Today marks 2 months since I began my journey with 4-5 weeks to go!
When I first began meeting other cyclists along the way, so many would say this journey will change your life but nobody could tell me how. Now, I understand what they meant...it has changed my life and I too am having a difficult time explaining exactly how. It's a combination of so many things...the people, the scenery, the victories, the challenges, so much time alone for self introspection and more. All culminating into an incredible experience that has taught me more about myself as well as other people.
Cumulative Miles - 2,106.2
Today was the first day of the ride that my head and heart wasn't in it for reasons I won't go into now. It's amazing when your thoughts change your entire day changes right along with them. I keep trying to remind myself of the quote that Wayne Dyer always used to say..."when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change". Still, some things weigh heavy and it can be tough to get back on track. I had someone ask me today if I'm getting "burnt out" being on the bike so much. Absolutely not! As I told them, some days are better than others and today just happens to be an "other". The constant positive is the great people I continue to meet along the way and that is what I look forward to most each day. I had a short day today, 26.2 miles which brings my cumulative total miles to 1,940.1.
Looking at the maps I have about 1,768 miles to go which puts me right on track for completing the ride at the time I set (Early to mid September).
Thanks to those have reached out to support me with donations...they mean a lot and help a lot!
As I continue on my journey, with each mile and each new person I meet along the way my spirit is being continually rejuvenated! The people have been incredible! A few examples from just the last day! Yesterday, I met another cyclist (Sam) and we were preparing to camp in the local park. A deputy pulled up and wanted to see how we were doing and told us that he would be sure that the restrooms at the adjacent pool would be unlocked for us to use. The skies were darkening and there had been several weather warnings over the past few days. The deputy told us that he would monitor the situation and would contact us if the situation warranted us seeking more secure shelter. The storm never materialized but the support from the deputy was so awesome!
And then this morning...
I got up before Sam did, headed to the only place in town to get some breakfast. A while after I got there a couple and their grandson came in and sat down. After finishing my meal I went to the counter to pay my bill. The couple and the young boy were at a table and the boy was playing with his silverware what looked like trying to build something. The woman looked up at me said "he has non-stop energy". I looked at the boy and told him "I'm riding my bicycle across the country and could sure use some of your energy, suppose you can give me some?" He put his hand up and separated his thumb and index finger about a half inch. I replied "that's it? I have a long way to go I could sure use more". Then the blond hair, blue eyed boy with a smile from ear to ear opened his arms as wide as he possibly could and said "I'll give you this much". We did a fist bump, I told him thank you while his grandparents smiled and wished me well on my ride.
But wait...there's more!
I started my ride and about 15 miles in I pulled off the roadway to take break and a gentleman driving a large farming truck stopped on the other side of the road exited his truck, crossed the roadway and came up to me. He said, "I want to be sure you have water and I have plenty so please take this". He then handed me an ice cold bottle of water! I told him thank you, shook his hand and waved to him as he drove off.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be experiencing America at it's finest :)
Cumulative Miles - 1,788.8
Cumulative Miles - 1,730.0
Gillian, a Warm Showers host in Ordway, Colorado offers a unique perspective on hosting cyclists. She has property with lots of animals, trees, fencing and other areas that need constant attention to maintain. In exchange for letting cyclists stay at her place she only asks that you do 15-30 minutes of chores on the property. This could be feeding the animals, walking the dogs, pruning trees...whatever Gillian finds for you to do. My chore??? Put duct tape sticky side out on trees to trap the insects that are damaging the trees...pretty ingenious!
Meeting many more cyclists too including Sam and Dan from England. They are crossing the US from east to west.
Met Patrick from Wisconsin...Patrick is also crossing the country from east to west and is then going to go down the Pacific Coast.
I am so very close to entering Kansas! Going to be a lot flatter roads but very hot and greater distances between towns for food, water and other services.
Cumulative Miles - 1,619.6
I camped at an RV park at Royal Gorge, Colorado and although yet another series of storms came through it was really relaxing.
I left for my ride into Pueblo and this was my first clew that it was going to be a tough day. Enjoying a nice downhill run at about 35 MPH only to have to come to a complete stop for road construction! Really??? Then riding through the hot, sticky tar...yuck!
As the day went on the temperature went up, eventually hitting 100. I was a little over 2 miles from Pueblo and something that hasn't ever happened before happened...heat exhaustion! All of sudden I got very dizzy and had a difficult time focusing. I got off my bike, drank more water and tried to collect my thoughts. I sat there for about 30 minutes and tried to start again but it wasn't happening. I set my bike down and sat on pavement of a turn off road trying to get myself to where I could ride the final 2 1/2 miles. Then a truck pulled up and the gentleman (Chris) asked me if I was okay and I asked him if he had any cold water but he didn't. We talked for a few minutes then loaded my bike and gear into his truck and he drove me the final couple miles to a convenience store where I got something to drink and waited out another thunderstorm. I had already contacted a Warmshowers host and she agreed to host me for the night. I met Ellen at her house and she prepared a delicious salmon dinner and fresh veggies from her garden. WOW! did that ever hit the spot after the long, hot day. Ellen had a separate guest bedroom and bathroom that she let me stay in and it was lovely! I slept like a baby!
