Note: David Hardy's tour of duty is complete, and his final dailies have been filed. In an effort to get closer to our actual schedule, here's a mash up of his final posts.
Thanks for everything, Dave.
Guffey CO to Cañon City CO-30 miles.
A tough couple of climbs out of Guffey made our decision to stop there a good one. By we were rewarded a couple hours later with a nice descent into Royal Gorge, and then about ten miles later into Canon City. We ate a good breakfast at the Good Times Cafe, then threaded our way through town to an RV park. There are two kinds of RV parks: the first has vacationers with quarter million dollar rolling hotels and populated with the people that can afford them; the second type of RV park is full of RV's that don't even roll anymore, and people just squat there off the grid, and hang out and watch the months go by and grow their gray hair long and wander around in ragged jean shorts. That's the one we were in.
But the boys never complain, and soon, thanks to Dean Broz back home, a van showed up from Adventure Outfitters to take us all rafting on the Arkansas River.
The boys had a blast on the river; probably class two or any easy class three, but they all got wet, and maybe even a tad cleaner!
Back at RV park for laundry and showers, then off to a good Mexican restaurant. All quiet except for a small squabble among the park denizens that was resolved by the cops.
Cañon City CO to Boone CO - 75 miles
Saturday morning and up early to McDonalds, which is a godsend for boys on a budget looking for fast, cheap calories.
Next stop, the metropolis of Pueblo. This was supposed to be an overnight for us, but we are drifting ahead is schedule.
A decent morning of climbing rewarded by a long descent into the Pueblo valley-riding through grasshoppers and sunflowers.
Pueblo by noon-amazing.
We split into two groups for lunch-Mexican and Chinese, which turned into pizza. I opted for Mexican. Despite all of the Mexican food jokes, we haven't had a bad meal yet on my leg of the trip.
Pueblo reminds me of a dustier Durham- a warehouse district, some nice homes as well as shacks, even a water park feature like American Tobacco.
It was also here that Max Morgan's term as leader ended. Max did a great job organizing the boys and navigating the route. Now it was Andrew's turn.
Andrew has a different "style", but the duties of leadership will reign him in.
The roads out of Pueblo were crappy, but we finally made it out of town and three hours later arrived in Boone, Colorado-named after Daniel Boone's two grandsons.
Boone, to be kind, has seen better days. Much better. Population, not counting mosquitoes, around 60. We camped in the town park. There is still a store in Boone that closes at 5pm, but we were able to get supplies. Including hot dogs that were made of chicken with pork added. So bad that the boys actually left some on the grill.
An old man ambled by and chatted with me and Ed. We learned his story-disabled vet who made it big in Boone I guess by buying all of it for about a nickel. He mentioned that the park had a sprinkler system, but wasn't sure if it would spray that night.
Everyone crashed early because the mosquitoes were so hungry. A truck came by with two folks on their way back from a bike trip. Did the boys want some food? They donated strawberries, cherries and other goodies. More bike trip fellowship. Then things got interesting.
I was lying in my tent around 10:30, trying to decide if I could be any more miserable, when I heard what sounded like a jet engine.
"Oh crap," I said out loud.
A second later a massive stream of water pummeled my tent broadside. A minute later, another hit.
The entire park was caught in a sprinkler crossfire. There was absolutely nothing to do but hunker down and wait it out. An hour later, it finally ended and I had an inch of water in my tent. I literally floated on my air mattress.
Could it get worse? Of course! A half hour later, another rumble. This time it was a train hurdling through town, complete with whistle, about ten yards from our tents.
This was followed by the barking dogs. Then two more trains, coyotes howling, roosters crowing, basically I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep with a hard, 90 mile day looming.
Boone CO to Eads CO - 90 miles
The intrepid scouts emerged from their tents at sunrise in Boone-unlike me-none the worse for wear. The boys are unflappable.
We rode about 20 miles on a crispSunday morning. About 9am we rode into some town that I can't even remember. But it did have a grocery store and we loaded up. We had to because the next place to refuel was going to be 58 miles away in Eads.
