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    Day 29 – Life IS A Journey… Go Travel It!

    Today was it… 40 miles to the ferry at Vallejo. I was surprised by all the country roads we were traveling on when we were so close...

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    Day 28 – Californian Orchards

    We got to sleep in today because the bike shop didn’t open until 9:30am. I headed out to Taco Bell breakfast around 8am and looked over our...

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    Day 27 – All Downhill From Here

    This morning was a slow start after fighting the urge to stay in our warm sleeping bags, and finding out Seth had a flat tire. By the...

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    Day 26 – Century Club

    100 miles ago we were in Fallon, NV… now we’re sitting on top of Carson Pass, California which happens to be our very last mountain to get...

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    Day 25 – One Last Day Of Rest

    Being bummed out from not getting the hotel room last night, today we planned on just riding 47 miles to Fallon, NV and calling it a day to...

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    Day 24 – Crushed Hope

    Today we started with a climb over two mountain peaks at 6am before coasting down into Austin. It took about 3 hours to do the two peaks...

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    Day 23 – Lucky Number 13

    *Delayed post 1 day due to no service* Yet another day on the Loneliest Road In America. The one exciting part about this day was the fact...

*Delayed post due to no phone service*

The start to our desert days begins two weeks after we left Kearney, Nebraska. Fortunately we had a nice overcast until about noon, but once that went away it got hot very fast. Our entire day consisted of going up a long, drawn out, mountain (Salvation Knoll Summit – 7100 feet elevation) and back down it.

The interesting part of today was that we were about 74 miles from the nearest town, or any form of life it seemed like. With the hotel last night, we were able to get up at 5:30am and begin getting ready before it got too hot. When we got to Blanding, UT, we filled up our 140oz water pack and headed out into the wilderness with nothing between us, and the next water source that was 74 miles away.

As you’ll see from the plenty of pictures below, we hit some great mesa/plateau’s today, but the heat made sure we couldn’t enjoy it thoroughly. Other than fighting our way up the hot mountain, and riding down it, there isn’t much more today except for the fact we are sleeping in a ‘field’ (picture below) on the side of the road tonight. Tomorrow we’ll reach Lake Powell where we’ll be able to fill up our water containers [edit: since this is a delayed post, you’ll see why my previous statement is false], but for tonight we will have to tough it out.

Total miles biked: unknown (we literally have no idea where we are sleeping). Tomorrow will have a two-day total.

 

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” – Amelia Earhart

 

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And a lovely cactus rose for Shelly and Lisa, our two wonderful mothers!

 

 

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Today was the day we officially left the Rockies (or so I consider). The morning started off slow because of the cold temperatures last night, but we were leaving our campground in Dolores at about 9:15 am. The hills began to roll up and down, just as our map indicated with its elevation profile. The upward slope was barely short enough that we were able to gain enough speed from the downhill to get on top of the next hill without having to walk. However, this method of riding continued nonstop for approximately 30 miles.

We rolled into Dove Creek, CO at around 1pm to eat lunch. I was getting tired of peanut butter sandwiches, so I went into a local panini store. They had some incredible food that I devoured: a great tasting, hot, panini, homemade yogurt, and homemade carrot cake balls. After lunch, Seth and I began our second half of the day to ideally get to Blanding, UT. Just 8 miles up the road from our lunch spot was the Utah border… finally! As my grandma Doris pointed out, we’ll still have mountains in Utah, but fortunately nothing compared to the Rockies.

Twenty-some miles after the border, the town of Monticello was roughly 7 miles away. That’s when the wind picked up. There was a nasty crosswind from the South (as we were riding West) that slowed us down immensely. With the rolling hills already slowing us down, this really deterred our progress to Blanding. A very long mile outside of Monticello, Seth and I both agreed we would stay there [in a hotel] for the night so we could prepare for tomorrow.

Looking at our map, we have about 20 miles to Blanding, UT, and after that there isn’t a single town listed on our map for an entire 74 miles. We took the hotel tonight because we knew tomorrow was going to be a ‘tent-in-a-ditch’ kind of night. Tomorrow will be the real test on how we fare with limited water.

Total miles biked: 60 miles from Dolores, CO to Monticello, UT

 

“Make everything an adventure. Otherwise, it will suck.” ― Nita Morgan

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The morning started off with us sleeping in until 7:30 since we had to wait until 9:30 for the bike shop to open. I got out of the tent and to my surprise someone, or something, had rummaged through all our items in our bike trailer. After looking closer, it was definitely some kind of animal. I won’t make any assumptions about it being a bear, but the teeth marks were pretty far apart from each other… I also found a pink slip on our camping table that said we owed another $6 for camping there (we underpaid I guess). For a while Seth and I debated about just forgetting it and riding on, but we decided on being the good Samaritan and going in to pay it – and it paid off immensely! The guy working there told us of a natural hot spring in the mountain that wasn’t too far off our route, so we made that our reward for the day since it was towards the end.

At 8:30 we stopped at the super market in town and ate breakfast. By the time we finished all that business, we headed to the bike shop a few blocks away. The owner, Travis, happened to be open early and got us in right away. He quickly adjusted my spokes on the tire and had me up and running in a matter of minutes – such a knowledgeable and friendly guy to do business with! If you’re reading this and happen to be in Teluride at some point, stop by his shop (http://boxcanyonbicycle.com/).

I was now set to go without that nagging annoyance that I was exerting more work than I needed to be. We had our second highest peak on the trip to climb today, and unfortunately we had to do all 12 miles of it today. Unlike Monarch’s Pass, we were at the bottom when we began, where at Monarch we only had 6 miles to go until the top. So, we walked up and coasted down when possible. At 1:00pm we reached the top of Lizard’s Head Peak and ate lunch.

