Ive flirted with 5,000 feet twice so far on this trip. The Appalachians brought me just over 3,000 ft, the Ozarks, 4,000 ft. Tonight I've surpassed that mile marker in the sky. I'll be sleeping at 8,600 ft in Guffey, CO tonight.
At four o'clock I was at 5,300 ft. By seven, I was less than 3,000 ft from the Continental Divide. This was the confirmation that not all climbs are created equal.
In the Appalachians, it takes a grown man to finish a days ride with a 3,000 ft climb. Out here the grades are tame, and steady. It's almost as if someone put some thought into the design.
Arriving in Guffey, I realized I struck oil. This one of those incredible small towns that make the trip unforgettable. I'm not sure if there's a population. There is a Post Office though. There are two bars; they service the vacationers that stay at the cabins in town.
Riding by a run down barn on Main Street, I hear a yell from two old time cowboys (or hippies, you can't tell the difference out here). "Hey, you looking for us?" Bill and Charlie own several rustic cabins in town. And by rustic I mean so small that a building permit is not required.
It's difficulty to find a dichotomy that can truly represent the spirit of the people. It's not saying much, but there are people that'll offer you a beer, and people that won't. Bill offered me a beer.
They showed me some of the rusted out cars they've been working on ("Rat Rods"), as well as some of their very unique creations. Bill had a key to the town museum, and let me explore. It was like it was straight of American Pickers, seriously.
Guffey is a real gem. Bill was complaining about people trying to come in and modernizing the place. I'm blessed to catch it while it still has its shine.
I haven't really looked at the map beyond today, I'm just going to see where the road takes me.
I can't parallel the experience that I've had the past few days approaching the Rockies. It's not like when you're in a car. They come, they go, in the time it takes you to finish your Burger King. There's something rewarding about spending days approaching, climbing, and eventually descending this natural wonder. It's got that cowboy feel. Granted my horse is steel and doesn't need water. But I'm exposed out here. It's just me, taking in life at a good speed. I'm so glad I skipped out on the helmet; it just feels so real without any barrier between nature and me.