Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I wanna move to Steamboat Springs!

So we leave Adam in Kremtucky after a wonderful night of sleeping outdoors on the trampoline (not sarcasm, trampolines are comforatble as shit!) and head off to Rabbit Ears Pass that goes down into Steamboat Springs. It would be a 60 mile day, and still a great ride up to the pass. The only thing we were bothered about was there not being any water stops for a good part of the trip. Our fears were resolved when we passed a bike race heading the opposite direction, from Steamboat, about 20 or 30 miles down the road. We stopped at one of the race's pit stops and they were kind enoug to give us food, water, and energy fuel. That shit is good! They were going over a hundred miles in a loop back to steamboat that night.

So we were fine and topped the pass, where we met the continantal divide, yet again. By this time I'm pretty tired of crossing the divide and ready to be west of it, but what can you do? While I was sitting waiting for the girls to peak and group of hikers pulled up to start a trip and I noticed that they had a Play Ultimate sticker on the back of their car. They were cool, and offered me some food and stuff. I had just eaten, but the girls came up while they were still there and we all kind of needed some water so we talked to them a lttile bit and they were heading to Steamboat that weekend as well. They told us about this place they had booked for the weekend at the Strawberry Hot Springs, a great little place right on the mountain in Steamboat. Turns out they could only stay one night and offered to throw the cabin at us Sunday night, free of charge! Hell yeah we took 'em up on that, on the condition that we pass it on sometime in the future, which I can say I definitely don't mind doing. The place was about $100 a night so we were extremely grateful for it. More on that later.

So we ride down Rabbit Ears Pass, and awesome 7 miles of scenery and no pedaling, down into Steamboat a couple of hours ahead of schedule. I got there early so rode into downtown to check out the scene and ran into the bike race people again. Iris and Laura met up with Austin, so I had to ride back out of town to meet up with them and passed the number one guy in the race. They made it in no time! Anyway they give me directions to ride up the mountain a little bit to where we were going to stay that night, which wasn't Austin's but some friends of his, Bill and Dori, who own an amazing house overlooking town with a meditation pond out back, fire pit, hot tub... the works. The home was truly beautiful, and Bill and Dori had done most of the work themselves because they are awesome!

We showered up there and went out to dinner (thanks again Austin!) at a nice little Italian place on the main Street. Then we went to a bar on the river that was very nice where I learned of a new drink... forgot the name,Russian something or other... but made with ginger beer and vodka, and it was delicious! From there we popped in the liquor store and met one of Austin's friends who we bought a bottle of double espresso vodka from. That stuff is tasty. We went back to Bill and Dori's and hangout with Bill until all of the vodka is gone and then until all of the gin is gone as well... Good times. Bill has got crazy stories, hopefully you can hear them sometime.

We say goodbye to Bill and Dori and recover to go to the hot springs later that night. This place was amazing. You can get naked past dark, which some of us did, and they have hot and cold pools you can jump back and forth in. We cooked some good chicken outside of our tiny yet awesome cabin and met up with Austin's friend form the liquor store. We ate and drank and were merry. Austin's friend danced all night to make sure the terrorists didn't win, and we found him in the morning still grooving out on the balcony. I'm glad too, we can't let those damn terrorists win.

We were then off for Craig, America!

Raft Guides are cool

We head out of town through Golden on our way up the front range of the Rockies. We wanted to go farther, but we ended up in Idaho Springs the first night out, only about 35 miles away. That was pretty disheartening, but Laura was feeling some altitude sickness at the end of the day and riding any farther was just not an option. So we went to a bar in town that Iris had been to the week before (when we were in Boulder, she was hanging out in Denver) and hung out watching karaoke. We met some raft guides living there for the summer who offered to put us up for the night. The raft guide crew was a good one to run into that night, the town was really small and except for them there wasn't a whole lot going on. They were working for the Arkansas River Rafting Co., which I though was pretty cool. I also went out with some of them and did that thing we do under a shady bridge, the first real time I felt like a hobo. There would be plenty more times like that ahead...

So we kept going up the hill in the morning towards Loveland Pass, Elev 11,996 ft. We stopped and ate at a little bar in Georgetown where Terrell's mom worked in the 70's. We head on to Loveland Pass, which ended up being a bitch but very beautiful the whole way up. It got really cold, as well, as we kept hiking. We met the manager of the Loveland slopes and he let us get some water at the bottom, which was a lifesaver because we were all out. So then we rode down to Keystone, an 8 mile drop to 9300 ft and awesome the whole way, though I couldn't feel my hands at the bottom... So we had some Tuaca shots to get the juices flowing again.

