Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Tour - part two

It is pretty easy to get up and moving in the morning when camping, there is busy work to do. I packed up my stuff, it was a wet rain fly and ground fly because of last nights storm. Brewed up a typical camp breakfast of oatmeal with sliced bananas. I am already thinking about 2nd breakfast and I know just the place to ride to get it!!! I have a Jet-Boil stove and those little suckers boil up a pot of water very quick and efficiently. I give it a strong A-plus review on the Jim scale of bicycle camping.

Nice morning out, warm and a few rain clouds scuttling about.
I cross over the Colorado River a few times back and forth. The headwaters are just a few miles away up in the National Park. The beginnings of a great western waterway!
I was hoping to get to Hot Sulpher Springs and the Glory Hole Cafe before the rain, but, it begins and I am required to pull over and gear up in rain suit and put the rain covers on the panniers. Isn't it always the way that after you get all the gear on and then the need to head out to the bushes for nature's call?!?!?!?
A nice soft rain that I know the countryside needs even though it is a minor inconvenience for me.

A few miles and then in for 2nd breakfast!!!
While enjoying my meal I see on my phone that a friend was in the area on his motorcycle and wanted to meet up. I had no service to respond so I hope we can luck out with a meeting. It rained the whole time I was in the cafe while eating and charging up the phone. I head back out into the rain and after going through Byers Canyon I pop out on the west side and get service again. Sure enough my friend catches up with me and there are three of us!! Elementary, Junior High and High school classmates and we arrange to meet in Kremmling for a beer. I make good time getting there and they have lunch while I am riding. I get there just as they are ordering dessert (pie!) and we have the best time and conversation and catching up on life!! What a treat for me!! The time gets away from me a bit and after saying our goodbyes I head on up out of Kremmling on US 40 to Colorado 134 and Gore Pass.  It is already almost 3:30 and I am looking at about 3 hours of climbing up to the top of Gore pass and my campground.
I am shocked at the road and its lack of shoulder. US 40 between Granby and Kremmling is a cyclist dream with a huge paved shoulder except for the last four miles. The no shoulder thing continued going north. An uphill grade, but not steep, had me going slow and suddenly I was feeling very vulnerable on my bike. Sure enough in about a ten minute time I had four big semi-trucks pass me. The first one had no oncoming traffic and he pulled into the other lane. I see the next one coming and I pull off into the dirt shoulder to let him by and the dirt was soft and the ties catch and I almost go down. The next one I stay up on the pavement but there is a car coming the other way...and ROAR!!! I can reach out and practically touch the trailer. I pull off because I am FREAKED OUT. This is crazy. not only is it unsafe for me, but also the truckers and any cars that might be rolling past. Now, I have nothing against truckers, they are doing their jobs which is very important to our way of life in this country. They are not looking to hurt me or anyone else. My beef is with the infrastructure of our highways and why we let this happen. This is US federal highway with a 65 MPH speed limit and this is the condition.
Whether there is a cyclist present or not, this is not a safe road for trucks and cars to be traveling at a high rate of speed. We can build trillion dollar fighter jet programs and their only purpose is to kill people but we can not do the infrastructure work in our country that would save lives.
Alright, that is my soap box, I'll climb down. This is supposed to be a fluffy little piece about bike travel!!!
First time I have been nervous about the place I am riding so I beat a retreat back to Kremmling. My confidence might have been shot because it was the end of the day and I had had a beer, so I decide to stay in Kremmling Monday night.
Talked on the phone with my family and decided to wrap up the trip early. My son Matthew was staying an extra day before he headed back to KC and I have some maintenance projects that need some attention at home.
I get up and packed up and on the road back to Grand Lake where Debbie and Matthew will meet me at Grand Lake Lodge for a late lunch!!
I am in a much better frame of mind and the four miles back towards Hot Sulpher Springs does not bother me as much, although I keep a very defensive style of riding until my nice shoulder appears again.


Back to this!!
This is beautiful hay ranching country out here and I am enjoying a pretty Colorado Morning!!
This is a nice little Saw Mill operation going here. Looks like they are milling studs. Busy. Trucks heading in with logs and heading out with units of lumber.

Now just some views of this valley before you get to Byers Canyon.

Back into Byers Canyon
I was really enjoying myself today. Just me turning the pedals, a nice day, at peace with my thoughts. On this third day I was very comfortable on the bike and was used to the weight and handling. The Surly LHT is a very capable machine for this kind of touring.
Here a few of the things that caught my fancy as I pedaled along towards Granby.

