Colorado – the Doldrums

Even though Utah had its fair share of wild personalities and chaotic bike rides through ski towns, I felt relieved to finally make it to the Colorado border.

100 miles on highway 40, the scariest road I've ever biked on, just for this moment. Totally worth it. Oh, and the sign didn't lie. Colorado is to Utah/Nevada as HD is to silent films.

100 miles on highway 40, the scariest road I’ve ever biked on, just for this moment. Totally worth it. Oh, and the sign didn’t lie. Colorado is to Utah/Nevada as HD is to silent films.

Just knowing that I made it past the heat waves, desert roads, and barren landscapes of Nevada and Utah gave me a good feeling. That, coupled with the anticipation of the most intense climbs in the most thin oxygen, made me pretty freakin’ psyched at the time that Amanda snapped that picture of me.

That night, we camped in the Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado (so called because of the dino quarry that lies between it and Vernal, Utah). I drank far too much water before bed and, groggy and stiff, woke up at 4:00am to go to the bathroom. We had set up camp miles from any big city or town and, as I answered nature’s call, I looked up to see the milky way and hundreds of thousands of stars twinkling in the sky. It was the clearest night sky that I had ever seen, and if I had more time I would try to write my mental image from that night in such a way that you could see it to. The next morning, I watched the sunrise over our campsite wrapped in my favorite fleece. It was cool.

Sunrise over a mesa in Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado.

Sunrise over a mesa in Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado.

We made our way through mining country the next day on our way to Meeker, Colorado. It was a pretty short and uneventful day through one of the least visited parts of CO.

I'm not sure how many coal miners in Colorado actually feel this way about Obama, but it was one of the few exciting things that I found on my way from Dinosaur to Meeker.

I’m not sure how many coal miners in Colorado actually feel this way about Obama, but it was one of the few exciting things that I found on my way from Dinosaur to Meeker.

After we ate our fill of rice and beans at our campsite in Meeker, we watched the sunset from the top of red sandstone rim rocks with an ecology bro from Oklahoma State University. According to him, Meeker is home to the largest number of Americans living under the Witness Protection Program. 90% chance that he made that up, but it didn’t make me want to spend too much time there.

The valley town of Meeker, the sunset, and Dana's luscious locks.

The valley town of Meeker, the sunset, and Dana’s luscious locks.

With few people to talk to and lots of camping, our days in Dinosaur and Meeker didn’t lead to any of the swash-buckling adventures or scintillating bicycle rides that I’m sure that you, dearest reader, have come to expect. Fear not! Tales of the bougiest manses, suavest hosts, and summer shenanigans await in Glenwood Springs, Vail, and last, but surely not least, Silverthorne! A new blogpost awaits you in the coming days!

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Utah – 4th of July with a Professional

Our experience in Provo, in a nutshell.

Our experience in Provo, in a nutshell.

It was a little worrying that neither Zac nor his motley assortment of hipster-mormon-biker bros had heard of the town of Strawberry, Utah. After an interesting experience in Provo (see above picture), all 7 of us cyclists were aching to indulge in some 4th of July festivities. Strawberry, however, lies off of “old” highway 40, and had the potential to be a ghost town. After putting on the Lance pants and chugging up the Wasatch mountains to Heber City,

Max - the gooniest of all goons. For all you skiing aficionados, the two peaks in the background are the back side of East Twin and West Twin at Snowbird.

Max – the gooniest of all goons. For all you skiing aficionados, the two peaks in the background are the back side of East Twin and West Twin at Snowbird.

we decided on the audible of audibles. Max received a phone call from an individual he only referred to as “Z,” persuading us to join him twenty miles north in the swanky Ski Town of Park City. On the spot, we abandoned our plans to camp out in Strawberry and, with no place to stay or a pitch a tent, headed up North. After baby-wipe showers and a fresh change of clothes, we wandered the town trying to find a stranger to take us in for the night. After Laura failed to cajole a man with a wizard staff (google “wizard staff drinking game”) into allowing us to sleep on his living room floor, she got a call from a friend of a friend; a professional ski-jumper who happened to live year round on the main drag of Park City with a floor for us to sleep on. Such news called for celebration, and we all converged on the Wasatch Brew Pub for drinks and snacks (I had root beer, for my interested parental units).

Enjoying some dranks at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City on the 4th.

Enjoying some dranks at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City on the 4th.

Next, we gathered on a golf course at the base of the Park City Mountain Resort to watch fireworks. Possibly the greatest day of the trip up to that point.

Fireworks in Park City.

Fireworks in Park City.

Audibles, adventure, and spontaneity are what make this trip totally worth it.

The next day we set off to camp at Starvation State Park. I have no idea why its called “Starvation,” (maybe something to do with the Donner Party) but it was an unexpected oasis in the arid east of Utah. We went swimming and Max made Cowboy Caviar. Yay.

Max dreaming of making Cowboy Caviar at Starvation State Park.

Max dreaming of making Cowboy Caviar at Starvation State Park.

