June 6, 2001

6/6/01 Eads, CO

57.9 miles

Sometimes the best made plans go awry. The only "painting" I did last night was on the back of my eyelids. Checked out the bowling alley, but it was closed. And the theater was showing "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles." I didn't want to see a movie that bad. Even "Karen's Kitchen" was closed. So I went back to camp to eat a little pasta and do some reading. Kind of cold, and still looked like rain as I went to bed.

No rain by morning, but still looked like it might. But the temperature was rising. Got lucky that a few senior ladies unlocked the pool for an early morning swim, because someone had locked the bathroom again.

Again, under the premise that you just never know what you'll find ahead on the road, I grabbed a bite to eat at "AmPride," a truck stop. The sun looked like it wanted to come out and play on the horizon. And soon the clouds started breaking up. I could finally see my shadow. Sort of missed the gray. The warmer it got, I even decided on putting some sunscreen on. It was shaping up to be a nice day.


Because I've passed the halfway mark on my westbound TransAm ride, I finally am meeting eastbound riders. John and Karen Poole, of Salem, Oregon, passed me near Leoti, Kansas. They told me to give them a call when I get to Oregon and they will tell me all about their Great Divide ride last year. And today I met three guys traveling with a motor home. First to cross my path was Gary Collins, of Marysville, Missouri. He's a retired college professor who's moving to Liberty, Missouri to teach high school. So much for retirement! Stan Zeamer was one of Gary's students, and they had talked about this trip some 18 years ago. He's the one providing the motor home. I wonder what it would be like to tour without dragging this trailer behind me. The last member of this trio is Brad Sittler. I tried to tell them about the high points ahead.

John & Karen Poole from Salem, OR headed for Virginia


Gary Collins

By the time I reached the Colorado state line, the clouds were making an appearance out of the Southwest. I yelled, "Go away!" but was not sure if it would work.

Towner, Colorado

When I passed through Brandon, Colorado, it was like crossing into a whole new ecosystem. At 4,000 feet, I suddenly found myself seeing ant mounds, desert lizards, and flowering cactus. The wheat fields gave way to range land that reminded me of the wild west. And believe it or not, you couldn't find a cloud in the sky!

Ah, the smell of oil


Cactus

You know you're near the mountains when the city signs give elevation instead of population. Eads is at 4213 feet above sea level. Decided since I'm camping for free by the courthouse (also police station and library inside) I'd spend some money at "Just Betty's Cafe" for a late lunch. Great, friendly service; and huge portions for the price.

Had a long visit with Alice Weil, a volunteer at the Kiowa County Museum. She told me the depot was torn down a long time ago and the trains only run during harvest time. The jewels of their collection are some glass plate photographs from the turn of the century showing cowboy life. The pictures are large, with great detail.

Did the normal town chores like email and getting a shower at the city pool. The lifeguard said I was the first cyclist he'd seen at the pool this year. I wonder who would pass up a cool swim on a hot summer day. Decided to get ice cream and tomorrow's breakfast, too.

While most cyclists camp on a strip of park between the highway and courthouse, the sheriff had said I could camp anywhere. I like to be a little more secluded and shielded from the road. And I found a nice little spot by their maintenance shed. But because this wasn't the usual place, I waited until near dark to set up my tent. In the meantime, I decided to cook a little dinner. Opened my food bag to discover my jar of spaghetti sauce had exploded, probably due to the lower pressure at this altitude. Afterward, I just read until it got too hard to see. Fell asleep wondering if anyone would notice the tent.