We finally get in to Frisco after dark and head to Tom's place, which was extremely comforting after the day we had. Hot showers and a huge meal got us ready to continue on to Kremmling, Co, the next day. We ended up having to ditch our bikes in Keystone because the free transit wont carry bikes after dark, they obstruct the headlights, and head back there in the morning to start the day. It was a nice ride past the Dillon Reservoir and off through the scenic mountains of Colorado. We followed a river all day that day, downstream, which was a good change of pace from the last two days.

We only went about 55 miles, and it would have been less but we needed to detour through a nothing town called Heeney for water midday. I ended up going to the only place in town still open, the Master Bait Shop, for some water and got attacked by a dog... in the bait shop. It didn't bite me or anthing, but it got damn close. The thing that really pissed me off was that the owner of the shop and the dog was telling it "good boy" after it attacked me. Then she looks at me and says "That's just what she's trained to do, what are you doing in here?!?" still kind of pissed (at me) that her dog got defensive and apparently not realizing that she ran a fucking Public place of business. I told her I just needed some water because I was out, to which she promptly responded "We work on on well water and I don't have enough to spare. You can buy some though, if you want." What a Bitch! I was especially surprised because our maps led us through ths detour and the businesses that the map gives are all biker friendly.

After not buying water and getting the Fuck out of that place, I ran into a lady down the road who let me use her hose. She explained that the store she owned went out of business and it was the one that bikers used to go to all the time for water. She was lovely, and it was really too bad her place went under, but she was getting old and losing help. Anyway we left the town and met up with three other girl bikers from Europe at the crossroads... Shit I wish we were going the same direction. One of their derailers had busted and she was stuck in 3 or 4 gears for a couple of days. I did what I could to fix it but could only manage to add another 3 gears. While I was fixing that another touring biker from England came by, making 7 of us total at the same crossroads! That's pretty extrordinary, especially considering we hadn't seen any other touring bikers in weeks.

So we keep going on to Kremmling, Co., also known as Kremtucky. Apparently, many famous country music singers keep ranch houses there. I remember hearing Willie Nelson, among a few more. Anyway we go to the park in town cause there's a band from Louisiana playing that night that we wanted to catch. I posted up at the bar until they started playing, and Iris and Laura came in after a while. This place had a "beer garden" that might hav ebeen the best in Colorado... Pics coming soon.

Iris strikes up a conversation with the guy at the bar, another raft guide working for the Arkansas River Rafting Co. Ha, small world! We played some horseshoes and got to shootin the bull while watching this band from the beer garden. He was a pretty down home guy by the name of Adam, and Adam let us sleep at his little place where all the other guides lived. He cooked some for us and built us a fire and we pollished off the cherry moonshine that we got from Praderborn. That stuff was wicked, apparently the juices in the cherry completley switch with the alcohol because the actual liquid wasn't that bad but the cherries were strong as shit!

As it happens, we end up hearing from the raft guide from Idaho Springs and he met up with Adam a couple of weeks later and they traded stories about putting up some crazy cross country bikers. They both offered to float us down the river as well, but it ended up not working out for us in either place. Oh well, we still had a great time hanging out! So close to Steamboat now, and only two more passes!

$4 bus rides between denver and boulder

So first night in town was good, all said and done. The next day we venture off to Boulder to go meet up with Heather's friends from back home. These chicas are awesome, too. We meet Val, Crider, Cougar, and Gordy at the Reservoir in Boulder, which is like a little beach area where iz ok to drink and have fun. We end up partying with these girls, who also play ultimate, all week long. Except for Heather, who decided that grad school was more important than biking to the coast... BOO!!!!! Who needs grad school anyway?

So me and Laura just stay and kick it. Every time we tried to make it back on the bus to Denver, we failed miserably cause Boulder was just too cool. Gordy was also just bumming for the week cause she was about to leave for Europe, so we travelled around town a lot with her in the city. We went tubing one day, went to the dog park another, all around fun really. Squeeze came and met us later in the week and we all went tubing with some of her friends the day we actually made it back to the bus to meet up with Iris in Denver... Which also failed because Iris had already left for Boulder, so we pretty much just turned around and came back.

