Continental Divide Trail - Page 8
|8.17.2010 - Afternoon phone message
I'm about 100 miles out of Fort Collins,
and it's really, really, really, really
Back on the road. I've spent the last few days with my cousin Shawn, his wife Heather, and
his kids, Lennon and Lilly. It's been great and they've been wonderful to me, but all good
things must come to an end. The part for my bike that I've been waiting for came in today at
1:00, and after eating entirely too much pizza, I was back on the road at 2:00.
I'm going to ride back to the route from Ft. Collins. This will be more miles and a lot more
uphill than if I'd gone back to Rawlins and rode the route, but it should be prettier and it
doesn't involve riding a Greyhound. I've been riding west on highway 14 up the Poudre
Canyon. It's all pavement, but very pretty. The traffic isn't too heavy and there are almost no
motorhomes, so I'm enjoying the ride.
I've only ridden 30 miles today after the late start and pizza hangover, but that's OK. I'm
making progress again. I don't have a map of where I'm going. I know I go over Rabbit
Ears Pass, then about two miles past the highway 90 turnoff, turn left on gravel. I'm
guessing my turn is about 100 miles away, so it won't be tomorrow, but I'm not sure so I
need to keep my eyes peeled.
Today was easily the hardest day of the ride. I covered 75 miles and it was all into the wind
and most of it uphill. I think my altitude at camp this morning was somewhere under 6,000
feet. I spent the next five hours and forty miles climbing to Cameron Pass - 10,300 feet.
The scenery was really pretty and the traffic light, but it was all uphill and the headwind was
building all day. I crested the pass just after lunch and was hoping for a long downhill. I
only got to enjoy four miles of coasting before the road leveled out and I had to start fighting
the wind again.
Things were much drier and flatter on the other side of the pass. The trees thinned out,
then disappeared entirely to be replaced with sage bushes. Water sources are few and far
I stopped at the little town of Walden ten miles back for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Walden is
apparently the moose watching capitol of Colorado, although I didn't see any, and home of
the 1990 Whitehouse Christmas tree. Needless to say, Walden has a lot going for it.
I wanted to camp for the night before I even got to Walden, and outside of town I found
nothing but dry, fenced off fields. I couldn't even stealth camp because everything was so
flat and open. I rode ten more long uphill miles before spying a small stand of trees along
the road. There's no water, but it's an acceptable stealth camp. I'm sure nobody will bother
me here. I feel bad because there's a hawk nest in the tree above me and momma hawk
isn't very happy about me being here. I'd move, but I really don't have anywhere else to go.
Sorry, momma hawk.
I had planned to set out at 6:00 a.m. to beat the traffic, but when I woke up, the road was
really busy. I went back to sleep and by 7:30 there was almost no traffic at all. Apparently,
rush hour is pretty early in these parts. Momma hawk was squawking and very happy to
see me leave. I'm glad I stopped where I did, because it was another 20 miles before I
saw another place I could have stopped.
I noticed all of the oncoming traffic was coming in groups with about 20 minutes of nothing
between them. I figured there had to be road construction with one lane closed and a
flagger ahead. I was really looking forward to the ride in the flag car, since it was uphill and
into the wind for a long time. I made it to the work zone five miles before Muddy Pass. I
went around a long line of waiting cars and asked the flagger if they had a pickup they
wanted me to put my bike in. He told me I could just ride the closed lane. I was
heartbroken. I'd been looking forward to the free ride for hours.
I crossed the Divide twice in the next 8 miles before turning onto 30 miles of deserted
beautiful gravel. It was great to be off pavement at last. There was a big climb halfway
through, but it was followed up by 10 miles of glorious downhill on a smooth-as-pavement
I pulled into the town of Kremmling where I had a much needed meal at Subway before
heading out. I left town on busy highway 9 where I was physically run off the road for the
first time on the trip by an asshole in a logging truck, crossed the Colorado River, and
rejoined the Adventure Cycling route.
I stopped pretty early tonight, because my body is telling me it's had enough of the
headwinds and climbing. If I keep pushing, it's going to start pushing back. I also have the
highest part of the whole route to cover in the next couple of days. So there's that to look
forward to. It's mostly gravel though, so that's good, and it should be really pretty.