Thursday June 25, 2009, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 2,208 miles (3,553 km)
One nice thing about mountain time is it sounds so much more impressive. Kind of like going into Central from Eastern time. For instance, a couple of days ago we left at 6:45. Ho-hum. Today we got up really, really early and left at 5:30. Woo. Only 15 minutes earlier, but aren’t we dedicated? We were actually rolling a few minutes before dawn, as the sun rose while we were in the convenience store getting ice and water (between 5:27 and 5:32, if you really want to know!). It was odd, since it rose at head height as we started, but the road wasn’t illuminated for another mile or so.
There wasn’t much to see different, although it was relatively cool (73° F) and windless. There was a slight drop about a mile out of town, then the road rose relentlessly for the next 13 miles, to just a mile or two east of the Colorado border. I told Virginia this felt really steep, at least 20 feet per mile instead of the usual 10. She says it’s ridiculous to get to 4,000 feet without any steeper climb, and to get here and see no more scenery than the rest of the pancake-flat high prairie. We crossed into Colorado.
From here, through Towner and Sheridan Lake, was the worst expansion joint road we’ve seen. I really don’t see how the farmers make it, as it seems like this would shake the heck out of any farm equipment and tear it up. Except, of course, that crops disappeared within a mile or two of the state line.
Other than the change to range (or wild prairie?), eastern Colorado looks just like western Kansas.
One nice feature of the no-crops “feature” is that we don’t have to worry about the wheat trucks. We were disappointed that the guy manning the convenience store hadn’t gotten around to making cinnamon rolls this morning, as he was frantically making breakfast biscuits and burritos. But since we got out of Kansas before any dew had dried, we didn’t have to share the road with the harvest. On another front, the store at Sheridan Lake had food, snacks, beverages, and water, which we didn’t really expect to find. If every “no services” stretch had a store like this, it would be much nicer for us!
We made it through Brandon and Chivington without incident, and found the first grain elevator in 15 miles (or more) in Eads. Had a lunch with the best salad bar we’ve seen in 200 miles, then checked out the rest of town. That took 10 minutes because Virginia was riding so slow. It’s another midwest town where all the business are dying; one of the people at the restaurant was talking about going to Sam’s and Lowe’s, which I’m guessing are in Pueblo, 100+ miles away. Well, if you’re willing to drive that far to go shopping, you’ll have to go that far to go shopping.
The biggest change from previous days was the lack of wind. Pretty nice, although a slight breeze might help cool us. Since we were done by noon, the heat of the day didn’t really affect us.
We’re hiding out from the heat in the library, and will go looking for the pool later this afternoon.