Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 2: Delta, Co. to Colorado Springs Co.

We lucked out Wednesday morning.  The rain had already passed through Delta Co. by the time we got up.  After managing our way through the tiny shower, we headed down to our favorite little restaurant in Delta, Co.  C & J Cafe has a total hometown feel.  We've noticed that this is the place where many of the older, local farmers spend their mornings for coffee.  These little treasures are the BEST!  If the locals hang out there, it's gotta be good. Right?
The BWG and I are both pretty traditional when it comes to breakfast.  Bacon, eggs, and hash browns for me.  Sausage, eggs, and hash browns for him.  Along with coffee and toast for both of us.  This place makes a pretty good cup of coffee.  The service is great too.  These ladies are seasoned waitresses and know how to make you feel right at home.  I'll tell you right now, if you're more about chain restaurants like Denny's or McDonald's for breakfast, just skip this place.  You'll never visit Denny's again after you've been here.  C & J Cafe will ruin you and you'll spend every vacation the same way we do, searching out the best local "mom and pop" places to eat.

Off to find a grocery store after breakfast.  The BWG and I no longer buy water or Gatorade from convenience stores.  A C-store is for gas and potty breaks only.  Taking an extra few minutes to find a grocery store for water can save lots of dollars over the course of a few days.  On average it's $2.49 for a six pack of water in a grocery store vs. $0.99 a bottle in a C-store.  You get the idea.  We no longer buy Gatorade at all, although I will admit it's saved my heat fried ass a time or two.  Heat stroke sucks!  Especially when you're traveling on a bike.  I need electrolytes so water alone doesn't cut it.  We found these Camelbak tablets during our travels last year.
Each tube has 12 tablets and costs around $7.  Add one tablet to a 16oz bottle of water and you have Gatorade, only better.  We found that we really like the performance of the Camelbak tablets over Gatorade.  We didn't feel bloated, thirsty, or slightly nauseated after drinking a 16oz bottle of Camelbak treated water.  Slamming a Gatorade during a drink stop has left us feeling kinda yuck more than once.  There's another brand we have used as well.
The Nuun Hydration tablets seemed to work great.  However they don't have the little extras the Camelbak tablets have.  This four pack was $16.19, which is $4.04 a bottle.  That makes a bottle of treated water about $0.75 using this brand.  Honestly it didn't get hot enough for me to do a fair comparison between the Nuun and the Camelbak brands.  As it stands now, I like them both and may actually prefer the Nuun because it doesn't have the added caffeine. That's what coffee and midol are for.  LOL.  I bought our Nuun tablets on Amazon here.

We always pick up a few snacks from the grocery store as well.  You can get good, real food for less money.  A couple of candy bars will run you a few bucks.  This trip I found dried cranberries on sale for $2.49 a bag.  It was a great trade off for me.  Too much sugar and I just don't get along when we are traveling.

Grocery stores in different towns fascinate me and piss me off all at the same time.  We always check out the produce and meat departments to compare with what we have at home.  Usually I end up thinking it's time to move.  Such was the case this entire trip.  Safeway's and City Market grocery stores are freaking AWESOME!  USDA choice meats AND about any produce you could ask for.  Plus we can always find a good salami and good quality cheese to pack with us to snack on.  We do not have those stores at home so I get a little envious of those towns that have so many options in one grocery store.

Ok, enough about shopping and drinks.  Back to the road.  I have no clue what time we actually left Delta.  I have a horrible sense of time out on the bike.  I pay absolutely no attention to it whatsoever.  It's all about the weather and how high the sun still is in the sky.  We also go through so many small towns and travel so many two lane highways it's difficult for me to remember where we have actually been and what we saw there.  What I can tell you about this day is that the weather looked like it was going to be crap all day.  We seriously rode all but the last 50 miles in between two storms.  How we stayed dry for as long as we did amazes me.

These pics are from our last stop before Colorado Springs.  I have no clue what town it was, but it was itty bitty and really really cool.
This little house totally intrigued me.  Had it not been in the middle of the day with lots of people around I probably would have hiked up to it just to check it out.

