GDMBR Day 38 | Platoro to FR 87 Summit | 42 miles, 3,490 ft elevation | So Far We’re Enchanted

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New Mexico is known as The Land of Enchantment. So far we’re enchanted! Maybe it’s because of the sweet camping spot we have at 10,600 feet. Such a beautiful view after a semi-easy day. Or maybe it was the stellar views you gave us on the way in during our twilight ride.

We started the day eating breakfast burritos with our cycling buds Jonathan and Lauren. We met them just after Boreas Pass while camping in Como. They are section cycling the Great Divide and finishing up in Abiquiu, NM. They are another example of interesting people to chat with. Lauren has completed several Ironman Triathlons (and podiumed some) and they are both training for the Pioneer 400 bikepacking race in Idaho in September. We’ve been leapfrogging with them ever since Como when we all camped in the pouring rain.

Jonathan let us know there was a place nearby with wifi and smoothies – less than two blocks away. Actually there aren’t any paved streets in Platoro, only dirt roads. Good thing too. They get over 30 feet of snow a year (not at one time) and most everyone leaves town in September and does not return until May. The cute little cabin we slept in gets covered up with snow. 😳

We stopped in for a rare second breakfast and met some more folks from Kansas, Rachael and her family and also enjoyed chatting it up with Joe and his son Jake who happened to be in the cabin next to us the previous night. All great peeps to visit with.

Next we got on the road toward Horca. We’d heard it was a lovely 20 mile ride down through the valley along the Conejo River with spectacular views. And that it was! Sometimes ya don’t put the GoPro on or take pics. Instead ya just enjoy the ride.

Once in Horca we stopped again for another long break. The Red Bear Welcome Center is particularly welcoming to Great Divide riders so we took advantage of a nearby Amish pie vender and the welcome center’s robust bandwidth to get caught up on the blog. The days begin to run into each other while on extended bike tours so if we didn’t blog we’d not have some of the details of our ride to look back on.

LaManga Pass started right after Horca and once that was complete we started looking for the New Mexico state line. It was a simple welcome.

With plenty of much needed downtime in Platoro and Horca we finished our shorter ride with a climb to our camping spot.

Below is a 180 degree look. The view is wicked awesome and at times we even get one bar of cell service! 😂

Click on the image below to view the video.

Happy to have made it to the last state line on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route!

GDMBR Day 36 | Storm King to Cow Camp | 50 miles, 2,438 ft elevation | A Little Bit of Everything

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Ya just never know what you’re gonna get on the Great Divide. The places, the people, the route, road surface and weather are most always unpredictable.

We woke up in our tent at Storm King Campground and it was so, so cold. However the tent seemed dry so we quickly packed up, including retrieving our food bag on top of the privy.

It was a beautiful ride into La Garita. Bummer the cafe wasn’t open though. We could have used some hot coffee.

Prior to hitting Del Norte there was a double track segment that was fast and flowy. Tom had the GoPro on and mighta had a little crash – take a look at the video. He’s all good although we had to mute the vid.🤣

Once in Del Norte we decided since it was Sunday Funday we’d stop at Three Barrel Brewery and take a mid day break with a couple local IPAs, salad and pizza. We could have eaten twice the amount.

Sometimes those midday bevvies and pizza work out and sometimes it’s a little rough. We decided to go another 10 miles or so to shelter at Cow Camp. That would also give us a 10 mile head start on Indiana Pass the following day.

Cow Camp was so out of the ordinary from any place we’d seen. The owner’s great grandfather homesteaded the property years ago. We had a lot of questions but there was a party going on so we went on our way to the shelter, but not before Tom picked up a golf club and whacked the golf ball almost into New Mexico. Apparently the owner built a 7 hole golf course and he wanted Tom to take a swing. So he did!

We slept so soundly… ready for Indiana Pass tomorrow – the highest pass on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and it’s my birthday.

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 35 | Sergeant to Storm King | 78 miles, 5,052 ft elevation | Rising Up

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For a “no news” blog day, it ended up a bit newsy for us. There was considerable forest fire smoke so the views and the ride were a bit off.

