Continental Divide Trail - Page 7
|8.09.2010 - Morning phone message
I'm at Pinedale with a bit of a problem.
The bike shop didn't have the wrench I
needed to remove my pedal crank to
see what's wrong. If I keep going and
break down I may need to push the
"send help" button on my spotter. I
won't be in any danger, but you might
have to send someone to pick me up.
|8.12.2010 - morning phone message
I'm still in Rollins this morning. It's
pretty windy and the wind is going the
wrong way. I'm planning to catch a bus
to Fort Collins where my cousin owns a
bike shop. Although I've been doing
OK, he will give the bike a good tuneup.
My bike has been making a clunking noise as I pedal for the last few days. I've narrowed it
down to the bearings in the bottom bracket, so I thought it would be prudent to stop at the
bike shop/hardware store in Pinedale before I headed out. The guy at the counter took a
look at it and said, Huh, I don't have a wrench that fits that, and ever if I did, I sure don't have
the bearings, so I clunked on out of town. I only have 270 miles to cover to get to my
cousin's bike shop in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and I feel confident I can make it.
I rode 20 miles on a not-that-busy gravel road before turning onto a fairly busy gravel road.
The traffic was really getting to me, and I was glad when the route took me on a deserted
road through the high desert. The road climbed up to the divide and followed it along a
high ridge for almost 2 miles. The views were stunning, but a thunderstorm was closing in
and on top of the continental divide isn't the best place to be in a thunderstorm. I stopped to
put on my rain jacket as the road headed down.
It was almost too windy to put on my rain jacket, but I got it on. As soon as I did, I was
caught by what was probably the strongest wind I've ever been in. I dug my feet in, but the
wind pushed me and my bike three feet across the road and into the ditch. I thought that if
ever there was a situation that called for curling up into a ball in the ditch, this was it, so
that's what I did. Things settled down after about ten minutes, so I pedaled on.
I finished my day just past the next little town of South Pass City. It's a restored gold mining
town from the late 1800's, but I got there late and everything was closed. South Pass was a
big deal though. I started a new map South Pass City to Silverthorne, Colorado, 405.1
It's still windy. I've been going north on my way to Mexico this afternoon, because that's
what the map tells me to do, so I've had a tailwind. Tomorrow, I head south. If the wind
doesn't let up, it's really going to suck. I set up camp tonight behind a boulder on an old
railroad bed. There aren't really any trees here, so it was the best wind break I could find.
The wind is shaking the tent violently, so I know I won't sleep well. This reminds me of the
Missouri River, laying in the tent waiting for the wind to stop so I can move.
I pedaled 2 miles into the tiny town of Atlantic City where I had a nice omelette before
setting out. I gathered three liters of water from the stream before heading up the long
steep hill out of town. I made it to the top of the hill and said goodbye to trees and shade.
The next 150 miles of riding are through the high desert.
I thought the desert riding would be easy. The elevation profile on my map looked fairly flat.
There was a fairly stiff headwind, but I figured I could deal with that. As I got going, I realized
the reason the elevation profile looked so friendly wasn't because it was flat, but because
there were no major climbs. There were, however, an endless series of steep 100 foot
climbs and descents. There were also plenty of rough washboards on the road. It was hot,
no shade, and, oh yeah, the headwind that just kept getting stronger.
I stopped at the Sweetwater River, one of the two water sources in my 90 mile ride, and met
two through hikers doing the CDT. It made me really wish I was hiking. I found out a few
people I know from the PCT are on the trail. I am going to hike the CDT. Hopefully, soon.
The rest of my day consisted of working overly hard and being thirsty. I stopped 10 miles
back at a reservoir to get some water. I believe what I'm tasting it it is goose poop, but this
is the desert. I can drink it or ride fifty miles to get different goose poop water. There were a
couple of riders I knew from the bar the other day camping by the water, so I talked to them
while I cooked dinner. I would have camped with them, but the water tastes really foul, so I
wanted to move closer to good water.
I'm camped in the middle of the desert and can't see a light in any direction, but I have cell
service. I think it's because there's a great big mine nearby. Whatever the reason, it was
nice talking to Kelly before bed.
I had bad stomach cramps last night from the nasty water, which was unfortunate since I
had to drink more today with the same result. I rode a few miles of gravel and turned onto a
boring deserted paved road. That's where I drank the liter of water that would haunt me for
the next hour. Then I turned onto an insanely busy road where I rode the glass and trash
littered shoulder for 18 miles. Two flat tires later, I reached Rawlins, WY. Adventure Cycling
puts out nice maps, and the routes are easy to follow, but I'm fed up with busy pavement.
This is supposed to be a mountain bike ride. I'm tired of almost being killed by
motorhomes and having my ears ring as insanely loud motorcycles roar by. The Wyoming
portion of the ride has really let me down. I expected miles of quiet solitude and got a
The wind has been building all day. By the time I left Rawlins I could barely keep the bike
moving forward on the flat ground. Any hill requiring pushing. I stopped at a lake 5 miles
out of town. It's a nice place with picnic tables and a shelter, but there's trash everywhere. I
wouldn't stop here if I didn't have to, but I have to. I've spent the last half hour picking up
trash and putting it into the four trash cans provided for that purpose. I feel better now that
things are picked up, but in a week or two, it will be trashed again. Oh well.
It's only 5:00, but I earned my miles today. I'm going to take a nap. Hopefully, tomorrow
won't be windy or at least I can get up early and put in some miles before it gets bad.
The headwind was still blowing full speed when I woke up. The next water source was 23
miles away, and I didn't want to deal with it, so I pedaled downwind and back into town. I
called Kelly during breakfast and found out I could take the Greyhound from Rawlins to Ft.
Collins, CO for $45. I just had to wait until 1:15 for the bus to show up.
The bus was supposed to stop at the Huff N Puff smoke shop. The smoke shop was
closed, but there was still a faded Greyhound sign and I seemed to be in the really crappy
part of town, so it seemed right. I cleared away some cigarette butts and broken glass so
I'd have a place to sit on the steps. I knew I was at the right place when a cop car pulled up
and dropped somebody off. The guy was creepy and wanted to talk to me, so I ignored him
until the bus showed up.
The ride to Ft. Collins was fairly direct and uneventful. I arrived at the station and rode to my
cousin Shawn's house where I'll spend the next four days. Shawn also owns the best bike
shop in Colorado, the Cycologist, so I'll get the bike fixed up as well. I plan to spend most
of my time off relaxing and eating. I've lost seven pounds, so I need lots of ice cream. It's
also going to be great to hang out with Shawn, Heather and the kids, since I haven't seen
them for a long time.