Hot take: Penultimate is a top five vocab word in the English language.
It’s spicy, somewhat exotic, and more than 10 letters long. The opportunity rarely presents itself to use this word and you sound pretty smart when you do.
I’d argue we all know one (slightly overconfident) person who loves to use this word.
With that said, this post basically wraps up Colorado, the penultimate state on the Great Divide trail. One might also argue this is the penultimate blog post before we enter New Mexico. And this is the penultimate sentence before we dive into the following sections.
Like I said — penultimate, top five vocab word for those trying to sound smart.
Day 39 - Salida Hangout
Not really feeling too lively after my late-night dog encounter, I decided to hang out in Salida for the day to recharge my battery. I stumbled upon a quiet spot on some rocks by a river and took the opportunity to take a much needed nap.
I also took this extra time in town to get Apollo tuned up. After the debacle in Steamboat, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to get him looked at if I was hanging out in Salida for the day. Fortunately, upon return from the bike shop, Apollo was given a clean bill of health and even got a lollipop for “being brave” when he got his tire pressure taken.
Aside from that, I wish I had more news to report from Salida. Apparently, Tuesdays are their off day and I rolled in when the arcade, ice cream shop, and “Drunken Bakery” were all closed. Maybe next time.
I did meet this adorable boxer puppy that was afraid of everything, including my camera.
Day 40 - Race to Tomichi Creek
Today’s ride was a race. Not against other riders, but against the rain.
The forecast called for a downpour in the afternoon. Doing the math (odds not in my favor there), I had until about 3pm to get to camp before the skies would open up and pour. Oh, and not to mention the 10K ft mountain I would have to summit along the way. But, who’s counting, right?
This ride was actually a lot of fun even though I had a deadline looming over my head. It was a slow, gradual climb up a well-maintained road and it also had some pretty fun views despite the overcast weather.
Rolling into Tomichi Creek Campground at about 2:30 pm, I had won the race against Mother Nature and was able to set up camp just before the rain started.
That said, while I may have won today’s battle, I haven’t won the war, just yet. Not only will it rain all night, it’s going to rain the entire day tomorrow. Not ideal, but this campground has a convenience store selling homemade fudge. We’ll deal with the rain tomorrow.
Day 41 - Tough Mudding
Cruising along the pavement for the first 15 miles of the day had me feeling good. Sure there was a little bit of rain, but my gear was dry and I even double wrapped my sleeping bag using some trash bags I found at camp — I was 100% waterproof.
Mud-proof? Not so much.
Turning off the pavement, I could feel the difference between the compact road and the soft dirt trail. Each push of the pedal was twice as demanding and the bike was slipping and sliding all over the hill.
But, we’ve been here before. No time to panic, rather, it’s time to be patient.
I dismounted, and decided to walk Apollo up a steep hill. I can not overstate enough how much of a poor decision this was. As such, I will let the following visual lead my upcoming tangent.
This wasn’t mud. This was clay. Really sticky, thicc clay (that’s not a typo, I mean thicc). If I had a kiln, I could have made a small adobe house with the amount of mud that stuck to my tires. Apollo quickly slowed to a stop and I got down and dirty picking the mud out of his wheels.
Pick, scrap, toss. Push three feet. Repeat. Pick, scrap, toss. Push a foot. Slip and fall. Cuss at the rain. Repeat. You get the idea.
At the top of the hill, the road firmed up and I could finally get some of the mud off the tires and out of the gears. There was still a ton stuck everywhere else (including on me) but Apollo’s wheels could spin freely. We were a go.
Getting to camp, I was looking forward to relaxing by the creek and getting the rest of the mud off myself and the bike. However, “Luder Creek” isn’t so much as a creek as it is a swamp. Undeterred, I took out my trusted water filter and began to pump.
But, never a dull moment, the water filter suddenly broke. Cracking nearly in two, it is no longer usable which is actually one of the biggest problems I considered for this trip. With no service or access to the internet, I have no way of knowing if the next town will have one. Fingers crossed, if not, hopefully I can at least get cell service to learn how to use my water purification drops instead — yes, I’m now well aware I should have probably done that at the start of the trip, whoops!