Monday, July 30, 2007

2000 down, 700 to go

Well I wish I could post and tell you that the mileage since Salida has been pleasant but well, it's been tough.

After we left Salida we immediately started climbing on Poncha Pass and then continued to climb on Marshall Pass. As soon as we hit Marshall Pass it started raining, big surprise. The thing is that from Salida to the top of Marshall Pass is 32 miles. You go from about 7,500ft to 10,600ft without much of a relief from climbing. So when you throw rain into the mix, it doesn't make for a very fun day. 3 miles or so into the climb once we split off of Poncha, there was a sign saying the road was closed ahead. This is nothing new for us as they are usually closed do to over use (ATV and dirt bike) or it's just a road that they no longer have a use for so they are shutting it down.

When we finally reached the top of our climb, we were drenched. We were happy to be at the top but it was starting to get cold and the thunder and lightning was starting to pickup. The usual picture from the divide (crossing 17) was taken and we crossed the 'road closed' gate and began going down. The road was very sloppy and so it took a while to make mileage.

Mile 4 of the downhill stopped us dead in our tracks. The road just disappeared. It had been washed out earlier in the Summer and no one (not even the bike shop in Salida) had the thought to tell us that part of the trail we were on was gone, completely! Our hands and toes were starting to freeze and that's when we decided to set up camp. It was getting dark and we were forced to set up near the washout as backtracking up the hill seemed useless. We quickly made dinner, opened and ate a half of box of Oreos (thanks mom and dad!) and headed to bed. The sleeping bags were wet, the tent was wet, we were miserable but it felt good to be horizontal.

We woke up early the next morning but the clouds beat us to it. They were already out (7am) and threatening to drench us again. We packed up camp and found a very sloppy trail that lead to the other side of the washout. It took us an hour or more to get all of our stuff about 50 yards up a embankment. Then we had to camelbak-hose off the drivetrains so that we could even get a couple of gears.

The descent started just as it had ended the night before. The clouds were holding their rain but the unused roads were super soft and wet and the descent was again very slow. It almost felt like we were going uphill in some parts because of the effort it took to pedal a sinking BOB across the muck. Finally on the horizon we spotted a small town. Sargents, CO was where the pavement began again for a few miles before diving back into the dirt.

We pulled into the first and only store in town, Tomichi Trading Post, and saw they had cabins. Nat and I joked that if they were cheap enough, we would spend the night and dry our stuff out. Well after getting a quote, I went outside and talked Nat into it. So we hunkered down, laid our stuff out, and got some hot lunch. You have no idea how good a cheeseburger tasted after the hell we had been through!

We pretty much lost the day as far as mileage goes but we felt like we gained a moral boost. The stuff got all dry and we got a great nights sleep in our own beds. I also got to talk to some loved ones back home and just made me smile before heading to bed.

4:30am came very early as we wanted to make sure we missed the rain! We jumped on our bikes around 6am and hit the road. I was barely awake but it felt so good to get a jump on the day. It was very foggy out and continued to be until we hit the bottom of our climb around noon. The rain clouds were starting to gather in the distance but we knew we could outrun them. We rode very quickly up the hill, hit the top and divide crossing 18, and started down the backside. We could hear thunder approaching and it just made us pedal faster! We hit the main road again and kept up quite a quick average pace before dodging back into the rocks and desert of southern Colorado.

We were exhausted when 4pm rolled around and looked for a place to setup camp. We settled on a spot inside the Rio Grande National Forrest and setup just in time for it to start sprinkling. We slapped each other five because for the first time since we got to CO, we had beat the storm! A loud and echoing electrical storm followed that lit up the canyon walls around us. It felt good to be in a nice dry sleeping bag again!

