Day 70 – New Mexico

9.1.2012
Start: Stunner Campground
End: Apache Creek
Today’s miles: 44.5
Total miles: 2053.5
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

We’ve made it to New Mexico! More stunning landscapes today as we pedaled our way out of Colorado. We’re camped just past the border in New Mexico; it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve managed to pedal all the way here on one wheel.

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Nothing too noteworthy to report today (I mean, how can you top scoring fresh elk tenderloin?) Tomorrow looks to have the potential to be one of the most difficult days yet so I’m headed to bed.

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Day 69 – Tenderloin

8.31.2012
Start: Del Norte
End: Stunner Campground
Today’s miles: 42.5
Total miles: 2009.0
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 1
Wildlife:

What a day. A favorite all around. Today brought us our highest pass and perhaps our biggest climb of the trip. I’d have to say the scenery today may have been my favorite of the trip so far.

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The 4,000 ft climb up Indiana Pass took me about four hours. I saw the others often and rode with Josh much of the way up. As per tradition, it began storming on the way up. Thankfully it slowed enough for us to take a chilly lunch break amongst the sparse pines at the top. Tre had been waiting for us, but due to some space time warp, we missed each other. As we made our way to his location, there was a moment where we lost sight of each other. Tre thought we continued and took off down the pass to catch up. We wandered around wondering where in the world he had disappeared to.

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About a mile after the top, I passed a hunt camp. Bow season started last Saturday. Cold and wet, I was ecstatic when one of the hunters, who was taking my picture as I rode by, asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. I accepted without hesitation and soon found myself lounging in their five-star tent next to the woodstove. It was warm and dry inside and I had hot coffee in my hand – the endorphins were pumping. There was a lot of excitement about the morning’s kill in camp and I was treated to the best cut of the elk, the inner tenderloin, which I excitedly carried off to show off to the others.

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I was surprised to find them waiting soon after leaving, and very much enjoyed leap frogging with them much of the afternoon. As I instructed, a fire was waiting in camp when I arrived. We cooked up the tenderloin and enjoyed the freshest meat we’ve ever had. This elk had been frolicking in the woods just this morning. So yummy.

PS – the knee was fine today!

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Day 68 – Gary & Patti

8.30.2012
Start: Del Norte
End: Del Norte
Today’s miles: 0
Total miles: 1966.5
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

Gary and Patti have been the most incredible hosts. We stayed here last night and are here again tonight. We all feel so welcome and at home as we take over their home. Tre met the couple in Banff when he was beginning his ride. Gary and Patti had just finished their northbound ride.

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While Josh, Tre and Gary spent most of the day working on their bikes in Gary’s garage bike shop, I rolled around on a foam roller to work out some of the kinks in my legs. The knee has started hurting while off the unicycle, and kept me up some of the night. After rolling a bit, the pain has subsided substantially so I’m feeling hopeful. Tomorrow’s climb up our highest pass of the ride will be a good test.

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We can’t express our gratitude enough to Gary and Patti. We had the perfect rest day and it will be hard to leave tomorrow.

Day 67 – Winds

8.29.2012
Start Luder’s Campground
End: Del Norte
Today’s miles: 63.5
Total miles: 1966.5
Splats: a few in the wind
Divide crossings: 1; 19 total
Wildlife: 3 moose

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It seems weird to me that moose live this far south, but soon after leaving camp I saw three. Soon after that Tre whizzed by. I enjoyed a very scenic downhill to start the day. Jenny and Josh passed by before beginning the climb for the day. I wouldn’t see any of them again until my evening arrival in Del Norte in a delirious state.

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I found the climb, though not huge, to be strenuous. I cranked up to the top with the knowledge that most of the rest of today would be ‘downhill’. That said, downhills aren’t necessarily something to be looked forward to on a unicycle (even though I do). Though I was able to put away some miles quickly on the descent, the seat, once again became unbearable, and my knee screamed. I’ve been trying not to complain about it since the last time I complained, but it’s still an issue and a little worrisome since it’s persisted more than a few days.

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Today the landscape started to make some more dramatic transitions. I’m definitely excited to see what New Mexico has in store. Part of today’s ride towards the end was some of my favorite riding of the trip. The road turned much more primitive and I felt like I was riding a pump track. Eventually the winds became too strong though for it to be fun. The last seven miles into town took all I had; I could barely stay upright as I was buffeted back and forth in the winds.

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Day 66 – can’t think of a title

8.28.2012
Start: west of Marshall Pass
End: Luder’s Campground
Today’s miles: 60.5
Total miles: 1903.0
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 1; 18 total
Wildlife:

Long day today mileage wise, but I managed to get into camp at a decent time, as in before sunset! Knowing that others are waiting in camp helps to keep a municyclist pedaling. We went through lots of beautiful country today, but played the afternoon thunderstorm game once again.

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I managed to slip between most of the storms. It rained just enough towards the end for me to break out my rain jacket, but I was taking it off five minutes later. The others weren’t so lucky. They got caught in the super dark cloud I’d been watching as they crested today’s pass. When I topped the pass, I saw the piles of white hail that had pummeled them a couple hours earlier. I had to deal with the energy sapping mud that was left behind.

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Tomorrow I will try for another big day into Del Norte. That means I should get to sleep now so I can try to get up early. We’re also trying to get up early because the campground we’re in is closed for cleaning in preparation for Labor Day. We think it’s probably a good idea to be out of here by 8:00 when they reopen the area.

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Day 65 – Marshall Pass

8.27.2012
Start: Salida, CO
End: west of Marshall Pass
Today’s miles: 31.0
Total miles: 1842.5
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 1; 17 total
Wildlife:

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We all rolled out of Salida at various times this morning. Josh and Jenny caught up to me during my lunch break. We then headed up the remaining 3,000 or so feet to get up over Marshall Pass. Our paces were actually pretty similar; it was quite a treat to have others around, especially as it began storming. It rained hard for a little bit and hailed for a littler bit. With company, the storms aren’t as bad. I even broke out the GoPro camera and recorded some video. Josh also got some really cool slo-mo video of me mounting the unicycle precariously close to a steep drop. Tre had taken a more direct and difficult accent up the pass. His ride came with stories of sliding down head first, on his back down one of these steep side slopes. A tree stopped his descent.

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We’re all in a beautiful campsite of aspen and pine tonight. We arrived at camp early (for me) and had lots of time to chat, eat, and even make a fire, a luxury I haven’t enjoyed since just befor Whitefish, MT. Tonight reminded me of being on the Appalachian Trail and has been one of my favorite nights/days of the ride.

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Tonight was also the perfect night to sip on my Teeccino. After dinner I like to reflect over the day with a cup of the herbal coffee that Teeccino has supplied for the trip. This is often my favorite and most looked forward to part of the day. This evening I not only shared the reflection with others, but I also shared my favorite drink!
Here are the addresses of the others’ blogs:
Josh & Jenny: http://losingthedivide.blogspot.com
Tre: http://gdmbrtresnow2012.blogspot.com

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