Day 44 (July 11th 2016) Kremmling – Walden, CO; 80 miles

I lost my phone charger yesterday (Murph to the rescue!) so today and yesterday’s posts were uploaded late

Colorado continues to give me chills, not only because of the scenery, but because of the wind and the actual cold. At night and in the mornings it gets pretty chilly, more than I was prepared for. Even during riding, I stayed pretty bundled up. Mainly cause the wind chilled things down a few degrees.

Everyone started out pretty late due to last night’s late entrance. Sheena noticed that her shifter was too loose and about to fall off. She tightened it but it was still not working properly. After about 20 miles, we stopped at a restaurant to refill water. We ran into the owner of a bike shop (the owner of the very one we were going to stop at, but it was closed). What’re the chances?! He looked at her bike and fixed it, but was in a hurry. He left before we realized the problem wasn’t truly fixed. We went the rest of the ride with it broken, but Mary came to the rescue and fixed it when we got in!

For the later part of the ride we were battling 30 MPH wind gusts from all directions. It was over 30 miles and truly demoralizing. It made an 80 mile day feel like a 100 mile one. It was not the most fun, and that’s all I have to say about that. Oh, and we crossed another continental divide. That’s 2 in 2 days, not too shabby.

We were welcomed into a kind man’s home for water. Because towns were very spread out and amenities were few and far between, we resorted to knocking on doors to find water. This gentleman told us that he frequently allows bikers to stay at his house and he wonders why no one blogs about him. Well here’s his big shot! He is the last house on the left (going west) in the town of Rand. He told us about the wildfire that we could see and soon would be riding right towards. He also explained that a lot of the dead trees we have seen are because of pine beetles, an invasive species. They are letting the wildfire burn in a controlled manner to regenerate the forest.

We got in again a little late, but tomorrow is a shorter and hopefully less windy day.


Day 43 (July 10th 2016) Hartsel – Kremmling CO; 108 miles

100 miles in the Rockies should be illegal. Not only because it’s tough, but there’s no time to enjoy the sights and views the great mountains have to offer! Colorado continues to be breathtaking, not only for its beauty, but for the altitude as well. We made it over our highest point (Hoosier Pass) of the trip, 11,500 feet to be exact. Waiting at the top were my parents and Addie, a great way to end the climb! The towns at the base of the ascent were really cool, but unfortunately, due to the time constraint, we were unable to explore them.

After crossing the continental divide, we were led onto a beautiful bike path with spectacular views. The path was very well used and we had to practice caution during riding to avoid a head on collision. After the bike path, however, riding got tough. Because we spent some time in Breckenridge (it looked straight out of Disneyland), we were all pretty far behind. At 5pm we still had 37 miles to go. We thought they would be all downhill, but boy were we wrong.

We took a road whose terrain was very similar to that of the Appalachians. Ups and downs that were not very kind. Once we were halfway done with the road did we realize that we missed a shortcut that would’ve shaved 4 miles from the trip. But we were committed! We were warned about construction on an upcoming road, and ever the optimist, Murph thought maybe taking the long way bypassed the construction. But boy was she wrong.

Once we got off the Appalachian road, we got on the construction road at the very start of said construction. It was 6 miles of pure nightmare. Everything that could’ve gone wrong did. The sun was in our eyes, wind in our faces, the road was unpaved and felt like we were riding on a rumble strip the whole time. In addition, every time a car passed it would throw dust in our faces, forcing us to hold our breath for 15 seconds to let it clear. In that high of altitude, that is near impossible! One semi passed me and kicked up a rock right into my neck. It was the cherry on top. But alas we survived and more importantly, my bike survived. Some were not so lucky. Racks and brakes broke for some from the vibrations and others suffered from flats. It was definitely a rough stretch.

Once we were through with that road, we hit swarms and swarms of mosquitos. I was so busy swatting them away that I nearly fell off my bike, not for the first time on the ride. Earlier I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bike. Sheena accidentally blew a snot rocket in a stealthy road cyclist’s face who snuck up on us. Sheena felt horrible, but didn’t get a chance to apologize.

We ended up getting in at 8:30, with just enough light left to set up camp. Others didn’t get in till after 10. Ten’s mom and cousin were kind enough to provide dinner, breakfast, and lunch. After the day we had, it was much appreciated.


Day 42 (July 9th 2016) Royal Gorge – Hartsel, CO;

Colorado is living up to all my expectations, and then some. You know the views and sights are amazing when you’re climbing up a hill full of anticipation about what you’ll see as you come over the top that you don’t even realize you just climbed over a mountain. There is so much to see and take in that it makes me wish I invested in a GoPro.

A highlight of the day was coming over a pass at 9,400 ft to see snow capped mountains in the distance. It was breathtaking and words (nor picture) could capture the moment. The only thing that made it better was the fact that my parents and Addie were just a hundred feet away waiting with snacks. It was a great place to stop and stock up on goodies.


All in all, we climbed close to 5,000 feet in elevation. Everyone seems to be noticing the change in elevation. You know it’s bad when a bunch of under 30’s are huffing and puffing climbing a gradual hill after biking for well over a month. Rest breaks are necessary and taking it easy is a must. Tomorrow we will be reaching the highest elevation of the trip, then it’s all downhill from there!



