Today I left the interstates behind in favor of the two lane highways of Kansas and Colorado.
I started out on I-70, and at the first rest stop I ran into a local biker who was good enough to give me advice on my upcoming ride: for the most part, the roads are 65 MPH, but drop down to 35 or 45 MPH for each town; while the towns may be patrolled, the stretches of road in between are not. The unofficial rule is that the 65 MPH sections are really unlimited. (This is what he told me – I’m not responsible for your tickets if decide to test this advice and get caught.) As I left I-70 for US-40, the sun was blazing and I was matching it, burning a path down the open road.
The scenery in Kansas and the first part of Colorado was not exciting, but I was loving the high speed ride across the plains. I was struck by one aspect of the view: the fields were mostly brown, not green. In many places the crops – which I’m guessing are supposed to be corn – were only about a foot tall. Hearing about the drought on the news is doesn’t carry the same weight as seeing field after field of stunted or dead crops.
Eventually the Rookies came into view and the view changed from boring to spectacular. The first time I came over a rise, and could see the mountains in the distance, I was struck by one thought: This is why I ride.
The original goal for the day was to make it to Cortez or Durango, CO, but that was overly ambitious (as usual). Since it had been a nearly perfect day, I decided not to ruin it by riding thru the mountains at night: if I continued to Durango, I would have arrived around 11 PM. I rode thru the Rookies in the middle of the night once before and it wasn’t fun, so I stopped for the evening in Alamosa, CO.
There are only a few photos from today, but they start here.
One final note: for the first time, during this road trip, it didn’t rain for an entire day.