Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 102

Don’t let the initial shoulder fool you: Baggs, WY to Craig, CO

Thursday July 25, 2013, 45 miles (73 km) – Total so far: 3,209 miles (5,164 km)

I am standing at the state border. The sign says, ‘Welcome to Colorful Colorado’. It’s false advertising up here in the northwestern part of the state. The landscape falls away before me in muted colours of brown and sage green. The most colourful thing I can see is all of the broken glass at my feet scattered about the welcome sign. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 104

The German touring chicks: Craig to Steamboat Springs

Saturday July 27, 2013, 47 miles (76 km) – Total so far: 3,256 miles (5,240 km)

Thirteen years ago, Nigel and I camped outside of Steamboat Springs on Forest Service land. It was our first night out on a 6-month road trip around the U.S. and Canada. We’d purchased a 1987 Jeep Cherokee Laredo for $3600 which we sold 20,000 miles later at the end of the trip for the same price. I’m not a car person, but that was one terrific vehicle.

However, my memories from that trip may be faulty. I remember the road west from Steamboat as having many hills. As I head east today, I don’t really encounter many at all. In fact, the elevation gain is only 500 feet over 45 miles. Maybe those hills are west of Craig? Never mind, it’s an easy ride east along the Yampa River. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 105

Waiting on the rain…: Steamboat to Steamboat

Sunday July 28, 2013

It rains all night. It rains all morning. The tent campground clears out as everyone heads home early, since the rain and fog are truly settled in. There’s no reason to stick around when it’s wet and 58 F.

The four people I talked to yesterday were all from Denver. It’s about a three hour drive from there to here. It makes sense that the throngs of people are all weekend escapees from the big city. Maybe the last time I was here in 2000 was not on a weekend. Still, the feel now in town, even after all the people have gone home is very different to thirteen years ago. The town has gone upscale and grown substantially. I used to think this would be a nice place to live – not anymore. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 106

A quiet county road: Steamboat Springs to Yampa

Monday July 29, 2013, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 3,294 miles (5,301 km)

You know you are on a decent route when all the local roadies pass you on their training rides. The first two guys pass me just on the outskirts of town.

The next guy passes me as I’m lumbering up the first decent hill on 131 near the turnoff to the reservoir at Stagecoach State Park. This guy slows to chat with me; I don’t think he believes me when I say I’ve ridden over 3000 miles. He probably can’t believe anyone can be riding this slow with that many miles behind them. Well, I can. Even this far into the trip, I still only average 12-13 mph on flat ground! Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 107

Ignorance is bliss: Yampa to Glenwood Springs

Tuesday July 30, 2013, 87 miles (141 km) – Total so far: 3,381 miles (5,442 km)

“Two? Are you sure you want two”?, says the cook behind the counter in the 24-hour diner.

“Yes, please. I’m hungry,” I reply.

The cook shrugs his shoulders and reaches down to get the pancake batter out of the fridge. The manager walks in from the darkness outside. He asks me if it is my bike outside. Upon learning that it is, he asks a portion of the standard six questions. He remarks that the USA Pro Challenge has come through here, and is coming again this year, and it certainly is pretty neat to see all those riders clumped in a group and riding so fast. He prefers mountain biking, though. He fills me in on all the good rides around the area. He also confirms that the Colorado River Road would be a problem on a bike if it is very wet. His suggestion is to ride down a little bit. “If it’s tacky at the top, it’ll be shitty at the bottom.” Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Days 108/109

Just getting lazy?: Glenwood Springs July 31- Aug 1

Wednesday July 31, 2013

I like Glenwood Springs. It sits at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River and is surrounded by tall, mountainous ridges. The downtown has a variety of shops, restaurants and bars, and is several streets deep. There are several pleasant parks, and most of the historic homes have been kept up. A bike path runs along the Roaring Fork that will take you all the way to Aspen if you’d like to ride down that way. The Amtrak station has a gorgeous building. The train still stops here twice a day going east or west. There are lots of touristy things to do like zip lines and whitewater rafting, though I don’t do any of these things. The hot springs pool is massive and doesn’t feel crowded, even now at the height of summer. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 110

McClure Pass kicks my butt… AGAIN: Glenwood Springs to McClure campground

Friday August 2, 2013, 43 miles (69 km) – Total so far: 3,424 miles (5,511 km)

It is only 8755 feet high. How hard can a pass be that is so low in elevation? I don’t know. All I know is that this pass defines “ass-kicking” for me. Well, it did until I rode Powder River Pass earlier on this trip. That took things to a whole new level. However, both Powder River and McClure are the ones I point to when I say, “You can’t tell the difficulty of a pass by its elevation”. Independence Pass from the east, and Cottonwood Pass from the west, are both over 12,000 feet high and are both easier than this one. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 111

Too much traffic!: McClure campground to Mile 12 Kebler Pass camp

Saturday August 3, 2013, 30 miles (48 km) – Total so far: 3,454 miles (5,559 km)

Not another soul stirs, as I pack up at first light. The mozzies, however, are incredibly excited about breakfast. They waft about my head and dive bomb my legs, as I tramp about in the weeds and unfasten all the ropes to retrieve the pannier I’ve hung in the tree out of bear reach. The mozzies accompany me all the way to the campground entrance where I finally manage to leave them behind as I resume the downhill off of the pass. Read more

Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Day 112

Shakin’ and vibratin’: Mile 12 Kebler Pass to Gunnison

Sunday August 4, 2013, 52 miles (84 km) – Total so far: 3,506 miles (5,642 km)

Silence can be intoxicating. Unlike alcohol, it seeps into your pores instead of out. It can fill you with similar feelings of giddiness and dizziness, though. It’s almost as if we balance ourselves we noise. Without it, our head feels lost in too much space and we don’t know where we are in time or place. Sometimes, when it’s so quiet you can hear your heart beating in your ears, it almost feels like the world is inside out. Read more