Friday, July 9, 2010

The end of Kansas and the part of Colorado that looks like Kansas

So let me see where we left off: I was in Kansas and it was windy.  It was so windy the night that I wrote my ‘Kansas’ blog entry that the girls and I didn’t even bother setting up tents, we just laid our sleeping bags out under this playground shelter.  We decided that it was too windy for mosquitoes to be bothering us.  Thank God that turned out to be an accurate prediction or else I’d have to add “millions of bug bites” to the list of things wrong with my body.

Colorado Beginning 003   We later moved our heads to face the middle of the enclosure because Pepper was nice enough to tell us that when mice run through buildings they travel where the floor and the walls meet.  Thanks, Pepper.

Anyways, we were so stoked to beat the wind that we woke up at 4am and hit the road.  Team Pacecloud (Pepper, Dan, Liza, Bridget, and I) are always the last to leave camp in the morning, so leaving at dark was quite the accomplishment.  We promptly crossed into the Mountain Time Zone, meaning that we sort of woke up at 3am.  Ha, anyways its always nice to get an extra hour.

Colorado Beginning 037

Now THAT’S a cool sign.  Other states please take note: if we rode our bikes all the way to your state, we’d like it if you’d erect a cool sign for us to geek out in front of.

Colorado Beginning 032 I finally got to see some wheat!  The harvest came early this year and by the time we made it to Kansas, there were no more amber waves of grain, just chopped up stalks and dirt.  But in Colorado, where it is colder or drier or something, there were untouched wheat fields literally as far as the eye could see.  If my camera had that panoramic mode, it’d all look like this with a road bisecting the fields.  It reminded me of the ocean.  The vastness, the emptiness, the movement.  At Bret’s suggestion, I pumped some Pink Floyd through my Ipod and enjoyed zoning out while watching the wheat.  Better than TV.

Colorado Beginning 051 In our raingear about to leave Eads, Colorado the next morning.  We camped about 25 feet away from a grain silo that was accepting deliveries of wheat from semi-trucks until midnight.  Worse than trains?  Why yes, yes it was. 

Colorado Beginning 068 Come on, Colorado.  Quit being Kansas and start being all John-Denver-y.

Colorado Beginning 081

Ok, so this picture doesn’t look very neat but it is… and let me tell you why.  We’ve been biking out on the Plains for a week (or is it weeks?) and you’ve seen how it is: grassy, flat, predictable.  Then, our second day in Colorado, we saw THEM.  That thin sliver of blue-grey on the horizon.  The Rocky Mountains.  They seemed to rise up out of the plains so sharp and abruptly.  But so far away.  For me, there was no better motivation to continue riding forward than gazing ahead towards those mountains.  Maybe that’s how early pioneers felt?  Anyways, we appreciated any motivation we could get.  It was the fourth of July and we were all itching to get to the big city of Pueblo, 125 miles away from Eads, where there was going to be a big fireworks display.  It was going to be epic: the Fourth, a rest day, fireworks, a big city, the Rocky Mountains. 

Colorado Beginning 085 I’ll spare you the details but let me tell you this…. it WAS epic.  The owner of the cheapo motel we were staying at chilled by the pool and barbequed food for us all afternoon.  We bought some beers, I showed off my bartending skills, and we had a great American holiday.  Like every other big-ish city, Pueblo has a riverwalk that’s really nice where seemingly the whole town comes together to watch the fireworks.  I got a picture of some of them above the beautiful lights of the parking garage.

The next day was our much needed rest day.  The past week or so through Missouri and Kansas was grueling.  We rode three separate century rides, battled the hell out of the wind, and ate a lot of fried and gas station food.  We drank sub-par light beer and coffee so watered down even I could drink it black.  We also met some of what have to be the nicest people in the country.  The Plains were good to us, but looking at the Rocky Mountains looming over our motel in Pueblo, I couldn’t wait for what was to come.

Also our NEW VIDEO encompasses our journey through Kansas.  Some footage filmed by yours truly!


  1. Hi Tara, How are you and Team Pacecloud doing, I see you've loss a team member. Wishing good pedaling and a tailwind to Pepper. Love reading your blog. It motivates Gordon & I to ride bikes everynight or walk on the beach. We're going "out yonder and rambling" more because of you. I'm proud of you baby and MISS YOU! Keep going strong and enjoy the moment. Love MOM

  2. Hi Tara, I am a co-worker of your mom's. I've been tracking your progress across the US. You and those with you are doing a wonderful work. Stay safe and enjoy the ride... MOst people say they will support a good cause. But you and your team have more than surpassed just saying it...You are actually following through. This type of commitment will fair you well the rest of your life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Hi Tara,
    I'm a friend of Dale's. He and I were zoomobile instructors together at the MD Zoo. I've been following his blog, which led to your blog, and I really enjoy it. I just wanted to let you know that you have another reader following along. It sounds like a life-changing experience!