I did feel better this morning. I woke up with a slight headache again and drank another liter of water before heading out. After a few miles, I felt like I was back to normal, except I had to stop every two or three miles to use the restroom.
Today started with a big climb out of Canon City. At the crest of the climb was the county road leading to the Royal Gorge. I considered going to see the gorge, but when I reached the crest, it started raining. I took refuge in a gift shop along the highway. Coloradans call this time of year “Monsoon Season”. They don’t actually get monsoons, like the South Pacific. During this time of year, showers and thunderstorms pop up unexpectedly, even if the forecast was for a dry day. This shower was one of those that was not in the forecast.
By the time it stopped raining, I decided to just continue on. The highway entered the Arkansas River valley, then followed the river through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Some of the granite cliffs had deep lines in them, like wrinkles brought on by age. It reminded me of the first few lines of “Ulysses” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “It little profits that an idle king,/By this still hearth, among these barren crags,/ Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole/Unequal laws unto a savage race,/That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.” Back in high school, a friend of mine thought “barren crags” referred to old women. Since then, “old barren crags” has been an image stuck in my mind.
At Cotopaxi, I joined Adventure Cycling Association’s Western Express Route. Adventure Cycling has been around for about 40 years and has mapped out cycling routes all over the country, crossing east to west, north to south and some historic routes. Their maps are very detailed and show where important resources are located along the routes. I will be following the Western Express to San Francisco. Hopefully, it will help plan, especially as I get to more sparsely populated areas in Utah and Nevada.
When I reached Coaldale, I decided to stop for the night at an RV park. They only had a handful of tent sites, all but one of which were already taken. When the park owner showed me to the last tent sight, he noticed that rainwater washed right through the site. Since it was about o start raining again, he decided to put me in a bunkhouse for no extra charge. The bunkhouse was like a small garden shed, withe a bed and small table inside. It had electricity, but no heat. It also had a small deck on the front facing the Arkansas River a few yards away.