Early in the morning I was riding along, uphill, listening to Garth Brooks singing Rodeo (and singing aloud), when I got bucked off my bike. Actually I downshifted to climb and the chain popped off. No chain. No power. Going uphill forward motion stops. Couldn’t get my foot out of the clip so down I went. Onto the gravel road. Not on the derailleur side though so all good there. But ouch! Nothing hurt but my pride. 😂

Right before Cochetopa Pass we met Apple who has been a trail Angel for 18 years. He posts up with shade, food and water and waits for hikers on the Continental Divide Trail, and riders on the Great Divide and Colorado Trails. Again, the man is a patron saint of bikepackers. He lives in Cincinnati but comes out to stay in Gunnison for two weeks every year to support riders and hikers.

We finished Cochetopa Pass at 10,067 feet and arrived to Luders Campground but it was too early to quit cycling. The plan was to press on to another campground at the base of the next pass which was was Carnero Pass at 10,166 feet and tackle it first thing the next morning.

Just before entering Rio Grande National Forest and about five miles from our planned campsite two ladies in a car stopped us and informed us there was a bear ahead. Just one they said, but it looked hungry and it didn’t appear to be scared of people. She showed me the pic they took while sitting in their car. Yep, it looked skinny. And I didn’t want to meet Mr. Friendly Skinny Bear so up we peddled.

We’d seen a grizzly bear our third day out near Swan Lake Wildlife Refuge. That bear, however was not skinny and very big. He was as afraid of us as we were him. No we didn’t get a pic… we pedaled on putting distance between us.

Once again we continued riding as we wanted to put as much distance between the bear and us. We peddled up and over Canero Pass and cruised into Storm King campground. We like to call it our twilight ride.

The campsite was sweet! We were pretty tired and had to dry the tent and fly out from the night before because it was dew wet. Simple dinner, stow food, set up tent, tuck in the Cuttys and we said good night.

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 34 | Salida to Sergeant | 43 miles, 3,724 ft elevation | Magnificent Marshall!

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We left Salida with full bellies, quenched thirsts and hearts that were overflowing as we were so well taken of care by our friends. Christie even brought her Indiana home grown Brandywine tomatoes. Yum!

Ahead of us was our longest climb ever – 20 miles up to Marshall Pass – and it was magnificent! That was easier than the first five miles on the highway, uphill and in a fierce headwind. Ouch!

Marshall Pass Road is also used by motorcycles riders and ATVs so we didn’t have the road all to ourselves as many times we do, but we kept a steady pace and before we knew it we were at the top of the Pass celebrating with a snack – one of Christie’s delicious bars made with spent grains, oatmeal etc.

Once again rain clouds rolled in as we bombed down the Pass. They didn’t catch us this time though.

Once in Sergeant, our destination for the night was Tomichi Creek Trading Post and we were hoping they had a camp site and maybe a hot meal.

We hit the mother lode. Campsite by a creek with a view of the mountains (and a picnic table), a bathroom/shower (exceptionally clean), a store, cafe, a saloon, wifi, electricity. I mean it doesn’t get any better than this and it was right on route.

If y’all are sending positive vibes our way or praying for us, it’s working. Doesn’t mean obstacles won’t occur, but we are finding the wisdom, courage and perseverance to handle them. So thanks for that my friends.

As far as near future, we have a mountain pass a day on the route for the next three days with the biggest pass to climb on Monday, Indiana Pass (go figure). 😂

We are averaging 52 miles a day, have about 900 miles to go and have pedaled up over 102,000 feet of elevation. Love this route, love the people, looking forward to what the next few weeks bring.

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 31 | Como to Hartsel | 30 miles, 1,155 ft elevation | In the Nick of Time

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We all know timing is everything. Weather, stock market, wedding proposals. Whatevs. Timing is huge. And so is luck.

In our case this morning it was… when should we break camp and dash to Hartsel from Como. The rain forecast told us we needed to be strategic. There was a window. We’d already decided to layup in Hartsel to ride into Salida on Wednesday. So it would be an easy day for us. Just 30 miles to Hartsel.

After quickly packing up we rode a quick 30 to Hartsel (with some rain and mud but no big deal). Once there we pretty much hung out in the small town supporting the local economy with purchases of beer and food while we watched our cycling buds roll in one after the other.

We also met this cute family riding the Transamerica Trail. What a beautiful family with such an immense spirit and love for each other and God. Ya just knew it!

We’re camping in the back yard of the saloon. It’s been raining off and on all day but we found a window to set up the tent and just in the nick of time.

