Sunday, June 27, 2010

day 42

we were up at 7am and packing up to get a head start on the day since it was going to be another 100 mile day in 100 degree heat! we left rush center and fought a headwind the whole way until we turned east again towards larned. it was definitely cooler out and not much traffic so that was a plus. we made it through the headwind and rolled into larned where we stopped off at a subway where we scarffed down subs and drank tons of powerade and water from the fountain. from larned to nickerson was a 58 mile stretch of no towns through a wildlife preserve so we prepared for that long hot stretch. after some rest at subway we headed out of larned and made our way through a grassy marsh land which was a nice change of scenery. we saw a deer and its baby in a patch of water just hanging out then bolting away when we got closer. before we got to the wildlife reserve i drank all my water and stopped off at a house to try and refill but no one was home so i used their hose to fill up my water bottles and it was the hottest water; i got soaked and it felt like it was burning my skin then when i was drinking it, it felt like i was drinking hot tea. we gruelingly pushed through the wildlife preserve and made it to nickerson (sounds a lot faster than it actually was). in nickerson we stopped off at the gas station where we purchased $.50 cups and i drank at least 7 full cups of gatorade, we were super thirsty. we just sat there awhile and rested. it was 9 more miles to hutchinson where we were going to couchsurf at so we headed off that way. luckily there were trees on the side of the road so it blocked a lot of the wind. we rolled into town and found jason and kalene's house. we put our bikes in their garage and chatted for a bit; a super nice, young couple who are mewithoutyou fans! we have a lot of the same interests and their home is a fixer upper so part of the downstairs is completely redone and it is great, reminds us of the brick house a couple years back with quotes on the wall and tree silhouettes. we then went out to eat at a great bbq place where we got a ton of food and homemade rootbeer! we then came back to the house and just sat around and chatted till late; everything from traveling, books, food industry, and church. we crashed on their couches and called it a day.

day 41

we awoke once again being the only ones still at the park; jeff must've peaced out early morning on his last tube. i was up at 8 for some reason and went in search of breakfast foods; i hit up the only grocery store where i picked up milk, cereal, and a pear. i came back and ate half the bag of cap n crunch but saved the pear for later that day. evan arose and we started packing up. of course it was going to be another hot day out and had the potential of being a really long day depending on the wind. we were trying for larned but if the wind was bad then we'd stop in rush center. yes the wind was still blowing from the south creating a side wind. as we biked we went through empty towns that looked like they'd been destroyed by tornadoes or something. more fields and flat terrain but we got to watch the farmers start harvesting which was really cool; you'd see the big combines out there cutting the wheat then the little tractors picking up the wheat. a neat process. we reached ness city, which was a bigger city and we hit up a gas station for cold powerade. as we rode we decided that larned was out of the question since we had to head south for 20 miles and that would be a straight headwind and we were already tired and hot for one day of riding. we stopped in rush center which had a tiny park, one open restaurant, and 2 gas stations that seemed to be closed. we hungout in the shade reading and napping since it was only 64 miles then went and got dinner at the local sports bar and grill where the owner is the brother to TCU's head football coach. kind of random out in kansas but cool. we ordered huge chicken fried steaks and watched college baseball enjoying the cold water and the air conditioning. we chatted with a local and headed back to the park where we read some more in the shade. we saw a bird sitting on the swing set and bunnies seemed to roam the grass; nice to see some wildlife that was alive. lately we've seen a lot of road kill including: snakes, toads, owls, lots of little birds, a hawk, deer, cats, and raccoons. once the sun set the mosquitoes came out in force and started really attacking us since we have such sweet blood! we setup the tent and seeked refuge from them. we decided to go to bed early tonight and get up early to try and tackle that 20 miles south and hope for no headwind since everyone tells us that biking earlier is not as hot and there is no wind. they are only half right. we laid in the tent just sweating due to the start of humidity. we tossed and turned all night until about 3 am when we just started to fall asleep when a pack of roaming pugs came and started barking at us for what seemed like an eternity. darn pugs! they eventually let us be and we got a little bit of sleep before getting up at 7. the highlight that night though was seeing the fireflies; it was our first glimpse of them on this trip so that was super exciting!

