After motel breakfast I tried to leave early but was cornered by some guests who also stayed at my hotel in Montrose a few days ago.
After the chat I was off to the west on Highway 145. More terrific scenery, a generally downhill route, and a gentle tailwind. Finally!
Just before Naturita I turned onto Highway 141. It was time to payback the downhill. You’d think I could get one day without a climb but no!
So I climbed out of the valley I had ridden into and over a rather large hill into a basin, a vast valley bordered by mountains. It was quite pretty, particularly after the climb because I rode right down into the basin.
On the ride down I passed all kinds of cool rock formations. Many of the bluffs had caves. Some of the rock formations reminded me of people and animals.
This is movie cowboy country. You’re sure you’ve seen this place in a million TV shows or movies.
After about 45 miles of riding that couldn’t be beat, it was payback time. I had to ride over a range to get to my motel in Dove Creek.
Ride is used loosely here. I made it a mile or two up Slick Rock Hill (Coloradans love to call enormous mountains “hills” because they have mountains that are whoppers everywhere you look.
To help things along the wind changed direction. Nothing helps push a bike up a mountain quite like a headwind.
Occasionally I got on the bike and rode to the next steep section. Then I hoofed it some more. This hill, I was told, was preferable to the hill I avoided yesterday by riding to Norwood.
Near the top I jumped back in the saddle and finished the climb. I was expecting a 20 mile descent to Dove Creek but mostly what I encountered was rollers: down for a half mile, up for a half mile. And headwinds.
After all the flooding I saw earlier in the tour it was a relief to find freshly planted fields.
I thought this was going to be an 80 mile day. I managed to go through two apples, a banana, a Clif bar, some mixed nuts, and five bottles of water. And it wasn’t nearly enough.
It was good training for Utah and Nevada which have long stretches without food or water. (Tomorrow I’ll fill my 2 2-liter bladders to make sure they don’t leak.)
Today’s miles: 74
Tour miles: 1,764
Top speed: 34.4 mph
Tomorrow will be an easy day as I enter Utah. The next day is up in the air. Natural Bridges National Monument has a first come, first served camping policy and only 13 spots. I may skip it and camp at Lake Powell.