Day 44. Sixty mile ride today. The first twenty miles or so were more difficult because of the wind coming in from the North. It cut the speed down to about 11 to 13 MPH. The middle twenty were blessed with tailwinds and we could hit 26. MPH easily. That combined with a good pavement is like a smooth wine or Bourbon. Intoxicating.
We stopped briefly in a little burg called Haskell for Gatorade and to see the nation's smallest jail. Constructed in 1924 it's a small white plaster building next to the park that is a 120 square feet. It's no longer in use of course.
The small towns in Colorado a starkly different than those we found in Kansas. Those towns were struggling but most had perhaps improbably a little cafe or a Casey's or other convenience store. So many small towns here is southeastern Colorado seem to have just withered away. So many abandoned houses, and the landscape between the few little towns we see is grassland, prairie, and seemingly unproductive. We do see cattle grazing in the grasslands, a welcome alternative to the feedlots we saw cycling into Ordway, the Crowley county seat, where we'll spend the night.
When we started in Kansas we were at 920 feet in elevation. When we crossed over to Colorado we had climbed 3,301 feet which is why Kansas folks call heading west uphill. Here is Ordway we are at 4,300 feet.
Today for the first time we saw in the distance the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak. It is both exciting and sobering because up ahead we'll reach the highest point of the TransAmerica trail at 11,500 feet.
With all that climbing ahead of us we played pool at the Columbine Bar here in Ordway. It features a fabulous old wood bar back, Coors drafts in a frosty mug for a buck fifty, and pool between Norm, Bill, Christine, Lew, Jim, and I.