day 40

apparently everyone gets up super early cause when we work up at 9am everyone was packed up and on the road. ha. we love our sleep. we packed things up and hit up gooch's grocery for some breakfast then hit the road. today we went from tribune to dighton about 70 miles of severe side winds and heat. kansas is all pretty much the same being flat and having fields on both sides of you then off in the distance you see something silvery and its a grain silo that is small then slowly it becomes bigger then you pass it and you repeat this cycle over and over again. don't get me wrong it is truly beautiful out here and i am enjoying the change but it is the wind that is frustrating. even a sidewind is a bad wind, it still slows you down. we were biking and i noticed something different on our left, wind turbines! i thought that is super cool that they are harnessing power from the wind out here then i realized that they were all pointed towards the south and we were biking east. it was a very windy section since they erected wind turbines. so that was a nice change of scenery but sucked biking in it but we made it to the booming town of dighton. there are two restaurants in town, a bar and grill and a tasty freeze, so we opted for the tasty freeze where we devoured burgers, fries, and tasty milk shakes. it was just a plain hot day even in the shade as we ate. we then headed in search of the town park. when we got there we met up with jeff who was repairing a tube; he had tube issues all day and separated from lu and sue who went further that day. he was having a rough time and his tube popped while we were chatting so he left to grab dinner and work on it later. evan and i read and relaxed till 8 when the pool reopened and we went swimming for free for maybe 10 minutes. the water was coldish and the sun was already hiding from us so we took advantage of their warm showers! i was still hungry so we went to the gas station and got some food and wandered around town looking for the library to see if they had free wifi. we got to the town hall building/library and it was obviously closed since it was 9pm but i hit the electronic door button and it opened so we went inside and a voice came through a speaker, "the libraries closed!"; scared, we bolted out the door and said sorry to the voice from the speaker. we headed back to the pavilion where we were seeking shelter and light from; i read while evan journaled and jeff was talking to his fiance. all of a sudden these weird beetle like bugs came flipping into the pavilion; these are pretty stupid bugs that would fly around too so we all instantly stopped what we were doing and jumped to our feet with books in hand and started swatting them out of the air. we were a bunch of little kids laughing and doing our best karate moves to try and slice these bugs out of the air. after much death and carnage we decided it was bedtime. evan and i set up the tent and went to bed while jeff just slept outside under the pavilion.

day 39

we awoke hoping all of our stuff didn't get blown away by the wind. we checked our gear and nothing was gone so that was good. we packed up our gear and made a backpacker's pantry granola & milk with bananas for breakfast; it was ok, it is hard to get milk right if its not actual milk. i digress. today we go from kit carson to tribune about 80 miles and we will be leaving the colorful colorado and entering the flat, windy, bread basket of kansas. we passed through a bunch of wheat fields and it was hot. we eventually hit the border of kansas and colorado and we have to say that we are a bit disappointed with the lack of signage kansas; you could've tried a little harder. we took some pictures then kept going into the new state. not a lot happened on our ride to tribune but when we rolled into town we ate at a nice little diner with a colorful elderly waitress who chatted with us a bit. we met with another biker at the gas station who told us about the park that we could camp at so we headed down that way. there were 4 bikers already camped out (3 heading east, 1 heading west) and then there were some other bikers camped across the way at another park. there was a community pool next door that had bathrooms and showers for free and open all night; guess this is a common thing for kansas parks. we met lu and sue and jeff who were traveling together (jeff was solo and met up with lu and sue) then our gas station friend who has biked cross country several times. we chatted with everyone and swapped stories and tips. i took a chilly shower and got cleaned up before exploring the area; there was an abandoned amusement park with a ferris wheel and rollercoaster that i had to check out. i grabbed evan and we took some fun photos. we then wrapped up the day and went to bed.

