"Welcome to colorful Colorado"
by Bob Eberlein
Lamar, CO – I get up early, and have my jam and bread for breakfast. I still have a little bit of leftover chocolate milk and this poured over ice is a nice variation from water. Outside is cool enough for a sweatshirt; Lamar is about 4000 feet so it gets a little colder at night. It is a little after 6 when I get on the road, and it is a very big road. I am not sure how it got so big, as I thought I was basically in the middle of nowhere. But big it is, and mostly trucks at this time of the morning.
By whatever process the road got so big, it gets small by intersecting with an interstate onto which most of the trucks disappear. So I am back to a pretty ordinary road with a decent, but gravel strewn, shoulder. The land is actually not that much different from
I stop in Las Animas for second breakfast then continue on with only about 20 miles to go before my planned lunch. Too short, I know, but it seems better than too long. Lunch is early at La Junta and it has turned warm so I tank up on liquid at a Carl’s Junior. I take my time catching up on email in the restaurant and move out. It is 80 miles to
On the map the ride from La Junta to
Maps and reality, of course, don’t always match up and that is definitely the case here. The terrain out here is interesting. It starts out very plains like and slowly, on the horizon, mountains emerge. I love watching the clouds on the edge of the earth and seeing if any turn out to be mountains. This is, of course, what the people traveling the
Of course the interesting terrain is only one part of the experience. The road runs through scrub brush and dry grasslands. On each side of the road is a low barb wire fence, and there are railway tracks on the right. The towns that dot the route are, at best, a few broken down houses and there are actually only two of those. The rest are either abandoned or apparently did not ever exist. The sun is high in the sky.
I had planned to stop for lunch along the road but there is no place to stop, no trees to seek shade under. I finally come to a few trees by the roadside with a gravel access area and pull over. It smells like drivers have been doing their duty here from time to time, there are flies, and there are mosquitoes. The poop and flies I understand, this is what I would find at similar spots in the
I eat a few cookies, snatch down some water and move on. There are consistent markers along the side of the road. They started at 72, with 79 miles to
I continue on, now knowing that I really do need to make it to
There is a military training ground off to the side of the road and signs elsewhere saying that land is not for sale. Apparently the army wants to expand the facility. I continue along and see a big building down a road. It seems like a factory in the middle of nowhere and I am puzzled. It turns out it is a prison, a good location for that.
Finally my milestones go under 10. I am counting each of them carefully, just trying to get to the next one. The road finally emerges into land that is cultivated. There are irrigation ditches and now there are trees. At this point I am tempted to just stop under the trees and fall asleep. The shadows they cast from the low sun are completely refreshing. 4, 3, 2, 1 and finally the highway I am on ends. Now I know there are 7 more miles, but I hope something will appear sooner.
My hopes are never met, the road just continues to wind on. More ups and downs, some of the downhills pretty big, and I just let the bike go, numb to the exhilaration. Finally the vestiges of a town appear. There are some businesses, a movie theater or something like that, and eventually a little sign saying
I stop in the shade of some U-Haul trailers and get my computer out to look at Google maps. Based on this I take the road up the hill. Houses, a dentist, not much on it but I continue along. Just as I start to enter what looks like a town I notice a Motel. I stop, that is the end of this day, thank goodness.
137 miles today.