Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday, June 11 – Day 22 – Silverthorne, CO

I started south of Hartzel in bitter cold. I was up early to try to get moving before I got hassled, and to get some miles in in the cool of the day. But it was more like cold of the day – I couldn’t figure out why my fingers kept freezing as I was taking down the tent, until I picked up a waterbottle and it was more ice than water. Then I realized what the game was and crawled back in my sleeping bag until the sun started coming down into the little valley I was in.

I had breakfast in Hartzel and headed through South Park toward Silverthorne. The park has absolutely gorgeous scenery – fourteeners all around – but the riding itself was mostly vaguely rolling stuff on wide, dusty, washboarded roads. Especially in the south end, though, it struck me as very desolate. Nice place to visit, but you’d go crazy living out here.

I had one pass today – Boreas Pass at 11,500 feet. It was another old railroad grade, like Marshall Pass, so the way up was nice and steady. But I got heartburn again (this time with no hot dogs to blame it on) and that slowed me down quite a bit.

On the way down I got on the bike trail from Breck to Silverthorne. Tons of people were out. I got passed by some folks who wanted to know where I was going. We talked about the route and all, and they got all fired up about it and eventually bought me a burger and a drink at this place down by the wharf. (I forget the name, but the burger was delicious.) I’m staying at a hostel on the north side of the dam, but it’s like staying in a motel because there’s no one here.

One funny story from today – I was sitting in Como, which is this little town at the base of Boreas Pass. Up drives this fellow in a big new Toyota SUV (a Highlander I think) and asks if this is the road to Breckinridge. I say yeah, and he says, “is it paved all the way?” (The part at the bottom was.) I said no, it’s gravel, but I’m sure he’d make it through with that beast if he didn’t mind getting it a little dirty.

I was just kidding, but he got this worried look on his face and mumbled, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea – my wife has to go to the bathroom.” And drove back to the highway. (The highway route was at least twice as far.) What a weiner. Buy yourself a Camry, homey.

(Later note: In Montana when I was waiting for the train I stopped at a bookstore to find something for the ride. I came across a book called “Goin Railroadin’” by a fellow named Sam Speas. Turned out old Sam was an engineer on the Boreas Pass line that I rode over on my bike – known at that time as the Denver, South Park and Pacific RR – and the book had all sorts of stories about what it was like to run narrow gauge locomotives 100 years ago. Interesting stuff.)

Day 22 stats:

70 miles
3000 feet up
one burning heart

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