Sunday, June 27, 2010

Over The Top In Colorado

Sunday 6-27 day 54, layover day in Breckenridge. Adventure Cycling Association buys lunch!

Frank, ACA board member and guide in center wearing blue jeans.
Saturday 6-26 day 53 - 25 miles, 2448 total, Fairplay to Breckenridge. Hoosier Pass is the continental divide and the highest point on the tour at 11,542. From Fairplay it is a 12 mile climb, but only the last 4 miles are very difficult. Making it to this point is a milestone of the tour. Everyone made it and we all gathered for a group photo. To Breckenridge it was a 12 mile downhill blast, steep, but not so steep that I had to ride the brakes. It took me 2 1/2 hours to make the climb, but only 40 minuets to get down.

The whole dang gang!

BetterBill is over the top!

Mort and James reach the top

Bryn and Amber are winners!

It's Olaf - The Germans are coming!

Alma - a neat town at the base of Hoosier Pass.
Friday 6-25 day 52 - 68 miles 2423 total miles, Royal Gorge to Fairplay. One of if not the toughest day of the trip. Lots of climbing especially the first 35 miles over Current Creek pass at 9,404 feet. Long stretch of no services and a difficult headwind the last 20 miles. In Fairplay we again found a wonderful Italian restaurant, Millonzi's, in a very unexpected place.

Current Creek Pass 9404 feet

Thursday 6-24 day 51 - 18 miles 2355 total Canon City to Royal Gorge. This was supposed to be a rest day, but the group needed to get closer to Fairplay to avoid an ugly 75 mile day on Friday. It being only an 8 mile ride I went the wrong way out of Canon City and turned 8 miles into 18. My friend Dave Moshner came to visit me. We had a very nice lunch and a trip to the Gorge. I enjoyed the visit even though Royal Gorge is a tacky tourist trap.
Dave on the bridge

Wednesday 6-23 day 50 - 54 miles 2337 total miles, Pueblo to Canon City. Before leaving Pueblo we participated in their Bike To Work Day with a breakfast downtown and a police escorted 2 mile ride through their beautiful downtown. They have a great cycling community and I am looking forward to a return visit to this city.

The route to Canon City was a scenic byway and a very nice ride. After a nice downhill we lunched in Florence at the Aspen Leaf Bakery. It was a real treat. I am beginning to believe there are lots of wonderful places in this country if we would just slow down we will find them. This was another good day on the bike.

Tuesday 6-22 day 49 - 62 miles 2283 total. Ordway to Pueblo. Well tailwinds don't last forever and today we paid for them. Headwinds most of the day, worse still was the 8 miles we rode on busy highway 50 into Pueblo. It was 101 degrees and way to hot to camp so we stayed in a motel. Close to the motel was the Great Divide Bike Store. Most of us stopped there for supplies or services and were very happy with the service and expertise we received. In fact we were all very impressed with the entire town.

Monday 6-21 day 48 - 62 miles 2232 total, Eads to Ordway. A great day to be cycling, mostly flat, cool morning and a great tailwind. Stayed at the Ordway Hotel, one of the big surprises of the trip. It was clean, neat, charming, quaint and tastefully decorated in southwestern style. Owned by Tom and Carol Campos, Tom is a trained chief and fixed diner and breakfast for all of us. We ate like kings!

Relaxing in the Ordway Hotel: Lee, Bryn, Jack and Amber

Sunday 6-20 day 47 - 58 miles 2170 total, Tribune to Eads, Colorado. Entered Colorado, s new state day is always a milestone. The day was unremarkable with a long stretch of no services. Left Tribune in the cool of the morning and arrived in Eads shortly after noon with 99 degree high. It's good to get the cycling in in the morning.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mort Declares Kansas Is Flat!

This is a partial posting for the past 9 days. I'll post the rest in a few days. The tour is now in Royal Gorge Colorado.

Saturday 6-19 day 46 - 47 miles 2112 total. Scott City to Tribune. Our last day in Kansas and a great one it was.  Cool and overcast in the morning with a nice east tailwind and only 47 miles, almost like a rest day. We've been very lucky with the weather in Kansas. Only one ugly day, Thursday, no rain since Newton, and even a tailwind some of the time.

Fixing a flat. One fixer - 2 supervisors.

Friday 6-18 day 45 - 57 miles 2065 total. Ness City to Scott City. The day began much as yesterday ended with headwinds, but they soon shifted out of the north, then  after lunch a great tailwind for the last 20 miles.

I'm a sucker for old barns and found these two along the way.

Thursday 6-17 day 44 - 66 miles 2008 total miles. Larned to Ness City. Mort declares that Kansas is even flatter than flat! Today we hit a hard earned 2000 mile mark. Visited Fort Larned National Historic Site, the best preserved Indian fort in the U.S. This is a must visit for any history buff. Our tour guide, Zack, was very knowledgeable and a great guide. The fort was complete with all the supplies, uniforms, ammo, and things necessary to run an Indian fort. It was really amazing and time well spent. The rest of the day went downhill. Tough 30 mph head winds and near 100 degree temps made this one of the hardest days of the trip. We were all happy when it was over.

Wednesday 6-16 day 43 - 54 miles, 1942 total. Sterling to Larned. Mort declares Kansas is even flatter than he thought yesterday. This was a real grunt of a day, 50 miles with no place for water, food or people.

