Day 57: July 29: Vail to Silverthorne

I woke early after a sound sleep. The sound of the water had lulled me to sleep quickly and masked any other sounds that might have awakened me. As I was making my customary cup of coffee (after taking my tent down and packing it) about 7:30 AM, I was joined by the campground host, who was clearly upset.

"You're camped in that man's spot" she said, indicating a camper rig parked about 10 feet up a steep hillside. I told her that I came in when it was dark, and didn't realize that where I had camped was part of his site. She didn't believe that I could have missed it, until I explained that I'd ridden around the loop against the one-way flow, and thus couldn't see that the pull-out with the camper was associated with this tent site and picnic table.

Finally, she decided to have me pay $6, or half the normal camping fee, to the guy in the camper. He drove off shortly thereafter, so I didn't have to deal with him too. It's interesting to me to watch human nature at work in campgrounds. People are more territorial in campgrounds than they are usually, I've noticed. I suspect that it's because of staying in an unfamiliar place.

I was camped directly at the end of the bicycle path that goes over Vail Pass, through the Frisco/Dillon area, and down to Breckenridge. Fourteen years ago I'd ridden a bit of the Breckenridge end, and was curious what this end was like. As I started climbing the moderate grade, I could see Vail below, framed by mountains on all sides.

The path going up

Another shot of my bike on the path

What are these furry critters, anyway?

A view of the stream from the path

The ride over the pass took about 2 hours, since I was only moving about 4 mph on average. On the way up, I was passed by maybe 20 riders going both directions. Most of them seemed to be intent on going fast, with no time for stopping to chat. Their faces grim, staring at their front wheels, gasping for breath in the thin air at 11000 feet, they would rush by, often without waving or saying anything in response to my greetings. The path wove its way through wildflowers, evergreens, and back and forth over a stream.

Finally I got a long fast ride down the hill at the other side, down to the Copper Mountain ski resort. I spoke for a while with a woman on a bike who was ahead of me for a while. Her name was Sharon and she was on vacation with her husband from NE Kansas.

The path from Copper Mountain to Silverthorne led through Frisco and along the west side of Lake Dillon, then over the Dillon Dam and down to Dillon and Silverthorne. I got into town at about 2:00 and decided to do laundry. I found a laundry that had a coin-operated shower, so I was able to wash off the accumulated dirt and sweat of three days' ride while waiting for my laundry.

I stopped for a beer at the Dam Brewery (which, by the way, brews some very good stouts), and ran into Sharon and her husband (Ted?). He was interested in recumbents, so we went outside and talked about mine.

I finally went over to the Alpen Hutte Lodge, where Judy and the Dogs were going to be staying, according to her web site. The Alpen Hutte is a hostel with 60 beds. It's owned and run by Eric Hagmeyer and his wife Maribeth Mc Lee. The place is very clean and homey, with four beds per room (and a few private rooms as well). The office has some 8x10 photos of Grateful Dead shows on the walls that were taken by Eric. The small room also is home to a guitar amplifier, a guitar, and other musical paraphanelia. I met Jessica, the 22 year old woman at the desk, and we talked for a while.

I went out to the Old Dillon Inn for dinner and stuffed myself in the old building. The town of Dillon has been moved twice: once because they put it in the wrong place, and more recently because of the creation of Lake Dillon by the Dillon Dam. This is one of the buildings that was moved from the old town. It, like the next-door Mint restaurant, was a bar and brothel in the "old days".