• 84°

First hot day, but more than halfway

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

Based on today’s forecast for the southern Colorado area, I knew that it might be a tough day. The weather guys predicted upper 90s and low 100s in the area. My biggest concern was which direction the wind would come from.

I left Canon City early and flew through the first 20 miles. Then came a long climb to an intersection that was supposed to have a cafe and general store, but had no open stores. The general store and cafe are only open on the weekends. From there to Pueblo, it was mostly flat with several more of those challenging berms. I hate those things! I ate twice in Pueblo, and drank about a gallon, because the temperature was building. I got lost briefly in town, but quickly found my way and headed directly east on Highway 96.

First stop was a little general store in Boone, still at about 4,500 feet of altitude. My water bottles on the bike were heating up, and I was hot, but I had no idea of the temperature. Joanie from the general store told me that it was 102. Shortly after that stop, the winds started to really blow. Thankfully, it was a side wind, and I could still make decent time. Small storms were in the area, but I felt maybe two rain drops. Next target town was Olney Springs, but I found it totally closed up. Not a store open.

I headed for Ordway, and the Hotel Ordway. I had called ahead and found a good deal on a hostel room. Check out the photos and know that it is a another 100-plus-year-old hotel. I found out from owner Carol that this used to be a thriving town, partly because of the railroad and produce. Not much remains because the railroad is gone and the area is too dry to grow much.

Total miles for the day were 104. I hope for more flat ground tomorrow and will head out early to beat the heat and the winds. Few real towns are coming up, so I have to carry more water and food.

If all goes well tomorrow, it will be my last full day in Colorado. It was great to see better roads today. I passed halfway late this afternoon. That is a great feeling, but I was really ready to get off that bike this afternoon.

I plan to stop at the first open post office and send my cool weather stuff home, leaving more room in the bags for water and food. Wish I could carry ice cream!

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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