This morning was the same drill, we got up at 5:30 and were on the road by 7am. It didn't work out quite as planned though as 50ft out of camp, my BOB tire was completely flat. Luckily I had a spare but after locating the hole, it was a quick patch job before heading on the uphill to Carnero Pass (10,167ft, no divide). It was tough going as the road was still wet and the uphill was pretty steep. Nat sped ahead as he had his eye on the summit. We both reached the top before 10am and had some awesome GORP courtesy of Uncle John. Then came the rolling downhill that brought us through some beautiful canyon lands and then back into the desert. We stopped for lunch and had some great PB&J and hit the road as the clouds seemed to be gathering around us. The sky is very big where we are right now (picture desert) and so you can see storms from very far off in the distance. We packed up our lunch things and headed off with our sights set on Del Norte. We rode some very technical roads that hadn't been grated or seen maintenance in a very, very long time.

Nat popped up on a hill and stopped. When I got up to see what he was looking it, it felt like Emerald City. It was Del Norte at the bottom of a hill. We knew we were home free and the sun was still shinning! We headed down through the washout and sand and finally hit some pavement again. It was a short pedal to the town center where we popped into the City Hall to see about camping opportunities. The lady looked at us and asked if we wanted to sleep in the city park. We were puzzled but said sure and she pointed out her back window to a pavilion in the park. "You can sleep there tonight, I will let the police know you are in town." A free camping site under a roof, heck yeah we were going to take it!

All in all we have done about 2000 miles of our 2700 mile trip. I would be lieing if I said he didn't miss home and all our friends back East. We are going to try and push hard to get done and try and get home around the 20th of August. I cannot wait and after a 3 day Greyhound ride, it will be sweet to sleep in my own bed again.

-Keith and Nat

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Into thin air

Breckenridge was a great place to take a break! We got loaded up with beer, steaks and junk food just in preparation to climb the 11,482ft Boreas Pass. Even though it's only been three days since I last posted, we have pushed hard to get to Salida, CO to bring you some fresh updates.

I woke up early yesterday and turned on the only thing that seemed logical, cycling. The Tour was in the last day of the Pyrenees and our buddy Levi was looking like he had a chance to take the stage or at least help out his teammate. Well Levi took second in the stage and was fourth overall after a great ride. I was very happy with that and then we find out today that the leader has been kicked out of the tour and everything has been turned upside down. Levi is now in 3rd and if he rides well enough in the time trial, he has a very good chance to win!

OK well after turning off the TV, Nat and I made a HUGE breakfast and headed out for what was a huge climb. We were already at around 9,700ft and the plan was to climb to 11,482ft and camp on the other side. We started out and immediately I could feel my lungs burning. It was a tough push to the top but we made it in about 3 hours. We topped out at our 16th divide crossing and from there the downhill was white knuckle until we pulled into the town of Como. Located at 9,872ft, it was a little higher then Breckenridge and just as hard on the lungs. We pulled into the post office and to our surprise, we had 5 care packages waiting for us! We opened them excitedly to find home baked cookies (thanks Mom!) and lots of other fun treats and energy snacks. It really made the climb seem like nothing. We then set up camp at the city hall and went to bed super early. As we cooked dinner though we were able to listen to the sounds of the Grateful Dead and Phish thanks to John and Toni.

We awoke this morning and decided we could make it to Salida, CO (80+ miles). Luckily with all the sleep from the night before, we were up and ready by 8:30 and ready to roll. Five miles into the ride, we hit South Park which neither of us thought really existed. Unfortunately we didn't run into any cartoon school kids but we did have a nice ride through a very remote part of Colorado. The miles seemed to melt by and before we knew it, it was lunch time and we had already done 35 miles. We quickly ate our PB&J and some home baked cookies just as the rain started to fall. We packed up and the always popular thunder could be heard in the distance. It immediately destroyed our beautiful view of some 14,000ft peaks and we got the rain gear on (Note: The rain gear has had to be used everyday since we got to Colorado). We pedaled over a few small hills and through a lot of large fields before topping out at 10,000ft and having an obscured view of Salida, 13 miles below. We ripped downhill as fast as we could to escape the rain and we we reached the bottom, Nat noticed his shifting wasn't working. The bike made it into the shop but we found out that he had broken a piece off of it and that a new one was in order. Since the shop was about to close, the mechanic there wired it into a singlespeed and we took off for the library.

