Life On A B-I7

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TransAm Journal - Sat June 24, 2023

Day 46

Ordway CO, 90 miles

Just when you think you’ve done your best, you somehow find a way to do a little better. Today’s 90 miles comes as something of a surprise to me, but I am happy to take it.

I really didn’t have that many options. The towns with any services in this part of Eastern Colorado are 30 to 40 miles apart. If you’re going to cover more than one town, it means stretching your legs. I’m happy my destination town today was at 90 and not 100. It was so hot today I had to stop at 85 miles and find shade or bad things could have happened. I found shade and rested for 30 minutes. The last 5 miles was a breeze. It was also getting to that point in the afternoon when it was starting to cool off just slightly, which helped a lot.

They say that desperation is the mother of invention, it can also be the father of stupidity…

Around mid-day I was stopped on the road-side hydrating and I heard a clank-clank, clank-clank, behind me. I looked back to see what was going on and there was a car approaching with no tire on the right rear wheel. I crossed over to the other side of the road because I wanted no part of that action. As the car was passing, I waved at the driver, I intended to tell him that his repair strategy (whatever it was) was not going to turn out well. I guess he didn’t see me because he just kept on going. Sure enough, five miles down the road, there he was stopped and going nowhere. The wheel had folded in on itself and the car was resting on the rear axle. The driver had managed to turn a $100 tire plus the cost of road-side assistance into a nearly totaled vehicle. I pulled up and asked him if I could make a call for him. He told me he had a phone (I was mildly surprised) and had already called a friend. He then asked me how far to the next town. (Trust me, cyclists know these things!) I told him four miles, but there were no services. The next town after that with any services was another 40 miles. He thanked me, although I’m not sure why, it’s not like I was giving him good news.

I pulled into my destination hot, tired and as I was about to find out, not smiling. I was drinking a cold water and a woman and her friend walked by and she said to me, “I’ve never seen a cyclist smiling.” I explained that was because I was hot and tired, then I smiled at her and said, “there, you made me smile!” We chatted briefly. I explained that hot and tired comes naturally after covering 90 miles in 90 degree heat. I think that made a connection.

After hydrating, I found the local bar and went in to order a Budweiser, I learned they had run out of the stuff. It was then I realized I was in Colorado, I asked sheepishly, “do you have Coors?” The bartender said, “of course, and it’s on tap.” I said “that’s perfect.” (I exaggerate at times to ingratiate myself.) After chatting for a bit with my bar mates, I learned that the beer I was drinking was being paid for my my new friends. In return I bought a pizza and shared it around. There’s nothing quite like a small town. The fellow sitting next to me had his dog with him in the bar (again, not something you’re likely to see outside a small town). It was a six month old Australian Shepard, Blue Heeler mix. One of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. We became friends instantly.

There’s a hotel in town but I didn’t like the fact that they had a sign on the door, “no bicycles allowed in the hotel.” I have chosen to sleep in the city park instead. There simply is no room in the word for that sort of prejudice… Besides, I never let my bike out of my sight, it’s my horse and my best friend on the road.

Memorial sculpture to John Egbers. Don’t drive distracted please.