07/19/2004

Day 50 - 7/19
Royal Gorge, CO to Fairplay, CO
73 (2883)

It was a pretty chilly night at 6,000 feet and a chilly morning. But the sky was clear and everything was dry. The storm that put me to sleep never arrived. I decided to skip breakfast at camp, instead using the hunger as motivation to get me to Guffey for breakfast.

Of course, there was about 2,000 feet of climb and 25 miles to Guffey. I arrived just before 10 only to find a closed bar. I plopped right down in front of the bar and emptied my bag to eat a bowl of cereal, an apple, a plum, and a Zone Perfect bar.

The landscape for the day was amazing. When I came over Currant Creek Pass at 9,404 feet and caught my first glimpse of the snowcapped Rockies, my jaw dropped.

I continued to cruise through the high plains, stopping at a cafe for a big lunch. After lunch, I could see numerous thunderstorms cropping up around the mountains. I had a bad feeling.

I got caught in a huge storm. The temperature up near 10k feet dropped to 45 as hail and wind pounded me. There was no shelter anywhere, no choice but to keep riding. It was freezing and miserable. I had planned to campout on US Forest Service land outside of Fairplay, but at this elevation and this weather, I didn't have warm enough gear. I was so cold, I had to get indoors.

The first 3 motels were booked, the last one had a double for $65. Way more than I'd like to spend, but I really didn't feel like I had a choice. I think I'd pay most anything to be out of that storm.