Tomorrow, Salida!

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 30 | Blue River to Como | 52 miles, 3,704 ft elevation | Boom! Boreas Pass in the Bucket

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Well there is one thing I need to make perfectly clear. Boreas Pass is only 11,482, not 14,000+ feet as noted yesterday in the blog. Sometimes I fall asleep with my phone in my hand and I wake up in the middle of the night and continue blogging. That’s what ya get, typos. Hate ‘em!

But I do love a stellar bike trail, climbing higher on a bike than ever before and listening to rain falling gently on the tent. And all three happened today.

We kicked off the day riding on an exceptionally scenic bike trail that connected the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge. It also skirted around Dillon Reservoir. It was well marked, well traveled and for us heading to Boreas Pass, all uphill from Frisco to Breckenridge. Seriously though, could we have more bike trails in Indy? So many people were out using them.

After a quick snack break in Breck we began our 10 mile ride up Boreas Pass. I was definitely anxious about this one and for good reasons. Rain was expected later and I wanted to avoid a repeat of the chilling ride down Lynx and Gore Passes two days before. Also we’d never ridden above 10,000 feet before and it was our fourth mountain pass in three days.

But up and up we peddled, Tom leading and waiting for me to catch up every so often. Like pennies from heaven, before we knew it we were at the top! And Tom must be making it look too easy. Twice today (once in Silverthorne and once at the Pass) someone asked him if he was riding an e-bike. 😂

No time to celebrate our good fortune, however. Yep… the rain began. Again. It was a windy, wet, sloppy descent down Boreas albeit a shorter one than Saturday’s ride in the rain.

The route took us to Como, a tiny town with the only shelter options for cyclists at the Community Center – outside. No water or food options were available but… there is a pit toilet, plug outside the old building for charging devices and cell service! Pennies from heaven!

Gary and Kurt who are section riding the divide also landed in Como. They considered continuing on 30 miles into Hartzel but then opted to stay. We chatted it up for a while exchanging stories before we hit the sack – at about 6pm because of the rain.

Just an easy ride into Hartzel tomorrow where rumor has it a pizza place offers free camping in his yard and pizza to hungry cyclists. 🍕

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 25 | Rawlins to CR 602 | 43 miles, 2,913 ft elevation | Oh “Why”oming

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Wyoming we love you but what’s up with the send off?

The best part about today might have been late checkout at the Hampton Inn. 😂 We did laundry, updated the blog, backwashed the water filter, did some bike maintenance, ate a huge breakfast, bought more food and water for the road and even stopped at McDonalds for some lunch.

Late checkout was clutch after arriving later in the evening. We just took our time getting out.

Although we left Rawlins in the heat the day we were totally revived after our ride out of the Great Basin. It was super smooth riding on a newly paved road.

This was our last night in Wyoming so we had our eyes peeled for a scenic yet convenient camping spot. It looked like weather was coming in so we began to get a little more serious about finding one.

Finally we just pulled off a county road and plopped the tent down ensuring it was anchored down well with the storm coming. Dinner, stowing food, brushing teeth, securing bikes were finished so we hunkered down in our tent thinking what an easy day of riding it was and that we were both actually still somewhat clean. 😂

Next thing we know a huge gust of wind came and picked up all the dust (and whatever else is mixed in since we are in a cow pasture) and blew it up under our tent fly all over our clothes, skin and sleeping bags. It was like laying out in the beach with all the sand. Why Wyoming would you want to send us off like that? Until next time…

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR South Pass to Rawlins (Day 23 and 24 | 140 miles, 5,300 ft elevation | The Great Basin: Legs Back to Work

Monday Riding Stats | Tuesday Riding Stats

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Where to begin describing our ride through the Great Basin? I would say it’s a love hate relationship. We loved it, but it was tough mostly because of the relentless headwind and being anxious about adequate drinking water.

We resupplied at Wild Bill’s with Carmella and Chris taking good care of us. This was especially helpful as on Monday it appears most everything is closed in Atlantic City (population 57).

As much as we celebrated the tail wind the previous day we lamented over the persistent headwind. I thought a lot about tailwind metaphors in life and advantage but won’t go into it here. #toodeep

It’s beautiful in the Great Basin; the landscape rarely changes, there are herds of wild horses racing across the land and it’s pretty much all sun, no shade. The pronghorn thrive and we never tire of seeing them.

