July 12, 2006
I checked out of the room around ten, and first went to the library. It was the same deal as the last town – very restricted computer use – so I killed a little time surfing other cyclists’ sites. Next I went to the bike shop and bought two tubes – I hadn’t been carrying any since I used my last one on the day I had broken spokes in Kansas. Bike shops in that state were few and far between.
Then I went to a diner and had… take a guess… pancakes and coffee. The waitress was a real champ with the coffee, too. This was the first time since, I can’t remember when, that the waitress kept coming back and asked, “More coffee?” and I finally had to say “No thanks.” Usually they just ignore you after you’ve finished eating and have the check.
So I didn’t leave town until a little after noon. Riding today was all uphill, into the true mountains. It was beautiful, but progress was very slow – the thinner air had me moving at a crawl. Later in the afternoon I noticed that the ride was suddenly bouncy – yup, I had a flat. The culprit was easy to locate – a small, thin piece of wire-looking material, about the size of a staple, was sticking out of the rear tire. Kind of ironic after I got those tubes today, eh? I didn’t need them though… I fixed the puncture just fine with a patch, and was on the road rolling again in a half hour.
When I started riding again I saw that a dark cloud had moved in, looking like it might storm. This would be the fourth or fifth consecutive evening of storms. I’d been considering calling it a short day and stopping in Guffey for the night, and that cloud sealed the deal.
The storm didn’t appear to be particularly big and nasty, and the rest of the ride in the late afternoon was pleasant. Since it’s difficult for hardwood trees to survive at this climate, the majority of forest consisted of strong pine trees, and at times it smelled like Christmas. I love the high, fresh, clean mountain air, and general peace and quiet up here. It’s been a while. I saw some deer, too.
I had dinner at the only place in Guffey – a log cabin style bar. I arrived just in the nick of time to watch the storm outside while sipping a cold beer. It seems that I have quite a talent, or mindfulness, to always get into town just before it storms (I just knocked on wood after writing that). The sun still shined while it poured, creating a pretty visual effect. I had a second bottle of beer, a burger and fries, and watched some hummingbirds at a nearby feeder.
Tonight I’m staying at a rustic place. It reminds me of Rusty’s Hard Time Hollow back in Virginia, because it consists of simple structures with all kinds of old, odd stuff all over the property. I’d describe it as a sort of artistic, decorative junkyard. The centerpiece would have to be two authentic, restructured horse skeletons, pulling a wagon. I had my choice of a cabin, bunk, or tent site, and I took the bunk. It’s here in a cozy, secure-feeling structure all on its own.
It’s almost 9:30pm now, and I’ve written this from 8,660 feet above sea level. Life is good.
I lost my camera in Colorado, so there’s no pictures for a few days. 🙁