Days mileage: 70 miles.
A somewhat early start (7am) and a somewhat cold morning. We were camped just at 9,000 feet elevation near the base of one of our biggest climbs for the entire trip. We clipped into our pedals and started up Trail Ridge Road...we had 16 miles to reach the top. (By the top I mean the top of the highest continuous road in the U.S....elevation topping off well over 12,000 feet).
Switchbacks helped greatly in adding great heights and elevation gain to our climbing efforts and soon reached elevations of 10,758 feet (another Great Divide crossing), 11,800 feet (visitors center)....dodged in and out of the construction zones and soon passed right by the heighest point in the U.S. without there being a sign or any trace of where the specific location was....I flew right on by it without knowing and stopped at a rest station that was at 12.080 feet. I stopped to eat some food and take millions of pictures of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
The rest of the day was a long, long, long descent towards Estes Park (which, silly me, I thought was another national park of somekind. Ends up it's just a town with a name that lends itself towards confusing conversations wtihin one's head).
We grabbed some lunch and headed out towards Boulder...I had just gotten off phone with Loretta and they would be touching ground in Denver within a couple of hours. We were only 36 miles from Boulder and I was anxious to get there.
It only poured rain for a long 3 miles climb that took us out and away from Estes Park. We then enjoyed a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnng descent for a good 15 miles or so and eventually rolled into Boulder.
Stephen made some phone calls, figured out where he was supposed to go and we then parted ways....though we figured there'd be a good chance of crossing paths somewhere between Boulder and the Atlantic Ocean. I then hung out outside of the Safeway food store and waited to be picked up by Loretta and Co.
It was awesome to finally see Loretta again after what felt like ages and just hang out and knowing I had a couple of days to just relax and not bike anywhere. We got to Mike and Tana's house nestled deep in the mtns of Boulder where there's an amzing view of mountains and a small mountain stream flowing by the front of the house.
I was ready for a two day hiatus and periodically lost myself in thoughts about the past 2,000 miles that I put between Astoria, OR and Boulder, CO....