15 Aug 2010, 10:42am
1 comment

over the rockies to boulder

written on the evening of august 13th

boulder pretty much rocks. lots of outdoorsy hippie types. there’s tons of bike paths and a wild creek running through the city and a big pedestrian-only area downtown and lots of delicious food. right now i am sitting in a grassy park listening to a band cover led zeppelin at a free concert (seriously, there is wifi EVERYWHERE). a. is joking that i will never leave. he leaves tomorrow to fly home to portland, load his stuff in a van, and drive to his new home in berkeley to start his phd program. i leave at some point to conquer some fears and pedal headlong into my future, whatever it might be. in the meantime, here’s some catching up and photos…

walden to hot sulphur springs–over willow creek pass–

(this guy got himself stuck to my tire)

(in i-can’t-honestly-remember-what-tiny-town, someone had peeled up all the center lines from this newly-repaved road and made them into greetings)

(blurry photo of our eighth continental divide crossing. in colorado they specify which side is which!)

(is this weird geology or is it man-made? in the middle of nowhere?)

we camped for free in hot sulphur springs about half a mile down a dirt road in some kind of city park. ran around doing laundry and so on, chatted with a woman at a burger-and-shakes stand about bike touring and the santiago de compostela pilgrimage, and then headed to the hot springs (of course!). they were nice–24(!) different pools with various temperatures and mineral concentrations, some indoor and some outside–but pricey! $17.50 per person for a day pass. in the hottest pool, we met a guy named ted from denver who bike toured when he was younger and who offered us a place to stay in denver if we need it. there’s really nothing like traveling this way to convince you that people are fundamental generous and good. that’s the truth. fear is the biggest hurdle between us and the amazing world we could live in.

in the morning we ate breakfast at this place:

yeah, seriously. but the service was super-friendly and the food was pretty good. my french toast was more-or-less deep-fried. yum. we also met a young couple from england who were westbound on the transam. we recommended enthusiastically that they stop at the hot springs in saratoga.

(rocks from the hot springs in saratoga; ring tarnished from hot sulphur springs)

hot sulphur springs to grand lake–a pretty short riding day–

in grand lake we completely spoiled ourselves in preemptory celebration of our climb up trail ridge road–bought delicious crepes and huge glasses of sangria at a wine bar, after which, tipsy, we played 18 holes of mini golf down the street (i won).

needless to say we failed to wake up as early as planned the next morning. which was just as well ’cause it was c-c-c-cold! frost on our tent and bikes. but for the climb itself, oh boy did we get lucky with the weather–it was perfect! first sunny storm-free day in weeks, apparently.

(hell yeah–here we go!)

(the colorado river!)

(living sod roof on an ice cellar at an old homestead site in the park!)

(the red/purple color of many of the trees, by the way–and this has been true for several states now–is due to bark beetle infestation. the trees are weak, often because of decades of fire suppression that have allowed them to get much older than they otherwise would, and the beetles flourish. but since they only infest weak trees, it’s more or less a natural ecological process, etc, just unnaturally widespread due to suppression of natural fires.)

(the wind is so harsh that branches can only grow on the leeward side of trees)

(estes park in the distance!)

the first people we met in estes park:
1. a man who rode the transamerica in 1976, the first year, when it was the bikecentennial route
2. a couple from kansas city who dug out their road atlas to give me route ideas and then offered me a place to stay should i pass through kansas city


estes park is a beautiful town, with mountains surrounding it on all sides. we spent the morning in a coffeeshop writing postcards and so on and then hanging out in by the river that runs through town. then we headed off towards boulder–a few miles up out of the valley and then down, down, down all the way to lyons. so much fun!

(a. waves goodbye to the rockies)

we stopped:
1. for black cherry cider at the colorado cherry company (or something like that)
2. at a winery tasting room on the lovely grounds of an inn of some sort, for yummy wine and a bottle for later

we ate some lunch in lyons (bread, cheese, and fruit mmm), a town about 16 miles from boulder with a good vibe.

(wind sculpture)

heading south towards boulder, the mountains were to our right and to our left the plains began, stretching out so flat to the east that i kept glancing that way and believing for a moment that i was looking at the ocean.

(suicidal grasshoppers are abundant along shoulders in colorado as well… and apparently they eat their dead, which might help explain why they keep coming onto the road even though they die there)

and we made it!

end of the road for a.

now: a. is back in portland; i am outside of loveland. as always, more later…

Hi S-

am enjoying your trip via the beautiful photo’s/text you are posting- any chance you are coming thru NYC?

(friend of your mama)



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