Wyoming may have handed our asses to us, but we can't forget about Colorado! Before we go any further, let's wrap up the Centennial State...
STATS SO FAR
Total miles in Colorado: 477.8
Total trip miles: 2594.6
THE ROCKIES. Awesome. In the OG sense of the term. Riding straight towards these peaks (and then through them!) was a constant marvel.
Hoosier Pass! — the highest elevation on our whole trip!
Old friends — it was great seeing and catching up with Beau's old family friends. Thanks, Ken & Ila! And we were sad to miss a few others in the Denver area — we'll see you someday!
The bike trails out of Breckenridge and all the way around the Dillon Reservoir.
The Rand Store — in, where else? Rand, Colorado. Where's that? It's, like, just east of East Jesus Nowhere. Seriously. Which is part of its charm — on the second to last day in CO, in the middle of a high, endless plain, rimmed with mountains and little else, we came across this oasis, with a wood-fire stove, a huge store of cute, cabin-themed things, and some spirit-saving hot chocolate. Woot!
Best CO Eats:
Hopscotch Bakery in Pueblo — two words: Orange Beasts. Possibly the best things in Colorado. Or anywhere.
Kimi's Cafe in Ordway — kind folks, head-sized calzones, and free donuts for cyclists. Yes, please.
La Forchetta da Massi in Pueblo — a classy-looking place where they let us come in for just dessert — and it was an excellent dessert.
Highline Cafe & Saloon in Hartsel — the much-needed (and enormous) huevos rancheros that got us over Hoosier Pass. Our appreciation continues.
Final CO Thoughts:
"The Colorado Towner." Immediately upon crossing the border from Kansas into Colorado, the first named place we came across was Towner, CO. And we were thirsty when we got there, and probably needed to pee. But when we arrived in Towner, there was nothing. Or, practically nothing: there were some trailers that might or might not have been abandoned. There was a grain elevator and some train cars that may or may not have seen service this side of the new millennium. But there were no stores, nothing that could be of use or comfort to anyone who wasn't born there, and even then…
And we fixated on the name: Beau jokes that Towner is a portmanteau of town and downer. Sara thinks it's the result of someone asking whether this place is actually a town. "Yeah, it's a town. Errr…"
The next time we passed a collection of abandoned-looking houses with no store, we said, "Look: it's another Towner!" And the classification was born. We share this with you because it's a useful term. And there are many towners throughout Colorado — in fact, the very last place we passed through before the Wyoming border was a bonafide towner. We took some pictures to help you get the idea. (Does Cowdrey count as a towner if it has a post office? Well, let's see if those postcards arrive!)
Wildfires. And our departing thoughts on our time in Colorado have to include the fires ravaging the area. As part of our own journey, we barely threaded through them — one fire (the Mullen fire) was tamed enough just in time for the roads north of Granby to reopen and let us into Wyoming. Another fire, the East Troublesome, was so fresh when we passed by it that it wasn't on the map (it was just starting to the west of a ridgeline which we were on the east side of). It quickly grew to consume the site where we camped, and to cause the evacuation of Granby, Estes Park, and other places.
Our hearts go out to the people and the families affected.