But not before meeting up with my buddy Tom who had been in Denver for a while now. We met up at the same bar that Squeeze's roomate works at and hooked up some free drinks. We rode around in Tom's very badass Entourage car to go have some tequila at this bar across town, then we went back to a place called Earl's where my other buddy, NicWhitesCarver, works as a manager. He hoked us up too, and by the end of the night we were plastered, yet again, and made it back to a party going on at Squeeze's. Tom also made it by Earl's for a drink, I think... but we lost him later. Thanks for the ride and the place in Frisco, though, Tom!! (He also ended up hooking us up with a very badass condo in Frisco a couple of days later... Tom's an all around badass, as it turns out.) All I really remember about the party is meeting some Australian guys and the bartender at Earls who happened to be friend of NicWhitesCarver and Squeeze. That and Squeeze was pissed I was "using" her room, even though nothing happened Squeeze!!!

Then Debauchery at GRUB followed, always fun. At an after party Laura ended up playing beer pong with Cougar and putting a naked lap on the line. Laura wins, and the Coug does her naked lap. Then, after some shit talking, we all decide to do another naked lap with five of us and a naked dog (we took Luna's collar off) who took out Laura around halfway through... Tearing the meniscus in her knee and bruising her patellar tendon... Good times!! She would keeping biking, though, for at least another leg of the trip (no pun intended).

What else... we also met another roomate of the house we were staying at, Claire... She did a half naked lap with us... One of her buddy's was staying in town as well that weekend, I think his name was Chris, and he was one of the other naked runners. There's a great bagel shop we went to all the time, i think Joe's... Went to the river on Sunday with the Okie crew and the girls tipped over almost everybody that floated by for about an hour... The Sunday night drama was truly a thing to behold, and we ended up crashing on the girls floor again with a few extra ultimate players... That's about it, we went back to Denver for one more night before we left on the road again for Steamboat Springs to see Austin!

To Denver!!!

Finally out of Kansas and into the even more barren Eastern Colorado. Luckily, Thomas' dad met us the last night in Kansas and we had a SAG wagon all the way into Eastern Denver. We were able to go a lot faster without all of the gear and made really good time. So we made it to Iris' friend's house where we said our final goodbyes to the Husky's (Thomas and his Pa) and we were able to shower and I got to play some good old legend of Zelda, Nintendo. Old school. So now its just Iris, Heather, Laura, and me still biking, soon to lose more... We all went out a little Mexican place and had margaritas. Iris was doing her best to stay awake (too much altitude, not enough attitude) before we left to go visit my friend Squeezy (aka Caitlin) who worked across town. We met up with SqueezWa and had some drinks at her place while Iris caught a nap in the car, trying to recharge for the fiasco that would happen later that night. So Squeeze gets off work and we decide to go downtown to go bust a move at some club or something. The race is off, with shots at the bar and Laura and Squeeze both have something to prove to the other about how much they can drink. Good times were had by all. So we start bar hopping and go to a place where Squeezy's roomate worked downtown. After some free rumplemints shots, its off down the road to I don't really remember where for still more rumplemints shots.

Squeezy proves her point. When the time comes to leave we are all pretty drunk and Iris' friend goes to get the car from down the street. Laura is belligerent and so we carry her to parking lot to wait for what seems like forever for Iris' friend to get back. She finally does, and she is major stressed out at this point by all the drunkenness and the fact that about 7 drunk people are about to climb in her car. Laura loses a shoe, somehow, and Squeeze lost her camera... All around hilarity. So we finally make it back to Squeeze's house and eat some delicious doritos and cream cheese to finish off the night, and then its off for a week in Boulder and GRUB!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kansas is awful, Lawrence doesn't belong there.

After a good July 4th week in Fayetteveille, it's time to hit the road again from Lawrence, Kansas. I love that place. We caught a ride there with Iris' mom and also picked up a couple of more people on our way. We leave with 6 folks, the original three plus Laura Gunter, my friend from St. Louis, a friend of hers who dropped out after a half day (knee problems), and a 16 year old kid named Thomas who lived Fayetteville. He would be on the trip with us to Denver where he met up with a church group for the week. We stayed with Iris' half brother and he took us out to a bar with a kick ass band.

