Corey and Mark are accustomed to taking days off about once per week, but since they’d met met me they ridden nine days in a row. So today we took an off day. Sort of.
We ride about 29 miles from Sheridan Lake, Colorado to Eads, Colorado. The winds were light and just off to the side. Although still on Highway 96, we no longer had the endless gradual climb of the last several days. Instead the road was gently rolling. Wheat fields were gradually replaced by cattle ranges covered in sage brush. It’s green here only because of high levels of rainfall in recent days. The road also, incredibly, curved a few times.
Corey got us started by making pancakes. I made coffee. Mark melted butter. Somehow it all came out fab. The food was supplied by our hosts, the Sheridan Lake Bible Church.
I followed Mark for most of the day as Corey lingered over his photography.
We saw an antelope today. Mark said that he spooked it and it bounced away. I saw it after it had calmed down.
Our route took us eight miles south of the site of the Sand Creek Massacre where several hundred native Americans, including women, children, and the elderly, we slaughtered in a surprise attack by the Colorado Volunteer Cavalry. White settlers in their lust for land and gold signed and reneged on treaties then ambushed a native settlement. Reparations were granted to the affected people but, of course, were never paid. The remaining Indians were moved to Oklahoma.
This area of the country is also where white settlers slaughtered millions of bison for their hides, leaving carcasses to rot in the blazing sun.
As I rode through hundreds of thousands of acres of nearly empty prairie this week, I couldn’t help thinking how utterly insane it is that white settlers couldn’t co-exist with natives and with animal life like the buffalo and passenger pigeons. I felt the same way last summer riding across North Dakota and Montana. White people won this land though massacre and disease and duplicity. What an ugly legacy.
The weather was amazing today.
After arriving in Eads we briefly considered riding another 60 miles to Ordway. We checked out the town park here and decided to stay the night. The grass here is perfect, a sure sign of an irrigation system. The grounds keeper told us he’d make sure the sprinkler system would be turned off while we were camping.
Tomorrow we hope for tailwinds and cool temperatures.
Miles today: 30.5
Mikes total: 1,249.5