Well this is a very short update but I am not sure when we will hit another library so I wanted to just check in and let everyone know we are still doing fine! We are going to hang out in town for a little bit tomorrow so Nat can get all fixed up and then we have another monster climb to do. I should be able to post a few pictures in the morning so check back and until then, I hope everyone has a goodnight and a pleasant tomorrow!

-Keith and Nat

Also, congratulations to my friend Kelley. She just completed the Trans-America ride last night. You can check out her blog here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Riders on the Storm

Well what a fun few days we have just had! Right after posting we headed to the local bike shop in Steamboat called Orange Peel Bikes. It was a very very cool shop and they helped me get some more spokes (I have broken 5 now) and some other miscellaneous supplies. They also told us about a great burrito place downtown called Azteca Taqueria. They made us some huge chicken burritos as we anxiously awaited the arrival of my Uncle John.

After heading to the post office to pick up some care packages from my folks and from Katadyn (finally a working filter!), we headed down to the Yampa River to check out the farm fresh fruit and the people tubing down the river. Not long after biting into a Palisade peach, Nat's phone rang. It was John and he was en route to Steamboat! We headed back to the bike shop to meet up with him.

We waited around for a few minutes and then from behind me I heard a familiar voice. John had hitchhiked his way up and found us! We were excited to see him and to have a new person on the trip. We headed back to the burrito shop for one more burrito and then we were on our way.

As soon as we left, the sky grew very overcast and it appeared that we might have our first storm in a while. When we hit Route 14, the rain started falling in sheets and thunder seemed to come out of nowhere. We were prepared as we threw on our rain stuff and continued riding. It was a miserable way to start the ride out of Steamboat but we were happy to have a fresh face on the trip.
After about 20 miles of mis-shifts and grinding brakes, we noticed a small campground at Stagecoach State Park that was not on our maps. We hoped they had some place for us to setup. I could see the expression on Nat and John's faces as they talked to the park ranger, and they didn't look happy. We were drenched from head to toe and they were telling us that there was no more room and that we couldn't stay there. The ranger finally radioed a friendly voice and she said there was one site left that we could use. We were extremely happy as it was starting to get dark and the rain seemed to be coming down harder.

After setting up in the rain, we walked up to what we thought was a store to try and find a dry spot. Luckily there was an overhang with a picnic table underneath it. We setup the Jetboil and got to work stripping down and getting some dry clothes on. That's when we discovered that the bathroom had hot showers and blow dryers. Our night was saved as we stayed up to midnight warming up and drying out!

The next morning we woke up to much more familiar weather. It was a hot one and it was only 8am. We took our time getting out of camp and general procrastination of the 9,000ft pass we were going to have to climb. We got out of camp around 11 with our belly's' full and the sky bright blue. We immediately dove into some single track and then hit the dirt roads to Lynx Pass. As we climbed we noticed that clouds were starting to move in and they didn't look nice. Near the summit of the climb, we once again found ourselves getting drenched with an afternoon shower. Luckily this one didn't last as long and quickly the rain gear was shed.

One thing that I had asked John to bring was some music as that is something that Nat and I have missed a lot. He didn't disappoint and brought along an MP3 player and some pretty cool speakers. He asked if we wanted to listen to music while we rode and I jokingly said "Sure!". John got to work finding a way to mount the speakers so that we could listen to Grateful Dead and Cake as we pedaled. It definitely made the climbs easier!

