Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 38: Frisco, CO to Hot Sulphur Springs, CO (63.5 Miles)

I started late again today. I was on the road by 8:30 or as the Brits would say "half eight." The morning held the most delightful riding experience of my journey thus far. I rejoined the bike path and headed North towards Silverthorne and was treated with spectacular views complimented by beautiful weather. The path was a little confusing to follow and the Adventure Cycling maps do a semi-adequate job of explaining where to go. Luckily, I ran into some locals that knew the path very well and they set me off on the right direction. Much like the previous day, everyone on the path were smiling and very hospitable.

After a thrilling switchback climb down from the Dillon Reservoir, I found myself again in another bustling mountain town. I was a little turned around and finally discovered that the busy intersection around the gas stations was in fact route 9, the route I needed to follow. After grabbing a quick "brekkie," I began an effortless descent down the road next to the majestic and flowing Blue River. You know that you're in for an enjoyable ride when the adjacent river flows in the direction you're heading. As I was gaining momentum down the gradually declining hill, I came across this sign...

Apparently, a semi-truck had a nasty accident and they cleared off route 9; however, this turned out to be a mixed blessing for numerous reasons. For one, I was actually sent in the right direction according to my maps (that I would've easily overlooked) and made me follow Route 30 towards Heeney and the Green Mountain Dam. This was very scenic, albeit hilly, and was quite busy due to the detour. The downside to this path was that, somehow, I received my second puncture of the trip...

After crossing the dam, I noticed I began to feel a bouncing sensation coming from my rear tire. I reluctantly stopped and checked the tire and found it to be losing pressure rather quickly. I pulled over to a dirt path and began weighing my options. The past attempt at replacing the rear inner tube led to much cursing and head aches outside of Hutchinson, KS. I looked ahead on the map and found that there was another bike shop in Kremmling, about 12 miles out from where I was. I decided to pump up the tire and ride it as far as I could.

It only took a couple of pump breaks to make it into town. It was there where I found a nice little shop, run by a really personable owner and his dog, Bopper. (See Photos Below). In place of pain and effort, I just relaxed with a fun little pup and let the owner of the shop have the privelage of replacing the tube. Even he, the expert, took about 20 minutes to properly replace the stubborn thing and then he asked for 5 dollars. It was the best 5 bucks I've ever spent.

After having lunch in Kremmling, I only had 17 miles to get to my final destination. It went quicker than expected due to a pleasant tail wind (the irony of this is that I was heading East towards Hot Sulphur Springs). I've heard stories noting that heading West would not necessarily put me into the wind, but I'd beg to differ! In any case, I traversed a gorgeous canyon that led into town. I arrived shortly after lunch and had a lot of time to spend. I pitched my tent off a dirt road about a half mile towards the river and rode around the town looking for water. According to the locals, the water source has been contaminated, therefore water is sold by the gallon at most shops. I bought some water, checked some emails, played with some dogs, and caught an early dinner.

As I was enjoying my taco salad, Chris and Chris knocked on the window next to my table. It was great to see them, which I hadn't since Carbondale, IL. We chatted and hung outside a local shop and shared some stories and drinks. It was then when Callum, Chris, and Dowds showed up in all their smelly glory. It felt like a reunion. We hung out for a bit and I followed them to another diner for some free water and conversation. I took off early to leave them with their food and headed over to the "Hot Sulphur Springs," a series of pools the town was virtually built around. The natural springs heat up pools of water (that smell of rotten eggs) and are very therapeutic.. the springs were originally utilized for medicinal purposes. I soaked in these hot springs and were later joined by the lads. It was nice; however, the springs were less "natural" than I expected and there were a lot of annoying elderly couples commenting on how "faaaabulous" one spa was in comparison to another... but it was well worth the 11 dollars I'd spent. Chris and Chris opted for an early night and I hope to meet up with them in the next town on the map.

Feeling refreshed, I utilized my headlamp and rode back to my tent. The guys later joined me and set up their tents in very close proximity to mine. Apparently, setting up a tent in the dark is not the best idea due to Callum's bemoaning the slant of rocks and twigs he was trying to lay on. It's going to be a cold night and I don't have any trousers/slacks. I've heard people saying it will get into the 30's and I'm hoping that my non-3-seasons tent will hold in some warmth through the night. I can't believe it's August!


Grandma said...

Spectacular scenery and photos! Glad you've met up with your buddies. Hope all the rest of your traveling days are as pleasant as this one. Love you - Grandma

Momma said...

Wonderful photo's Blake! I especially enjoy the ones that you are in! Colorado is really a gorgeous example of God's creation given to us to enjoy. Glad to here you are reconnecting with other biker's on your journey. I am thankful for them and their friendship with you.
Love you much! Momma

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