Friday, June 22, 2007

Out of the Rockies Day 20

We arrived in Pueblo, Colorado after an interesting Day, with a 102 mile bike ride. Leaving Salida this morning, we followed the fast flowing Arkansas River downstream for about 40 miles. We chatted with folks who were white water rafting (and got some good photos), and enjoyed our descent.

Pictured here is the "Rock Shop". Rocks from all over the country are available here for landscaping and other uses. We pass all sorts of interesting places every day, but I thought that, as we left the Rockies, we should at least celebrate rocks (I feel it might be inappropriate to show the photo I took of one of my fellow riders posing at the sign for the "Half Assed Ranch"!)

Before officially leaving the Rockies, about half of us rode a VERY STEEP CLIMB to the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is billed as the World's highest suspension bridge, at ~ 1060 feet above the Arkansas River. The road to the bridge was terribly bumpy, and when we arrived, we were told it cost $19.00 to ride across the bridge and "enjoy" the associated (honky tonk) park. Most riders felt it should be renamed "Rip-Off Gorge" after that. The views were spectacular, but really....

After a well earned descent, and lunch, we continued until our first major thunderstorm. Six of us took refuge in a stable as the lightning got closer, and the rain and hailstones fell. It was fun waiting out the storm--I'm sure this will happen again as we get further east this summer.

We will spend the next two days in Pueblo (at an altitide of 4690 feet) as tomorrow is our second "rest day". We have ridden 19 days, a distance of 1461 miles, with total climbing of about 60,230 feet (and descending of ~ 55,540 feet). The Rocky Mountains are now behind us, and the riders feel very proud of their accomplishments to date. Eight riders will be leaving the trip (they had signed up for either the 1st 20 days, or the last 8 days, and a "new" rider will join us. His name is "David" (which he prefers), so that works well as I can continue to be "Dave" or "Dr. Dave". I'm looking forward to spending some time tomorrow with Carol, who has been a big hit with the riders.

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