After our little rain ordeal, we thought we were in the clear as we headed downhill. There was thunder in the distance but the sky above us was good. We descended into the valley and were met with yet another obstacle. The map warned we may have to ford a creek but only if it was a very wet year. Will all the dry weather and non-exist streams so far, we figured we would be fine. We were stopped dead in our tracks though by a waist-deep torrent that seemed impassable. Just as Nat and I were turning the bikes around, John popped out of the bushes and said he had found a trail. We took his word for it and headed into the stream. All of us made it across safely and didn't even get the gear wet! It was a good gamble that payed off!
We climbed and descended through some BEAUTIFUL Colorado countryside before a killer descent into Radium. The campsite was right on the Colorado River so there were boaters and kayakers everywhere! We setup camp and decided to introduce John to the wonderful word of freeze-dried meals. He opted for a chicken dish and said it was one of the best camping meals he ever had. With that we pulled out some music (and whiskey) and relaxed under a relatively clear night!
The next morning we awoke to the sound of a train rolling past. I got up and made some coffee bread to start another long day of climbing. This day would bring us over Inspiration Point and to the base of Ute Pass (9,500+ feet). As we were packing up, the people in the campsite next to us asked if we wanted any wine. We assured them we would love some and they came over and filled a Nalgene with delicious Franzia (box wine). It would be a great way to end the day.
The climb started off steep and didn't let off until nearly 6 miles. It was quite a climb and brought us to a wonderful overlook of the canyon we had just slept in. We were quite happy to see the top though and quickly headed down to our lunch spot for the day. It was a lodge that is owned by Orvis and said private all over it. We hadn't planned on that and Nat volunteered to ride through looking beat up and tired to see if we could use some of their shade. The lady was hesitant at first to have 3 dirty bikers on their nice clean, green lawn but eventually she gave in. We layed and enjoyed some wonderful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
After lunch we were met with what we figure is a pattern. The clouds started to roll in and before long, it was pouring. The past two days, the storm was not directly over us and we were able to ride through it. On this day though, we were not as lucky. With lightning striking all around, we quickly got off the bikes and tried to find a low spot. We sat on some dirt and after about 5 minutes, the storm seemed to intensify. That's when I walked over to put my rain pants on and heard the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard. I looked back at John and he was already up and heading for different cover. We think that the lightning must have struck within 50 yards of us. It's something that none of us want to ever experience again.
We headed a little lower down and soon the storm passed and it was safe to ride again. We were all shaken but happy to be unhurt. We rode for a couple of hours and the sky started to clear ride back up again. That's when we ran into Chuck and Willy who are riding the trail from South-North. Willy had broken his elbow in a crash down in New Mexico but they decided that once he healed, they would continue on. They had been off the bikes for about a month and were just getting back into the swing of things. We were happy to see some more riders and exchanged stories for a good ten minutes. It was getting late though as we headed on and found our way to a deserted campground. There is a large problem out here with pine beadles destroying and weakening trees and this campsite had been closed due to the beadle's weakening all the trees.

We were happy to have the place all to ourselves with some peace and quiet. We setup and went down to the stream to pump some water. The new pump worked 100% better and we were able to fill up in no time. John pulled out the wine and I dug a small hole in some rocks near the shore so we could chill it a little before dinner. We made some more meals and I retrieved the wine and we had ourselves a little feast before John's last day. That night we were able to see the moon and lots of stars with a wonderfully clear night.

Monday we woke up with a sense of excitement and urgency. John had rented a condo for us to stay in when we got to Breckenridge. He told us of a small brewpub and of the hot tub that was right on the property. Wanting to relax our weary muscles, we quickly got ready and headed to our last big climb, Ute Pass. With "Uncle John's Band" pouring through the speakers, we pedaled fast and dug into the climb. We rode past a mining operation of some sort and kept climbing as the trees got smaller. We reached the summit of the climb in just under an hour and a half and couldn't believe the view. The Gore Range surrounded us and Nat and I felt like we were right back in Alberta. It was just gorgeous.

A passing tourist took a picture of the dirty trio and we pedaled off to the downhill portion of the ride. It was fast and over way to quick as we caught back up with the highway that would take us to Silverthorne. We didn't want to take lunch but a sign reading 2 for $2 hot dogs persuaded us otherwise. We stopped in and grabbed a quick bite before hitting the bike path that would take us to Breckenridge.

