Day 46 - Walden, CO to Saratoga, WY - Can('t) Hurt Me - CycleBlaze

June 27, 2021

Day 46 - Walden, CO to Saratoga, WY

Cold showers pt 2

Although we didn't shower and went to bed kind stinky, I slept well. There was a live band down the road, but that wasn't anything else plugs couldn't fix. After getting up and packing everyone headed to a cafe downtown. Mary and I didn't go because this is a cowboy/rancher town and all they serve is meat. We went to a coffee shop instead and snacked on bagels and got coffees. The weather was great and there was even a lady playing guitar and singing on the porch. It was so good I thought it was a recording.

Views around Walden
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We left and the guys were stuck at the cafe with bad service. They said it was slammed with only one waitress. We found out that there was a rodeo today, so that explains the no vacancies and the business. We left ahead of everyone figuring they would catch up by the time we got to the Wyoming sign. Everything was good untill we were about 15 miles in and rain clouds started approaching again. We felt some sprinkles, so we donned our rain coats and pedalled on.

Not wet yet
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This was another case of, there is no where to shelter, so we kept on into the storm. The first rain storm wasn't too bad.

I've seen this before
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We snapped quick pictures at the Wyoming sign and left as fast as possible. Then we hit this huge hill. You could actually see this hill for about 10 miles away. It went on forever and the winds wouldn't let up. We have had a headwind since we turned north past canon city 4 days ago. I thought I might die: my feet and hands were soaked and it felt like it was 40* out. We finally made it up this hill and had a short break from rain before we ran into another system.

This one didn't last too long, but it was pretty miserable. Mark caught up with us and we stopped for a snack. I can't eat and bike because my nose was running and I think the altitude makes it harder to breathe. We set off again and over a couple more hills when we saw the big one. It was a huge front as wide as the valley. The whole valley below was blue from rain.

Huge storm system. We got drenched with this one
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We prepared for the worst. We probably had about 30 more miles to get to Saratoga where there was a free place to stay and free public hot springs. The hot springs were the only thing getting me through. We rode in heavy rain for what felt like 2 hours. We hit this town called riverside where Mary and I caught up to mark and Alex. Everyone was miserable. We bought a couple snacks and generally agreed that we should keep moving. There wasn't anywhere to stay there and there wasn't a way to warm up and dry either. Alex out on dry socks and put his feet into bread bags, which was smart. I didn't even care at that point, so I just left my frozen feet.

This was definitely a low point. Just praying for hot springs
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We took off for the last 18 miles and about when we turned out of riverside, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I was still freezing, but at least my hands warmed a little. We saw some moose by a large rock outcropping and a bunch of antelope. We made it into town and I immediately called the contact for the church. Sally came right over and showed us inside. There were 3 rooms upstairs with beds and sheets. The kitchen was completely renovated and the only thing they didn't have was a shower, which we could find at the hot springs. We gathered our wet clothes from the last 2 days and walked to the laundromat and dropped off the clothes on the way to the hot springs! It started raining again right before the hot springs and we went right over and got in. There were 3 pools, one cooler, one about 109* and one super hot, maybe 125*. We went into the medium pool and it burned at first. It smells a bit sulfurey and you can see bubbles coming up from the floor. Some parts of the pool were hotter than others, where water was sleeping up from underneath.

Don't mind the cold rain when you are in a hot spring!
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The pools are right beside the river, so when you get hot, you just walk over to the river and lay down in it. I cant believe this is a free public utility here. After about 4 cycles, we showered and went to retrieve the clothes. We walked back to the hostel and made plans to eat dinner across the street at firewater. It was packed so half of us sat and the other half got to go orders. Mary and I went back to the hostel to eat. Pretty much right after that, I went to bed and slept readily.

The hot springs really rejuvenated me and it felt like my legs were alot less stiff. Still glad to have a day off tomorrow to go back to the springs, clean the bikes, and let everything dry.

A hay monster truck
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If I was gonna get carried by Jesus, today would have been the day
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Of random note, we have generally been going down in elevation since Hoosier pass. The down hill has been a mild grade so that the headwinds make it pretty sad. It hasn't really felt like a good reward so far.

Mileage:67

Altitude gain:2300

Today's ride: 67 miles (108 km)
Total: 2,528 miles (4,068 km)

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Jeff LeeGlad you scored free indoor lodging, and that the hot springs were everything you hoped for!
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