June 9, 2001

6/9/01 Pueblo, CO

0 miles

Not since the beginning of this trip have I been pushed to my mental limits, and this is a zero mile day!

Because I knew everything wouldn't be open until 9 or 10, I tried to sleep in, but without much luck. Like many big city downtowns, not much is open, but I did find a place to get a cinnamon roll - La Montena. My waitress was probably about 10 years old - one of the owner's daughters. She tried so hard to be the best waitress, but I could tell she was still half asleep. She had the most original tip jar I've ever seen. It was labeled "Karma."

After that, I stopped by the Chamber of Commerce to find out more about Pueblo. Ed and I talked a good hour, not only about the city, but also the state, water rights, and the places I'm headed. He was quite proud of the bronze statues representing the four branches of the service, dedicated to the Medal of Valor soldiers. "Colorado is the only state to have had a resident from each of the branches awarded one," he said proudly. He was kind of surprised when I told him that the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail goes right by his office.

Train station in Pueblo

Popped by the library to do the email thing, then stopped by the Great Divide Bike Shop again to buy a spare tube. Spent part of the day exploring some of the river bike paths they have. Unfortunately, the Pueblo Museum is closed and I never got a chance to see the wooden carrousel. But as I was headed across town in search of a movie, I noticed I had a bad wobble in my rear wheel.

So I stopped back by the bike shop to have them look it over. I had hoped these expensive custom-built wheels would never need any attention. The spokes were fine, but the hub was a little loose. Good news!

Headed north, but before I could get a few blocks away, flat tire. And while I was changing the tire, I noticed I have a huge tear along the tire where it meets the rim. So I fixed that and headed back to the bike shop.

They didn't really have any of the road tires I need, so I ended up going all the way back to the city park to get my spare. Changed everything and tried once again to head north. I got half way back to the bike shop and - flat tire!

I checked the tire and rim over inch by inch. Nothing. Changed with my last inner tube and I was still several blocks away when I got another flat. At least I was almost there.

Needless to say, the guys at the bike shop were surprised to see me. My frustration level was almost at its limits. It didn't help that I'd done a ton of biking and still hadn't gotten anywhere. All the tubes had tears in the exact same spot, but even they couldn't find anything wrong with the rim or tire. Lee Newhand, who owns the bike shop, gave me three new tubes of a different brand. He knew about my trip and was genuinely concerned that I don't have anymore problems. Because the shop is closed on Sundays, he gave me his home phone number in case I had any problems. That's service!

Now, that's bike art!

Now, I didn't even know if I wanted to chance it by riding across town to see a movie. But I needed some stress reliever and it would test the bike again. So I followed the river bike path to the mall on the north end of town, treating the bike like it was fragile glass over every bump.

Don't fret. I made it to the theater and only missed the first 15 minutes of Pearl Harbor. I figure what's a quarter of an hour for a movie three hours long. I actually liked the movie; even got choked up quite a few times near the end. I always wanted to fly, explore the stars. Someday.

Ended the day with a little grocery shopping and found another book to read. Wanted to look at CD players, but that will have to wait. For some reason, the mosquitoes are bad tonight and they've chased me into the tent.

Not a great day, but it could have been worse. I heard from Mike today, and he'd been blown off the road in Wyoming. He thinks he did three summersaults. A motor home stopped to help him and ended up taking him to Yellowstone. His good Samaritan turned out to be a retired physician who said he'd had a mild concussion. I hope things get better for Mike, because he hasn't had much good luck since we said our good byes in Missouri.