We couldn't decide if this was an old out house or an old pump house.  Either way we thought it was pretty neat.  It was just kinda there next to an old service station that had been closed for years.

One of my favorite things about Colorado is that nearly every two lane highway will lead you through the mountains.  And Colorado mountains are amazingly beautiful.  I have no clue where I took this picture above but had to have it.  I think this was the first time I have ever actually rode through clouds.

If you look on the left side, behind the bike, in the pic above, you can see a cloud just sitting there behind the tree.  Seriously, I'm a desert girl so this totally blew my mind.  Being up so high you feel like you can actually touch the sky was a new experience for me.

I know at some point during the day we went through Monarch Pass which is part of the Continental Divide.  At the summit it is 11,312 ft in elevation.  And it was damn cold!  Cold enough that neither of us took any pictures. I swear this is the first time I've ever been colder off the bike than going down the road.  We stopped long enough for me to run in to the gift shop, use the rest room, and decide to skip the gondola ride to the very top.  By that time I was shivering like crazy and ready to get moving again just to warm up.  This particular day it was also packed with bikers.  Not the motorcycle kind, the Tour de France kind.  I don't know how they do it.  I'll stick with a motorcycle thanks.  Pedaling to the top of an 11,000 foot mountain just doesn't appeal to me yet.  Anyway, it was a beautiful ride.  Even though the weather continued to look sketchy, and it was seriously cold, I couldn't help but fall totally in love with this pass.  There had been enough rainfall that you could smell wet bark and pine nearly the whole ride.  Between the smell of damp nature and the cool moisture, it felt fresh.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It was a big change from the sticky, dusty, heat of Millard County for sure.

Like I said, we had been pretty lucky all day.  There were black clouds all around us most of the day.  And you could see them just dumping buckets of rain.  Waterfalls coming out of the sky is what it looked like.  Somehow the clouds just kept opening up enough to allow us through.  Right up until the last 50 miles.  The BWG decided there was no way we were getting through our last stretch into Colorado Springs without getting wet.  We pulled off the side of the highway to dig out our rain gear.  Two big black garbage bags.  One cut with three holes for the BWG, a hole for his head and one for each arm.  I always only cut one hole for my head in mine, then keep my arms tucked inside.  Now before you judge our awesome rain attire, let me tell you, garbage bags rock.  They keep you warm, and dry if you don't get the holes too big.  Plus they are super easy to pack and take up very little room.  They are also disposable.  I'm sure they provide great entertainment for those who pass us on the road as well.  Unfortunately, I had cut the holes for our heads a little too big.  The rain would collect in a puddle and every time we would move that puddle would drain itself right down the inside front of our shirts.  And it was COLD!  By the time we got to Colorado Springs I had a boob reservoir going on and the BWG looked like he'd peed his pants.

The other tricky thing about this particular rain was the roads.  They crack in the direction travel rather than across the lanes.  This makes it a little difficult to see the cracks when it's rained so hard they are full of water, plus it's still raining so visibility is diminished anyway.  You get a tire in one of those cracks and it's worse than hitting a road snake.  They grab your tire and take you for a ride.  Never in all our travels have I been so grateful NOT to be on my own bike and be riding with someone who has some serious motorcycle maneuvering skills.  The BWG navigated the rain, the wet roads, and the traffic with finesse I didn't know he had.  I gotta tell ya, 40 years of motorcycle experience paid off that day.

We finally made our way into Manitou Springs, just before the entrance to Pikes Peak Highway.  There's a little amusement park there called The North Pole and Santa's Workshop (more about that tomorrow).  They have an awning which was perfect for us to pull under to get out of the rain and figure out what we were doing next.  Originally the plan was to see Pikes Peaks that day.  However with the rain, and being soaked, we decided to just land in Colorado Springs for the night and try it again the next morning.  We have some friends that live out there we were planning on having dinner with anyway so it worked out well.  Especially since the rain didn't let up until way later in the night.

Since this has turned in to a really long post, I'll cover our evening in Colorado Springs and our trip to Pikes Peak tomorrow.  Thanks for reading.  And if anyone recognizes the places in the photos above please shoot me a message and tell me where I was.  LOL.

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