Driving back toward Denver along I-70 — a road that slices clear through the state west-to-east and in reverse — I read the following message on one of those electronic traffic signs: “ROCKS ON THE ROAD…MM 56-57…PROCEED WITH CAUTION”
I temporarily considered giving up right on the spot and living out the rest of my days in the back of the Prius, bartering for food and other supplies with the rock sculptures I would imagine up just as soon as I settled onto the side of the road.
But then I reasoned the odds that a rock of I-70 would take out our exhaust system twice in one year were slim. Really slim. Microscopic. And we had already made it all the way to Grand Junction with two bikes strapped to the rear of the vehicle without mishap. So time to be an adventurer, rocks be damned.
I had started my weekend on the couch of the cottage house, lounging. Dreaming neither of rocks nor rock sculptures nor living in my car.
Sometimes you just have to lounge on a Friday night. Especially when you will be driving nine hours and approximately 500 miles by Sunday afternoon. The journey we embarked upon Saturday was a ferrying trip to get Dan from Denver to Grand Junction, the starting point for the Ride the Rockies cycling tour. The seven-day, 465-mile ride takes 2,000 cyclists all around the mountains of Colorado. This is Dan’s first year doing the ride. When he asked if I wanted to give it a go as well I
laughed hysterically politely declined. I did suggest he attach a trailer to his bike and tote me around with him, but at the suggestion he laughed hysterically politely declined. So my role in the endeavor was to get him and one of our pals to the starting line.
Given our recent cursed car history, we were a tad apprehensive about this setup. But, all equipment, from hitch to carrier, was pro-grade. We checked and triple-checked every latch possible and were on our way.
Colorado is simply the best. No need to argue the point any further. The country here is spectacular. It’s truly my life blood.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, come and visit. Drive around for a while. Ride a 400-mile bicycle tour throughout the countryside. Let me hitch a trailer to your bike so I can come along. You won’t regret it. (You may regret towing me around. I’m told I can get a little chatty.)
When we arrived in Grand Junction (that’s the eastern edge of the city you see above there; aren’t those mesas to die for?) we went to check the fellas in and see what this ride was all about.
Dan and AAron would be crashing in hotel rooms at the towns they stopped in after each stage (they are both working for the paper in some capacity while also completing the ride….underachieve much? I mean really). However, many participants camp along the way. In Grand Junction, we found tent city.
If you would believe it, this was but one section of all the tents. I suppose there’s something pure and rugged about riding 47-100 miles per day (depending on the stage), and then sleeping on the ground each night. But wowza, I just don’t know about any of that.
I stayed over Saturday night — in a hotel room, yes — before seeing the boys off early Sunday morning.
I wanted to fire off one of those starting line pistols to really cheer the guys on. But (1) that is maybe illegal, and (2) this wasn’t the starting line, this was the hotel parking lot. Hotel guest services might have frowned upon me waking up their guests in that manner. (Then again, there were an awful lot of pawn and outdoorsy shops in town that advertised guns, so maybe this would have been the perfect town to fire off just such a pistol.) (One of the pawn shops advertised “Guns and Goodies!” so there’s that.)
But I refrained.
So far, Dan and AAron and there 2,000 friends have completed two stages. The stage today took them over 100 miles of ground. Lance Armstrong was there. I’m extremely proud that they are conquering this immense challenge. I can’t wait to hear more about their adventures along the way.
As for me, I fired my nonexistent starting line pistol, waved goodbye to my compatriots, ate some questionable continental breakfast pastries, and hit the 250-mile road back to Denver. I did not stake out a new home on the side of I-70; I braved the forewarned rock field without mishap. (HECK YEAH, MAN!) And then got home, kicked off my sneakers, threw on some heels, and went to a fancy tea event at the Brown Palace Hotel.
It’s the life I lead, one with many hats and many miles covered. I wouldn’t exchange it for all the guns and goodies in the world.
Make it a good week, everyone. (Ride the Rockies cyclists: Stay strong! I believe in you.)