We now headed down the mountain, knowing that the hot springs was coming up soon. Sure enough, as the guy directed us, there it was right off the highway. It was a little 8-man hot-tub sized pool that had naturally heated water flowing into it. We sat in the mineral-filled water for over an hour. This was probably our first time to REALLY relax since the trip started – and it was much needed!

Finally, the day came to an end at Dolores, CO. We met a friendly girl from London who is backpacking the USA, as well as the campground owner that we’re staying at tonight. The good man let me come into his house and watch the OKC vs San Antonia basketball game with him – the perfect way to end the day (even though OKC lost)! Tomorrow is the Utah border… finally, the desert.

Total miles biked: 64.6 miles from Teluride, CO to Dolores, CO

 

“I have discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.” ― Edmund Hillary

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Today started off well when we left the KOA camp because, for once, we were able to wake up at 6am and it wasn’t freezing outside. By the time we packed up we were headed out of Montrose by 7:00am-ish. About 10 miles out of town we pulled over to rest for a minute or two because I was feeling outrageously slow today. I shrugged it off as a bad morning for the legs, but for whatever reason I decided to check out my brakes. Sure enough, one side of my brakes was rubbing on my wheel while I was riding that entire morning. Just what I needed…

We took a look at the bike and I adjusted the brakes so they wouldn’t rub anymore, and we continued on. A few more miles up the road I hopped off to check them again, and of course they were rubbing. After looking at the wheel for a while, I noticed the axle screw wasn’t tight and that the trailer weight was pulling the axle from the wheel. Once I tightened the axle screw, all seemed to be ok, but it wasn’t.

Another few miles went by and I got off to check once again to make sure all was ok, and then I noticed my tire had a slight ‘wobble’ to it when I was riding. It wasn’t noticeable when I rode, but I could definitely see the tire move side-to-side as I spun the wheel. There was nothing we could about it on a Sunday afternoon, so I just decided to get moving on.

As we climbed another large mountain, Seth was in front with the trailer, and as I was looking at some scenery he had to stop to take a break. By no means was it his fault, but I ran right into the back of the trailer and fell hard onto the pavement. Blood immediately began running down my leg, but we really didn’t have time to thoroughly look into it so I just slapped a bandaid on. Coincidentally, an older man (62 years old he told us) was coming down the mountain and asked if everything was ok. We talked for a bit and I asked him if he knew what could be done about my wheel. He referred us to a bike shop in Telluride, CO that would be able to adjust my spokes to make the wheel straight again; what a relief to know I didn’t need to wait for a new wheel to be shipped in!

Finally, we reached the top of the mountain and began heading down. It was a long, more level, downhill ride today (12 miles to be exact) and when we reached the bottom we pulled over to have a quick snack. Another old man came pedaling by and talked to us a while and referred us to the same bike shop. He also warned us of a nasty mountain coming up if we wanted to get to Telluride tonight.

He was right. That mountain was steep and long, something we hadn’t prepared for mentally when the day began. The first mountain was much larger, but we were ready for it… this one we were not. We walked and walked until about 5pm we reached the top. The descent landed us in the town of Telluride. It is such a beautiful town here, resting at the bottom of some spectacular mountains! All the stores and houses are painted in ‘neat’ colors, and everything around just has an older feel to it (a good, updated, old though).

Tomorrow morning we will get groceries and head over to the bike shop at 9:30 sharp. Hopefully they can get us in and out so that we can strive for the 50 mile day tomorrow. Right now we’re looking at being in Utah 2 days, which is a whole new adventure in itself…

Total miles biked: 65.7 miles from Montrose, CO to Telluride, CO

 

“I feel the need to endanger myself every so often.” ― Tim Daly

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Since yesterday left us short of the town we were aiming for, we had to make up that ground today. The first 20 miles went by smoothly, but the climbing was just about to begin. There were 3 mountains we had to get over today, but what made the day worse is the beating sun and the hot air. Although we’re in the Rocky Mountains still, the area we were in was extremely hot and reminded me of a desert.

After climbing our first two mountains, we ended up in a small town at the bottom of the last mountain. There was a small gas station where I bought some Peachie-o’s, Gatorade, and some fresh honey from the Colorado mountains. We made our peanut butter sandwiches with the honey, and I ate WAY too many Peachie-o’s (there’s a reason I’m telling you this now). After resting up and filling our water bottles, we headed back up to our last mountain of the day.

About 2 miles up I began to feel extremely dizzy and uneasy. It got so bad that at one point I almost vomited. I realized all of this was because of all the sugar I just ate previously. When you go many miles in the hot desert, with nothing to eat and little to drink, you tend to overindulge at your next pitstop. Lesson learned there, I’m just thankful this didn’t happen in even a hotter climate like Utah or Nevada.

Onward we went up the mountain until its peak. Seth was uneasy again about riding down, but this time the roads were nicely paved and there weren’t many sharp turns around corners of the mountain. As we descended, Montrose, CO was in sight and we pulled into the KOA camp for the night. After setting up our tent, and showering, the decision was made to go fill ourselves from the long day with a Chinese Buffet.

As our plates stacked higher and higher with food, three large plates later we both had major regrets! Seth had to get up to go to the bathroom to make sure he wouldn’t vomit on the table, and I had to lay dow on the booth seat. As with the Peachie-O incident, the thought of food after a hard day of riding makes you lust for it to the point of… stupidity. We paid our checks and headed outside.

Seth was unable to ride on his bike because he felt so crumby, so I took off to the KOA camp to get everything ready for the night. I later find out that Seth did in fact vomit in the alleyway after I left. I know, gross details, but there’s a point here – overindulgence is never a good thing!

Total miles biked: 64 miles from Gunnison, CO to Montrose, CO

 

“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.” ― Danny Kaye

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