Rawlings, WY into Colorado on the Great Divide!!

I took a day off in Rawlins, I needed it. Cheryl continued on because her husband was picking her up in Frisco, Colorado and she was eager to get there. I take more days off than other riders probably do because of my health issues. My body requires a lot of rest and I have to honor that, even when I do not want to. Days off are never really days off, there is always something to get done- grocery shopping, laundry, dealing with your bike if there is something needing attention, making sure things are charged and that you have everything for the next stretch of trail that you need. And, eating a lot of food, that in itself can take up hours of a day 🙂

When I left Rawlins; I rode 52 miles towards Aspen Alley. The riding was very enjoyable, pretty easy all day long. The scenery was beautiful, I could feel that I was beginning to climb into the mountains and the terrain was changing as I entered the Medicine Bow National Forest. I passed a few creeks and eventually around 4 pm stopped and made camp right before Aspen Alley. I setup camp early and was in my sleeping bag tucked in before 7 pm. In the morning, I packed up and rode through Aspen Alley, it was awesome. Tall beautiful aspens trapped me on the narrow road, the colors were great. The air was crisp and cold. Absolutely, a perfect morning. I was looking forward to getting into Colorado. When I came to highway 70, I took a right turn onto the pavement and 17 miles later I finally entered COLORADO!!! I left highway 70 and crossed Slater Creek and headed onto County rd 1, it was a pretty solid road in most places. There were some annoying very steep climbs, then rollers and of course some flat and downhill. It was peaceful out there, it was me, my bike and the local cows for most of the day. Occasionally a truck would drive by and offer me water or ask me what I was doing. I turned onto County rd 82 and entered into Routt National Forest. Five miles later; I turned onto Hahns Peak Basin rd/Co rd 42 and rode a mile or so until I stopped and decided to setup camp. I was exhausted and also super excited to be in Steamboat the following day. I found a neat little spot surrounded by a canopy of trees to setup my tent. The view were amazing from where I camped, the sunset was on fire that night. I enjoyed a good dinner and fell asleep rather early.

I struggled to get out of my tent in the morning, I was still exhausted and felt sluggish and sore. I followed Co rd 42 uphill to continue towards Steamboat. About a 1.5 up the road became impassable- deadfall everywhere, I couldn’t even see a foot in front of me. Downed trees covering the entire road and on both sides. Navigating this would be impossible with my bike. I started to feel so irritated and it was then I knew that it was going to be a very long day. I turned around thinking I would have to go back to where I originally turned on that road and find another way down into Steamboat. All of a sudden this cowboy on his horse came up, he had is sheep dog with him, he didn’t speak any English. In my very broken Spanish I explained to him my issue and that I needed to somehow find a way around the downed trees. He got off his horse, introduced himself as Walter and told me to follow him. I was a bit worried to follow him not being able to communicate very well and I was worried following him would only get me more lost. But. I followed him, after a few minutes we both quickly learned pushing a fully loaded bike through and over downed trees in steep terrain off road was extremely hard. I could barely carry my bike. Walter would hike ahead a few 100 feet or so, hitch his horse and then run back and help me carry my bike over the trees. Some trees were stacked up on one another 3-4 feet high off the ground and lifting my bike over that was an enormous workout. You couldn’t see anything but trees everywhere. Walter kept looking at the dot on my GPS, laughing with me and trying to communicate with me as we continued to navigate through the steep deadfall together. We were out there carrying and pushing my bike for almost two hours before we found the road again. I was so relieved to be on the road and to have gotten around that craziness. I could not have gotten through that without him. I was so grateful for him. Walter took off on his horse and headed to go find his sheep. The road became very very steep. I had to walk my bike up about 2 miles before I ran into Walter and his friends herding their sheep. There was 200 sheep in the herd and it was a cool thing to watch all of those sheep. I thanked Walter again for helping me and finished my climb to the top of the Watershed Divide. Finally, I thought the going was going to getting easier because I was now going to ride downhill. Nope! Wrong! The views of Hahns Peak and surrounding area was outstanding and I was enjoying the mountain air and scenery, but oh the rocks, the damn rocks, the road was so rough. ATVs and trucks were stopping along the road to look at how to navigate the road and continue driving. I was indeed riding downhill, but very slowly, because of how rough, rocky and bumpy the road was. The going was slow for awhile, then eventually I got to a better road where the downhill was fun and fast. The trees were changing colors, I was listening to Van Morrison and bombing downhill. I was still hoping to make it into Steamboat. I stopped at the Clark store and ate lunch and took a break from the crazy morning I had. After lunch, I turned onto the paved highway 40 and headed towards Steamboat. The trees only became more beautiful as I rode down the highway. I arrived in Steamboat Springs late afternoon and was graciously invited to stay at Eric and Kathy Graab’s place. They are Divide riders as well and I was excited to connect with them and get to know them 🙂 and Kathy made delicious Mac and Cheese for us that night 🙂 which totally made me happy. To be continued……

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