This was our last night in the wild, wild state of Utah. The next day we planned for a century up to Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado. The coolest town name, ever.

No time to say hello, goodbye

Four minutes of battery power means I need to write a brief post.

Good – Detours to Park City, TV and Radio appearances, Dinosaur National Monument stargazing, and a the anticipation of a day of thigh-burning climbing.

Bad – The anticipation of thigh-burning climbing up the 10,600 foot Vail Pass.

 

Story and more photos to follow tomorrow. I took this on a hike yesterday at the Bougie Beaver Creek Resort.

Story and more photos to follow tomorrow. I took this on a hike yesterday at the Bougie Beaver Creek Resort.

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For those of you who don’t use facebook, here’s a link to the tv segment that Dana and I did on Good Morning Vail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1b34LfBsOU&feature=c4-overview&list=UUEUviHsGJ9OwQKXCSZNc1-g

 

The briefness of this post might give you a better idea about what its like on the road. 1 minute left, bye!

Aches, Pains, and Provo

Tonight, I’m staying the night in the house of a carpenter who works as a bike mechanic in his free time. To my left lie a stack of books – Nietzsche’s The Gay Science and Thoreau’s Walden, among others – each dog tagged and scribbled in. To my right, a tool belt, complete with the odor that one might expect from a person who works outside for 12 hours a day, and right in front of me a chalk board:

Zac's Chalkboard. Zac helped found the Provo Bike Collective, a non-profit bike workshop in Provo, Utah. Eloquent and often hilarious, Zac lives an unconventional and inspiring life. From skipping high school so that he could spend more time reading at the UNLV library to walking out of a college class when a philosophy teacher handed out a multiple choice test, he really does what he loves.

Zac’s Chalkboard. Zac helped found the Provo Bike Collective, a non-profit bike workshop in Provo, Utah. Eloquent and often hilarious, Zac lives an unconventional and inspiring life. From skipping high school so that he could spend more time reading at the UNLV library to walking out of a college class when a philosophy teacher handed out a multiple choice test, he really does what he loves.

According to some statistic that either Kate or Laura (my teammates) found, the city of Provo, Utah is the most conservative city in the United States. Although I don’t tend to think of myself as a very opinionated or outwardly political person, I felt a little intimidated by that statistic when I heard it the day we got into Provo. The fact that 1. I go to school in one of the largest ex-hippie ultra-liberal mecca’s in the Northeast and 2. I’m riding across America in order to help put an end to HIV/AIDS, which has a negative stigma associated with it in many conservative communities, gave me cause to worry.

Provo, however, has been far more welcoming than the roads of Nevada, where drivers threw coca-cola cans at me, called me an asshole, and made nice gestures out of there car windows. Aside from spending time with the bike collective boys, Myself and my 6 other teammates spent the morning talking to kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Provo. We talked about why we’re biking, healthcare, and why we think that its important to be active in your immediate community. It was dope.

I haven’t had much time to add pictures from Nevada or the first few days of Utah due to a lack of internet access, but I’ll post up a handful right here and try to give a summary of the beautiful boredom of Nevada. Here’s a picture from Eureka, whose economy revolves almost entirely around the local goldmine. Gold is booming, so apparently they have some pretty kick-ass schools right now.

Leonard is an awesome old dude who we met in Eureka, Nevada. He woke up at 6:00am to join us for a 10 mile ride to the mountain pass just outside of town.

Leonard is an awesome old dude who we met in Eureka, Nevada. He woke up at 6:00am to join us for a 10 mile ride to the mountain pass just outside of town.

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Grillmaster Max makes some salty, salty sausage after a day biking through the Nevada-Utah desert.

Some weird bug decided to take a breather on my handlebars. He liked it when I pet him. It was weird.

Some weird bug decided to take a breather on my handlebars. He liked it when I pet him. It was weird.

Max and I decided to put our fat road tires to the test by taking a dirt road through Osceola, Nevada. Osceola used to be one of the most successful mining towns in Nevada during the mid 19th-century, but its run down and deserted now. It was maybe the steepest, hardest climb that I've ever done, but it was beautiful and totally worth it.

Max and I decided to put our fat road tires to the test by taking a dirt road through Osceola, Nevada. Osceola used to be one of the most successful mining towns in Nevada during the mid 19th-century, but its run down and deserted now. It was maybe the steepest, hardest climb that I’ve ever done, but it was beautiful and totally worth it.

Me biking through as the sunrises during our ride from Delta, Utah to Provo, Utah. It was one of those rides where I felt weightless and like I could keep biking forever.

Me biking through as the sunrises during our ride from Delta, Utah to Provo, Utah. It was one of those rides where I felt weightless and like I could keep biking forever.

I’m working on putting together a couple of videos that I’ve taken so far this trip. Those’ll be dope, so get excited.

Feel free to hit up my donation page if you feel so inspired – I’m almost there! https://secure.qgiv.com/hobnob/account/23840