June 12, 2001

6/12/01 Fairplay, CO

45.2 miles

Man, was it cold last night. It must have been close to freezing, as I was completely zipped in my down sleeping bag, plus had my fleece jacket on. I'd been having a little bowel trouble, so it was a chilly scramble to the outhouse. But this high up, it almost seems like you can touch the stars.

Snow covered Rocky Mountains

I had about seven miles to go before I crossed my first Rocky Mountain Pass. But once there, the view didn't disappoint. Snow covered peaks across the whole horizon. Amazing.

After that, I biked a huge, broad valley that held herds of buffalo. The only problem was the winds across this open landscape.

Where the buffalo roam

The good folks in the Merchantile in Hartsell said there was a chance of snow. Next door, I got some breakfast at the H.O.B. (Hateful Old Bitch) Café. While there, got to talking with Bill Koonty, a physician from Colorado Springs. He was very enthusiastic about the countryside I'd be riding through, especially here in the Rockies.

Then the wind really picked up. The climb up to Fairplay (10,000') was pretty easy. But the severe crosswind was taxing, especially because there was no shoulder. Several times I slipped off the pavement onto gravel. But the sun was shinning and it wasn't too cold.

In town I asked about camping. Bonnie Edmondson said there was camping about a mile past town, down by the river. Bonnie used to let cyclists camp in her yard until a fire destroyed it several years ago. As I was leaving the post office, Monte Lawrence asked if I was looking for a place to stay. Turns out Monte biked all 48 states back in '98 and his book "Wide Hips, Narrow Shoulders" is due out around the 4th of July. I gladly accepted his offer, but went first looking for a late lunch. Dano's Pizza was just the ticket.

Later, Damian and I met at Monte's log home where he made us feel at home. After getting cleaned up, Monte took us out to his other property outside of town. Great view, old trees, wonderful smells. Guess it would be hard to find a "bad" piece of property around here.

Our gracious host cooked us dinner while we swapped stories of our adventures, and misadventures. Again, I am in debt to the kindness of strangers.