Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 4: From one extreme to the other

Distance: 35 miles
Feet of Climbing: 2,200
Weather Conditions: Sunny and hot, wind gusts of 25mph

Today started later than normal - 8 am. We were encouraged to sleep in today because the route was short and it was best to avoid rush hour traffic on Interstate 70 going into Glenwood Springs. Yes, I said Interstate 70.

When we emerged from the tent this morning the sun was warm. This is the first morning we have woken up rested and warm, it was really pleasant. We took our time, got coffee, prepped our bikes and moseyed out of town.

Leaving Rifle, we were greeted by friendly residents who had come to the roadside to see us off. What a nice town! From the moment we arrived in Rifle, we found friendly people who seemed genuinely pleased to have us there. The chamber of commerce provided detailed maps indicating area restaurants, stores and other services we might need. Police were present to direct traffic in and out of town and they patrolled the campground all night as we slept. This is the first place that did not run out of half the breakfast items by sunrise! A lady from the chamber stood in the parking lot at 8 am letting everyone know that "We still have breakfast: eggs, sausage and toast. We're only out of orange juice!"

Today's ride offered the first opportunity for real tour riding, sight seeing and photo ops. The short distance, relaxed schedule and rural roads made for the most pleasant ride we've had yet. Knowing that we were going to relax today at the Hotel Colorado was an added bonus.

The ride began on scenic rural roads with rough pavement but a welcome lack of traffic and ended with 7 miles on the shoulder of Interstate 70. We left behind the arid ranch land of Western Colorado and got our first glimpse of the snow-capped high mountains we will be entering tomorrow enroute to Aspen.

Climbing out of Rifle

These horses trotted over to the fence to greet the riders as they went by.

Greenery indicated we were entering a different region of the state.

First lake we've seen since Frisco.

Lisa wanted to jump in!

Descent from 6,400 ft.

Loving the rural roads!

Check out the 2-tone tan line on the Coppertone girl.

Scene from the town of New Castle.

Forest fire threatened our route yesterday, but the wind shifted the smoke away from the course.

Taking a break from the interstate - they had to bring us off and back on at the exits for safety.

On ramp to I-70 - it actually felt pretty safe, but the noise was deafening.

Our bikes are spending the night in lock-up.

Lisa couldn't wait to try out the jacuzzi.