Kansas icons Wheat, Oil and Hay

Trike Bikes

Tuesday 6-15 day 42 - 62 miles total miles 1888. Newton to Sterling. Mort declares Kansas is flat.  Wonderful day to be on a bike: cool morning, 82 degree high, partial tailwind 10-15mph. With cycling easy I had time to look around and get some good photos:

Lunch at the Mustard Seed Coffee Shop in Buhler Kansas, a wonderful place.

Amber, Robert, Mort, Bryn, Lee, Olaf

Nice restored pink Studebaker

Old Chevy truck behind the restoration shed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The News From Newton

Monday 6-14 Layover day in Newton. We now have a 9 day stretch with no layover days. Next posting will probably be from Royal Gorge, CO.

Lee, Olaf, Robert in the Flint Hills

Sunday 6-13 day 40 - 74 miles 1752 total miles. Eureka to Newton. Ten miles into the ride the skies opened up and we were drenched for about 10 minuets, then it just rained for another 20. For most of the rest of the day ugly clouds threatened, but nothing happened. We did get a great wind out of the east tailwind for the last 20 miles into Newton. Actually a good day to be on a bike, most of it was through the Flint Hills.

Photo of a long train on the horizon with an ominous roll cloud above it.

Heard of cattle with roll cloud. 

Saturday 6-12 day 39 - 64 miles 1752 total. Chanute to Eureka. Entered the beautiful Flint Hills today. The Europeans on the trip rushed to Eureka so they could watch the World Cup soccer football game between The United States and England. The game was an exciting 1 to 1 tie. WOW?

Friday 6-11 day 38 - 61 miles 1688 total miles. Pittsburg to Chanute, a no granny gear day. The first of many I hope. The wind was out of the south 10  to 20 MPH, but the route was east to west so it was a side wind most of the day. I rode in an eight man pace line and averaged 13.5 mph, my fastest of the trip yet. Flat is fast! Installed my new bike computer today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ahh Kansas! Its good to be home.

With the tip a little more than a third over here are some random interesting pictures that I have not posted yet. Enjoy.

Wednesday 6-9 day 36 - 70 miles today 1627 total. Ash Grove to Pittsburg, Kansas. Overnight in Ash Grove we had sever storms: heavy rain, wind, lightening, but no damage to tents. We started the day with clouds and rain but ended with a great tailwind and sunshine in Ahh Kansas! What a great place for a layover day.

Lunch was in Golden City at Cooky's Cafe where they have the best pie on the route - certified.

Tuesday 6-8 day 35 - 50 miles today 1557 total. Marshfield to Ash Grove, MO. Another tough day. The Ozark hills are relentless as any in Kentucky or Virginia. I have begun st hate the downhills because I know they just mean another steep climb. Saw some very unusual clouds today along with beautiful Purple Cornflowers.

Monday 6-7 day 34 - 65 miles today 1507 total. Huston to Marshfield, MO. Cloudy, cool, sprinkles at times with just enough hills to remind me we are still in the Ozarks. With not a bar in town we are staying at the city park (no alcohol allowed) we're sneaking beers like a 16 year olds.

Nice view of the Ozarks
Sunday 6-6 day 33 - 43 miles today 1442 total. Eminence to Huston, MO. Five hilly miles to Alley Springs and a long steep pull out of the valley and the rest of the ride was only moderately hilly. With a nice cool north breeze it was a good day to be on a bike.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mov'n on in Missouri

Alley Springs near Eminence, MO

Friday 6-4 day 31 52 miles 1399 total miles. Lesterville to Eminence. This may have been the hardest day of the trip with many up and down long hills, and hot and humid. Brother Bob has meet me here in Eminence and we're staying at the Shady Lane hotel. I've been looking for Crab Cakes since Williamsburg, VA with no success. Finally here in the middle of the Ozarks they were on the menu at Ozark Orchard Restaurant. They were actually pretty tasty. While here I got a haircut at the best damn barbershop in Eminence, maybe anywhere, Comb's Barbershop. What a real treat.

Current River

Thursday 6-3 day 30 52 miles 1347 total miles. Farmington to Lesterville. After an unplanned detour to Pilot Knob some of us visited Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. This would be a great place to spend the day exploring, swimming and picnicking. I spent about two hours there. The rest of the day had some big hills, but not too many. Camped in Lesterville on the Black River.

Wednesday 6-2 day 29 52 miles, 1295 total. Chester to Farmington, MO. I had another first today - a flat! Roofing nail through the rear tire. Oh well it had to happen sometime, actually the group had four flats today. Crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri today and more hills. After 35 miles of heat and hills with 10 more to go we came to a real oasis, Crown Valley Brewing Company tasting and sampling  room. A great treat for a thirsty cyclist and a place I must come back to. For the last ten miles of the ride the road was not so straight, and if you're wondering, it's none of your damn business. The nights accommodations were in Al's Place TransAmerica  Hostel. This is a superb place for bikers, with bunks, beds, linen's, kitchen, showers and bathrooms. It's a remodeled jail. A very good day for a biker.

Tuesday 6-1 day 28 55 miles total 1244 miles. Carbondale to Chester. Took the levee route a hot damn flat day of cycling. Most of the route was along the flood plain and levee system of the Mississippi River where we got our first look at the river. We had our first group casualty today: the Folts' Randy and Meg. The days were too long, too hard, and not what they expected. I hate to see them go, but if they we not having fun, its best. Chester, IL is the home of Popeye the Sailor Man.