Days 64 and 65: Telluride to Dolores, then to Dove Creek

After writing my previous blog post, I carried my bike down from Zak’s apartment and got all my things ready. I rode into town and arrived at The Phoenix Bean coffee shop, where I had a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee. There were a few cyclists in there, too. They were doing a five day trip around the area.

(Goodbye Telluride!)

I started riding around 8 AM. After getting out of town, I immediately came up to a hill. I simply walked my bike, like I do so often. The view was fantastic, but the smoke made the mountains look faded. At one point, I saw a big black bear crossing the road a few hundred feet in front of me. An opposing car stopped and the driver wanted to make sure that I saw the bear also. What a great guy watching out for another fellow human being! I rode safely on the road and didn’t see the black bear again.

(One of many caterpillars on the road)

(More magnificence)

(My future house in Trout Lake)

Sarah had texted me and asked me to wait for her at the summit of Lizard Head Pass. As I was going up to the summit, a young female cyclist caught up to me. We talked for a bit and I asked her if she had seen another female cyclist coming up the hill. She said she started in the middle of the hill and didn’t see Sarah. She was going to ride to Rico then come back. As she left, I had forgotten to give her my contact information that I often give out to people I meet. Hopefully I’ll catch her when she’s coming back up.

At a little before 11 AM, I got to the summit. There was an overlook. I talked with a few people there while waiting for Sarah. I ended up waiting for Sarah for almost two hours, but still didn’t see Sarah. When I saw some storm clouds rolling in I decided to go down the hill to Rico.

(Lizard Head Pass overlook)

As I rode down, I saw another touring cyclist coming the other way. His name is Ron and he started in Arizona. He’s heading for Canada. That’s quite a distance! Soon after meeting Ron, I saw the young female cyclist I had met earlier. We stopped again so I can give her my contact information. I learned her name is Ashley. She asked me if I had met up with Sarah. I told her I had not seen her. I have a feeling that Ashley will bump into Sarah on her way back.

(Ron, going to Canada)

The downhill ride to Rico was a pleasure to ride. I love it when the wind is blowing as I ride down the hill. At Rico, I came upon a bar and grill called Enterprise. I ordered a plate of fish and chips. I was just beginning to eat my meal when an older man sat next to me and started talking to me. His name is Al and he was very outgoing. He was eating lunch with his wife, Betty, before he sat down with me. We got along great and Al gave me his business card. He said to call him so I can have breakfast with him and his wife at his house the next day. I was so surprised that a stranger offered me a meal! As we were talking, I saw Sarah riding in. As it turned out, she was only two minutes behind me when I left the overlook. Ashley had met up with Sarah and told her about me. What a kind person Ashley is!

Both Sarah and I talked with Al and Betty a bit more in front of the restaurant. After Al and Betty left, Sarah went to the bar and had a great time talking with a bunch of motorcyclists. They seemed to get along great and asked me to take some group photos. Sarah is definitely a people person. I talked mainly with a woman named Lynn. She showed me some photos of the forest fire on her computer and told me she has never seen a fire this fierce.

(Old truck in Rico)

(Lynn, a Rico local)

After finishing my fish and chips and after Sarah finished her beer and said goodbye to her motorcycle friends, we started riding toward Dolores.

It started raining as I was riding. Luckily, it only rained for about five minutes. Around here, it needed the rain due to the drought and the forest fire nearby. I passed by more magnificent scenery where I rode along with the river. I was impressed by the red rocks along the side of the road. I have no idea how the rocks get that color. Colorado is really colorful!

(Riding with the river on my side)

(Notice the red rocks)

After riding 40 miles straight into Dolores, I stopped at a convenience store and got some ice cream that was way too soft. Sarah arrived soon after. I noticed the library is not too far and it was closing in 30 minutes. I decided to go there to print out more contact cards. After I did that, Sarah and I rode further, up a couple of hills, to our Warmshowers host, Dave’s house.

We met Dave and Belinda, two wonderful people. After Dave showed us the gym, where we will be sleeping for the night, Belinda finished cooking some curry chicken and salad. We ate a delicious dinner and talked until 10 PM. As it turned out, Dave and Belinda are friends with Al and Betty. I was so glad because I felt uncomfortable telling my Warmshowers hosts that I might ditch them in the morning to have breakfast with someone else. Al and Betty invited all of us to breakfast at their place at 9 AM.

