Delta-Paonia, CO: Back roads all the way, baby! - I'm as loose as a Type A person can be. - CycleBlaze

July 3, 2017

Delta-Paonia, CO: Back roads all the way, baby!

A restaurant breakfast was included today. Jacinto and I actually ate together. I dallied around, chatting. Jacinto bought new batteries for his Cateye computer and I looked up the programming directions on line. I didn't get out the door until 8:15. Jacinto assured me it was freezing with the cloud cover (56 degrees). I thought it felt mighty fine.

Bertha was on the job, taking me down side streets. I did not follow her directions in North Delta to cross four lanes of traffic for just a few blocks before crossing back over. I then went the wrong way on a road less than a mile from the house I grew up in! Bertha kept giving me warning beeps - but I knew better because this was home. My memory has obviously faded over the years.

It has been a few years since I've ridden this direction - Spoon brought a group of his buddies out and we did a nice loop. It was going the other direction though. I kept remembering where we stopped for this and oh, yes, we took a photo right there. Good times were had by all.

I enjoyed the ride through the dobies. It was early, I was fresh, the memories were pleasant. I knew I'd have a honking climb up to Orchard City. Yep. My memory hadn't faded on that one. I thought us very clever with our routing. First we planned to go clear to Cedaredge and then take country roads this way and that way to Hotchkiss. But we weren't routed over the Fruit Growers Reservoir and that's a must. Sometimes there is enough snow melt to cover the road. I've bicycled it only once when it was very full and I felt like I was all but bicycling on water. That's not a novelty for you folks down by the ocean, but it's special in Colorado. No, today the water was all to the right. Only a marsh and some cattails to the left. I was so busy looking at the ducks and geese, I forgot all about the extra long and steep climb away from the reservoir. What adds insult to injury is doing the first giant climb, topping off, and heaving a big sigh of relief. There's a nice downhill to enjoy (bumpy road). THEN - it's time to go up all over again. Heck. It's right in here I thought I could hear my fender rubbing. Marty had fixed it for me last trip with an extra zip tie to the rear rack. I stopped and checked all the zip ties and attachment points. I couldn't really see a problem. It was annoying though to hear the rub, rub sound. I decided it was the bumpy, patched road. I sure hadn't noticed the noise previously this trip on smooth pavement.

It sure was hot. No shade. The ice in my bottles was going fast. I stopped for a piece of leftover hamburger patty from lunch. Yes, I think maybe Jacinto is rubbing off on me some. I've had real food leftovers all three days this trip. I brought a bar a day to eat plus two extra. I haven't had one. I'm just carrying the bag around.

How about some shade? I got to the domestic elk farm. These elk had the right idea. They were under the irrigation sprinklers and weren't about to move. I thought they were very smart.

I had a gradual uphill slant, but the tough climbing for the day was done. Finally I hit the zippy downhill. I remembered how long it seemed on the last ride, climbing up. Downhill is mighty fine!

Highway 92 is busy, busy with no shoulder at all. Our clever routing took us directly across 92, we didn't have to travel on it. I followed West and East Hotchkiss streets and didn't go into town at all. I looked down the side street at the convenience store and thought how nice ice would be. I am terrible about stopping. Even if it's to my benefit for something that would bring pleasure to my day, I don't like to stop.

I got a little ways out of town and filled my water bottle up with the warm water I was carrying. Stubborn I am. I had another piece of leftover hamburger. OK. Good to go. I knew there would be more climbing and then a wonderful swooping downhill. I did that a couple of times over before I had one last downhill to Back River Road.

We are staying at the Living Farm Inn, at the corner of 1st and Grand. I passed the actual farm up on the Crawford Road. It's a bed and breakfast sort of place. We are upstairs. The bikes are in the back yard, chained to the fence. They have a dog and Jacinto stepped in dog poo, so he's not happy. I like it better also when the bikes are handy to fill water bottles, etc. It's just easier to not have to take things off the bike.

