May 20 - 30: Colorado

5/20 - Eads (75 miles 1918.5 total)
we did 4 momentous things today: we (1) went from the agricultural regions to the high desert, (2) passed from our 5th to 6th state--from kansas to colorado, (3) crossed over into mountain daylight time, & (4) passed the halfway point on our trip--both days-wise (tomorrow will be day 44 of our trip) & miles-wise (my odometer says 2100). patty fixed a super-duper dinner this evening in observance of these milestones: we had pork loin with cranberry-peach chutney, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli slaw, & cooked baby carrots. everything was delicious!
this morning was even prettier than yesterday. the moon was full & bright. it didn't seem as chilly, but once we started riding, people were very cold. sari, lee, & i left town about 6:30.
i was riding ahead so only heard about the excitement later from lee: she was riding ahead of sari & said sari caught up with her & was laughing about a "flat." as it turned out, sari wasn't talking about a flat. (who can laugh about those anyway??) as sari had been riding out of leoti, a man in a car went past her very slowly. when he got up even with her, he opened his front window; it turned out he was a flasher. sari had never ever encountered one before. so sari was telling lee about a flasher, not a flat. i'm sure lee hadn't expected to hear the word flasher so it didn't connect at first. this trip is providing a lot of firsts for a lot of us.
a little later we 3 were strung out on the road quite a bit. i was the first to see a fellow riding in the opposite direction; his bike was loaded up, so i assumed he was another cross-country rider--going the other direction. we see them every once in a while. he called out to me, "where are you going?" i responded, "oregon." later on when sari, lee, & i stopped at a nice little cemetery to use their roomy bushes (very nice potty al fresco bushes; in this flat, treeless country you come to appreciate bushes), sari was telling us that the same rider had called out to her, "where are you riding from?" sari responded, "i don't know." this is a tour for women over 50, after all. we can't remember everything. few of us could tell you what town we stayed in last night.
here you see the official colorado welcome sign. from left are me, lee, sarah, gerrie, patty fainer, sari, & jackie.
the landscape today was flat flat flat. here we thot kansas was flat. eastern colorado can outflat kansas any day. & oh my is it deserted. we managed to find a convenience store in tribune, 22 miles into today's ride, & that was the last place with any services (i.e., food) 'til we got to eads tonight---almost 60 miles with no place to get anything. once or twice we rode thru towns that were on our route sheet. in one, sheridan lake, we'd heard there was a restaurant. when we got there we learned that there were 2 restaurants; both closed long ago.
here, with gerrie standing on the road, is chivington, a "town" that turned out to be mostly sage & delapidated buildings. (notice how beautiful the clouds are.)
an advantage of a long day without food stops is that some of us cleaned out our bike bags. we found & ate energy bars that had been buried in those bags since virginia. & of course little bo beep (our little subaru station wagon support vehicle) found us every once in a while to provide water & chocolates....& various other goodies.
on the other hand, deserted has its advantages.
speaking of a full moon, here's patty along the highway at the state border mooning the state of colorado as she changes from her soccer shorts with underpants to shorts without underpants--a seat-comfort-preservation measure.
deserted also makes roadside potty stops pretty easy...even if you can't find a nice bush. early in our trip we always searched for a big tree way back from the road. we've changed our criteria quite drastically. now, of course, there are no trees. a shallow drainage ditch with calf-high clumps of grass is about all we hope for. as you can see, propriety has pretty well gone with the wind.
speaking of wind, there was very little 'til afternoon. over the last 20 miles winds picked up, but those of us at the end of the pack (sari, lee, gerrie, patty fainer, & me) had to deal with only a few miles of headwinds; the rest were side or tail winds that pushed us right along. people riding thru those same areas earlier spent lots more miles fighting headwinds. the winds seem to be very shifty around here.
we got to the motel here in eads around 3.
here's a photo of the folks who ride faster than we do; they get to the next overnight town early enough to relax. from left are debby, anne, barbara, & deanna.
the truth is, we tail-enders just have too much fun out on the road to ride faster.
judith immediately came by to tell us that the little "country kitchen" restaurant across the parking lot had fresh homemade pie, so sari, patty fainer, & i headed over there immediately. (i had begun to think that we were out of the homemade pie belt.) we heard that the fresh rhubarb was delicious. but when we got to the restaurant, the waitress told us that one of our group had just come over & bought the last 2 pieces. harrummph. so we asked what else there was. she pointed out the ones on the counter, then said, "oh, there's also a pecan that just came out of the oven." OH BOY! polly, the waitress, went into the kitchen to get the pie & brought it out to the counter. here she is cutting it:
sari, patty, & i took our seats at a booth & soon polly brought us 3 of the biggest pieces of pecan pie we'd ever seen. it turned out it was also the absolutely best pecan pie any of us had ever eaten.
tonight we had a guest for supper. he's mike jacob, a fellow from west lafayette, indiana, who is riding "100 miles a day come what may" for 100 days. he started at west lafayette on may 8 & will end up there again on august 13.
in this photo you'll see mike on his easy racer recumbent bike; i hope you can also see the map of his route that he's taped to his wind screen.
his route pretty much goes around the whole country. he's an avid proponent of recumbents; he had several of our group try his out.
tomorrow is patty the chef's birthday. other staff members are taking over her cooking duties (& we're all pretty nervous about that) so she can ride with us. we'll be very happy to have patty out on the road with us. our route tomorrow covers 65 miles of more flat, deserted colorado. pretty soon, of course, colorado will be anything but flat!
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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