It was a hot, windy ride through eastern Colorado with nothing too memorable except an abandoned town about every twenty miles.
Everyone took turns pulling, but it was a very tough day. Ninety miles is hard any day. Throw in a steady crosswind, and no where to refuel and you have a really hard day.
Somehow, despite my lack of sleep, I did fine. Just happy to have Boone behind me.
Eads, Colorado was a small prairie hamlet with a nice little park under the trees. Good thing, because it was cloudy off in the distance.
The local ice cream shop was nearby-two scoops with one topping for $4!
Ed and I met a nice guy getting ice cream for his family. He had grown up in Eads, but now lived in Pueblo. Back in the 70's, Eads had a thriving downtown-two movie theaters, hardware store, grocery, etc. But years of drought had drained the town of money and people. In another ten years, I wouldn't be surprised to see Eads as deserted as Boone. Sad.
But Eads had a pool, and for $3 bucks everyone got cleaned up, before a heavy rain hit.
Then later, the gang went to the movies and for $5 saw "Max"- a movie about a military explosives dog that was suffering from PTSD, but manages to solve a weapons smuggling ring and re-unite a bereaved family and engenders a love affair between a gringo boy and a Latina girl named Carmen. All In two hours! The boys were not impressed.
Eads CO to Tribune KS - 60 miles
I had a good nights rest, and was up around 5am. Today would be my last day with the boys, and I was a little sad.
I heard Ed moving around in his tent. We usually got up early and had a coffee together while the boys slowly stumbled out of their tents. I started packing my gear. No Ed. Then I heard snores coming from his tent. He had fallen back to sleep. Strange.
Then later, as we prepared to leave, Ed was still struggling with getting organized. Again, not typical of Ed.
We had about a 60 mile day ahead of us. It started out fast, but we made a turn and headed directly into a fierce crosswind. Our pace slowed dramatically. I looked back to see Ed struggling.
We got to Sheridan Lake about 10am. Ed was not looking good.
"I think I'm dehydrated." He told me.
He took a couple minutes to talk to the boys about dehydration, using his own fogginess as an example.
But we had to get back on the road and for the next four hours we fought the wind.
The boys crossed the Kansas border around 11am. Another state down and halfway home.
Kansas loved Horace Greeley so much that they named three towns after him: Horace, Greeley, and Tribune. This is not a joke, dear reader.
We reached Tribune a little before1pm. Not much going on downtown, but a lady told us that the pool was open and the park was nearby.
We set up tents and soon the boys were hitting the pool on a beautiful Kansas afternoon.
A couple hours later, my replacement, John DeFigureido, showed up loaded down with goodies.
Dinner was at "The Trench"-the local watering hole. And it was Mexican night! How fitting. Finally I had my first crappy Mexican meal, cooked by a Gringo Kansan in Tribune. But it was all good. Bike trip!
Tomorrow: random observations from my two weeks on the road with the Scouts from Troop 845.
After two weeks and about 800 miles with the Bike Loud boys, here are a few things I've learned:
1) the boys are hilarious and strong as wolves.
2) if something is good, then it's banging.
3) if it's not good, it's whack
4) if you are late or cause the group to be late, you're a hot pocket.
5) weight doesn't effect these guys. One scout, Max, is carrying a live cactus and a Colorado license plate on his bike.
6) they've attached speakers to their bikes and listen to a lot of 70's and 80's music.
7) they are both children and men. They make smart, rational decisions about water, pitching their tents, preparing for their day, then when they pass a herd of cows, they moo like crazy to get the cow's attention.
8) they always try to get trains to blow their whistle.
9)the boys are experts in the arcane world of modern candy. Scooby Doo candy is banging, but it's extremely rare to get more than two of the best treat, Scooby, in a 5 piece bag. The boys can spend hours discussing the epochal time that they got more than three Scoobies. No scout has ever gotten more than 4. I rate my time with the Bike Loud boys 5 Scoobies!