13 May 2008

Slow progress

It certainly felt like it

(Forgot to press publish on this last night and just realised!) Today was a slow day with only 60 miles ridden in about 8 hours. The day began with a bathroom stop to repair my punctured inner tubes with the help of a basin of water, and I found more thorns in both tubes. Apparently these little fellas are called "Texas Tacks" and are a parasitic thorn that is found across this part of the state as well as down in Texas.
I stopped at a garage to fill up on water before heading out and got talking to a woman who had been driving along for the first two days of her husband's bike trip from Colorado Springs to Florida. He was supposed to ride with his neighbour whose idea the trip was, but he has pulled out leaving this chap to go solo. She asked a few questions about my journey so far and then was kind enough to give me a couple of apples that she had forgotten to give to her hubby. Any fruit is always welcome on this trip!

The first 20 miles of the ride were rubbish with a beast of a headwind forcing us down to 6mph, accompanied by a sidewind throwing tumbleweed at us like a series of missile batteries that seemed to wait for me to pull level before firing these crappy bushes into my wheels and legs. There was a petrol station that acted as the break marker before another 30 miles of empty roads so we stocked up on junk food and Chris had to buy more cigarettes since his blew off somewhere back along the road along with one of his rain covers for his back pannier.
Blown onto the wrong side of the road
Luck was on our side for the next 15 miles as we had a tailwind and decent road all the way into the little town of Arlington (one post office and nothing else) but the storm clouds were gathering so we got our rain gear on before setting off again. The rest of the journey was utter rubbish with a slight upward incline that was coupled with a horrific head and side wind that you couldn't fight against. I was continuously flung onto the opposite side of the road and even off the side of it and had to stop every few minutes to avoid being thrown into oncoming traffic.
Yes, I stood up
This continued into the town of Sugar City and so we decided to do a relatively short day as there was a hostel in the town of Ordway, 6 miles ahead, and the wind was making progress near enough impossible. Ordway seems a nice little town although they were hit by a huge fire last month that destroyed a lot of houses and killed two volunteer firemen who worked at the local prison. We checked in to the Ordway Hotel which also doubles as a hostel - half price rooms if you don't mind having to walk down the hall to the bathrooms! This is one of the nicest hotels I have seen so far on this trip and was styled like an old colonial style mansion. Speaking with the owner it turns out that his mother used to be the cleaner there and then 30 years ago had saved enough money to buy it from the owner. He in tun bought it from his mother a few years ago and seems to be loving life in the hotel trade.

Plush Hotel
In the supermarket we met a New Zealander called Gillian and she wanted to hear about our travels since normally she puts up cyclists for the night at her place which was burnt to the ground in the fire. We stocked up on meat, bread and mustard and proceeded to make huge sarnies back at the hostel and now Chris is updating his journal but I am off to sleep. Short ride tomorrow to Pueblo and we should be there by mid morning and the remainder of the day is going to be a rest day!


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