Rain entered the picture for a few minutes but none of us seemed to care as we flew along the nicely paved bike path. It was 15 miles but it seemed to take forever as we passed ski resorts and condos on the way. We hit Breckenridge and rode through the Main St. before veering right into a group of condos. John was leading and pulled into a condo called the "Motherlode" and we saw the Jeep that he had talked about getting at the rental car place. We were so tired and excited to be here that we ran upstairs forgetting the key code for the door. Luckily John had the number in the car and before long we were fully relaxing, drinking the local "Avalanche Ale" and watching a recap of the Tour. Our friend Rob's brother Levi was in 4th place overall and still looking like a strong contender for winning it this year. I turned the channel for a second and to our amazement, the Sox were on! Jon Lester was making his return to the mound and they were up 5-0! How could things get any better?!
With two showers, getting washed up was a snap and before we knew it we were going 45 mph to Safeway for a restock run. It felt weird going so fast, so easily after almost 2 months without being in a car. We grabbed lots of good Ramen and peanut butter (and lots of other food, thank you John!) before shooting back to get some dinner. We parked and walked down to the brewpub to grab some beers and steak and celebrate the 160+ mile ride we had just put John on in just over 3 days!

The food was the best we have had on the trip so far and a welcome relief from Ramen. We topped it off with some chocatley desserts and beer. It was so nice to relax and not worry about rain or wind blowing the tent around! We walked around town for a bit and hit a few more saloons before bed. We all had a great time and fell asleep with smiles on our faces.

That brings us to today where John has to leave the adventure and head back to Portland to start some new adventures. We were sad to see him go but so thankful to have him for the time we did. He boosted our moral and was just a pleasure to have along! Nat and I both want to thank Uncle John for everything he did for us!

Nat and I are going to hang out here in Breckenridge for another night and then head on to our biggest climb yet, Boreas Pass (11,800+ ft). We are nervous and excited but we look forward to checking back in at Salida. Hope all is well with you guys and hope to hear from you soon!

-Keith and Nat (And John)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Half way home

"Well we finally made it out of the boring, straight ahead, wash-boarded, 400 mile dirt road that someone named Wyoming" - Nat

Well we are pleased to let everyone know that we have made it to Steamboat Springs, CO and the weather is beautiful! We are very excited to be here and wait anxiously as Uncle John bikes his way up to meet us!

Well after we left Rawlins, we immediately were placed back in the desert and fell into kind of a 'funk'. We didn't want to ride and we just wanted to be lazy. It was so hard though when its 100+ degrees with no shade. So we continued on and fell way short of our mileage goal for the day. It was still a 46 mile day but it meant we would have a 60+ mile day the following day. It was our last night in Wyoming and we were glad to see it go!

As we walked and pedaled to our camp destination for the night, Nat and I discussed all the things we missed about home and all the things we wanted to do when we get back. I think that is kind of what helped us get through the day. That and we met up with a few groups of hikers going South-North on the Continental Divide Trail. We have seen a few people riding the divide on motorcycle touring bikes and they say that we are their heroes. To us, our heroes are the people who take 6 months off and hike the same trail we are doing. It is really am amazing feat and we applaud them.

We pulled into camp around 8 and got setup for the night. This was probably one of the more beautiful campsites we had as we were alone for miles and miles and there were 4-5 thunderstorms going on around us but never directly over us. As we headed to bed, thoughts of Colorado danced in our heads.

We awoke to another scorcher and were on the bikes by 8:15. We knew it would be a long day and we wanted to get a good jump on it. We met some cows on the side of the road that decided they wanted to run beside us for a few miles and that kept our minds off the crappy roads for a little bit. Around noon we pulled into an area that locals call 'Aspen Alley'. Looking at the picture above, its easy to see why.