Since it's Cherry Days here, all of the rooms in town were full. I was lucky to get this. It's fine - just upstairs. We didn't have any shampoo, soap, or a drinking cup. But I went to one of the shared hallway bathrooms and took what we needed. Breakfast is included here - but I've already been warned it doesn't start until 7:30 and don't bother to come early, it won't do any good.

I did managed to check in early though. Maybe I looked pitiful. I got here about 1. It was hot and all I could think of was ice. Then as I was wheeling my bike to the back, I could hear that damn rubbing noise that's been bothering me all day. But now with my music off, I decided it was the brakes. I worked the brake lever a few times, opened and reattached the brake (Avid Arch Rivals). It was still rubbing. What the heck? I decided I would save that for Jacinto. I still needed ice water. That was my main goal. Then a shower. See how simple life is while touring?

The wi-fi here lightning fast. That's a plus. I have been semi debating sending my computer home because almost always the wi-fi is so slow that it's hardly worth having a computer.

I had decided to get on the road early tomorrow with all of the climbing over McClure Pass. I am lured to stay because of the breakfast. It should be good?

I haven't had a single V-8 this trip. We haven't been able to find them, except warm at the grocery in either half gallon size or six pack size. Jacinto is on a mission to get a soda so he can finish up his pistachios before the climb tomorrow.

Jacinto didn't end up doing the planned route. He thought he'd get to town too early and be bored, so he went all the way up to Cedaredge and then back down. That was what we had originally discussed doing. He got over 60 miles and was happy. He allows he's leaving early tomorrow because McClure Pass from this side is tough.

Dinner was a total bust. Worse, I picked the restaurant. We tried the new place, The Diner. Big mistake. I had salmon salad. I think the fish was deep fried instead of the advertised pan seared. If it was really salmon. it took over an hour to get our food, with only two tables with customers. I could go on and on. The best part was going to Ollie's Ice Cream for dessert. They serve Enstrom's Ice Cream. You can't go wrong there.

Last summer on this day, we were at the caboose in Squilax. I had canned chili for dinner. That would have been a better choice. I was really hoping for a good meal before the long climbing day tomorrow. Maybe Carbondale will have good food?

Side note the next morning- I forgot to mention that I had a gentle tailwind all day. It's much easier to forget a little tailwind than a headwind! I also found my lock. Of course this was after I forced Jacinto to buy another one because I knew our bikes would be outside here in Paonia. My lock was at the bottom of the bag under the emergency tuna.

Dobies in the foreground, with Grand Mesa as a backdrop.
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I thought perhaps the shoes on the fence posts had disappeared since my last ride here. I was happy to see some things stay the same.
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Another stark example of irrigation vs nature.
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Here is my first big climb for the day. See the tiny white van to the right of the photo? That's where I'm headed.
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I'm going to have to ask my mother. I think this was a creamery when I was a girl. Now it's a distillery. The building has a date of 1927 at the top. The rear of the building is three strong stories. Across the street is a big, fancy church of the same rock and a rectory (?) also. These buildings will still be here in another 100 years.
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I saw two of these Centennial Farm signs today. Google says that Governor Lamm created the designation in 1986. I've never seen the signs anywhere else. Surely I've bicycled past qualifying farms somewhere?
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This packing plant is ready for serious business. It is Cherry Days today in Paonia where we are staying. Guess what will be my snack tomorrow?
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The smily face barn is still there and with a fresh coat of paint. Yay!
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I've always wanted to live in an old school house. There are a number in this area.
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Brewed and bottled in Paonia.
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The Living Farm Cafe and Inn. The actual farm is outside of town. Breakfast here was good. Rooms were fine, but probably not our first choice as we were upstairs and the bikes were in the backyard.
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Jacinto saw buffalo by the elk. I totally missed them.
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Jacinto got a better photo of the elk and the sprinklers.
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Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 163 miles (262 km)

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