Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 56 - July 29, 2013 - Hartsel, CO to Fairplay, CO

Miles - about 20
Total mileage - 1,579

We intended to begin the day in Guffey, CO, but we arrived on a Monday, when all of Guffey's restaurants are closed, and I desperately needed lunch before taking off to get some miles in today, so we drove on to the next town of Hartsel, CO.  The altitude is proving to be too much for Mel and her asthma, so it's a good thing my mom has a car and a bike rack that we can take advantage of!

After lunch at a small diner place in Hartsel, I set off on my own, with an unloaded bicycle.  It takes a bunch of getting used to, this whole riding without 70lbs of crap strapped to my bike frame.  It feels completely out of control, and I'm having to relearn how to balance, and what happens when you get going to fast and try to stop using your front brakes without a weighed down back end.  Fun stuff...

It takes me so long to bike any miles in these mountains, because I constantly want to get off the bike and take photos!  We are at about 9,000 feet in the Rockies, but in these beautiful valleys with 360 degree granite mountain views.  Best cycling ever, even despite the altitude messing with your breathing and making you tire more easily.

For the first part of my ride, Mel and my mom leap-frogged me in the car, making sure I wasn't ready to give up and put my bike on the car yet, but I was having a great time taking in the views and pedaling relatively quickly without any crap on my bike.  Then I turned into a full-on headwind...that's the thing about these mountains, storms seem to roll in every afternoon.  I was headed, yet again, right into an oncoming rainstorm, and the wind was coming directly at me at about 15mph.  It was all I could do to go probably 4mph, so I decided to call it a day and have them come rescue me.

I stopped at a driveway to a ranch, and was watching the road for my mom and Mel to drive up to get me.  All of the sudden, I hear an angry animal noise behind me, and turn around only to find that the bull I pedaled past a bit ago had come right up to the barb-wire fence to check me out, and apparently wasn't happy about my presence in his yard.  He was pacing, and bleating at's nice that he was behind a barb-wire fence, but he could get out if he really got angry enough.  I was glad when I was rescued!

Fairplay has a restored 1800's town, and is actually the inspiration for the comedic cartoon "South Park".  It was a cute town, with gift shops, antiques, art galleries, and you could pay to walk through the restored 1800's town.  We passed on the paying, and just glanced down the street over the fence. Worked for us!

Once we were all loaded up in the car, we drove onward to Breckenridge, up over Hoosier Pass, the highest point on the TransAmerica trail at 11,500 feet.  This is our first crossing of the Continental Divide - one of about 9 on this trip!  I planned to come back the next day and pedal up to the pass.

We got to Breckenridge and went on a search for Chinese food - we have been craving it, and haven't had any since Virginia!  The Chinese place had apparently turned into an upscale "comfort food fusion" place (Breckenridge is 100% tourist town), so we ended up dining on appetizers from a bar and grill down the street instead.  While on the hunt for Chinese, we saw a fox trapped inside someone's backyard fence, and another one across the street.  He was gone by the time we walked by again - poor little guy was scared!


  1. Beautiful pictures! Love the one of the bull. Glad for you that he decided not to plow through the fence, though.