Most of the route has narrow shoulders, is flat and fairly boring, except for a steep hill at the end and downward descent into Salida, so Ben decided to take the day off. Yesterday wore him out and he needed a rest. Lloyd and Jess went ahead and loaded up with all their gear and took off for Salida at 5 in the morning (1/2 hour earlier than normal,) because they wanted to beat the heat and afternoon winds. As you can see they were able to visit a real live alligator farm on their journey.
Ben, Danielle, the baby and I visited the Sand Dunes. It was only a bit off our track. We had no desire to climb the dunes and get all sandy, but there was a little ½ inch deep creek that ran across the base of the dunes. –this was an incredibly fun play ground for all kids including Benjamin. Danielle did not want him to get his clothes sandy (good luck Danielle with that one), so we took his shoes off and allowed him to walk in the creek and feel the wet sand beneath his pudgy little toes. He squealed with delight and before we knew it he was begging to sit down in the muck. And there you have it—that is how the baby got sand all over his little bottom and legs and hands and he reveled in allowing the smooth cold sand seep through his fingers. We spent maybe a half hour at the dunes and then had to spend another half hour washing out the sand from every crevice in our lower extemities. We got some really cool pictures you will enjoy seeing after I get home (its too much work downloading them when I am on vacation, haha)–oh alright, here are a few of the pictures.
Jess and Lloyd made it into Salida around 2 pm, as we were traveling to meet them. They had a terrific ride! There was a small tail wind that helped them along. One really sweet lady attached herself to them for about 20 miles and she talked their ears off, which took the boredom out of the ride. Jess arrived, hot and tired, and took a nap after her shower. We got a very ornate and cute hotel room, full of character, so she and Lloyd stuck with us until 9:15 when they had to be driven to the gym where they will sleep. Lloyd arrived hot and tired, took a shower and wanted to wander down town and see the sites (we all wonder where he gets his energy.) We wandered through the gym where he and Jess will be sleeping tonight and had to crawl over people who were already sleeping, looking as if they were half dead.
Tonight we all went to a seminar downtown where Lloyd again learned some more bike-riding tid-bits. One information given to us was that the 63 mile bike ride that was planned for tomorrow, along highway 50, has been re-routed (HW 50 is closed indefinitely since the Royal Gorge Bridge was damaged during the fire.) So, the 2,000 riders now have the grand opportunity of riding only 94 miles tomorrow, south, over Hardcrabble Pass (9,085 feet)—the problem is the beginning of the ride descends to 6,362 feet and they make a gradual ascent over 40 miles to the 9,085 feet, and then make a fast and furious descent down to 5,180 feet over only 20 miles. Lloyd and Jess looked at that down hill and had already decided that they may do the ride to the 63 mile point and then take a shuttle to the hotel. You have no idea how scarry those down hills are. I gave them a thumbs up for that.
Ben, after taking the day off today, exclaimed that he is having a hard time conjuring up enthusiasm to ride more, but the fast down-hill tomorrow sounds intriguing so he may have us drive him to a certain point so he can drive the last 20 miles downhill into Canon City. We will see what tomorrow holds.
Just so you know, Salida is beautiful, graced by the roaring and dynamic Arkansas River. We took some beautiful pictures there. This weekend there will be boat building competitions that probably will be fun to watch but we don’t have time to stay.