July 14, 2006
Well I felt a little better about the lost camera as soon as I woke up. This part of Colorado should be one of the highlights of the whole trip, and it would be silly to let it dampen my spirits.
I went ahead and had breakfast at a neat little place. I think it was called the Burro Cafe. I’m coming into the trendy-touristy-ski-type areas of the state now. If you’ve been following along, you should probably be able to guess what I had to eat for breakfast by now. I met three friendly guys there at the cafe who were asking about my trip, one of whom was named Larry Brucker.
I told him how I lost my camera, and he said “Oh… that’s very rare. Around here you’ll find the best people anywhere.” He went on to offer me his regular 35mm camera on loan, and I would simply mail it back to him, because “Those disposables don’t take good pictures.” That was very kind, but I declined.
So now I was ready to start my day and climb up to the highest point on the TransAmerica Trail – Hoosier Pass. The high elevation scenery was fantastic, of course. I sucked in the cool, clean air, looked all around at strong evergreens, and gazed up at peaks that still held lingering snow from the winter – it’s July!
At a small gravel turnoff I met James, a local ski patrol worker. He has a permit to take blown-down trees from the National Forest area to use as firewood. I employ him to take my picture, and before I know it, he’s going on and on about local history, towns, and all kinds of funny stories. The ski workers all have nicknames, and his is “Jingles.”
Soon I come to Hoosier Pass itself, and the Continental Divide. This is the token photograph location (At the highest point of the trip!) for Transam riders, so it’s great to be at this place in the flesh after seeing so many pictures. For those of you who don’t know, the Continental Divide is essentially a line drawn north to south along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. All the rain that falls to the west finds its way to the Pacific Ocean, and everything east winds up in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. So if I pee on this tree over here…
The descent curved along hairpin switchbacks for a little while, giving my forearms a workout from clutching and pumping the brakes. Soon the road straightened out, and I could pick up some speed and enjoy the coasting.
I came to the town of Breckenridge, and this was your thriving Colorado Rocky Mountain tourist town. There were people walking everywhere among numerous small shops, countless cyclists, dreadlocks, reggae music, and vacationers. I passed a photo shop, and didn’t waste any time going in to buy a new camera. They didn’t have the one I was carrying, the Nikon Coolpix L4, so I went ahead and sprung for an upgrade to the Nikon Coolpix L3. It’s 5.1 megapixels, up from 4.0 on my old camera. I figured I may as well make a positive thing out of this, eh? Granted, I had to drop some cash, but it’s a relief to be back on track as if nothing ever happened.
Next I went to a supermarket on the edge of town where they had a one hour photo service, and turned in my disposable camera that I’d already burned up. With an hour to spare now waiting for the photos, I parked at an adjacent pizza shop, and spent the whole hour there, eating pizza and beginning today’s journal entry. Then I picked up the photos (And CD), which turned out pretty good. I was tempted to go straight to an internet cafe they have here and upload the pictures right away, but a dark cloud had drifted over a near ridge, prompting me to quit hanging around Breckenridge and get moving.
Between the towns around here along Route 9 they have some sweet, paved bicycle paths. Again for those of you in east Pennsylvania, imagine if they had paths like the one in Trexler Park, except it runs from Easton, to Bethlehem, to Allentown, out to Kutzown, and maybe even Reading. That’s what the bike paths are like here.
Tonight I made it as far as Frisco, another vibrant little mountain town. They had a guy singing and playing guitar at a pavilion – mostly oldies. I heard Runaround Sue, LaBamba, Sweet Caroline, and Willie Nelson On the Road Again. I had intended to go farther tonight, but it started pouring rain, and this is a hip little town. Life is good.