Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner
Rather than gas, our fuel is food and water. So in the morning, depending upon how early the group wants to leave, we set up a breakfast and lunch table.
We're on a rotating schedule with two members of the group assigned to a schedule of making dinner. Those two are then responsible for setting up (and putting away) the breakfast and lunch table. Once we cycle through everyone all the names are mixed up and new combination and schedule are put up.
Breakfast. We typically have cereal (granola goes very fast), oatmeal, coffee, yogurt, orange juice and fruit. Bananas always, being as Barry puts it, the perfect food. We'll have breakfast for a half hour starting at 6AM for early departures or push it to 6:30AM.
Lunch. Most of the time we'll make lunch at the same time. Granola Bars, energy Bars, fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the powerhouse of lunch) or cold cut sandwiches (including the Jim and Lew ever-requested hard salami.). We'll get thing ready, bagged up and throw them in our bike bags. Then as the need and opportunity arises we'll pull out something to eat during a rest break.
Dinners. Whoever is in charge of dinner starts cooking at 4PM with the goal to be served at 6PM. We've had: spaghetti, stir fry, steak wraps, chicken fajitas, chicken tacos, tortilla soup, hamburgers by John - always a favorite), sloppy Joe's, and most notably and disastrously Bill and Lew's ill fated effort to make meatloaf.
Outside of Ordway, east, in the town of Crowley we ran into this improbable small little burg with a large veteran's memorial. Next to it, was this sign pointing to a "Restroom" that was literally a Portapotty.
We are in the arid west, and have been doing so ever since Buhler, Kansas. It was there we met a retired Farm Appraiser who told us that Buhler gets 31 inches of precipitation a year. That amount is enough to raise crops without needing to avail oneself of aquifers or rivers. "Heading west," he told us, Precipitation drops."
We are seeing that drop. Kiowa County Colorado (where we were yesterday) gets fourteen inches of rain a year. Crowley County - where we are today - gets twelve. The vegetation is getting more prickly, more desert scrub and sparse.
We are biking parallel now to the Arkansas River to the south of us. We can see it, because there is green down south, and trees.
Since leaving Ordway we have passed nearly three or four prisons. There's another down in Manzanola - which I only know about because I had to take a deposition of an inmate there many years ago. It's difficult to see what the economic opportunities are here in southeastern Colorado. There's agricultural activity but it has to be very hard scrabble and challenging. Oil activity, like the fracking we see in Northern Colorado. So there are prisons.
Water and rest stop in Boone - another desperately boarded up "downtown" - where the only business seems to be the Boone Country Hardware and Grocery Store. It's run by a 92 year old genial man who sits next to the door and check out. He was retired earlier, but said the walls were closing in on him, so he went to running this store.
Boone is also only 19 miles away from Pueblo and from Gina who is coming down for our rest day, our anniversary and her birthday.
It's hot and the traffic is pretty heavy. We're cycling on Highway 96 into Pueblo. The mountains are coming into clearer view and despite the heat along the Front Range, there's still snow on the peaks.
Getting into Pueblo proper, the traffic and the road conditions got a little intense and at some points you just have to trust that the people behind you are paying attention. I suppose that's true all of the time but it helped to have Jim biking with me. Two cyclists are a little more visible.
We have a much needed rest day here in Pueblo tomorrow. We were to have continued west past Pueblo to stay and camp at a State Park but the group was not wild about that. Then Gina was able to book hotel rooms for the group at $30 less than what Phil was getting quoted at the same hotel and it fell within the Tour Budget. So the group is staying at a centrally located hotel near a bike shop, and Phil and Chris say Gina is a magical rock star.
Gina met me at the Great Divide Bike Shop which was on route with a wonderful cold Gatorade. We dropped off my bike, and then took John and Lew who also dropped off their bikes, to the Hotel.
Gina and I celebrate our fifteenth anniversary tonight wandering along the beautiful Pueblo river walk which is patterned after the San Antonio version.