Thank you so much Chris for stopping to help me...I'm not sure what I would have done and to Ellen for inviting me into your home, the conversations and awesome dinner! Your cats were adorable too :)
I left Ellen's home about around 7:30 this morning and after a few miles I just didn't feel right so I decided to take a rest day and make sure I'm properly rested and hydrated for the next leg of my trip which will take me to Ordway, Colorado and ever closer to the Kansas state line. I've had a lot of people offer some great advice to deal with the heat and the long stretches between towns in the state.
The events of yesterday have helped better prepare me for the rest of my journey and once again shown me the true generosity and compassion of the people across America.
Cumulative Miles - 1,499.6
As Jimmy (far left) and I got ready to leave from Silverthorne, Co. we met up with this group that is doing the "Ride the Divide" and the really cool part is there is the grandfather, his son and his grandson all doing the ride together! Have an awesome ride guys!
As we left Silverthorne we got onto a gorgeous bike path that took us all the way to Breckenridge!
Jimmy was continuing on to Fairplay, Co. and I was going to stay in Breckenridge for the day. I stopped into the Blue River Bistro for lunch and was talking with my waitress (Tracy) about campsites or hotels in the area. I had checked online and the hotels were outrageously expensive and Tracy wasn't aware of any campsites in the immediate area. She said there was a hostel in town and she knew the owners telling me to feel free to let them know she suggested I call them. She got me the number and unfortunately they had rented out the last room about 30 minutes earlier. The skies were getting very dark and the thunderstorms were getting ready to roll in. I asked the lady at the hostel if she could recommend anywhere to call. She gave me the name of a small hotel about 3 or 4 miles back where I had come from earlier. I called and they had 1 room left at a substantially lower cost than in Breckenridge so I pedaled back and there just as the storm blew in. Thank you Tracy for all your help :)
The next morning I knew I would have a very challenging ride as I was going to have to reach Hoosier Pass the Continental Divide at 11,539' elevation!!!
When I got to the top there was a couple from Holland that were riding cross country (East to West) and when the gal saw me reach the top she started cheering for me! How cool is that???
They told me about an RV park with tent camping that they had stayed at in Fairplay, Co. and recommended I check it out. I briefly celebrated my victory over Hoosier Pass then enjoyed the awesome downhill ride into Fairplay where I set up camp for the night and decided to stay an extra night and took Sunday as a rest day. Next major city...Pueblo, Co. then onto Kansas!
Cumulative Miles - 1,373.9
Each afternoon I get notifications on my phone for severe thunderstorms and lightening. That's because the monsoon season is in full force in Colorado and it creates a unique challenge when it comes to shelter. The heavy winds, lightening, rain and hail make pitching a tent difficult at best and I need to plan my daily ride so I arrive at my destination by early afternoon before the storms begin forming. Another thing I have to consider when camping is the wildlife and there are plenty of warnings about that as well! These were posted at a campground I went by yesterday.
That being said, it is absolutely gorgeous in Colorado! The mountains, lakes and rivers are so peaceful and a joy to be around!
I met Jimmy in Riverside, Wyoming and we've been in touch each day since. We usually have the same destination for the day and its been great talking about the ride each day. Jimmy started in Jackson, Wyoming and it probably going to stop in Pueblo. His wife is following him in their RV and drives ahead to the day's destination to find the RV park they will reside at for the evening.
Cumulative Miles - 1,325.6
It was a long ride on the interstate to get to Rawlins, Wyoming but now that I'm back on the official TransAM route, I'm seeing many more cyclists!
In Saratoga, Wyoming I stayed at a Warmshowers host site. Karim was awesome, we talked for hours! Thank you so much Karim for inviting me into your home!
The last 50 miles or so through Wyoming gave me a taste for what I can expect as I continued into Bob's home state of Colorado. The passes are steep and long and weather is unpredictable. The next goal is Breckenridge, Colorado and on to Hoosier pass which is the highest point of the entire ride at 11,542'.
Cumulative Miles - 1,224.5
Having ridden 145 miles on interstate 80 since getting into Wyoming it seems like the entire state is going by in a flash! No real time or nerves to stop on the interstate to take photos but did manage to get a few before getting on the interstate.
This was a long, hot day and when I came across a rest area with shade, I was there! Though I don't recall where "there" was :)
I crossed the Continental Divide twice in one day!
I arrived in Rawlins, Wyoming Friday afternoon and took Saturday as a rest day.
Sunday I will be heading out for Saratoga, Wyoming then it looks like I'm about 44 miles from the Colorado state line. This is where it will really get tough! Hoosier Pass is 11,542' and is the highest point of the entire ride! Hope to see family while in Colorado :)
Cumulative Miles - 1,155.7