Pretty soon I turn off on US 34 and head back up to Grand Lake and my late lunch date.
Heading back towards my mountains!!
A few cows for my friend Richard to look at!!
This fellow has built a little pitch and putt holes on his land. Not sure if he lets people play on it or it is just his little personal course . Looks like two or three hole through the willows.
And, just like that it is over. After a nice lunch I pile everything back into the truck and head for home. What originally started out to be a six day loop around Northern Colorado was only three days. It is OK though, it was great to be out on the fully loaded Trucker. I know I can still travel this way for future trips and I had fun except for that ten minute stretch north of Kremmling.
The house chores were calling and I'll brew up another trip ('s) for next summer.

Thanks for riding along!!


  1. Hmm Second breakfast - the Hobbits had that one right and Amen on our messed up priorities lots of roads out here in WA that could use some of that Jet-fighter-that-doesn't actually-work money

    1. Ryan, as usual thanks for checking it out. I know....It is also like the train business here in our country. We could have a super efficient train system for moving freight and people around if there was some money thrown at it all.

  2. A few weeks ago I saw a documentary about the American infrastructure : roads, fly-overs, railroads,sewerage, bridges etc........poor, very put it mildly.

  3. Sounds like a good trip despite not going as originally planned. Beautiful as always.

    1. Thanks for checking out the blog Randy. I'll need to figure out the whole video thing to keep up with your posts!!

  4. Colorado is certainly photogenic. And three days sounds like plenty, although a life time sounds pretty good, too. Riding across the U.S. or doing the whole Divide would be remarkable achievements but now that Lael Wilcox has re-set the bar on those two feats I think I will stick to wondering around aimlessly...

    I personaly hgave not slept in a tent in over twenty years. I bought a half-dome from REI a couple years ago and it remains in the packaging it came in. It is the only campng gear I own. My "touring" bike, Little Miss Dangerous, has been in the stand for about the same amount of time. Like "boat guilt", this situation causes me no small amount grief.

    So I bow to your Doing It for Real and getting out there. That piece of No Shoulder With Semitrucks bit will probably keep me worried for years. Thanks for the accompanying photo so my nightmares will come fully illustrated. Note: why not photoshop a well squashed piece of road kill into that shot to complete the package?

    I have read about the bad stretches for years and don't like them. I don't even like READING about them and when they come up, I usually get off and walk. A guy from Portland was killed a couple years ago on one of my regular roads, plenty of shoulder and visibility but he still managed to get creamed by an eighty year old man with epilepsy driving a Lincoln.

    I'm rambling, I know...but look: Lael's ol' man Nick (Gypsy by Trade) managed a few years back to ride from Alaska to Colorado with VERY FEW MILES on pavement. And where I am heading with this is I'm thinking screw the infrastructure of the automobile-based road system and if we are going to holler for change let's go all the way and holler for off-road thoroughfares. Florida, one of the most doofus of states in the union, is doing it, sorta...

    There are trails all over the place that start nowhere and end nowhere but there seems to be a plan to one day connect them all together...there is a trail called the Cross-Florida Trail but I have yet to fully figure it out...but I am working on it.

    Sorry, Jim. I am envious of your ride. I wanna do it. Next month I will be doing a job in St. Augustine, a hundred miles from the trailer park and there is a couple camp-worthy spots about maybe...

    Ride On, Coach!

  5. Jim,

    Looks like an enjoyable ramble, and the scenery is certainly top notch. Kudos to you for being able to keep it loose and changeable when circumstances dictate.

    That piece of road would be a non-starter for me. I'm just too damn nervous to ride on busy roads, or roads with high speed traffic. In my particular slice of the boonies if I want to ride on the roads I take the bike trail up to farm country and get off on a cross road there. I can deal with the 4 cars an hour that are typical there. I can hear them come up behind me, give them a good look over the shoulder, and pull off the road if they seem unaware that I'm there.
    That's one of the things (one of the MANY things) that keep me from any long distance touring. I've fooled around with planning a strictly back roads tour (no cities or 4 lane roads) and have even spent some time mapping a route on Google. Maybe some time I'll actually have time to try it.

    Steve Z

    1. Thanks for stopping by Steve. I have to agree with you. That is why I have really liked riding Rail-Trails these last three summers. I also like the road tours. I can deal with the traffic as long as I have a bit of a shoulder. I have never toured through a city except I rolled into Albuquerque on a tour about five years ago but I knew in that case exactly where I was going and it was an easy path. I do have something brewing about in the brain for next summer that will have a start, or stop, in a city. We'll see.