So we obviously wanted to ride as far as we could each day to get the hell out of Kansas as soon as possible. We did pretty good the first day, around 85 miles, to right outside of Manhattan. We were at a gas station where we met a guy and his twin daughters who offered us a place to stay. They were pretty awesome and a nice little farm place outside of town. We cooked dinner and showered up and went to bed.

The next day was another 85 mile day to Concordia. We got into town late and it was raining pretty hard and we didn't really have a hit on a place to stay except maybe the city park. Iris was going to check that out and passed by a fire station that offered to put us in the extra rooms for the night. This place was awesome, it had showers, a computer lab, a huge TV, and we could make it home. We would be trying to find places like that a lot more along the way.

80 more miles the next day to Smith Center. I liked this town a lot. There was a campground there which would have been fine to stay in, but other people wanted showers and whatnot so went to check out the scene. I was happy with camping, so me and Laura went to the pool to hang out for the rest of the day. After the pool closed, we ran to meet up with the others at the bar street and they had found us a place to stay with a painter named Chris(???) He was a nice guy and had just finished a house so was celebrating and bought us some beer and a pizza. We shut down the bar and slept in his back house, but the most ironic part was that the three who didn't want to camp ended up camping anyway behind his house. Apparently the back house was too hot, but I was too drunk to care, plus there was a matress, which I hadn't seen in a couple of days so I was all for it.

The next day was our first century day!!! Woohoo and shit! We made it into Oberlin that night pretty late and went to a pizza pie shop, really the only thing open in town. We asked around for a place to stay but we were just directed to the hotel down the road. We stayed in a tiny hotel room, so small we had to lock our bikes up outside. At least we had a warm shower, though.

The next day was pretty light, only about 70 miles, but it would be our last night in Kansas, so we were pretty ecstatic. We stayed in St. Francis, the last town before Eastern Colorado, with a high school physical education teacher named (???). His family was nice; there were a bunch of kids running around playing with neighbors when we got there. The town seemd pretty nice, too, especially in comparison to the tiny towns we had been passing in the last week. Thomas bought us all ice cream in celebration of finally making to Colorado, or at least being close enough.

Kansas is NOT flat. It's actually like a stair step up all the way to Colorado. We were just happy to be going less uphill when we did, and that was few and far between. The headwind was tolerable on most days, I remember only one bad day in particular. But I was so sick of seeing corn and wheat fields and nothing else I was happy to be in the Colorado desert.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missouri was easy

After Evansville the next big stop was St. Louis. We say goodbye to Chris and head out for Wayne City where the couple from the Winery picked us up. Nothing very interesting happened today except I found a bag of jawbreakers on the side of the road... and that was exciting. The floods did divert our route a bit and we had to take the freeway which wasn't as hectic as I thought it would be.

The couple, Brent and Beth Young, were amazing to us. They picked us up and we met most of their little girls, who were adorable!!! We ended up sleeping in the girls room in bunk beds, which was really cool and reminded me of when I had a bunk bed as a kid. They sent us off the next morning with Dairy Queen shirts (they owned one and a subway), good for me cause I only had one non-biking shirt at the time. Thanks so much for the hospitality!!!

So we were off to St. Louis, finally, and made it to Praderborn, a town with a bar and a church. We stopped in the bar and met a group of bikers (vrooom vrooom kind) called the Praderborn Rat Pack. They were really nice to us and gave us a bunch of paraphanalia including bandanas and coozies. One of the guys mailed us a bunch of cherry moonshine that we ended up drinking later in Colorado, more on that later.

So we made it around nightfall to Columbia, a suburb of St. Louis. We stopped at a bar there and waited for Mike Mertz to come pick us up. If you don't know Mike, you should. I met him through ultimate a couple of years ago and he is nothing if not a scholar and a gentleman.
We had a good night bumming around St. Louis until we got rear ended in the middle of the night. Our bikes were on the back of his car on a rack, and Iris' got pretty smashed up, keeping us in St. Louis for a couple of days while she waited for repairs. We really wanted to get to Solstice in Tulsa, so we hitched a ride with Addison, one of Mertz's friends, to the tourney and had a blast as usual at Solstice. Heather flew home and if she doesn't regret it, she should... You hear me Heather!!!!

Then a week of kicking it in Fayetteville and the dreaded Kansas was the next part of the trip. Don't worry, as soon as I get back home I'm taking the Katy (sp?) trail from St. Louis to Lawrence to make up for lost time.

Good Trip