50 miles (80 km) – Total so far: 2,112 miles (3,399 km)
Last night’s sleep was pretty rough. Jess and I opted to set up our tents in the city park. The kids hanging around weren’t too obnoxious and left by 10:00. But, the city hall neglected to tell us that the sprinklers come on at 3:00 AM. One was directly under Jess’ tent. We moved to a concrete pavilion and dozed fitfully until the sun came up. Also all was not right with our food from the diner, so that was uncomfortable. Though, I suspect the Slim Jim on offer earlier in the day might have something to do with that. Let me recount an actual conversation that happened yesterday late in the ride. I hereby swear that this is the exact exchange that occurred between us. 

I’m tired riding on this bike.
Will you take a moment to rest here Mike?
Yes, let’s have a drink dear Jessica.
It’s hotter here than central Africa.

Oh I’m not thirsty for a drop,
But SlimJims will give me back my hop!

You should drink or you’ll get faint.
A camel sure as heck you ain’t.

Won’t you have a Slim Jim, Mike,
To get you going on your bike?

I will not eat a Slim Jim here!
I will not eat one anywhere!
I will not eat them on my bike!
Sure as my name is Mike!
You should not eat that nasty stuff,
Even though you huff and puff.
I don’t mean to be a killjoy,
But I will not eat it Jess Mcelroy!

Well really you just might be,
Making slim jim fun of me.
And I’ll have none of your nasty water.
I do not need that for my motor!
I don’t mean to be a prude,
But out here it is easy for a dude.
Drink too much is neither here nor there,
You just pull on over anywhere!

OK OK you’ve made your case!
Let’s get to Ordway at a slow pace.

A good idea you’ve finally had
I’ll keep on peddling. That’s Right! WE BAD!

You can read more about Jess’ perspectives on the trip here.

Today’s plan was a short ride to Pueblo and an afternoon of rest to prepare for the climb into the Rockies tomorrow. The Rockies Tomorrow. That just sounds awesome to me. I’ve been looking forward to this section of the trip from way back in Kentucky.

The front range of the Rockies rises up sharply from the arid planes of Colorado. There really aren’t any foothills to speak of, though we have been gradually rising over the last three days to an elevation of 4500 ft today. We saw our first hints of purple mountain majesty in the distance about 20 miles before we stopped yesterday, and they gradually show more detail as we approach at 10 MPH.

About 50 miles out of Pueblo. The Rockies are just barely visible.

About 50 miles out of Pueblo. The Rockies are just barely visible.

About 30 miles out of Pueblo. The Rockies are getting closer ever so slowly.

About 30 miles out of Pueblo. The Rockies are getting closer ever so slowly.

The trip itself today was pretty uneventful. Lot’s of beautiful, sparsely populated, arid countryside. I could see for miles and miles in every direction. I rode with Jonathan and Jerry. Mostly we were all content to enjoy the scenes in silence. There aren’t a lot of deep thoughts here. Just a beautiful landscape on a clear day. I am content.

Don't mess with my Beans! --Boone, CO

Don’t mess with my Beans! –Boone, CO

Rugged arid landscape. --East of Boone, CO

Rugged arid landscape. –East of Boone, CO

One cool thing that did happen today: Trains! One of the Sante Fe’ engineers responded to my hand wave with a double toot of the train horn. After that we saw three coal trains rumbling along with their blacker than black cargo. Train number five was also transporting energy production, but of an entirely different sort: 30 gargantuan windmill rotor blades on a long train. Every two blades took three train cars. Super cool.

30 windmill blades on a train. --Pueblo, CO

30 windmill blades on a train. –Pueblo, CO

Windmill blades on a train. -- Pueblo, CO

Windmill blades on a train. — Pueblo, CO