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Day #46

I'm in a KOA about a mile past Gunnison, CO. This place is super nice. It's one of those RV camp sites that costs a fortune with so many luxuries, you can't even call it camping. Thankfully, I just blend in with the other 26 MS guys, so I dodged the whole "payment" thing entirely :D.

2 days ago we got into the Rocky Mountains. Everyone told me they were the most beautiful part of their cross-country journeys, but I was doubtful that they'd match the North Carolina Smokey Mountains; I shouldn't have doubted them. It's amazingly gorgeous up here! We first climbed to 9,000 feet. The climb was long, yet a (as expected) relatively small incline. At this point, I can crank for hours, so it wasn't really difficult. When you're at these altitudes, you feel like you're on top of the world. I feel like I'm in heaven in these mountains.

Unfortunately, I was enjoying the scenery of the ride so much, I ended up taking it _too_ slow. I was still ~20 miles from the campsite when the sun set. By the time I was 10 miles out, it was pitch black; whatever moonlight remained was completely covered by the clouds. I made a rule to myself that I'd never ride at night because (1) it's too dangerous and (2) I didn't bring a headlamp--which I sorely regretted.

I ended up duct taping an extremely dim, single-LED flashlight to my helmet. I was just barely able to make out the double-yellow line in the middle of the road, and I tried my best to ride on top of it. I hit a gravel road suddenly, and almost hit the ground, but I was just barely able to maintain control. That night, I ended up crashing in a gas station just before the KOA where the MS guys stayed--but they were too far off course for my tastes, anyway.

The next day we passed through Salida, CO and climbed Monarch Pass. The summit was 11,312 feet--which is where we passed the Continental Divide. I was about 8 miles to the top when Matt & Amanda in the MS van caught up and informed me that I left my wallet in Salida--the bottom of the mountain. It was being held by an antique shop owner in town that refused to give it to the other MS riders; she said I'd have to personally ride back down & up the mountain to retrieve it. Thankfully, I have copies of all my cards in my wallet stored in a separate pannier with a spare credit card. I had no desire to ride back down & up the mountain, so I figured I'd settle it via phone. My cell phone didn't have service, so I rode up the mountain for a few more miles until I came to a towing business who kindly let me use their cell phone. I called Google 411, got connected to the Antique Shop, proved it was my wallet, and started working out how she'd express ship it to me when the tow truck driver's wife offered me a ride down & up. Bullet Dodged.

The woman who drove me said that Olympians train on the mountain we climbed--pretty cool. At the top, we paid for a trolley that took us up to 12,000 feet. Here's a video I took at the top:

After filming, we had a snow ball fight--in July.

The next day we rode down the mountain--a spectacular 10 mile downhill. The road was closed to 1 lane, so we rode behind the cars at full speed without having to worry about passing or oncoming cars!

Be sure to check my 2guys1biketrip picasa photos page for Colorado Photos that I'm uploading now.

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1 comment to Day #46

  • Dad

    Mmm, feeling like you are in heaven? Kind of an interesting statement from someone who thinks scientifically and not spiritually.

    I saw a tweet on the MS web site about 'Mike' leaving his wallet. Then I cross checked the list of MS participants and saw that there aren't any Mikes on their trip. Hence it must have been you... Glad you were able to retrieve it.

    Please be sure to tell ALL of the folks you are tagging along with that I REALLY appreciate them bringing you under their wing and allowing you to ride with them. It makes your mom & I feel MUCH MORE at ease on your journey.

    Your GPS map has not updated in a while (60 some hours) but I check the MS site to get a better fix on your location. Keep it up, your doing GREAT!

    BTW, I hear that WalMart has a sale on razor blades 🙂

    Keep the pictures, video and phone calls coming!


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