I neglected to mention Olav’s close encounter with a grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park. He was riding fast down a hill when he saw a large vehicle with a camper stopped on the road ahead. He passed the vehicle on the left. Just as he came to the driver’s door, he saw a grizzly crossing the road in front of the vehicle. He said he was within five meters of the bear who paid no attention to him. I did not ask if he pooped his pants.
In case you are concerned about me, no worries; Mark who will be joining me soon usually takes the lead. Go Mark Go!
The Ordway Hotel was a good choice. The bed was comfy, the shower positively heavenly.
Breakfast was coffee and a cherry turnover. That’s pretty much what Ordway had to offer. Off I rode for 50 miles in the Arkansas River valley to Pueblo. (People in Missouri and Kansas pronounce it R Kansas. Coloradans say R Kansaw.) Mercifully I had a tailwind. And the road was either flat or slightly downhill.
The turnover was wearing off when I stopped to talk with Tony and Carrie, two eastbound riders. They were on their way from Denver to Bethesda, MD, almost certainly passing within a mile and a half of my house.
Tony, now a 62-year-old teacher, did the TransAm 36 years ago.
We parted ways and I made it to Boone and a rather poorly stocked convenience store. They had Gatorade, ice cream, and cheese and crackers. Gulp.
Of course , my snack messed my blood sugar all up and I rode like a drunk for a few miles. The last 6 miles into Pueblo was a bit of a shock. High speed traffic on a divided highway. People! Houses! Businesses! What happened to home on the range? In a strange contrast, my side of the road was briefly bordered by prairie dog habitat. As I rode along, they’d pop out of their holes and chirp.
I had a few things to do in Pueblo. First I needed a spare tube and a shot of air in my tires. I pulled into a curb cut to check the Google. Then I looked up. I was in front of a bike store! The same one I visited in 2019.
After that I went to an ATM. I’d nearly gone through $200 in cash since sometime in May.
A bike shop employee recommended the Shamrock Bar for lunch. Being a newly minted Irish citizen I couldn’t not go there. I had the green chili mac with bacon and an Irish Red brew. The plate of food was enormous. I have no shame; I ate it all.
Next I checked a hotel downtown for a room but it would have cost over $200. I reserved a room at the Baymont Inn three miles uptown. As it turns out, I booked the last room.
After checking in, I put a did a load of wash, everything but my rain pants and my torn t-shirt. After the wash I put the clothes in the dryer. It wouldn’t take my quarters. I complained to the manager. She refused to let me use the hotel dryer. She told me to take it to a laundromat. I reminded her that I was in a bike and that it was 95 degrees outside. She objected to the fact that I was upset.
After a few minutes of stewing, I used the Google to find a laundromat and rode there. A customer, obviously of modest means, pointed to a machine with 2 minutes of drying time left then added 75 cents to it. He wouldn’t let me pay him back. Laundromat karma’s gonna get you.
Tomorrow I’m heading further west, about 35 miles, to stay with a Warmshowers host. It’s supposed to be very hot but, as they say, it’s a dry heat. I will be gaining about 1,400 feet in elevation. Staying overnight at over 6,000 feet should help me acclimate.
Today was my first sighting of the Rockies. They are rather intimidating looking.
Miles today: 57. Tour miles: 1,159.5.