Palisade - Delta, CO: Ice in my water is an energy booster! - I'm as loose as a Type A person can be. - CycleBlaze

July 2, 2017

Palisade - Delta, CO: Ice in my water is an energy booster!

Remember the guy who likes to climb - look at this map - for an extra nine miles he can have 1,000 feet of extra climbing. What shall I do? A 45 mile day all on busy Highway 50 - or get a few miles of peace with my sweat on the side roads? Mile 16 is the moment of truth.

The motel bed had definitely seen it's better days. There was a slant towards the center that I fought all night long. I gave up at 5:30 and got out of bed. The first thing I did was check to see if the bikes were still outside. Yep. A bonus? The tires are all firmly inflated. There is a breeze. Now It's not in our favor. But it's looking like a fine riding day.

My plan is to take the cut off. Maybe it will be slightly more scenic than Highway 50. There is plenty of bare ground and little greenery on highway 50.Potty stops will have to be carefully planned, no bushes for miles and miles. I'm not sure why 50 is on Jacinto's list of roads to ride. But it is and here we go.

I was out the door at 7 Am into a brisk headwind. Heck. Maybe that would die down as the sun comes up. I back tracked to the river and took a right. A mere half mile on the odometer and the first climb of the day greeted me. Ok, legs. Here we go. A local friend says this is called Puke Hill. Use your imagination.

Up top was a wonderland of vineyards and fruit orchards. Little fruit stands on every corner and plenty of homes with whimsical yard art. How lovely! It was ten miles of enchantment. I saw several cyclists on this section. All good things come to an end. Too soon I was at the intersection of CR 141, which would take me to dreaded Highway 50.

I stopped for a nice looking bungie cord at the intersection and to send Jacinto a text clarifying the road he needed to ride. Not that it ever bothers him to be lost, he says he gets found sooner or later.

Four short miles later I was at the intersection of Highway 50. It was rather scary. I had to cross four lanes of highway speed traffic with no stop light to help. I was happy to be crossing early in the day before traffic picked up, but there was still more than enough traffic for me. Two short miles later I had to cross all of those lanes again to get to the Reeder Mesa Road - that's Jacinto's bonus miles.

I was hoping the detour would be some prettier than the desert between Delta and Grand Junction. It wasn't. Not a darn thing was growing that wasn't irrigated and nothing was irrigated. At mile 20 for the day, the big climb started. If the other climb is Puke Hill, I wonder what this one is called? It is far longer. Up, up, up. At the top finally there were irrigated fields and two wineries. I did not see any vineyards to go with the wineries. It was nice to see some green. I was spoiled by the first part of the day and whiny about the wind. Wait. It seemed better here? Maybe the wind had died down. I enjoyed a cruising five mile downhill back to Highway 50.

Damn. The wind was back. This is not good. It's a flat road and I was putting out maximum effort to go 7-8 mph. Those who have traveled with me - think of the day into Gunnison from Salida or heading into Alamosa from LaVeta. That sort of demoralizing wind.

Ugly scenery, ugly wind, ugly mood. Why oh why was Highway 50 on Jacinto's bucket list? We could have gone on a different road, but, no.

I clawed my way down the road. The climbs were welcome as I seemed to be a little sheltered from the wind.

You can laugh at me in advance, but I swear when I got to the sign that said Delta County, the wind slacked off. Maybe the wind gods knew that a homie was trying to return to Delta and they gave me a break? Jacinto says the road took a turn, but I like my version better. The further I rode into Delta County, the more the wind lessened until it was hardly noticeable.

Traffic was frequent and fast. I had several encouraging honks. The shoulder was very wide and very dirty. Another day that it will be a miracle if we don't get a flat.

I saw two signs announcing a holiday weekend rest break. The local chapter of the Rebeccahs (spelling?) had drinks and snacks to break up the drive. I debated pulling in, I was only 12 miles from town. But the idea of cold ice water lured me over. I was careful to stay on the pavement as goat head thorns are common in this area.

Look! A potty. First things first. There were a large variety of cookies, some homemade and others store bought. I told the lady I was just looking for cold water. She said she wasn't sure how cold the water was, how about some ice? Yes! I could do that. BTW, Jacinto stopped here later and he got Little Debbie oatmeal cookies that he said weren't very good. ??? Why in the world would you pick Little Debbies over homemade?

I called my mother to say I would be late for lunch because of the wind. I was looking forward to getting closer to town and taking G50 Road. If I've bicycled that, I don't remember. I was hoping for green. Please, how about some green to liven up the day. Yep, here we go. Nice irrigated fields and a state recreation area that is closed with a big lock on the gate. ??? I forgot to ask my mother about that.

Bertha was really on the job today. There were many twists and turns, most of them intuitive, but Bertha announced them all perfectly. Right to the end. I had a nice downhill to town, that hill I remember. Then zip, zip right to the Days Inn.

