Continental Divide Trail - Page 9
|8.20.2010 - 1:00 PM phone message
I'm in Como, Colorado. My ride from
Breckenridge was really cool because
the bike path followed a narrow gauge
railroad. It's chilly at about 60 degrees,
but I have a tailwind. I figure I have
about 1,000 miles yet to go on this trek.
It looked like rain this morning, so I slept in. After an hour of no rain, I packed up. As soon
as I got on the bike, it started raining. It alternated all day between sun and rain. I was way
too hot when the sun was out and cold when it was raining.
I rode 30 miles of gravel before passing a big ugly mine at Ute Pass. I was really
disappointed because I'd planned on having lunch at the lake my map showed there, but
the lake turned out to be some kind of settling pit for the mine. I scrapped the idea and
headed down. It was a nice long downhill to Highway 9, which was super busy, but luckily
had a nice wide shoulder.
I stopped for lunch at a stream along the highway. I had Lipton chicken rice. After I'd
finished, I poured some water that I'd treated with iodine into the pot to clean it. It instantly
turned dark blue. It looked like Tidy Bowl. After I'd cleaned up all the rice remnants, the
water stayed clear. It was a little disturbing to think the water was probably also that color
inside of me.
The route took me through the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco, and Breckenridge. Basically,
it's just one long town. It's an upscale tourist area, which I don't like. Silverthorne is pretty
much just a giant shopping mall. The route wound through a maze of confusing bike
paths. I always get lost in every city I go to, and I wasted well over an hour being lost today.
I was really happy to finally find the road out of Brecknridge, which I overshot by about a mile
and head out of town.
It was a steep four mile climb out of town. There was a storm rapidly approaching, but
there were houses on every square inch of flat land and most of the hills, so I couldn't
camp. The road turned to gravel as it entered the national forest, and I set up camp just as
it started to rain.
I don't like my campsite because there's no water, and I only have two liters. That's plenty if
it doesn't rain all day tomorrow and I can move on, but if I get stuck here, I'll be drinking
nasty puddle water.
The rain had stopped when I woke up, but it was cold. I had to wear my jacket for most of
the climb up 11,482 foot Boreas Pass and for the whole ride down. The road over the pass
used to be a narrow gauge railroad, which I found amazing, since it was so steep and
curvy. There was even an unexpected train car on display at the top. From there it was a
nice long downhill to the town of Como. Como was a railroad town back when there was a
railroad. Now, it's in the process of being restored. I had a great lunch of fish and chips at
After leaving Como, I had a long stretch of gravel through open treeless country. There
were almost no cars, but unfortunately, an almost constant stream of trucks hauling gravel.
Someone had big plans for the empty country that I crossed in the next 50 miles of riding.
There were abandoned subdivision roads every quarter mile. Each one with its own street
sign. All the roads were grown over with grass. I passed a weedy playground in the middle
of nowhere. It seems the only people who bought lots were people who wanted to have a
trashy travel trailer to visit every now and then. I passed hundreds of these roads today and
countless real estate signs. I can't imagine why anyone would build all those roads without
first selling the land, but I guess that's why the economy is the way it is.
Aside from the failed subdivisions, the scenery today has been beautiful. I've ridden
through wide open country surrounded by giant mountains. I rode until almost dark tonight.
I had to start out this morning with a big climb. I hate waking up to a big climb. Tonight I'm
at the top of a pass with twelve miles of downhill between me and breakfast in town. That
should make getting out of bed a little easier.
I started my morning with a 12 mile coast into the town of Salida. I had a nice omelet at a
little café and stocked up on groceries. Salida looked like a nice little town so I took a few
minutes to cruise around downtown. I found a nice little hostel and started to dream of a
day of rest. It turns out you can get a bed for 22 dollars, so here I am. The people at the
hostel are a 50/50 mix of hikers and tourists. We don't talk to the tourists, but the hikers are
pretty cool. It really makes me wish I was hiking instead of biking.
Salida has some very talented artists, and I've really enjoyed visiting the shops. I found a
table I think I'll buy if I ever have $6300 laying around. During my walk around town, I also
managed to down three pints of Ben and Jerry's and eat a rotisserie chicken. I need my
I went out to dinner with the hikers. We had a great time drinking beer and eating giant
burritos at a bar by the river. I had a great time, but was really longing to be hiking again.
The bike is nice because it can cover a lot of ground and I see pretty places, but you can
drive everywhere I go. I miss my backpack.
Back at the hostel, I made a nice long phone call to Kelly. It was great to be able to talk
without worrying about the battery going dead.