No Name Tour: Day 20 – A Day “Off” morning

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.

Breakfast at the church

I followed Mark for most of the day as Corey lingered over his photography.

Mark, my shadow, and me
Grain goes on forever
Sagebrush on the prairie

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

No Name Tour: Day 19 – Dust in the 💨

I barely slept at all last night in my new tent. It withstood high winds and rain. I did not withstand neighborhood noises (the bird calls here remind me of Sydney Australia) and my messed up left knee. Because of the steady climb we haven’t been able to glide much. Just a constant grinding away. Tonight I’m putting in ear plugs and taking Ibuprofen PM. I’ll be dead to the world.

Leoti has a small bakery where the male breakfast burritos and brew coffee. That was enough grub to fuel our morning.

Heading west again on Highway 93, we encountered the same old, same old. A straight road that climbed a one percent grade with uncanny consistency. The calm winds of the very start of the ride soon gave way to 12 – 15 mph headwinds. I decided to just listen to my body. It said 9 mph. And do The Mule and I rolled, well behind Mark and Corey.

They are at the halfway point of their journey. Both are having hand discomfort. Mark taped a kitchen sponge to the left side of his handlebar. Corey fashioned cushions for both hands out of a pool noodle. I am not making this up.

Pool noodles to the rescue

We finally encountered our first east bound TransAm rider today. Adam is from Wales. He started in Seattle, rode to, then up the Columbia River. Then he picked up the TransAm Route. Adam confirmed that the route is open through the Rockies with snow on the ground at higher elevations. As you might imagine he said it was beautiful.

Adam with a tailwind smile

So Mark and Corey are good to go. As for me, I know of one road closure from a rock slide on my route in Utah. I’ll be checking with state DOTs for more tonight.

Along our route we passed a grain elevator along the parallel railroad tracks. I’d have taken a picture of the train waiting to be filled but it wouldn’t fit into the frame. Mark estimated that it had about 200 identical hopper cars.

We took a snack break in Tribune, Kansas. Then hit the road for another 22 miles. Fortunately the wind had died down but the uphill grind still wore me down.

We crossed into the mountain time zone soon after lunch.

Soon thereafter we posed at the Colorado state line sign.

Me, Corey, and Mark

Tonight we are staying at the Sheridan Lake Bible Church. No showers or bed but air conditioning, bathrooms, and a well stocked larder. No complaints from me.

We are now sat 4,079 feet, meaning we climbed another 700 feet today.

Miles today: 52

Total miles: 1,219

I haven’t had a day off. Tomorrow we plan on riding only 28 miles.