Next was lunch and we sat in the shade full on knowing we had 35+ miles to go. It was relaxing as we ate our PB&J and dreamed about laying on the couch at home and watching a Red Sox game and enjoying a cold Long Trail. We were quickly snapped out of our fantasy by a crack of thunder in the distance. Climbing back on the bikes, we pedaled into a brisk headwind as the journey continued on.

Large ranches dotted the scenery as we finally passed the Wyoming/Colorado state line. It was quite overcast but never rained as we pedaled through the hills leading to Steamboat Spring Lake. It was quite a tiring day and to top it off, the general store was closed when we got there. Luckily, Nat's friend Laura had sent us out some home-made baked goods to Rawlins and we were able to have a sweet treat before bed.

We set our sights on Steamboat and meeting John and blasted. We rode like the wind and made it the 35+ miles in just under 3 hours. It was a nice mix of downhill and pavement and made for some very fast riding. The ski mountain came into view on the horizon and we just pedaled harder. As we made our way into town, people started stopping us and asking were we are heading. Everyone here has been super friendly in the 2 hours we have been here. We are excited to have made it this far and can't wait to see the rest of Colorado!

A few thank you's have gone way overdue and I just wanted to post them so that the people know we love them for what they have done!

First, a huge thank you to the Cunnigham family for getting care packages out to us at every stop and for keeping the food and goodies coming. We appreciate all your help and I love you!

Next a special thank you to Nat's friend Laura Damon. She recently sent Nat a care package of homemade cookies and brownies that definitely brightened up both our days!

Herb and Bob at Revolution Cyclery back in Concord have helped us out as well. They helped us out with our pre-trip bike needs and really got the ball rolling on nutrition for Nat and I. Thanks!

The Morgan family back in Concord as well for getting us some goodies and care packages. Thanks also to Kit for keeping us updated on how the Sox are doing.

Also our friends at Nuun and EMS for all their help getting stuff to us before the trip. Without them, the trip would not have been successful as it has been!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Through the desert

Hello all! Well I am relieved to say that we made it through the Great Basin and have popped out healthy and safe on the other side. I will give you the whole run down since we left Pinedale.

Pinedale was a really cool place to stay and so cool in fact that Nat came down with some food sickness just so we could stay an extra day! This gave me extra time to pack in some cheap food and so I did! We hit Pinedale on a very special weekend. It was Rendezvous Weekend which is where all the crafts people come and line the streets and there are lots of events going on.

Friday night we saw that John Fogerty and friends were playing a free concert downtown. We couldn't believe our luck and to think that world famous John Fogerty was coming to this tiny town of 1,000 to come play blew us away! Well it turned out it wasn't THAT John Fogerty but the concert was very cool anyway. A band from Jackson, WY called Steam Powered Aeroplane came and played some excellent bluegrass and all seemed well. We headed back to the campsite with some new tunes in our head and made some spaghetti before heading to bed.

The next morning as we got ready, I didn't really feel right and knew that I wasn't going to have a good day. I figure it was food poisoning but cannot be sure, all I know is that was rode 40 miles and I felt horrible the entire way. We made camp before an intense mountain storm hit and I was asleep by 6pm.

I woke up feeling a lot better and we set out with our sites on Atlantic City. We knew today wasn't going to be easy as we had some catching up to do on top of three divide crossings. Luckily it was only about 50 miles to Atlantic City. We started up the first hill and right around the corner was a beautiful shot of the Wind River Mountains. They were lit up on this beautiful morning and we knew we would have a better day of riding.

We hit the first divide crossing of the day (#10 for those playing the home game) around 11am when the sun was just getting high enough in the sky to make 100 degrees feel hot. We pedaled on from there through the beautiful rolling hills on Wyoming.

Pushing on through lunch and the washboard roads that seem to go on for miles, we topped out and Nat stopped. There were no signs or anything but according to the mileage, we were at #11. Pretty anticlimactic but definitely very pretty all the same. We were on a ridge that had amazing basins on both sides. "This is it", is all he said and we grabbed some pictures before heading out.

