Walden - Hot Sulphur Springs, CO - Exploring northwest and central Colorado with a bit of Wyoming thrown in - CycleBlaze

July 14, 2018

Walden - Hot Sulphur Springs, CO

Tom, Ken, and I agreed to meet for breakfast at the cafe at 6 AM. I usually eat oatmeal in the room, but I did see the wisdom in having a hearty breakfast before 60 miles over Willow Creek Pass. Wayne was there just a few minutes later, although he wasn't committing to our planned 7 AM departure. Jacinto? Back in bed.

We agreed that our rooms were warm overnight considering the high altitude. The temperature was 42 degrees. Tom started out with his wool sweater on, but quickly took it off.

It would be interesting if there were a survey figuring out the financial impact of riders on the TransAm route. I would guesstimate that 3/4's of the people at our motel were on bicycles. I saw a 25ish man astride a bike waiting outside. He had a huge, huge backpack on. It looked uncomfortable to hike in, forget bicycle. Soon a young woman on a bicycle with a trunk pack and no other bags joined him and they bicycled north. My back hurt just looking at his awkward load.

I was the first one out the door. The day was fine. The road was flat. No wind. The skies were blue and there was little traffic. The downside was the huge cracks in the road. I felt sorry for the diamond frame riders. The cracks were annoying to me, as a recumbent rider.

I've never cycled this direction before. It's very pretty with wetlands close to the road and mountains in the background. What a delight. I was especially pleased at the lack of wind. I expected to see Tom or Ken to catch me soon. It was about ten miles before Tom pulled up. We rode together a few miles before he needed a butt break. I continued on.

We had a gradual 1,500 foot climb to the top of the pass. Very gradual. This is an easy pass to ride.

Ken caught up to me a couple of miles before the top. We talked about my bike and the trouble I've had with shimmy at high speeds. I told him I was interested/concerned about the downhill today. Perhaps that's why he stuck with me the rest of the day.

I started the downhill at a sedate 20 mph. That went well. It's an easy down. Not too steep, no big curves. The road surface was nice at this point. I let my speed creep up to 25. I'm living dangerously. It feels good though. It's so confusing - sometimes the bike and I are one. Other times we aren't.

It looked like the final ~28 miles to town would be a fast downhill. I"m good with that. We saw a group of 10-15 cyclists riding unloaded to the top. Jacinto said he didn't see them. They must have ridden to the top and back down?

The mountains in this area were totally covered with dead trees. Beetle kill? There were a few aspen. It was pretty, even with the dead trees. There were campgrounds at several areas along the road. They were busy this weekend.

My stomach started growling as we got close to town. I asked Ken if he were hungry. We agreed to check in to the motel, shower, and go to the ice cream spot across the street. We were pulled over for this conversation. As we discussed this, a loaded couple road past us and pulled into our motel, the Ute Trail. Unfortunately for them, they didn't have a reservation and the motel was full. As I went to check in, the lady told me that I had two bedrooms with two beds and I could share my room with them. I was a little taken aback. Yes, I like bicycle riders as a whole. But I guess I'm just not free flowing enough to sleep with someone I didn't know. Even though I presume cyclists as a whole to be great people . . . that was out of my comfort zone.

End of story, the lady from our motel called The Eastin Motel in Kremmling and they had a room. Another 17 miles by bicycle when you're ready to finish for the day. The female cyclist did say they carried camping gear, but would rather not use it. The hot springs motel here also had a room, but at $145. it wasn't desirable.

Ken and I got checked in. I was just going to shower when Tom pulled in. Ken and I went first to the burger joint. It's times like these that I regret not eating wheat. Yes, I could have a burger. I do sometimes. I chose nachos. Ken had a burger, onion rings, and a vanilla shake. THAT looked delicious. He shared an onion ring with me. Yum. Tom showed up and had an ice cream.

We discussed dinner while we were eating. Don't all cyclists do that? The choices in town are slim. Ken seemed interested in going back to the burger place again. The motel lady listed all three choices. Let's see where we end up.

We went by the gas station to see what the food choices were for breakfast. I bought V-8 for me and a soda for Jacinto. As we walked back to the motel, here came Jacinto. His shoe held together and he'd had a good ride. He hadn't seen any other cyclists at all.

I finally got that avocado I wanted. At the gas station of all places. I ate it while Jacinto had his soda and pistachios.

We went to dinner to the Public House, which was the motel lady's suggestion. It was a tapas place. That means expensive, tiny plates. Not at all suitable for cyclist appetites. We stopped by the gas station after for supplemental burritos.

The weather forecast wasn't looking friendly. I worried about another downhill in the rain. That was no fun at all. Otherwise Ute Pass on CR 3 sounds like an excellent, low traffic way to get to Silverthorne/Dillon.

I decided the best approach was to leave as early as possible to beat the rain. I bought a half dozen eggs at the gas station. Ken said I could cook them in their kitchen. The stovetop didn't get very hot. The eggs were cooking and cooking, except the water never really boiled. Finally we decided they had to be done. Eggs plus oatmeal were my breakfast for the morning.

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Today's ride: 61 miles (98 km)
Total: 412 miles (663 km)

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