The next morning, I got up around 6:30. Sarah was still asleep. After having a cup of coffee at the house with Belinda and Dave, I was about to write my blog post when Dave and I started to have a great conversation. He showed me his upstairs bedroom where the outside deck had a great view of the mountains and the fields. It was a million dollar view! Dave told me this view is what sold him on the house.

(View of the mountains from the deck)

Once Sarah woke up and came into the house, we got ready to go to Al’s. Belinda had to drive separately because she had to wait for someone to come to the house. Dave drove me and Sarah and we followed the Google Maps directions to Al’s place. This time Google Maps failed us. It took us to a different address and we were having difficulties trying to find Al’s house. I called Al and he was not pleased because we were late and breakfast was getting cold.

Finally, we arrived at Al’s. Belinda arrived soon after. We ate a wonderful breakfast that Betty had made. She is truly a great cook! Not only that, she is excellent at sewing beads and quilts. I was so amazed at the Frank Lloyd Wright patterns that she beaded, along with a small beaded teapot and jewelries. Her quilts are amazingly done as well.

(Dave, Belinda, Sarah, Al, and Betty)

(Beaded teapot by Betty)

Later, we took a walk around the backyard. Al knows a lot of plants. He even discovered three new species of plants! I’m so impressed with the talents of both Al and Betty. We ended up leaving around noon. I wish I could have stayed and talked with Al and Betty more. They were such a pleasure to talk to.

Back at Dave’s, Sarah and I hung out with Dave and Belinda a bit more. Around 1:30 PM, we got our pictures taken by Belinda and we said our goodbyes. Belinda gave me a piece of a broken pottery as a good luck charm before we left.

We started to ride our bikes toward Dove Creek. Sarah stopped by a convenience store to fill her water bottles. Further down the road, I stopped at another convenience store to get a can of soda. Sarah went passed by me but backtracked. We ended up having grilled chicken sandwiches and salads at the restaurant that’s right next to the convenience store.

Sarah had to do an interview with a radio station so she won’t be staying with me. She had booked a motel in Dove Creek so she can have some quiet time when she’s doing her interview. I rode ahead to my Warmshowers host’s place.

(The flat fields going to Dove Creek)

This time, the scenery change from tall mountains to flat farm fields. There were a lot of small hills to climb over. I was able to ride up most of them. At 5 PM, I arrived at my Warmshowers host, Gregg’s place. He had informed me to make myself comfortable at the back house since he will not be home until later. About thirty minutes later, I heard a car coming in. It was my host, Gregg.

Gregg is a pastor and he was an engineer in his previous profession. After his wife passed away, he moved from Ohio to Colorado. Gregg prepared some salad, rice, beans, and asparagus for us. Since he is a pastor he said a prayer before our meal. I appreciated that.

After dinner, Gregg asked me if I want to go to an overlook before the sunset. I said sure. After driving on some dirt roads, Gregg brought me to Dolores Canyon Overlook, a secretive spot where only the locals know about.

The view up there was spectacular! I can see the mountain ranges clearly. We came just at the right time when the sun was setting. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else at that time. It was such a treat to witness a sunset over the mountains. Definitely an experience worth having.

(Sunset over the mountains)

When Gregg drove us back to his house we talked for almost three hours into the night. I learned more about Gregg's life and about the power of prayers. Gregg gave me the advice of expecting the impossible. With Gregg, it was like talking to an old friend. Our conversation was so deep and spiritual that it was on par with my conversation with pastor Jim in Kentucky. It was past midnight when I finally went to bed.

This morning, I got up around 6:30. The weather forecast indicated rain the whole day starting at 9 AM. Gregg offered me to stay another night to avoid the rain. I gladly accepted it. Then Gregg made an excellent cup of cappuccino for me. We talked a bit more in Gregg's living room before Gregg had to do some chores before the rain.

(Gregg making some excellent cappuccino)

Sarah texted me. She got invited by the locals to a wedding today in Monticello, just across the border in Utah. We might all meet up at a diner in Dove Creek for lunch today before Sarah goes to the wedding. I plan on relaxing for the rest of the day.