Day 41 (July 8th 2016) Lake Pueblo State Park – Royal Gorge CO;

Today started not so great but ended on a high note. From 3am – 6am, we were pounded by back to back severe thunderstorms that gave the one in Benedict a run for its money. They say that lightning strikes 30 times a second around the globe. For those 3 hours, it felt like all those average strikes were concentrated directly over us. It was never ending and the wind was relentless. Then there was the hail. Golf ball sized hail pelted us and our tents, I thought it was gonna tear right through, but the old girl held up like a champ. After the worst of it was gone, we packed up camp quicker than ever and scadaddled out to avoid any more storms.

Today’s ride is what I’ve been waiting for this whole trip. The mountains are insanely beautiful and we had a good 20 mile stretch of downhill, taking in the sights and beauty. Towards the end of the ride, we did encounter some long climbs, but compared to the Appalachians, it was a cake walk.

We were originally supposed to stay in Guffey tonight, however, after talking with several east bounders, we decided that was not going to happen. There is only one available place to stay there, in a gentleman’s yard. All the cyclists we talked with told us horror stories. We decided to jump ship and stay at a wonderful campsite in Royal Gorge. Though it means we have to make up for lost mileage, avoiding another Benedict night is worth it.

And for the happiest of news – I have been reunited with Addie! My parents drove from Jersey to CO in record time, and I was lucky enough to see both them and Addie tonight. I was nervous Addie would have forgotten all about me after being spoiled by my parents all summer, but she gave me a wonderful year provoking greeting that made my day. She looks wonderful, and has not gained any weight from all the excessive treats I’m sure she’s getting (and deserves). I get to see them for the next couple of days, which will only enhance the beautiful rides to come.

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