day 38

today we got back on the road after a couple of wonderful rest days. once we were all packed up we started biking out of town to hopefully get some breakfast, which we stopped off at a perkins (a hackett/sander favorite in montana). it was a good hearty breakfast to fuel us on a long day to kit carson about 113 miles. we followed the highway for a bit until it turned into a 2 lane road that seemed a bit up and down hilly until we started getting into more farm land. it was warm out and we were just getting introduced to what was to come through kansas. on the way my back tire seemed to have deflated so i did some roadside maintenance in patching my tube. since we rode from co springs to kit carson we were going off our route since our route has us to go from pueblo to eads so this route was what we figured out. there was a long hot stretch where evan and i were spread apart a good amount and i ran out of water but figured there would be a town with a gas station or something just down the road but there was nothing. after 2 hrs of biking and my lips were sticking together and i could hardly swallow because i was so thirsty i was in desperation mode looking for any bottle with liquid in it on the side of the road. after some failed attempts of checking bottles and almost drinking one full of what was probably urine; i saw that there was a small town up ahead and i went and knocked on a trailer and had my water bottles filled up by an guardian angel (she even put ice in it). i wish i could remember her name and took a picture of her but my state of mind was not there due to the heat. i downed one of the bottles and kept riding since we were only about 10 miles outside of kit carson. evan rolled into town before me and as i pass the city limit sign i see a cop flip a u-turn and switch on his lights and flag me down. i was so confused; i think i was going like 9mph and i had my helmet on and it wasn't dark so i didn't need my lights. he asked me for my license and then went back to his car to run it. when he returned he told us that there was only one restaurant open at the time and then gave me his card. met up with evan and he got pulled over and ran too; guess they had an incident with bikers riding into town and stealing things. kind of ridiculous since it was literally 50+ miles out of town one way and another 20 miles the other way until you'd reach the nearest town so i guess the bikers out pedaled the cops in their cars. o-well, we took a load off at the restaurant where we gorged ourselves with chicken fried steak (me) and evan had a super good burger. we then set off in search of someplace to camp. we biked to the outskirts of town and its all fields where we were so trying to hide a tent is a hard thing to do; there was a church that had a field in the back with a handful of trees so we scoped it out and walked back to get our gear when another cop pulled up with his lights on. this cop was more friendly and told us about the city park where they allow bikers to camp for free and there is water and bathrooms there. super thankful he met up with us; we hit the park up and we even charged up our ipods too. we got situated and evan started running the baselines of the baseball fields then climbed to the top of one of the light poles; not sure where he got all that energy but i was spent. we then crammed into our tent that was situated behind a group of trees to block the sun, so we were set for a good night sleep. then the wind picked up; it was super windy and we had some moments where we thought the tent was going to get picked up with us in it! the wind did help keep us cooler since it was super warm out and with our sleeping bags. we eventually got some sleep but the wind was pretty constant.

day 37

our last rest day, we headed out from pat's house and we hit up safeway for breakfast. we then went to go catch the bus from denver to colorado springs; it was a couple blocks away from where we were so we waited for about 10 minutes until it showed up. there weren't many people on it so evan and i each had our own seats and we read/listened to music/napped for the hour or so drive back to co springs. we got dropped off downtown co springs and we decided to hit up the library and catch up on our blog; sadly there is a one internet usage limit per person on their computers and evan already started headed back to eric's house. i started walking back as well and came across their farmer's market, which was cool; not as great as nampa's though! we both got back to the house and went through our panniers to see what we could mail home to try and lighten our weight since it was hotter and going to be more civilized from here on out. we each had a pannier full of clothes, books, maps, and other goodies so we biked over to the post office and got one of those boxes where it has a flat rate fee if you can cram it full of stuff. we just hung out at eric's place reading and napping until eric came home and we just chatted. evan and i decided to treat ourselves to dinner and then catch a movie; we started biking towards the theater hoping to grab something to eat along the way. we ran into a commuter biker who told us about a good chinese restaurant right down the road so we hit that up. it was good food, thank you mr commuter biker! we then watched toy story 3 in 3D since the other regular showing was in 2 hours and we didn't want to try and entertain ourselves for that long. it was nice to see a movie and just relax a bit before hopping back on the bike tomorrow. it was darker after the movie and we had to bike back to eric's house on the freeway so that interesting since their road has lots of potholes and cracks and our lights aren't real powerful, but we made it back in one piece. we just crashed that night to end a great time of rest and relaxation.

