Ordway to Pueblo, Colorado. (52 mi.) Mile 2317
Objects in view may be farther than they appear
This evening I am on the dataport in our motel room in Pueblo, air conditioner on high. We have come out of small town America to a city of 100,000. We have already taken advantage of a bigger grocery store and the usual fast food choices. Much earlier, we were looking forward to the amenities of the second largest city on our route (Eugene, Oregon is our largest), but today, we can't wait to leave the traffic and congestion behind again.
Mike has not broken any spokes for a while. His wheel seems to have reached some sort of tension harmony we are reluctant to upset, so we aren't doing anything about it in Pueblo as we had thought earlier. We know that a 36 spoke wheel should be able to handle Mike's load just fine if things are in adjustment. We will have more bike shops along our route now if we have more trouble.
Our first glimpse of the distant Rockies
This morning we were able to see the faint silhouette of the Rockies in the distance for the first time. On clearer days in the past, people have told us they are visible from the Kansas border. Pueblo is at the foot of these mountains, so from this point, we will start some serious climbing. We are already at about 4800 ft, but in the next week, we will climb up over the Continental Divide at the trip's highest point, 11,000 ft Hoosier Pass. This evening it has been hot (103 degrees) in Pueblo, but the mountains to our west are darkened by enormous thunderheads. I am a little apprehensive about the climbing at elevation, but also looking forward to the scenery ahead of us as we follow the mountains and high plains north to Montana.
Breakfast was at Olney Springs Cafe, where the hot topic of discussion was how those Denver and Boulder people are using huge vacuums to suck prairie dogs out of their burrows and relocate them to places like Olney Springs, where the prairie dogs, and their fleas, are less then welcome. We pedaled off wondering what the whole experience must be like for the prairie dogs.
Everyone's doing it. Wisconsin Cheeseheads, mother and son team of Lorraine and Steve Gebert, are pedaling across America west to east. Lorraine told us, "I didn't even start bicycling until I was 51." Steve added, "There is some spectacular scenery ahead for you."