First, a bit of reflection - Grand Junction to Durango 1991 - CycleBlaze

February 20, 2017

First, a bit of reflection

A recent exchange in the CGOB forum discussed the long, beautiful but empty ride from Fruita, Colorado and Moab Utah, and whether there was any supply stop along the way.  This is a stretch I biked back in 1991, on a short tour that still burns brightly in my memory.  The discussion prompted me to made through old photographs and my stack of dusty journals to see what I've managed to preserve over intervening 26 years.  I'm pleased to find that the journal is still largely intact, but a bit tattered:

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Time to bring it forward into the digital age where it will be easier for me to find it and share it with others.  It's also a good time to refresh my memory a bit, in preparation for our upcoming ride across Utah this spring.

To set the stage a bit: I was age 45 at the time, and working full time as a computer programmer analyst.  Rachael, also a programmer in our shop, paired up with me three years earlier and quickly became as taken with bicycling as I was.  We had a few tours under our belt already, and were in the planning stages for our first tour of Europe that we hoped to take in the fall: an epic ride from Paris to Athens, by way of the Swiss Alps and what are now the Croatian Coast, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia.  I was eagerly reading Rebecca West's great Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and her account of the ride up the old, hairpin road from the Bay of Kotor to Cetinje, counting down the months until we could experience this for ourselves.  

Sadly for us and tragically for countless others, this grand adventure never happened.  Soon after I returned home from Colorado, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence from Yugoslavia and the region went up in flames.  We switched gears and went south to New Zealand that winter instead, but I've always harbored the wish to experience the climb to Cetinje.  One of these years.  Soon.

So much has changed since then of course.  I wouldn't and perhaps couldn't do the ride the same way today, with days as long as these were, hauling a tent.  I'm happier taking my time, now; I've gotten more comfortable, maybe too much so, and enjoy a warm shower and a decent meal at night; and more than anything else I greatly prefer riding with Rachael to traveling on my own.  I'm so grateful now though to have this memory in the mental library.  I've thought back on this short tour with wonder and I've shared stories from it with friends countless times over the years.

One other thing to point out before I begin: my bike of the moment.   This was my first outing on my new Trek 420, a fact I teased out by trying to recreate my personal bicycle history awhile back: [doc 18856].  I don't recall now why I started over with a new bike at the time, but likely it was in preparation for the hoped for Grand Tour.

The journal is pretty much a verbatim transcription from the original, other than to prune out a few embarrassments.  I've added parenthetical editorial comments here and there to clarify or give context.  The photos represent the equipment I had at the time (a budget point and shoot of some sort), my skills as a photographer (minimal), the fact that I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford much film, and my general carelessness with storing the prints for all these years.  

I hope you find something of interest here.  Thanks for reading along.

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