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.


Day 39 + 40 (July 6th &7th 2016) Ordley – Pueblo – Pueblo State Park CO; 55 + 10 miles

We finally have another rest day! After long days of crossing Kansas and eastern Colorado, the rest in Pueblo is much needed. Even though the majority of the rides were flat, constantly having to pedal without break is tiresome and really fatiguing. Though it was worth it, because we’re finally back in the mountains! Tuesday we were able to faintly see the outlines of the Rockies, but after yesterday’s short 55 mile ride (one of the more enjoyable rides), the mountains are clear and focused, and absolutely beautiful. Although I know it will be challenging to cross the Rockies, I am really full of excitement to see the sights.

Even though today is an off day, we still have to ride about 10 miles to the State Park where we’re staying tonight. Wish it was a true zero day, but 10 is better than 100!

An interesting tid bit about riding in CO is the number of grasshoppers in the street we encounter while riding. There are so many of them that as we ride along, they jump spastically out of the way. There are hundreds of them, just jumping and flying around in every which direction, hitting our bikes and legs. Some even hitch a ride, only to jump off into our faces when they come to the end of their free loading. It’s like parting the Red Sea as we ride through the hoards of them.

Yesterday was a momentous day for me, as it marked the 15th anniversary of me getting hit by a car. It was definitely a traumatic summer for me and one I will never forget. I never thought I would get back on a bike after that incident, and if you were to tell little 11 year old Emilie that in a few years I’d be halfway across the country on a bike, I’d call you nuts. But here I am, and couldn’t be happier to be doing it! The crosses we so frequently pass on the side of the road denoting someone killed by accident serves as a staunch and sobering reminder of what could’ve been, and also reminds me to never take this blessed life for granted. So here’s to another 15 (hopefully more) years car accident free!


Day 38 (July 5th 2016) Sheridan Lake – Ordway CO; 88 miles

Colorado is more like Kansas than Kansas. Well, it’s more how I imagined Kansas to be. We can see miles and miles ahead, more so than we were able to in KS, and the sun is so much more intense and hot. There also are no trees in sight to provide valuable shade. Trees, in fact, are very sought after and ones close to the road not surrounded by shrubbery are very valuable. We did, however, encounter some rolling hills towards the end of today’s ride. After going up one such hill, we looked out at the horizon, and lo and behold, we had our first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains! Though faint, we were able to see the behemoths from miles away. Can’t wait to get to them soon!


It was another long day, just shy of 90 miles. It was made longer by a continuation of flat tires. Molly was the latest victim and encountered a few issues changing the tire. We stopped to help (I wasn’t of much assistance) and with a few people, we were able to figure it out. In addition to mastering the art of snot rockets, Sheena has also perfected changing tires quickly and efficiently.


New Jersey was poorly represented today after an irate driver with NJ tags cut off Helena and Catherine (nearly hitting them). He jumped out of his car and ranted an incoherent slew of curses and vulgarity at them before driving off. People can be the worst.

5 miles out of our destination we stopped in a cafe in Sugar City for a much needed break from the sun. We got a few treats, including cinnamon buns. They were fresh from the oven and delicious. So delicious, in fact, we got a few to go for breakfast tomorrow.

Today we’re staying in Ordway in a hotel to celebrate the official half way point (wow that flew by!). The owner, Carol, is extremely friendly and welcoming. She made us a delicious and plentiful 3 course dinner. She must’ve known that we were hungry, cause the portions were heaping. And we didn’t let one crumb go to waste.


As a side note, today is a very special day for me because one year ago today I took home Addie! I miss my little honey bear and wish I could celebrate our adoptaversary together, but I’ll have to wait 3 short days for that.


Day 37(July 4th 2016) Dighton KS – Sheridan CO; 100 miles

Happy 4th of July! Though I didn’t celebrate one of my favorite holidays in a typical way, it’s definitely one I’ll never forget. Today was a day of milestones, 2000 miles, crossing another time zone, and (most importantly) entering the most anticipated state – Colorado!! And what’s more patriotic than crossing the country by bicycle?! It was also the day Sheena’s bad luck returned, but I’m sure she’ll divulge further in her corner.


The end of Kansas was just as it has been. We started out early (way before sunrise) and entertained ourselves by chasing a red light. We thought the light was stationary, signifying a building, but after nearly half an hour, we realized that not only was the light moving, but it was in fact a cyclist. We figured it was someone we didn’t know because we were the first ones out, so we grew excited to meet a new person. After almost an endless cat and mouse game, we finally caught up to the mysterious cyclist, only to come to the conclusion that it indeed was one of us! Murphy somehow stealthily snuck out before us. She left us quite disappointed, sorry Murph but it’s true!

We had dinner with the amazing community of Sheridan Lake. We saw the town’s parade and they invited us to join them for dinner. It was a pot luck full of tasty dishes. The community was extremely welcoming and friendly. They were having a fireworks display after dinner, but after 100 miles in the heat, we all were too pooped to partake.

Colorado welcomed us with swarms of nasty biting flies and a second flat of the day for poor Sheena. But the 100 miles of riding was worth it to finally make it into Colorado, a huge inspiration for doing this trip!