Eads to Ordway, Colorado. (62 mi.) Mile 2265
Where the deer and the antelope play
We got up at dawn and said goodbye to the other cyclists sharing our camp as we each rolled out in our respective directions; the Grant-
Today's ride was the most desolate stretch so far. Other cyclists had told us, "There is nothing out there. You bake like a lizard." We knew the temperature could reach 100 so we set out to cover as much territory as fast as possible. It's helpful to start early and come up with some sort of rhythm or mantra to keep your knees pumping up and down. As long as we kept moving, our own air movement helped keep us cool, but we still pedaled hard to beat the heat. I don't think we could have ridden as hard as we did without our conditioning from the Ozarks and Appalachians.
Home on the range: much of today's landscape was overgrazed rangeland
We passed prairie dog towns and prickly pear cactus. A mule deer buck ran across the road in front of us and effortlessly bounded over the fence. Not long afterwards, a pronghorn antelope buck ran across the road in front of us, and effortlessly zipped under the fence. Mike saw it first, so now I owe him a milkshake. We stopped at the Sugar City Cafe, but no milkshakes there. Sugar City is another of the countless small towns once thriving but now consisting of mainly abandoned stores and boarded up buildings. We met Winfield Nagle at the cafe, who offered to let us camp at his place in Ordway. He explained to his companion that, as a "rule of thumb, it's a safe bet to host a bicycle tourist at your place. People who bicycle across the country aren't looking for the easy way to do things." I can't argue with that.
We hear over and over people telling us, "You're crazy!", then in the next breath, trusting us completely as their guests. They know that we are too exhausted to cause havoc, wouldn't take anything because we would have to carry it, and are not armed with anything more dangerous than doggy pepper spray or a peanut butter knife.
At the time of Winfield's offer, we intended to put in many more miles, but this plan changed after we rode a few more miles into the hot, afternoon wind. The temperature in Ordway was 105 degrees, so we called it a day. Instead of camping, we took advantage of the special TransAmerican Bicyclist rate ($10) at the historic Hotel Ordway, where they have been hosting TransAm cyclists since 1976. After settling in, we went out to eat at the Saucer Block and there was Winfield again, offering to buy us a beer, and introducing us to the restaurant's owner, Mac Johnson. We had a much better evening socializing in Ordway over a good meal than we would have had if we had suffered on in the heat to another destination.