Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
Left Rawlins into a headwind. Not bad riding just into the headwind which was very tiring. I remembered this section from the previous trip as a very long uphill which most was visible as one big climb. The big rollers of up and down. My memory did not disappoint. Approximately 4500 feet of elevation gain most of it also into a headwind. Probably the most tiring day yet for us.
But at the end of the day the last 5 miles was in the trees. Had been 5 days since we saw a tree. Everyone felt great with that. Warren and Jeanne had found us a great site off the main road, which was busy probably with labor day holiday traffic. And it was noted during the day one of 2 cars which slowed down and gave us a wide berth was a logging truck. Pretty bad when a logging truck is noted to be polite with bicyclists, the other cars not impolite but definitely in a hurry to get somewhere with lots of resulting dust.
But the best was yet to come after we went to bed. I was up about 2 am for nightly duties and the stars were out, lightening going off in the south horizon. Inside tent and a few minutes later pitter patter of rain. I told Jeanne to ignore it as stars were out and it would be short-lived. It was, but 10 minutes later rain hit hard and we buttoned up. The lightening was overhead, then going off incredibly bright right over us, with less than 1/2 second for the incredibly loud thunder to resonate. Next day James and I said we both were thinking of evacuation routes if needed, as we were near the top of hill with big trees sticking up. Quite the show. Nature showing her stuff.
Next morning as we rode off lots of fire trucks were coming down the road although no signs of fire for us. Rode through a section of the road they have preserved called aspen alley, a delightful section of large aspen trees.
Took the alternate route through snake river valley to Columbine where Dave and Constance had a friends near the trail who had invited us to spend the night. Joe and I had ridden the main route over watershed divide with a steep climb and descent. The alternate profile looked relatively level with a steep descent then somewhat flat although it did show Columbine as being about same elevation as last nights camp.
The alternate proved delightful with scenery but by the end of day it proved as tiring as yesterdays. The up just kept going up. Finally made it to Columbine where I promptly ate two ice cream bars and a fanta. Whew. But the cabin was 2 miles off road apparently rough and again very uphill. I rode that part in the sprinter van.
Today my turn to drive into Steamboat Springs. A nice time by myself although one certainly does not get the feeling of the area sitting in a car.
And the trip is coming to an end for Jeanne and I. A bit more than half way down the great divide but as planned we must return to Anchorage for other commitments. Alas life gets in the way of life. It has proven a delightful trip, but as noted very different than when Joe and I did our self supported trip in 2012.
This one has proven luxurious, with gourmet meals breakfast and dinner almost every night. Joe and I had one pot glop meals full of calories and such but after many days it did get old. This trip we have libations, soup, 3-4 course meals, fresh salads, and sitting around after the days activities discussing various whatever, is truly delightful. Everyone has been wonderful, with chores, driving, and help along the way.
But a few more days into Colorado and near Breckenridge and or Dillon we will depart the group and spend some time visiting friends in Denver and colorado Springs, then fly home. Alas things must end but it is a delightful memory. A premier bicycle trip.