Day Two: Kimberly to Long Creek - Racpat Old West Scenic Bikeway 2018 - CycleBlaze

June 2, 2018

Day Two: Kimberly to Long Creek

What a hill!!

"Ringing the bell usually means the last lap" Patrick says. We've been climbing the hill out of Monument when a car with Washington license plates, slows and the lady rings the bell from the window. We are almost to the top.

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As we are breaking camp, Jerry comments about how quickly we can pack up. "Teamwork" he says and Patrick says "We've done this a few times." We start out after Jerry is almost packed up and ready to start cycle. The morning light on the river is beautiful. We are riding upstream, the road rolling through a wide valley for 14 miles until we reach Monument. Monument has an RV park on each end of the town. There are signs "Two Wheels Spoken Here" displayed in the store window, an effort by Grant County. We are disappointed the town doesn't have a cafe for a second breakfast, so we go to the nice city park for a rest and eat. Jerry is thinking of trying for a shuttle up the hill, so we set off.

As we leave town, we see cyclists and stop for a chat. It's a group of 8 from Washington, and they started the Old West Scenic Loop from Monument going the recommended counter-clockwise direction. There are many options on the this route of where to begin and end. We start the 9 mile slog up the hill. At mile marker 23, there is a false summit then another hill reaching the top at mile 26. A 2 mile downhill we are on a prairie plateau with big yellow flowers (Mule's ears, is that correct William Shaneyfelt?), daisy, lupines and fireweed.

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At mile 35, we reach Long Creek and head for the General Store and Deli, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Long-Creek-General-Store/315283735301818 to wait for Jerry. We had expected to see him in a pickup truck, and when we didn't, figured he was riding. We'd ask a few folks and a sighting was reported that he was about to the crest of the hill. 

This store too is well stocked and reasonable prices. We each order a hamburger and drinks and figure our planned destination of Ritters Hot Springs is not going to happen. Looking more closely at the map, Patrick determines Ritters is even further than we thought, not 16 miles but another 24. If we had an extra day cycling, this would make a good short day from Long Creek tomorrow and have most of the day to enjoy the hot springs, making it a half of a rest day.

When Jerry arrives, he says "as I was riding in and if I didn't know there was a hot springs ahead, I'd be done for the day". Patrick had already checked out the Hitching Post RV Park as an option, so the decision to stay was made. Jerry ate a hamburger and ice cream, Patrick goes to set up the tent. At the campground, there is a kitchen trailer serving hot dogs and sandwiches. We arrange to have a biscuit and gravy breakfast in the morning.

Tomorrow is Sunday and the General Store and Deli are closed. After a hot shower, we relax and enjoy the view.

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Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 93 miles (150 km)

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