Pueblo, CO: Almost back to the mountains

Saturday June 27, 2009, 57 miles (92 km) – Total so far: 2,327 miles (3,745 km)

We tried to get an early start this morning; we beat the cook to the diner.  It wasn’t a big truck stop like you get on an interstate, so the hours and menu was limited.  But it was enough to get me there!

Another clear, wind-less day, starting out cool and ending up only modestly warm (mid 80s).  In other words, a perfect day for a bike ride!

I’m starting to think one of Colorado’s main industries is prisons.  We passed a state pen going into Ordway yesterday, and then a rather huge county lock-up going to Crowley today.  I can’t believe Crowley County has that many inmates in a county jail.  They must be contracting with some other government to house prisoners.  Then, when we got to the Pueblo motel, one of the tourist fliers mentioned, I think, four major prisons in Canon City, 40 miles west of here.

Anyhow, there wasn’t much else to see in Crowley, and Olney Springs is about the same.  Maybe a diner in each town, along with the gas station and post office.  Boone, CO (not to be confused with Boone, NC!) was a bit bigger; it had a combination grocery and hardware store.  Virginia got a picture of me heading towards the Rockies outside Olney Springs.  Note the hills on the right.  We were coming back to the Arkansas River at this point, which we paralleled for the next 40 miles or so.

The Rockies in front of me

It’s amazing how much difference a bit of water can make.  I shot the next two pictures from the same spot.  The first is toward the river, and you can see lush grass or maybe reeds, and the trees along the river bank; the other is either scrub or desert — how can you tell the difference between scrub and desert?

Colorado with water (Arkansas River)

Same place, uphill, minus the water

I think it’s desert, and here’s some blooming something-that-looks-and-smells-like sage to prove it:

Roadside purple flowers

We made it into Pueblo without incident.  As we came down the hill into downtown, I pulled off the road onto the sidewalk.  I had written down the names and addresses of the bike shops in town last night.  As we stopped, I looked to the right, right into the door of the first one on the list.  I meant to do that!  Virginia has new bar tape, squishy, and everything else has been adjusted.

After the work was done, the mechanics started talking about lunch, so I asked where they went to eat.  One of them mentioned Tacqueria Deliciosa, I think was the name, three blocks down.  It’s just the kind of place we’ve been looking for — some authentic Mexican food, local owned and operated, inexpensive, and good to boot.  (Virginia calls it the Po-Boy Factory of Pueblo, for Huntspatch residents!)

On the way up to the motel, I was struck by the county courthouse.  Couldn’t get it all in one picture, as it’s a city block long (and symmetrical about the central rotunda).  Note the gold dome, on a courthouse.  There’s some money been made in this county!

2/3 of the Pueblo County Courthouse

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