The Bikin' Fools
Glenwood to Wolcott
We slept restfully through the night. Occasionally we would awaken to gaze sleepily out of the window at the passing Utah landscape, only shades of desert colors and shapes of distant mountains. Sometimes the train would stop in the middle of nowhere and wait. A freight train would rumble by then we would start again. In the morning we awoke and stared for a long time out of the window. Eventually we got up and wandered to the dining car. Elliot welcomed us to the new day and fed us. After breakfast we settled into several more hours of life on the train.
It was interesting to travel with a variety of people. At each stop people would get off the train. They would stretch, take short walks and breath fresh, non conditioned air. The temperature in the train was constant. It was comfortable. Stepping off the train seemed either hot or cold. We were scheduled to arrive around noon but the train was now over three hours late. We would have time for another meal with Elliot. This time it would be a perfect serve, no mistakes, no errors, no subs. The train stopped at Grand Junction. We were only a couple of hours from Glenwood Springs. A historian boarded and gave a talk on the way to Glenwood. She pointed out historical features, mostly stories of the white man destroying the Indians or the land. She pointed out a coal mine that had caught fire fifty years ago and was still burning.
Matt waves goodbye to the adventurers
Finally we arrived in Glenwood Springs in the mid-afternoon. We said goodbye to Matt and claimed the bikes. It would take us about an hour to put the bikes together and attach the camping gear. The anticipation was high. We had done nothing physical for two days and were eager to get going. This was the beginning.
We had no map and no real idea of how we were going to get through Glenwood Canyon, though I figured the old highway 6 would serve us. The new Interstate 70 is an engineering marvel. Conservationists encouraged the designers to not damage the fragile canyon environment when they constructed the new freeway. They did a notable job of placing the highway on piers and tunneling. The canyon remains untouched. We took the first few turns of the pedals and slowly made our way out of town. We passed by the famous Hot Springs Spa and Hotel. We discovered a bike lane along the highway. Now rolling with some energy, we pedaled for a couple of miles before the road entered the canyon. . Suddenly and to our delight we found a bike trail that paralleled the river. It left the highway and took its own route along the swollen Colorado River.
Stopping by the Colorado River on the bike path
We stopped at the picnic area and paused to wallow in our glory and happiness. We didnt get kicked off the train, the bikes were working fine and we were touring in fantastically beautiful countryside. It was late in the afternoon but we were approaching the summer solstice and had several hours of daylight left. We pedaled along the river and next to I-70. The bike lane was generous and well maintained. Several times we simply had to stop and gaze at the eye-stopping scenery.
Bike touring heaven in Colorado
We were especially fired up. The adrenaline served to propel us at a reasonable rate. We shredded the canyon (about 17 miles) and began to realize that we could probably make it to Eagle a total of thirty miles. We continued to roll with ease. The bikes were working perfectly and our loads, though heavy didnt impede our desire to make miles. We pulled into Eagle as the sun was nearing the horizon. We were now hungry and decided to celebrate our good beginning with dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was delightful. It provided us with tons of carbos and a chance to consider what we would do for the night. We asked a few people about camping. Someone mentioned there was a campground near Wolcott. The sun had set yet the afterglow of the evening provided enough light to continue. Within ten miles we came upon the campground. It was a primitive type with fire rings and picnic tables. We quickly set our tents and got our bedding out. After shuffling things about we settled in for the evening. To our surprise it began to rain. It rained on and off for most of the night never enough to be a problem. Our new tents shed the rain and allowed us to sleep peacefully with the pitter-patter softly watering our dreams.
First night's camp