We woke up this morning in a bed again, and it was nice. That's the third night in a row. If we're not careful, we won't know how to set up the tent anymore!
The continental breakfast was actually pretty good for a tiny hotel. It consisted of instant oatmeal, two kind of cold cereal, a plate of fresh danishes, coffee, milk, and orange juice. April and I were the only people at breakfast, but the hotel probably thought a whole group of people came through when they took inventory after we left!
April had cold cereal, milk, and several packs of oatmeal. I had cold cereal, oatmeal, coffee, hot chocolate, and three danishes! It was great!
As we packed up, April tried to find a place for us to stay in our next destination, Cañon City, CO. Most churches didn't answer, but the one that did said they couldn't let us stay because "they had a security system". They recommended we try the homeless shelter. We decided we weren't ready to try that quite yet.
If you remember, we're in the middle of a health insurance fiasco. The "24 hour turn-around" didn't happen for the one we applied for, so April gave them a call as well. After confirming they got our application, she spent 10 minutes on hold waiting for a "specialist" before she hung up and left.
The cleaning lady tried to clean our room three times while we were there because each time she came, I told her we would be gone soon, only to have something else delay our departure. It was a little after 10 when we finally left and it was windy! A nice strong south wind...unfortunately we were going south so that made it a nice strong headwind!
We arrived at a little town called Hartsel where we decided we needed a snack and a break from the wind. We split a sausage, egg, and cheese bagel from the cooler (the kind you warm in the gas station's microwave) and watched the clouds blowing along while we ate. It sprinkled a bit, but nothing too heavy.
April thought it looked like it might rain more, so she put on her new waterproof shoe covers and rain jacket. With the addition of all our safety gear, she was a fashion statement to behold! On the way out we passed the "jail and sheriff's office". Neither looked like they had been used in a while...
After a few miles, we had to stop so that April could take her shoe covers off because they did such a good job of blocking the wind that her feet were overheating! Just as she got them packed away I looked up and said, "Well, looks like you got them put away just in time for the rain!"
Looking to the west, we could see the rain coming in sheets. April had her rain jacket on still, but I did not. As I struggled to put my jacket on in the wind, the rain reached us. I got a little wet before I got my jacket on. April's legs got wet because she was holding the bikes while I put my jacket on and couldn't put her rain pants on. My legs got wet because I didn't want my rain pants and didn't care. Oh, and April's (and my) shoes got soaked because the covers were packed neatly away.
It rained and then it hailed and then it quit. The sun came out again and began drying us off. Then it was on to our final pass of the Rocky Mountains. It was a relatively small pass as far as total elevation gain goes but still over 9000 feet. Plus, the wind made it seem like it was about three times bigger than it actually was! We decided the Rockies were trying to give us something extra special to remember them by.
It was a bittersweet moment when we crested the pass. Our last pass was done and we had a lot of downhill coming! But we had really enjoyed riding in the mountains. The scenery had been stunning and climbs had challenged us in a good way. And of course there were the long fast downhills. We will certainly miss them!
About ten miles out from Cañon City, we entered a beautiful section of (mostly) downhill. The whole way was full of great views. We took a picture of a storm moving through the mountains in the distance. Then we realized there was another storm moving toward us!
Just a little ways down the road, there was a hotel that was closed and for sale (now reduced to $250,000!) with a nice little porch and some lawn chairs. We parked under the porch and ate a snack in the comfy lawn chairs while the storm passed over.
As it passed the sun came out and we saw a rainbow, then a full rainbow, and then a double rainbow!! It was awesome, especially with the mountains as a backdrop!
Here's a video of the double rainbow!
On our way into Cañon City, we saw signs for Royal Gorge, but thanks to the headwind and our late start, we couldn't take the side trip to see it even though we'd heard it was beautiful.
We coasted downhill toward the city and saw some great views and a great billboard. The whole city is surrounded by mountains. And prisons. But we only saw the mountains on our way in :-)
We arrived at a park and decided to see if we'd heard back from any churches we'd called. We had no new messages, so April started trying other churches. We were wanting to stay inside because the weather report predicted an 80% chance of rain.
The first church that April got a hold of, the person she was talking to said, "It doesn't rain here." Never really a yes or no to "can we sleep in your church tonight". This was now the third frustrating answer from a church in the last few days. A word of advice to the church community, don't make excuses like "we have an alarm" or "it doesn't rain here" or "we don't have showers". If you're uncomfortable with someone staying in your church, just say so. We can totally respect that, we're strangers to you. Side-stepping the issue or giving a bogus answer...not cool and it just reinforces stereotypes that are not very becoming of Christ's representatives.
The next church we got a hold of said we were welcome to stay there, and he wished he had some showers for us, but he didn't. He said he was at the church and he would meet us outside, just look for the man in the black suit. April said great we'd be right there and told him to look for the couple in spandex on colorful bikes!
When we got there he showed us around a bit and suggested we stay in the parlor room. It was perfect! Right across from the bathrooms, attached to a small kitchen, and with very padded carpet. He even gave us each a yogurt (though he was sorry, he didn't have anything else to offer). He also said he had called the alarm company to let them know there would be people in the building tonight and not to send the cops. That would have a been quite a surprise!
We unpacked and took our baby-wipe baths. Then while April worked on the blog, I went to the grocery store to get supplies for dinner and the for the next day. I decided I would make a special dinner since we had a real stove with multiple burners and didn't have to worry about using too much fuel, so I made chicken fajita burritos! They were awesome!
For those of you who are following closely, you may be concerned that we're only eating ice cream and cheese and peanut butter. And while we do eat a lot of these foods, you can rest easy in knowing that we do take care to get a more well balanced diet than we blog about. Typically we'll eat a can of fruits or veggies with at least one of our meals, plus between the two of us, we drink a half gallon of 100% natural fruit juice each day. We don't always get the fresh fruits and veggies we'd like because they don't pack well, but we do get lots of bananas and we have dried fruits in our snack mix.
Before I go, I would like to take a moment and give a special thanks to Troy Salmon and Greg and Sarah Amidon. We couldn't have taken this trip without the support and help from people like you guys! Thanks so much!!
Well anyway, we're full of fajita and ready for a nice dry night indoors. There's not a bed tonight...I hope we remember how to set up our sleeping pads!