Monday, June 21, 2010

day 36

this morning we went to marte's church, atlas, which is a very small but cool church. it meets in downtown greely in a cement building that is a church/art gallery/soon-to-be coffee shop. small tables and chairs make up the congregation seating and the pastor is a young exciting man. we talked with some people and grabbed some breakfast before service got started; kody, mallory, and mallory's brother met us at church and we sat together. he talked about paul and about ephesians, it was a cool discussion group than just a sermon. he'd ask questions or have people read sections so that made it feel more personal to me. church ended and we headed into denver to hit up the famous casa bonita! we jammed out to some mewithoutyou to get pumped up! i think evan slept mostly on the way. ha. we got a little lost but found our way to the bright pink building that would forever change our lives! we took some photos outside then entered in the pretty house. we ordered our "food" and got seated. so basically its like a mexican tourist restaurant/theater; its like a 2 story complex that is decked out like you are in a small mexican town with a waterfall where they perform skits and have people juggling fire (or dropping them on the ground) and cliff divers. its a fun atmosphere and just plain ridiculous; you don't go there for the food no matter what your father tells you (we heard a dad tell a little girl that they were their for the food not for a glow in the dark sword). evan and i for some reason got the all you can eat meal while marte somehow got a vegetarian meal. you couldn't tell when your burrito started and your rice and beans ended. it was one sloppy mess. we enjoyed a person in a gorilla suit run around the restaurant being chased by a zookeeper. it was wild. it was crazy. we enjoyed it. the sopapias were great but the rest of the food wreaked havoc on evan and i just like everyone says, even comments on google. we walked behind the waterfall, went through black barts cave, enjoyed little kid rides, and even evan enjoyed the arcade for a bit (i did almost have a picture of marte holding a shotgun but my camera died, would've been epic). we then posed for a pic at the bottom of the waterfall then left one of the happiest places in colorado. marte then took us and dropped us off at tattered covers, a sweet book store similar to powell's in portland. we said our goodbye's to marte and we can't thank her enough for all she did for us, hopefully all the laughing would be some sort of payment. i sat and read then fell asleep in the store while evan was hunting for cheap books. we both called and wished our padre's a happy fathers day and started walking downtown. this weekend was pride week so we thought we'd stop by and see how it was going; it looked like a wild and crazy time. it was shutting down when we got there so we meandered for a bit then made our way to my friend's, pat, apartment. we met up with pat and took refuge in his apartment where both his girlfriend and him cooked us up some wonderful spaghetti and we watched "blades of glory" (i think its one of my dad's more favorite movies for some reason. happy fathers day dad.). we sat around and talked for most the night just hanging out and taking it easy until we all decided to call it a night. always great to see old friends, pat and his family are wonderful family friends of ours and we used to all live in alaska together until they moved to idaho; luckily we got to stay in denver for the night so i could meet up with him. evo slept on the couch and i was out on the air mattress, these rest days seem to keep getting better.

day 35

awoke. shower. clean. breakfast. yum. out. new belgium. old town. walk. bookstores. bums. reading. joe blows pizza. new friends. nate sleepwalking stories. back. bed. done day.

there ya go. that was our day 35, hope you enjoyed it. so the longer version up and met marte's parents who are super nice and we all enjoyed a great breakfast of eggs, blueberry muffins (my fav), toast, and juice. we then hurried out the door to head to new belgium brewery to try and get in on a tour of their facility. they are a cool super bike friendly and eco-minded company and their tour is pretty sweet so we heard. all of their tours are full till the end of the month but we thought what the heck lets give it a try anyway. so we got there and put our names on the waiting list and perused around checking out their seating area and they have all these cool art pieces that really express who they are as a company and we looked at some of their merchandise. they have post cards that you can write to people and they will mail them off for free! after a couple tours went by we finally got on the list! they take you through the whole production of how they make the beer and the history of the company and how they are helping the community and the earth. super cool stuff! they were just loving that we were on a bike tour across the country and got to chat a lot with the employee guide. after the 90 minute tour we ended by sliding down a slide that is on their second floor to get back to the main floor (much fun). we took off from their and headed to old town ft. collins where we checked out cool bookstores, their indie theater, a burger joint, and just enjoyed a new town. we were both tired of walking and just tired in general since we got up earlier than normal so we found a park bench where i read and evan slept. people were passing by pointing and looking at us like we were homeless or something (a lot of people think we are homeless actually). i dozed off at one point and i'm sure we were a sight to be seen; i know i snapped a pic of evan just when he was waking up and he looked real rough. we then went in search of a restroom and crashed at another park area where we each had our own bench this time and evan sprawled out on his while i read some more. a mom told her two kids to walk way around us and she walked between us as a barrier or something since she thought we were super harmful (evan was comatose and i was reading "stones into schools" the follow up to "3 cups of tea") marte and her two friends met up with us and we hit up another cool bookstore/coffee shop/bike repair place then went and grabbed a table at beau jo's pizza. we enjoyed a tofu pizza, telling stories, and 2 guys in a cap n crunch and trix rabbit costumes. ha! we dropped off one of marte's friends then made our way over to her other friend's house, kody and calvin. we sat and enjoyed some snl and we told them about our bike trip and then started telling lots of sleepwalking stories about our good friend nate. we always seem to tell sleepwalking stories to people we meet. kody, went on a bike tour of south america from panama to colombia so he shared some pictures and stories from his trip. such a great guy and he's the one that gave marte the "stones into schools" book that i was reading. such a small and great world we live in. we stayed up late and talked but decided to head to back to head to bed.