Before, during, and hopefully after account of a Great Divide Route journey in the summer of 2010.

Monday, August 23, 2010

West Allis Baby Project

Seems as though riding a bike doesn't affect a man's fertility like some say...

A GDR baby!
Check out the latest blog!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back Home

The journey is complete, even though we didn't finish the official GDR.  We ended our trip in Estes Park, Colorado, home to Eagle Rock School, a high school where I did an internship about seven years ago.  It was a great place to end the trip, and it was closer to Minnesota than southern Colorado, making it easier on my mom when she came and picked us up.  She also loves camping, so we were able to bounce into Rocky Mountain National Park for a couple of nights and do some car camping.  It was pretty nice to not have to strategically pack up our stuff on the bikes when we left; we just threw it into the car.

It's interesting being back home...we arrived on Tuesday afternoon and within five minutes of being here, Nate said, "Let's get rid of the couch."

So we did.

We put it outside on the street this morning and someone came by and took it to its new home.  Our apartment is tiny, but after living with only 30 pounds of gear and 30 pounds of bike for nearly two months, all of our possessions here at home seem rather excessive.  I feel like scouring the entire place and donating at least half of what we own to Goodwill.  It's a good thing that there are about two weeks left until school starts back up again, so this actually may happen.

I went for a road bike ride last night because I was getting antsy being indoors.  The humidity here is incredibly unbearable, but I went for about 25 minutes.  I felt like I was on a toy bicycle--very unsteady and feeling like I was way, way too big for the bike.  Like I said a few months ago, the Fargo feels like I'm riding a tank, so my Specialized Allez felt flimsy.  But it was nice to get out and stretch my legs.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 49: Grand Lake to Estes Park, CO!!

Ride time: 3:58
Average:   7.2 mph
Distance:  28.96 mi

Woohoo!  We made it to Eagle Rock School!! We began our day riding through the gates of RMNP.  There wasn't a whole lot of traffic, and the roads had a nice shoulder.  Today is a big day--we have to ride up and over Trail Ridge Road.  This road runs through the park and its highest point is just over 12,000 feet high, way above the tree line, making it pretty scary in the afternoon when the thunderstorms begin.

We climbed, climbed, and climbed our way to Milner pass, our 19th and final divide crossing.  The pass is at 10, 758 feet, and it took us a lot of effort to get up there.  The road was all paved, but we began the morning at about 8,500 feet.  The temperature was nice for a such a grueling morning ride.
Grinding up Trail Ridge Road after the pass
Not looking forward to the ride down to Estes
Even though we crossed the divide, we still had to climb another 1,200 feet to get to the highest point on the road before we could begin descending into Estes Park.  We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center (around 11,000 feet) to take a break and devise a plan for the rest of the day.  And here's the plan we came up with...we needed to find someone with a pickup truck that would be willing to throw our bikes in the back and give us a ride down to Estes!  First I asked a group of people, but they were headed towards Granby, so that didn't work.  Then it began to rain, so the parking lot was clearing out fast.  I went into the visitor center, and Nate had duty first.  He came back about five minutes later and said, "Come here and meet these super nice people that are going to give us a ride as soon as they finish their lunch."  George and Theresa are from Lincoln, Nebraska (how funny that our 4th of July experience was in Lincoln, MT), and they were on vacation.  We rode down in the safety of their truck as it rained outside.  If you've ever been on Trail Ridge Road, the drop offs are SUPER scary and there's no guardrail either.  I was quite glad that we decided to do this instead of riding down in the rain.

View from 12,000 feet
We ended up taking this wonderful couple out to lunch at Nepal's restaurant in Estes Park, which is Nate's favorite.  Then they were kind enough to drop us off at Eagle Rock, where we arrived just in time for the all-star softball game. 

Happy to be off the bike and on the Field of Dreams!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 48: Kremmling to Grand Lake, CO

Ride time: 3:06
Average:  11.9 mph
Distance: 36.95 mi

I found a rock embedded in my tire this morning, so perhaps that's been the culprit?  That makes flat tire #6.  We made oatmeal in the hotel room and then got on way along Hwy 40 to get to Grand Lake.  I wasn't feeling too hot from last night's dinner, and my stomach was in shambles, so we rode rather cautiously.

We rode into Sulphur Hot Springs and had a decent lunch at the Glory Hole Restaurant.  We rode on and saw a beautiful fox cross the highway.  The storm clouds were brewing again, and as we rode onto Hwy 34 from Granby into Rocky Mountain National Park, we had to pitch the rain fly so we weren't blasted down by giant lightning bolts.  The weather around the Rocky Mountains amazes me.  The storms build so quickly, and they're so intense.  We hung out in the tent and played cards until it passed.  We then rode on into Arapaho National Recreation Area and camped at Stillwater Campground right on Lake Granby.
The view from inside the tent

Riding in the canyon before Sulphur Hot Springs

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 47: Steamboat to Kremmling, CO

Ride time: 6:02
Average:  10.7 mph
Distance: 64.81 mi

Nate dashed back over to the bagel place for breakfast and then brought them back to the hotel room for a faux breakfast in bed...  Our goal today is to make it to Kremmling, so we had two choices: follow the route or take Hwy 40.  Two natives advised us to not take the highway because there is no shoulder, so we heeded their advice and followed the route.

We headed out of town on pavement, and ran into tons of roadies.  It's nice to see so many people biking...  Then we hit a pretty cool section of the trail--tons of aspens on a narrow road.  We climbed up to the reservoir and then did some fun "almost-single-track" around the reservoir.

View from the damn
Of course, there were storm clouds brewing to the south, but they didn't look as though we were going to hit them.  I try so hard to be optimistic about the weather...Sigh...We had quite a ways to go to Kremmling, so we picked up the pace and crossed Lynx Pass, Gore Pass, and then rode our way to Kremmling.  It began raining at Lynx Pass and didn't stop until we were almost done with the ride.  We had to stop at Gore Pass to change into dry clothes for the ride down.  Nate can really hold it together in cold weather; I fall apart.

Miserable from the rain and cold