien es mas macho? We camped for the night about 12 miles further up (~8,500 ft elevation). Andrew invented a new treat of peanut butter on a rolled up flour tortilla.
- Start: Westcliffe, CO
- End: Maysville, CO
- Slept: camped
- Miles: 59
- Avg: 9.7
- Notes: Hillary loves her new granny gear!
Photos: Professional Bull Riders Association, what are these strange green things in my dinner? (vegetables), barn, mountains, more mountains