Day 25 - July 1st
Total: 999.8 miles
Moving Avg: 9.4 mph
Overall Avg: 5.7 mph
On the bright side, it didn't rain on us.
The official route travels twelve miles down highway nine, before cutting off to the mountains and returning to highway nine again thirty eight miles later.
The weather predicted rain, and the health wasn't 100 percent, so we opted to follow the highway all the way. It would shave off about ten miles. If you haven't guessed by now, I am more than a sliver removed from a purist. I am out to bike from Mexico to Canada, mostly on the Great Divide route. Key word: mostly. I am happy to find shortcuts/easier routes.
We thought we had picked one in the highway. It would be largely downhill and paved.
Woopse, turns out that they were doing some major highway construction. After the initial twelve mile downhill section, the shoulder disappeared. We had to cycle next to crazy fourth of July travelers. Past the point of no shoulder, the paving disappeared. We had to cycle on loose mud, from fresh rain, or on the main path of travel for cars....and there were plenty of cars.
We weaved between orange traffic cones, mud which had more control over our bikes than we do, and fast moving RVs hauling cars. It was a unique cycling experience, one which I hope to never repeat. The highway reconstruction zone lasted about six miles, and we were happy to find paving at the end of it.
Nine miles later, we arrived in Kremmling, where we found an ice cream and coffee shop. How neat is that!? We enjoyed cold sweet caffeinated beverages, and planned our next course of action. The addendum to the maps discussed a portion of the trail which is impassable when wet. This is the portion we were about to embark on. Since it rained the last two days, and rain was anticipated for the next two, we were not keen on taking the official route.
The highway had an alternate which routes us past the impassable part, so we settled for more highway riding. I found a campsite six miles past Kremmling, and we were fortunate to get a reservation. I still marvel that places (with no services other than pit toilets) can charge $25 for a tent space. But, it is what it is, and it is fourth of July weekend.
We bought groceries for the short leg, and went on our way to the site. I didn't think our highway experience could get worse, but it did. Our six inches of no shoulder space turned into zero inches of no shoulder space. Our gravel shoulder turned into a grassy shoulder. Our flat shoulder turned into a bumpy steep shoulder which forced us to walk our bikes. Our weekend travelers doubled in frequency. And finally, the mosquitos decided to attack us in droves.
I haven't seen Apricots swear this much in any leg of the trail. I am truly shocked that I didn't see her throw the bike at an oncoming car and call it quits as she watched the bike explode into millions of pieces. She told me that she has no idea if the area we passed through was beautiful, because she was too busy being stressed at holiday weekend traffic. The six miles out of Kremmling have easily been the worst highway miles we have traveled.
But in the end, we arrived at camp, and set up our tent. Fifteen minutes later the rain came, and it hasn't let up for the last two hours. I am so glad we didn't have to bike in the rain.
Now.... can I get to sleep to the rhythmic beats of our neighboring RVs music?
Earplugs, here I come.
Live life at a slower place.