The Great Divide / Banff to Mexico - Day 28-32
42 miles to Steamboat Springs
Least attractive bit of road riding but if every ride was great how would you get highlights?! As we pulled into steamboat, the first folk we saw...... Jill and john! Dinner tonight to compare stories -ace!
But first things first -bike shop for some self sealing inner tubes and new tyre. No problem as steamboat is a ski town first and summer resort so 3 bike shops! Cool high st (but busy traffic which spoils it)with a fab cowboy outfitter which I resisted buying and posting some boots from =o ...... Not easy!
74 miles to Kremmling over Gore Pass 9524ft
GREAT DAY RIDING! Our road route took us via a State Park and high pass with amazing views and hardly any traffic . Loads of pine trees and the aspen trees are on the turn for Autumn. Our challenge was the wind which was about 30mph side wind for 20 miles but became a tail wind over the pass - hooray! Last 6 miles into Kremmling were killer side winds with gusts but all good. Only about 6 miles of big highway today and the rest was like a uk A road. Lunch was the coolest town called YAMPA with a dirt Main Street but posh street lamps and a grocery store and other buildings from the wild west. Even the cash register belonged in a True Grit film. Of course it was complete with bear skins and stuffed elk head, guns and all the groceries you need. The Diner was from the 50's and I bonded with a couple to the extent high 5's and knuckle hits were in order.
Now in a hotel that started in 1906 so OLD in US terms and John Wayne stayed here. The couple who run it are adorable, Maryanne and Walt. They theme each room with quirky furnishings fulfilling their dreams. It is cheap, quirky and really cosy. Happy! The town only has about 400 people but everything including an art gallery was there.
59 miles to Breckenridge
Bit of a shock after yesterday's "private road feeling". About 20 miles with little hard shoulder and lots of traffic detracted from the scenery and my digestive system. However the purpose built bike ways via Dillon Reservoir was gorgeous. The Aspen trees were in full Autumn glow so took our time to enjoy them. Had lunch at a Nepalese restaurant and not a burger in sight! It was amazing!!!!!! Then into Breckenridge an international destination which oozes style/money and could have cycled more.... But why? This place is cool. Found a great B&B run by an English lady, Nicky. It is so full of stuff you don't need TV! She is lovely and offered to do our washing! Went for a walk along main st and ended up talking to a great guy from Scotland who lives here now and his and Phils accent just got stronger as they talked. Hilarious.Good vibe to the place, very aesthetic too. I got into the history and rubbed "Toms lucky nugget" ( see photo). Phil relaxed Breckenridge style on a bench made of skis. Oh did I mention there is a hot tub in the B&B!!! Oh yes.
61 miles to Buena Vista
AWESOME RIDE DAY! It was hard to leave the breakfast table when there was a proper pot of English tea and a great craic with Nicky and Beth another guest and ex cowgirl.... How cool is that. Dragged Phil from the place onto the bike and up a Hoosier Pass at 11539ft via great hairpin bends overlooking more mountains of aspen - really beautiful. Had a relaxed approach today with a coffee stop in a funky little place in Alma and lunch in FairPlay before another pass Trout Creek 9343ft. All good into a rafting town of Bueno Vista but wow serious headwinds for about 35 miles but great scenery, wide shoulders and limited traffic. Happy days!
47 miles to Villa Grove
Today - one word -WIND! Headwinds and side winds from the start and gusts to the point we had to get off the bike! We decided to stop after a lunch break as it is just not much fun. Also this is a one horse funky town/street with an amazing cafe, with books to read and a pottery studio across the road and pretty well nothing else but great mountain backdrop. Weather looking bad tomorrow ... Watch this space. Our rush for the border maybe slower than hoped for.
We have made a joint decision to make a big push for Mexico border via any road that works. Why? We are ready to finish as we feel we have got the best of Colorado now and the rain kicks in tomorrow . We could probably find a prettier routes but with lots of detours and effort so that is what we are doing - the parts of New Mexico we have driven through before make us feel there will be lots of "nothing" and we feel we don't need to dwell on lots more "nothing" as we have had quite a lot, lovely as it can be.
55 miles to Alamaso
WIND! Got away with the first 25 miles then somebody flicked a switch and boom!
Nothing exciting today just glad we got in before the rain kicked in. Huge cold front crossing but good tomorrow again but that doesn't mean the wind so early start !