Day 66: August 7: Kremmling to Rocky Mountain National Park

After breakfast, I said goodbye to the other bike tourists and took off. I didn't get too far -- about one block -- and I met another bike tourist who was stopped at the town park. He was a young guy who was riding from Oregon to Virginia. We sat and talked for about a half an hour.

From Kremmling, I went east on US 40 through Hot Sulphur Springs to Granby. In Granby, I stopped at a convenience store, where I talked with three motorcyclists from Texas. They were taking the scenic route to get to the motorcycle rally at Sturgis, South Dakota.

I turned north on US 34 (Trail Ridge Road), up into Rocky Mountain National Park. This road is the highest continuous paved road in the US, reaching an altitude of 12183 feet at its highest, after going over Milner Pass at 10759 feet.

I stopped at the visitor's center at the park entrance to check on campsite availability. Every campsite I'd passed had been full, and I didn't want to have any problem getting somewhere to stay at the Timber Ridge campground, which was immediately below the climb up to the pass. I wanted to do the climbing first thing the next morning, and so didn't want to stay too far away. They told me that the campground, 10 miles away, had 10 free campsites. There was a "first come, first served" policy there. I explained to them that that policy would only be fair if everyone traveled at the same speed but that I moved only one-sixth as fast as the RV's, autos, and motorcycles who were competing with me for campsites. I still couldn't get them to reserve a site for me. So I rode on up to the campground, only to find it full.

The ranger told me to check at campsite 95, since there was some confusion on the part of the motorcyclist who'd just arrived as to which campsite was which. I rode on to the site, only to find one of the motorcyclists whom I'd talked to at the convenience store in Granby.

I told him jokingly that he'd taken my campsite. He invited me to stay with them, so I pitched my tent and sat down to talk.

He was Grady James, a divorce lawyer from the Houston area, who was traveling with three of his friends. One was off staying at a motel, and the two who remained were a detective and his wife.
Grady and his friends
They made dinner over the campfire, and we drank mixed drinks and played music. That is, we tried to remember songs for me to play. Finally, we invited over people from the two campsites adjacent to ours. One man was an Australian, who (of course) had to sing Waltzing Matilda. The two college girls from the other campsite also had a guitar, which they brought over. I played harmonica while the Australian and the college girl played guitar. Unfortunately, about 8:30 a ranger came around and told us that we had to be quiet. We thought it sounded pretty good, anyway.