70 miles (113 km) – Total so far: 2,182 miles (3,512 km)
Saturday’s forecast was for 45MPH gusts and dust storms. Lots of cyclists hunkered down for the day. Reports coming in from those who didn’t were that it was pretty horrible. Chuck arrived to join me and we took the day to get his bike ready and have some good meals and relaxed conversation.
We finally got going on Sunday morning and not half a mile from the start The Daily Grind coffee shop sucked us in. Not a fast start. Fortunately, we got some great directions to the path out of town which allowed us to avoid a busy highway. The path gave us our last flavor of the Southwest before climbing up into the Rockies.
Finally, after 5 days of seeing the Rockies in the distance, we started to approach for a real climb today. I’ve been overflowing with excitement to get into this part of the country. Apparently, there is exactly one foothill to the front range, and we climbed it up to a town called Wetmore, CO. Everything was closed, but some very helpful folks at the church let us refill our water. Replenished, we began the final descent towards Canon city, where after crossing the Arkansas river, we’d start climbing the Rockies proper.
Just past Canon city, the climb towards Hoosier pass begins. This climb will take us three days. For most of its length today it rose at a steady 4% grade. We ticked off about 1/3 of the climb towards the pass today. Tough but very manageable. We were rewarded for our elevation with a campsite out in nature, rather than a city park. The views are beautiful, and we wanted more so decided to check out Royal Gorge Park. Once we got our tents setup, we relieved our horses of their saddle bags and climbed about 500 feet to see the Royal Gorge suspension bridge. Perfect views as the sun set over the Rockies. Life is good.