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Day 41 - 48 Coast To Coast 1999 by Eric K. Andersen (click on images to see larger pictures)

Day 41 Tribune, KS  Finally out of Kansas. As the road approached Colorado it bent to the northwest, crossed the border and then headed directly west again.  The road climbed gently and the terrain and flora changed.  Cactus were in bloom on the side of the road.  Deer leapt through desert scrub and cottonwood trees.  It was a great day of riding.  Back in Kansas, Kansans gave the impression that there was not much to see out this way. They said it was a boring and dry country.  While it was dry, it was far from boring.  It was much more beautiful than the never ending farmland of Kansas. There were points were you could see forever.  Back in Kansas I mentioned to a convenience store clerk how I was looking forward to getting out of Kansas because of the wind.  She said "the wind blows the same everywhere".  She was wrong.  Even the wind was blowing from a different direction. It's amazing how some people don't even know their own country. Total Miles: 62

Day 42 Eades, CO Another great day of riding.  The country was wide open.  The wind was nonexistent and the temps were in the low 80's.  Prairie dogs peeked out of their holes as I rode by with the Tandem Teachers. In Ordway we checked into the Hotel Ordway, one of the original Bikecentennial stops. I had a great dinner in town before retiring for the night in my $7.50 a night room.  Total Miles: 62

Day 43 Ordway, CO I passed by two "Correctional Facilities" before reaching the 4 lane highway to Pueblo. Colorado has more prisons than any other state. The Rocky Mountains could be seen faintly on the horizon, but the excitement of reaching this milestone was lost due to the traffic and sprawl of Pueblo. I got into town just after noon and checked into the Super 8. I said "see you later" to the TT's who were taking a rest day to visit a friend. I went into town and picked up some bicycle supplies and found the library to send an email.  At the library I met Rachel who worked at one of the prisons as a correctional officer.  I also saw two Swiss bicyclists who I had seen earlier in the trip. They were camped in the town park.  After spending so many days in the middle of nowhere, Pueblo was a little overwhelming. Later I went to Applebee's and watched the Knicks. Total Miles: 52

Day 44 Pueblo, CO The road headed up the Arkansas river valley towards the mountains.  I walked my first "hill" since Missouri as I gained over 2000 ft. in elevation and I could see the snow capped peaks of the Rockies in the distance.  I pedaled passed the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility known as "Supermax" just outside of Florence.  This is the current home of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma City infamy,  Luis Felipe, boss of the Latin Kings street gang and Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack. The facility sits menacingly on a hill amid parched scrubland.  It's considered the most secure prison in the nation. From the road the rectangular prison buildings, painted in desert hues of sand and teal, might be mistaken for an apartment complex or a college campus. But Supermax sits in the rear of the complex, a fortress ringed by guard towers, wrapped in razor wire and eyed by electronic surveillance cameras. It has been called "the Alcatraz of the Rockies".  I had wanted to go as far as Royal Gorge today, but as I came into Canon City rain threatened so I checked into a motel.  As I got settled into my room it began to pour. Later, Larry and Jason checked into the same motel and we went out for dinner together.  Total Miles: 52

Day 45 Canon City, CO Larry and Jason planned to ride the train into Royal Gorge that morning so I joined them. The ride followed the Arkansas river into the canyon that is spanned by the Royal Gorge bridge which is the highest suspension bridge in the world.  Rafters and kayakers negotiated the rapids as the train went up the mountain and under the bridge. Back on the road. As I climbed into the mountains on highway 9 I got my first flat on the bike. I fixed it just in time to ride into a cold downpour on a nice downhill.  I caught up to Larry and Jason hiding from the rain in a barn on the side of the road. They were going up to Guffey so I joined them. We found Bill whom a rider on the train told us about and he rented us a cabin.  A Grateful Dead VW bus was on blocks in the backyard amid an assortment of bathtubs and an outhouse.  We had a few beers and dinner at the local bar in this tiny town lost high in the mountains.  The altitude was over 8000 ft. and I felt a little light headed. Total Miles:32

Day 46 Guffey, CO   The road climbed up to 9400 ft. at Current Pass before descending the valley into Hartsel.  The beautiful Front Range of the Rockies was in the distance to the east.  A wall of snow capped peaks lined the valley to the west.  The temps were cool but comfortable with the occasional gust of wind. I was just 4 miles outside of Fairplay, my destination for the night when the weather turned.  I could see a storm heading my way and I stopped and put on my rain gear as the wind began to gust. I rode directly into the storm as the wind worsened and rain began to fall.  The storm only lasted about 15 minutes but was enough to freeze my hands.  I made it into town and thawed off at a motel.  Later, Larry and Jason who I hadn't seen all day, checked into the motel and we had dinner together.  Jason had broken a spoke on the dirt road out of Guffey. One of the advantages of towing a trailer is that the weight associated with carrying your gear on your bike is off the bicycle.  I never broke a single spoke.   Total Miles: 47

Day 47 Fairplay, CO Back in Kansas an eastbound rider had recommended stopping at the bakery in Alma and I did so this morning. I stocked  up on excellent brownies and croissant before heading up to the highest point on the trip at Hoosier Pass. A light rain fell but stopped as I approached the top of the 11,542 ft. pass. I posed for a self portrait with the pass marker and misty 14,000 ft. peaks before descending into Breckenridge. After a great lunch at a BBQ joint and a stop at the post office I headed out of town on the bike path towards Frisco.  It began to rain hard as I approached town.  It poured all the way to my destination for the night in Silverthorne.  I spent the night and the following day at a friend of one of my brothers. Total Miles: 46

Day 48 Silverthorne, CO I spent the day resting and drying out at the beautiful home of Brian and Sarah.  I picked up another flat in the rain the day before and repaired it. A big hail storm passed and I was glad I was not out riding in it. Total Miles: 0


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