< Day 2
Again I’d fallen asleep almost immediately, slept soundly and woken up refreshed. But it was still dark, and when I looked at my watch only about an hour an a half had passed. Alrightly. Well then, plenty more time to sleep.
Except then Thoughts are in my head, and I can’t get back to sleep. Some fitful in and out, then give up trying and turn my headlamp on and read for a bit. Finish the book and try again, this time do a bit better with the getting back to sleep.
A few bouts of rain and wind, which semi wake me, but are also peaceful and somehow comforting. Especially since I stay dry and don’t blow away.
Morning comes, still a bit unsettled, weatherwise that is. Ahhhhh coffee. Scrambled eggs, country potatoes and sausage. Yum!
There’s plenty of big puffy clouds, but also some bits of blue sky, and there seems to be enough of a window that the decision is made we’ll ride. Make lunch, pack up camp, assemble for roll out. We’ll see how the trail conditions are and what the weather does, there’s an initial plan, but subject to change.
We start with a few miles of gravel road. Nice to ease in to the day with some easy spinning, get the legs used to being on the bike again. Not asking them to do too much yet, but they actually seem pretty happy. The lungs now and then not so much, but we all make it.
More pretty wildflowers along the way, and some big expanse views. Rolling on the road also gives some opportunity to chat.
And… here’s our turn off on to singletrack! WOOT! Roller along the rim of a canyon, with great views, then a chunky technical downhill, sections of which my discretion gets the best of me. Fun seeing the boys ride it though.
Bit of hike-a-bike down to Salt Creek, and down and around under the train trestle, which I walk even before I know the peanut gallery is watching from the bridge, hoping someone will go in the drink.
Then up from the creek, requiring some additional hike a bike in spots. I hear that train a coming… the Amtrak goes by on the tracks below. The Germans say something (in German) Hey that’s your train! Yes.
Coming up to trail marker one of the arrows points straight ahead, looking like it’s going off into free air, but when I get to it I can see there is trail continuing along the side of the hill. But we’re going back to the right. Oh lookee! 8″ open end adjustable wrench. Score!
More super fun rollery along the canyon rim trail. The wind is picking up though, and seems to be blowing the weather our way. Oh is that thunder in the distance? At least the wind is onshore (towards the hill.)
We’ve been warned about bentonite clay – grey green sticky sticky will weigh the bike down so it won’t even roll. Word was don’t ride through it, don’t even walk the bike through it. But we don’t encounter any.
The overcast makes excellent riding temperature, but when the storm starts heading our way we cut out on doubletrack and gravel road. The last bit down to the van is known at Collarbone Hill, and we’re given a Stern Warning to not be Stupid (my paraphrase, they had a bit more subtle way of putting it.)
Lunch in the parking lot by the van in a nice bit of sun. A truck with Oregon plates and six bikes (two on top, four hung vertical on the back) rolls by. There’s two guys in the truck. Hmn. That seems like a high bike to guy ratio… then a Subaru with four more guys shows up. Ah, that makes a little more sense.
Drive in to Fruita. Shower at the health club. Wasn’t expecting one this week, so what an unexpected treat! ohyesssss hot running water is truly an amazing miracle. Manage to pry myself out before they have to send someone in to drag me out. Wait, on second thought… ohnevermind.
Peek in the Over the Edge shop and check out the few blocks of down town Fruita. Cute. Quite a few vehicles have bikes on them.
Head out to the campground where we’ll be staying for the next couple days. Wonder why everything is fractional – the streets that is. Tanesha fills me in – the Colorado River is A, the border with Utah is 0. Things are measured from there. So 17-1/2 Road is 17-1/2 miles from the Utah border. K 3/4 would be that far from the Colorado River. The grid system. Easy and informative.
The original site we were going to use is a bit slick, and Josh doesn’t want the van and trailer to get stuck, so we go up above in the campground. It’s funny, it doesn’t seem like we’re really going up, but when the road loops around there’s a big view over a plain.
We get our tents set up. Weather in the distance, moving fast. Oh, it’s headed this way. The wind really picks up and then it’s upon us. I managed to get a beer and inside my tent just as the sky opens up. Some hail! Then rain, and thunder and lightning. I drink my beer and kinda wish I could see more of the show, but am glad I’m not out in it.
Then, almost as suddenly, it’s gone. And then there’s appetizers. Edamame, and jicama sprinkled with chili salt and peanut sauce for it all. Jicama is a new thing for the Germans. I pronounce it with a ‘j’. Don’t listen to her.
FROM THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT: what a jicama plant looks like. It’s a vine! In the bean family!! Whoa. Who knew?
It’s lovely out, in the wake of the storm, world all washed clean and fresh, beautiful light. I have a recollection of there being an expanse of time between appetizer and dinner, so I go for a walk.
Up the hill (so return will be downhill) on the road and take in the view and then oh hey there’s a trail looks intriguing and I take it and keep getting sucked along to see what’s around the bend and cool stuff to take pictures of and I don’t have to worry about holding anyone up or stopping riding to do it.
Then it starts to get muddy. I continue on, it dries out a bit then gets muddy again and oh looks like some steep downhills and then the sky is starting to darken up again. OK, I think the universe is saying turn around and head back. Soon after I do I find a multi-tool by the side of the trail, reinforcing my clarity about the decision to go back.
I didn’t think I’d been gone that long, but I missed dinner. Everyone else has eaten and dessert is coming out. The cake looks awesome, but they did save me a plate of the yummy stir fry and I go ahead with that. Just as I’m finishing up the dark skies open up again.
Some of us take refuge in the trailer. Rule is: You have to be eating cake or drinking beer to be inside. I have my piece of cake. Then part of the top of another (higher frosting to cake ratio), then I notice (an avail myself of) a pile of frosting and pecans on one of the plates. A bottle of whiskey makes the rounds.
Eventually this storm cell passes also, a campfire gets made and we sit around that. The sky has mostly cleared, and when it gets dark enough you can see the stars. Lots of them. Then when I go to the toilet there’s a line of lights twinkling in the distance. Fruita and Grand Junction along the valley floor. Different from the stars, but still kinda pretty.
Adjourn to my tent, there’s another group that’s still up enjoying their campfire. Not super close, but every once in a while they get excited about something, and their voices really carry in the quiet air. One of the neat things about camping is hearing the outdoor nature sounds, but I need to get some sleep, and I remember I have earplugs, which I deploy and fall right asleep.
At some point during the night I wake up and take out the earplugs – the humans seem to have had enough. Or at least if they’re still up doing things they are quiet about it. Later there’s another storm cell that passes through. It partly wakes me, then I drift back to sleep in the sound of it, and sleep til morning.
Day 4 >