Driver duty today - Fairplay to Buena Vista - Colorado Colors Tour 2021 - CycleBlaze

September 23, 2021

Driver duty today - Fairplay to Buena Vista

Jacinto spent the night last night, so we had fresh conversation at breakfast. Last night I reported that the Brown Burro Cafe was closed. Indeed, it appeared closed as we bicycled past. It had a closed sign, a help wanted sign, and the windows desperately needed washing.  Our plan for breakfast was to go to KB's Kakery/Dorothy's Tamales. I had already selected my breakfast from their online menu. Alas, we pulled up outside to see a closed sign and a white page of paper taped to the door. I was curious enough to walk up and read the paper. We've seen quite a few white papers recently. Mostly saying they were closed for lack of help due to COVID. Today I read a much happier announcement - they were closed for a wedding.

We drove on down the road to the Java Moose. They had bagels and burritos for breakfast. In the meanwhile, Jacinto called the Brown Burro. They were open! They close at 2 PM, thus the closed sign as I bicycled into town yesterday. I did not mention a thing about dirty windows as we sat down.  We had an excellent waitress, who kept the coffee coming for the two serious coffee drinkers (Genny and Jacinto). 

They were busy and perhaps short staffed. There was a delay before breakfast was served. That gave us enough time to talk about my zero birthday - I might have mentioned that before. On the year you have a birthday with a zero in it, you get to make all of the choices! That's a little rule that Alison shared with me several years ago. I have finally reached the cusp of that zero birthday and I'm hoping for a magnificent trip.

Our conversation today started out talking about the rain in Canada. We've done two Canadian tours with Jim and Genny. The first one had so much rain, we didn't see a thing along the Icefields Parkway. We went back a couple of years later and experienced only a couple of days of rain around Lake Louise. 

This discussion led me to say that I'd love to visit Canada again, I had a long dormant route that started in Bella Coola, BC (after a ferry ride through the Inner Passage). An interesting piece of the story is that Bella Coola was ocean locked. The locals wanted a road so they wouldn't be stranded during the winter. The DOT refused to build one, it would be too steep. The locals built their own road! That is country ingenuity for you. 

It's a 27 mile dirt road with grades up to 18%. I was interested in making the trek out of Bella Coola. I think I was younger then . . .  Jim stated the obvious - we could bicycle TO Bella Coola. There we go! I was excited. Here is something I could get behind.

Back to breakfast - everyone else was happy. I had a breakfast burrito, minus the tortilla. It is odd to say, but my burrito had too much meat and nothing else. The green chili on top was skimpy and the meat itself had no flavor at all. I was still hungry, but not hungry enough to eat it. After breakfast, I went to the grocery store and bought a banana and yogurt!

I saw Jacinto, Jim, and Genny all off at the same time. Jacinto was back to work. Jim and Genny had a tough day ahead of them - 3,000 feet of downhill and 800 feet of climbing. 

I went back to the room and got started on routing and lodging for Bella Coola. Could it even be done now? Are there enough lodging spots open? The answer is yes. The first 4-5 days from Bella Coola are remote, but do have fishing lodges. After that, towns are more frequent and lodging is in sufficient supply. This is just my kind of tour with one road each day. So long as I make the first turn the correct direction, I should be good to go!

I have a little problem. Jacinto had said he didn't care what we did this year, as long as we could start from home and not travel. My 1,800 mile route starts at home and ends at Bella Coola. Then we would take the ferry to Port Hardy, and on to Vancouver. That is not home. That is not even the correct country!

Here I am getting all excited, and I've done little more than mention it at breakfast.

I spent a couple of hours working feverishly on the route. I finally surfaced at noon and decided the riders might beat me to town, with their downhill route.

I took a left out of the motel parking lot. Highway 285 had smooth pavement and a sufficient shoulder for miles. It merged with Highway 24 from Colorado Springs. The surface was older here, but still a reasonable riding shoulder. At the bottom of the short climb to Trout Creek Pass, the shoulder narrowed again and had a poorly placed rumble strip taking up the entire shoulder! Why, why, does this happen?

On the downside I passed six female riders, all wearing yellow vests. They weren't riding directly together, but with the common demoninator of the vests, I think they were a group. At the turn to Buena Vista I saw a male cyclist (with an excellent red taillight) and a female cyclist. They may or may not have been together.

I drove all the way through town to the Super 8. Jim and Genny were outside. I honked and pulled in. I went in the office to see if we could get in our rooms at 1 PM. I had already called early in the morning and asked for an early check in. The answer was that they only had two cleaning ladies (preferred to have six) and they were cleaning rooms as fast as they could. 2 PM was the best I was offered. I went inside to see how lucky I was. We could get upstairs rooms, but downstairs wasn't ready yet. We agreed downstairs was important. We went for lunch at the Bread and Salt. Genny and I shared a chicken and beet bowl. Jim had a sandwich. The sandwiches looked excellent. Prices were on the high side. $18. for our bowl.  But the food was good. We planned to come back here in the morning, location was everything.

Back at the motel, we were able to check in and were happy to find out that they have a hot breakfast with eggs and sausage! No need to go next door. I've paid as much as $25. for breakfast this trip. Not only is eating breakfast out expensive, but it is also time consuming. Tomorrow we have the biggest riding day of the trip, up Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Park Trading Post.  Temperatures are a little warmer than what we've been having. We plan to get on the road at 8 AM. Eating at the motel will help with that schedule.

I've shoehorned my long bicycle into the room. The chain is clean, the tires have air. I've gone through the bags, inventorying rain jackets and snacks. My plan is to ride slow and sure. The goal is to arrive in good enough condition to ride again the next day. I hope I have some amazing photos to share.

My phone has no service here and I don't expect to have any way out in the woods. If I am lucky, there will be wi-fi. If you don't hear anything, I'll make two posts from Crested Butte.

We've been to the grocery store and purchased food for tomorrow night. Genny was inclined to cook, even offering gluten free pasta. That was thoughtful. I told her I anticipated not wanting to cook after climbing 4,500 feet. I bought a can of chili and some instant potatoes. Two frozen tamales and a package of shredded cheese.  I mentioned that we should be eating steak. Genny was concerned about carrying meat all day. I assured here that I didn't want to carry and cook a steak, I just thought we would deserve one!

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jerry witherspoonGreat commentary for the non-rider today.
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