Colorado: Up and Down and Wonderful People
July 4, 2012
After spending a delightful evening in Salida, CO, Andrew and I picked up a few items at the grocery store the next morning and made our way to a gas station about 10 miles west where we had breakfast. We really value gas stations with tables; it beats sitting on stoops or against the store walls. Sometimes we have the luxury of sitting on a bench, but a bench doesn’t beat a table. All of that to say: tables rock.
At breakfast I had to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming pass in lieu of my experience with the first pass. The Guenella Pass was a twelve mile assent. This is no place to lament about physical and mental burn out, so in short it was a demoralizing pass… but we made it! Nonetheless, anytime Andrew tells me we have another pass coming up (normally means biking uphill for a long time), I have to fight back feelings of trepidation. Mentally prepared, we set out to Monarch Pass. Although difficult, I felt much better climbing up this pass and even better once we finally made it up to the summit. From the summit we maybe had to pedal a total of five times during an 18 mile stretch of downhill into the town of Sergeants where we stopped for lunch. Get this. We had lunch inside a small convenience store/café and the guy working there went to the same school as Andrew, not only that, but they were in the same first grade class!
Lunch was exciting. Twenty more miles and we were in Gunnison. Those were a monotonous 20 miles, so I was stoked when we ran into another tourist in the village. Bryan is biking from California to Maine. He just graduated college and heading off to Rwanda in September as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. We invited him to have dinner together and afterwards we went out for ice cream. At the parlor we met a man who competed and recently finished in the Tour the Divide race; he biked from Canada to New Mexico in 18 days. Crazy! Anyway, he and his wife invited the three of us to pitch our tents in their yard. We gladly accepted their generous offer. Along with a hot shower, they gave us really helpful bike route advice. Many thanks!
We were up real early the next morning because we wanted to get to Ridgeway, which is about 95 miles from Gunnison. It was a very scenic route to Ridgway; breathtaking really. We camped at the Orvis Hot Springs, and man oh man did we enjoy ourselves. It was a really nice way to cap off a long day of riding.
The next morning we biked a short miles to Ouray where we wanted to have breakfast and do a short hike in this scenic little town. I had a particular diner in mind, so when we got there I asked a woman if she could direct us to the diner. She told me where it was, but insisted that we come over to her house for breakfast. Awesome, right?? We accepted her offer and had an experience that no diner could beat. Really grateful for her gracious offer and delicious breakfast! Fueled and in good spirits, Andrew and I went on a delightful 4 mile perimeter hike around Ouray before heading back to Ridgeway where we stayed with a guy who we met at the hot springs a day earlier.
From Ridgeway we had a long climb to Telluride, but we made it to this beautiful town and really looking forward to spending the fourth of July here.
We’ll update ya’ll once we make it to Utah.