my inaugural cycling tour is in the books. on thursday of last week i worked my part time job getting my favorite 14 teenage dudes ready for school. when they headed off to school instead of coming home and beginning my other job for the day as i usually do, i jumped into my loaded up lucy (the soob) was en route to fruita, colorado.
the plan: thursday, drink lots of beer and eat lots of pizza at the hot tomato and camp at james robb state park. friday, pedal our loaded touring bikes (that's bicycle, not a motor bike) from our campsite in fruita to and through the colorado national monument and into grand junction to camp the second night. saturday, ride bikes from grand junction to palisade via a magical route through the rural countryside with only the cows, orchards, and winery's to keep us company. needless to say, we were not lonely.
|So excited for dinner at the Hot Tomato!|
friday morning we woke to the sun and a majestic bald eagle circling the river next to the campground with the sun drenched national monument in the background. it was picturesque and an inspiring way to begin the day. inspiration was good, i needed all of that i could get in order to muster the motivation to pedal myself and all my gear up the steep, 15 mile climb through the monument. we set out from the campground.
|So it begins...the climb.|
we entered the monument in the first 3 miles of our ride and thank goodness we did. the beauty was on every side of me was so great that i ALMOST didn't notice the steep, never-ending climb. and if i'm being honest, the climb wasn't as bad as i had hyped it up to be, thankfully. alas, i summited. it was a fantastic feeling. i had pedaled every inch of the climb and i had an incredible feeling of victory.
at the summit we stopped to layer up in warm clothes as the next 12 miles were a fast, steep descent. the descent was fun, the nerve-wracking kind of fun. once at the bottom we stopped at the lunch loops to use the potty, rest, and make a plan for dinner in grand junction. at the suggestion of a trustworthy local we decided on the alehouse brewery. i was willing to pedal for good food but that was the longest 6 miles of the day! that being said, it was worth every pedal stroke. the food was great and just what i needed. after dinner though, i was beat and ready for bed. we still had to pedal 6 more miles to the campground. ugh. we made it. and by now i was a pro at setting up my gear so i got my tent up and gear unloaded in no time flat. next was a nice, hot shower. after a snack and some discussion of the next day's agenda i crawled into my sleeping bag, got really cozy, and was out in no time flat.
saturday morning i woke up freezing and cite that as the reason i was last to leave my tent that morning. not only was i last out of my tent but cyndy was pretty much packed up and ready to roll by the time i left my tent. she's an animal. we all eventually got our shit together and rolled out of camp earlier than we had the day before...there was wine in our future, that helped. we followed the colorado fruit and wine tour map from grand junction to palisade.
|We rode the southern route on this map.|
|Wine tasting and cycling to together like bacon and eggs.|
|One of my coolest moments.|
at the grocery store for the last few provisions we'd need for our last night of camping. after loading the groceries in my car the other three got on their bikes and headed from palisade out to the campground just east of town. i made one quick stop at the liquor store for some good beer and met them at the campground. once there, we each performed our daily ritual of setting up our tents and getting cleaned up. we enjoyed the rest of the evening over food, a fire, good brews, and great stories from the trip.
this was the perfect first tour for me. i had a great time and there was plenty of fun and laughter to go along with the plentiful food and libations. thank you diane!!!