Monday, May 12, 2014

Van Week: Denver to Dallas

5/5: Cinco de Mayo. Drove from Denver to Lamar, CO and had a very tasty Mexican dinner at a little joint on Main St. Had a Negra Modelo at a friendly and quite excellent little bar, too. Camped for the night in a city park / train station where the Amtrak stopped while I was there. Visited Comanche National Grassland for the first time and need to go back to the other unit by La Junta, CO to see the dinosaur tracks. They’re located 8 miles in and can be biked to.

Here's my lovely camp spot in Lamar, CO...

5/6: Drove into West Texas to find a nice place to camp for two nights. First place I stopped was a sickly reservoir whose water line appeared to be down 80% from when the dam was built. People who live in the desert need to quit drinking water or quit making babies. Moved on from there to a nice state park south of Amarillo called Palo Duro. It’s in a big canyon that’s about 5 miles long and has some decent mountain biking trails, the tamer of which I took the Fargo for a short ride.

Cooking in the van is a lot more rewarding than cooking at home...

5/7: Biked 75 miles today and was out for 7.5 hours in my training for the Almanzo 100, now only 10 days away. Again it was super windy like in western Kansas, but this portion of West TX is not as hilly or scenic as that which I rode in Kansas. I stopped at a gas station about 7 hours in to fuel up (Snickers bars and Gatorade) and noticed on my phone that the temp was 90 degrees. No wonder I was getting a headache even after depleting my substantial water supply. But again, I planned the ride so the wind would be at my back heading home. I’d hoped to maybe ride 9 hours today, but decided I’d had enough in these conditions. Hopefully next week in southern MN it won’t be 90 degrees with 30-mph winds, though I know it certainly could be.

After the ride I used my solar shower for the first time and it worked like a champ. It’s just a black plastic bag with a shower nozzle attached at the bottom. You fill it with water in the morning and let it sit in the sun all day. The sun warms the water (quite nicely) and then you can hang it from a tree or something and shower beneath it.

Next up: Slow drive to Minnesota for Almanzo 100 bike ride.

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