It was 1 PM, it didn't even occur to me that I couldn't check in. Nope. They were at 100% capacity the night before and rooms weren't ready. I chatted outside with an older man interested in my bike. His son was about my age, and was living with dad until he got his feet under him. I bet that's a whole background story that I didn't even ask.

I was in my room by 1:30, ready to get the layers of dirt off my grimy face. Sunscreen is a real dirt magnet. It seemed I could feel the dirt on my face crack like a mask when I spoke.

I had lunch with my mother. A full lunch with pie even! Delicious pie. My first pie since 2013. Yes, I'm keeping track. This pie was worthy of the honor. Heated apple pie with ice cream on top. All home made at the Stockyard Restaurant. I was a happy camper. It's the pits to allow yourself a treat and it's not treat quality. This pie was excellent. I got back to the room at 4 PM. Jacinto was in and showered. He had made arrangements to eat dinner with a friend at 5 PM. Could I skip dinner? I was full and still needed to write the journal. Sure. 5 turned into 5:30 and suddenly I was hungry again. We went to a Mexican restaurant. I ordered a combination plate with three items and easily ate almost the entire thing. Jacinto finished the last few bites. I can't believe I ate all that food in such a short amount of time. I don't even feel especially stuffed. Eeegads. It's a good thing I'm going to work it off tomorrow.

Once again we have Jacinto's special routing. We are riding through The Dobies (not doobies) Dobies is short for adobe - as in no plants to speak of. But somehow this area is pretty to me with the sand formations. Not like the desert we rode today. We are going the back way through the Dobies (Spoon - this is the section we rode with your group). Then there will be a honking uphill on North Road and we will stay on North Road all the way to Hotchkiss (Spoon - you all loved those climbs up and down the different mesas, remember?).

Then we are going the back way between Hotchkiss and Paonia. Oren - remember the washed out road that you hike a bike'd through? It's still washed out. That's Jacinto's excuse to go way around on the Crawford Road. We can't get into the Living Farm Inn until 4 PM tomorrow. I called today to confirm our reservation and to plead "poor cyclists riding from Delta, sure would like to beat the heat and get there early and shower". Nope - I must not have been pitiful enough after eating two meals. Maybe I sounded like a fat cat, purring contentedly. Check in is 4 PM. Jacinto said I might as well wait to leave with him, but there is still the heat to contend with. I know I climb much better when it's cool.

Jacinto and Phil are gone to Walmart to buy a cable and lock. Tomorrow the Living Farm Inn is upstairs over their restaurant. Our bikes will have to stay locked outside.

Remember that bungie cord I picked up early in the day? I must have bicycled past 10-15 more that looked good. Not counting the mangled bungies. I imagined Jacinto stopping and picking all of those up. He's famous for bringing home road treasures. He didn't pick up a single bungie. How rare! He said if he had stopped that many times, he still wouldn't be to town. True, but very odd for him.

That's a wrap for today. Let's see if I need a snack before bedtime or if two meals is enough for one evening.

A half mile warm up is enough before the first climb?
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This is Mount Garfield. Those are new peach trees in the front.
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There were a number of interesting creations in this yard. There was a sign saying to stay outside of the fence. Perhaps people are a bit too curious?
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This yard must be where flamingos retire. They would look more at home with some greenery.
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I felt sorry for these blond beauties. There wasn't a blade of grass in sight. They must eat hay.
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I've been told I must have the most photograph bicycle in the USA. I managed to restrain myself until today. You will notice that I have removed one backing plate and 20 liter dry bag. I've replaced that dry bag with a 10 liter orange dry bag that has my foul/cold weather clothes and my repair kit. Hopefully I don't need to open that bag the entire trip!
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I was on the downhill here. A lefthand turn onto Lands End Road will eventually lead to a dirt road going up Grand Mesa. The paved road up Grand Mesa is plenty challenging for me.
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This Christmas tree has been out in the middle of nowhere since I was a little girl. We were all quite proud when it was featured in Readers Digest (probably 40 years ago). The original tree was a volunteer. One year someone brought a battery and hooked up Christmas lights (long before solar lights). The informed decision was that the heat from the lights caused the tree's sap to start running and the tree froze and died. It was replaced and is an area attraction.
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Jacinto's fried chicken is tasting mighty fine. Too bad I only took one piece.
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There are some advantages to holiday traffic. Here is a stop with ice water ! out in the middle of nowhere.
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I was happy when the nice lady offered me ice to go with the water. They also had homemade cookies. Business was brisk while I was there.
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This was taken outside of Delta. This is the view I grew up with.
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Even though the view in the distance is nice and green, this was the view right next to the road. Irrigation wins.
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Jacinto's photo for the day, taken by a motorcycle rider.
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Delta has a number of murals around town.
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Home for the night. $74.68 including tax and a restaurant breakfast. I like this even better than our room last night. The bikes get to go inside and there's an ice machine outside we can access anytime.
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Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 116 miles (187 km)

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