Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 14

Big Day today, we want to get to Salida.  Big climb until Westcliffe.  We prepared with some instant coffee off the Trangia.  The climbs weren't as bad as I thought they would be.  It isn't like the ozarks where you're crawling up a wall for a short burst then it's down and back up again for another.  The rockies are a gradual grade all day, or at least for a few hours.

We ran into a couple of cyclists in Westcliffe, Rusty Nails and George.  George is a local coloradoan and Rusty Nails was visiting from Plano Texas, they told us that the climb we just did is the steepest we'll see but there are gonna be much longer ones.  We took a break in town and I hit up the library for an hour and threw up a post.  It has been harder to stay on top of the blog now that I have a partner.  Sitting at a library and typing for a few hours just doesn't sound as exciting as it used to be.  Now that I have a buddy it's more appealing to explore the town a bit and talk to the locals.

The last 20 miles to Salida were hell, not because of climbs but because of wind we didn't get there until late.  Ate at a subway and then went looking for a bar so Tyler could watch the Bruins game.  In downtown Salida we asked a young fella with some kayaks strapped to the roof of his hatch back if we are near any good campsites and where a good place to watch the game is.  He told us of a nice site back the way we came then he mentioned a hostel a block down.  We decided to check it out.  Very cool place, The Simple Lodge, When we rode up there were a few young travelers like ourselves sitting and hanging out in front of the establishment.  Kimberly looked extremely excited and introduced herself and the others.  She and her business partner run the place, she took us around and let us know the rates.  $22 for a bunk, it would definitely be cheaper for Tyler and I to just split a motel room in town but it seemed like such a cool place we thought we should stay the night.  And they have free waffles in the morning.  This would be very convenient for someone who didn't have anyone to split a motel room with.  So we sat and chatted with the other travelers for a while, Smokey Bear, Jeremy, and Tony.  Smokey is just a weird dude backpacking around Colorado, Jeremy seems to be obsessed with Kimberly so he just stays there all the time, and Tony is an avid drug user who is getting his wilderness first aid certification nearby.  It seems like a fun crew, but we couldn't chat for long because we had to go check out the game.

The bar Kimberly suggested was very nice, but we had to beg the bartender to put the Bruins on  They were watching basketball, luckily the game was almost over. Once it ended we watched the Bruins and ate fish tacos until sudden death overtime.  At this point the bartender, Evan, switched over to the Lakers game.  Some of the older patrons were complaining about hockey.  Tyler was furious and I was very disappointed. I'm not much of a hockey fan but I would watch it over basketball anyday, and it's the principle of the thing.  The lakers game had just started, all you need to watch is the last 2 minutes.  The Bruins game was in Sudden Death Overtime.  Thats some exciting stuff.

We left the bar and rode back to the Hostel.  Nobody was there, so Tyler and I decided to make some waffles, very good.  There is a computer in the common area so Tyler was able to follow the game.  Soon Tony came home in what seemed like a drug induced haze.  Very strange.  Then Jeremy came down and started talking to us about Marathons and growing up in Minnesota.  Smokey Bear was still MIA, at this point I think that was for the better, who knows what he would have brought to the table.  We stayed up and talked for a while before getting some sleep.  We have a big day tomorrow Monarch Pass, 11,300 feet.

Mileage: 66

Total: 1515

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