Before we knew it, we were back on pavement and heading through South Pass. There was a little rest stop on the side of the highway and they had some wonderful cold water and benches in the shade that allowed for a great mid-day break. We filled up camelbaks and laid down and I looked at the map. "This is divide crossing #12", I mentioned to Nat. We had no idea as they talked a lot about the pass at the rest stop but not the divide. We grabbed a quick pic before heading back onto the secondary roads which we are now getting used to. Across the way we could see another storm was coming across.

We pulled into South Pass City to catch the end of a bake sale and baseball game they were having for Gold Miner Days. Sounded like a fun event and it was too bad we missed it. We stood inside for a few minutes while a rain shower passed over and ate some delicious coffee cake. Then it was onto Atlantic City. We didn't know what to expect as the population the sign read "About 57" and everyone seemed to be at the bar. We stopped into the bar to see what a bite to eat would run us and as they only had steaks on Sunday night, we knew it wasn't for us. We headed a little ways down the road to a small inn and B&B that seemed nice. We knocked on the door and asked Bob, the owner, if we could set up on the lawn for a few dollars. He said of course and we got to work getting the tent up.
The next morning we got up and was surprised to see Bob walking out to meet us at 7am. He asked how our night went and to our surprise, offered us some breakfast. He apologized that he didn't have anything but banana's and dry cereal but it was way more then we could ever ask for. He threw on a pot of coffee for us as well as we ate. We talked about the Basin and he reminded us it was a very dry and remote place. Before we headed out he offered us a sleeve of Fig Newtons. We were blown away by his hospitality and gladly packed them into the food bag.

We had so many different thoughts and emotions going on that was totally forgot to look down at the map after we started. Before we knew it we had climbed a pretty large the opposite direction! Well luckily whatever goes up very slowly, comes down in a hurry! I snapped a quick picture of our first glimpse into the Basin before heading the RIGHT way.

As soon as Atlantic City was out of sight, we knew we wouldn't see another person for a few days. The first views of the Great Divide Basin just reminded me of every picture I have ever seen of a desert.
(Mom's need not read this paragraph) I won't lie to you, this was our toughest day yet and it really took a toll on both of us. We did 85 miles with one divide crossing and the entire thing was on old gravel roads that were wash-boarded, rutted, and chewed up from years of harsh winters and powerful storms. We finished the last two hours under the candlepower of our lights. It didn't help that we had headwinds for most of the journey and that sand was at a premium and it was blown directly into eyes, hair and mouths. But we made it and we are extremely happy to be on the other side!

That brings us to our haul the heck out of there! We did our 14th divide crossing and met our first hiker going North on the CDT. We started very early this morning (for us) and made it to Rawlins by 3pm. We headed for the first ice cream shop we saw and order two tall milkshakes, something we have been craving for a few days now! We are going to spend the night here and then take a couple easier days to get down to Steamboat Springs, CO!

People have been e-mailing me how to send us stuff (you know like cookies, brownies, Snickers, candy, love etc) and I will post the rest of the general delivery addresses we will be stopping at:

Keith Cunningham or Nat Morgan
C/O General Delivery
US Post Office
142 6th ST
Como, CO 80432-9990
(projected arrival date 7/20 - 7/25)

C/O General Delivery
US Post Office
590 Columbia AVE
Del Norte, CO 81132-2200
(projected arrival date 7/25-7/28)

C/O General Delivery
US Post Office
6358 Main ST
Cuba, NM 87013-9998
(projected arrival date 8/1-8/5)

C/O General Delivery
US Post Office
816 W Santa FE AVE
Grants, NM 87020-7000
(projected arrival date 8/5-8/12)
Again, I can not say how awesome it is that you guys are enjoying the blog. I love reading the comments from family, friends and even the random spainish guy! Keep it up guys and gals! Until Steamboat, keep the rubber side down!