In late afternoon on Monday we just plopped our tent down when we’d had enough and enjoyed a simple dinner while sitting on our old maps sparingly drinking water.

Tent fly free camping gave us an unforgettable view of the stars.

On Tuesday it was just 30 miles to the next water source and if we were gamblers we would not have thought we would make it to Rawlins which was 80+ miles away but we did! Don’t think I’ve ever been so spent and thirsty.

Thanks to Tom for being my constant cheerleader. There comes a point when you’d do just about anything for an ice cube or cold drink. Making it to Rawlins was a big incentive for us.

We rolled into Rawlins, got something to drink at the Sinclair gas station and promptly rolled our bikes over to the local steak and burger joint for some real town food.

We are celebrating that the Basin is behind us and very much looking forward to Colorado in about 50 miles.

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 22 | Pinedale to South Pass | 79 miles, 3,465 ft elevation | Leg Vacay

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Even though today was our longest day of riding yet and we didn’t start until 10am this morning it felt like a vacation for our legs. It was the combo of friendly road surface and the tailwind! Yes sometimes Wyoming plays nice. 😉

We planned on stopping at 60 miles at a sweet camping spot Chere mentioned but it was only 4:30pm, and although scenic there wasn’t a lick of shade so we continued. So glad we did. Gotta just go when you’re feelin’ it. We spotted so many pronghorn today and I was able to get a short video of them.

I forgot to mention yesterday that this isn’t our first bike experience in Wyoming. Back in 2016 we rode the Tour d’Wyoming and had so much fun. Amber is the ride director and if the saying “good things come in small packages” is true, it was written for her. She’s a sweet little lady with a heart big as the state of Wyoming itself, not to mention she’s a kicka$$ cyclist. She’ll be back at it in 2022 highlighting some of the best cycling roads Wyoming has to offer. Check it out here. It’s a super popular multi day tour so sign up early.

I don’t think I’ve ever cycled though such desolate landscape (although that’s probably going to change tomorrow as we enter the Great Basin). I mean it’s hot, dry and dusty but it’s absolutely stunning. And again, pics don’t do it justice.

Along the way we met Marshall the horse and his owner (don’t know his name). Marshall carries his owner 12 miles a day and loosely follows the Continental Divide Trail. Cool! Sometime Marshall brings a buddy horse to carry camping gear. Sometimes Marshall gets a break and gets to ride in the horse trailer when his owner’s wife sags for them. Who knew that was a thing? 🤷🏼‍♀️

We’re just a short distance from South Pass City so that means we may find our way to a coffee first thing. Until then…

And thanks for the follow and words of encouragement. It means a lot.

Click on the image below to view the video.

GDMBR Day 19 | Colter Bay to Lava Mountain Lodge | 55 miles, 3,717 ft elevation | Up and Over Togwotee

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Last night we didn’t know how to pronounce the name of this Pass and tonight we can say it correctly and say we did it! For these two Hoosier flatlanders that’s something. Again… we’re not fast but we’re deliberate.

We began our morning by setting our alarm early so we could get coffee and charge up our devices at the restaurant at Colter Bay. They also have Wi-Fi. 😉 There are key variables when deciding if and where to stop and most times wi-fi and electricity ranks higher than showers.

Blog posted, devices charged, and bellies full, we took off and headed for the hills to tackle our first eight mile climb. It was on gravel but it’s always easier in the morning when the legs are fresh. Another bonus? It was overcast and even rained a little. We’re thinking Mamaw was looking out for us.

We said goodbye to the Tetons and hope next time we see them it will be a bit more clearly as haze and smoke somewhat hid this majestic view.

We stopped in a C-store in Togwotee and then went on to pedal six more miles to the top of the Pass on pavement. The views both up and down the Pass were spectacular.

After a steady downhill on pavement we rolled into the Lava Mountain Lodge where we are tenting in their back yard. And the bonus? They have a wi-fi extender that reaches our tent. 😉

Tomorrow we take on Union Pass and will likely be out of range. But guess what…. We reserved a hotel in Pinedale so yahoo! That means town food, bevvies, electricity, wi-fi and showers.

Hope your day was extra special. Ours sure was. 🚵🏻‍♂️🚵🏻‍♀️

Click on the image below to view the video.

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