Day 55: July 27: Carbondale to Gypsum CG

After camping for a few days in one place, I tend to have my stuff rather spread out between the picnic table, the tent, a clothesline, the trailer, panniers, etc. Today was no exception. It took me till 11:00 to finally get out of the RV park, but I did have breakfast at the campsite. By the time I'd gotten into town, I was hungry again. I stopped at the coffeehouse to get a bagel sandwich. At the office of the CCAH -- the organization that put on the Mountain Fair -- they didn't have my gloves. I guess I have to consider them stolen or at least well lost.

I had decided to ride into Silverthorne -- about 100 miles distant -- to visit with Judy Colwell and other riders who were doing part of the Continental Divide Ride, an off-road ride that goes from Mexico to Canada. They were ending this part of the trail in Silverthorne in Friday, which would give me three days to get there. Of course, somehow I got the idea that it was only about 70 miles, but still it would be a comfortable three day ride.

I rode the 20 miles into Glenwood Springs on route 82. It wasn't a very pleasant road. It's one of those busy 4-lane roads with little or no shoulder in places. Traffic in Glenwood Springs was very urban -- the worst I've seen in a couple of months. As the cars and trucks sped by me, I was wondering whether I'd made the right choice in deciding to go to Silverthorne.

From Glenwood Springs, my path included about 15 miles of the Glenwood Canyon Bicycle Trail, which parallels Interstate 70 along the Colorado River, through the spectacular Glenwood Canyon. This was a lot more scenic and relaxing than riding along the interstate usually is. As I rode along the river, I was surrounded on both sides by towering walls of granite. It looked a lot like some of the canyons I'd ridden through in Utah, but without the red sandstone. This stretch of I-70 was the hardest bit of the national highway system to build, as its path along the river is extremely inaccessible. Even the Ute Indians avoided traveling through the canyon.

The path ended at the eastern end of the canyon, and I continued riding on what was probably "the old highway", parallel to the Interstate. This area was quite a contrast to the evergreens and lush growth that I'd seen in Carbondale: it is open desert, with nothing but some low shrubs everywhere but along the river. On the left was the interstate and a high ridge of mountains, on the right was the river. I didn't see too many places to camp that weren't in danger of flooding if it rained. Finally, I found a free BLM campground just before Gypsum that had only one other occupant. As I was setting up my tent, I saw a beautiful young woman walk by wearing silk pajamas. Unfortunately, she wasn't coming to visit me. I went down to the river to filter a few liters of water for dinner and breakfast, then made a pot of "rice and stuff". If it weren't for the noise from the Interstate, this would have been a very nice campground.