Day 60: Gunnison to Montrose

Yesterday morning was 40 degrees. I was glad that I stayed in a hostel rather than camping outside. After I packed up my things, I rode to Double Shot Cyclery, where they also have a café. I was a bit early, so I waited until 7 AM for the café to open.

While eating a subpar breakfast burrito, I talked with two locals, Boe and Jack. They are both cyclists and Jack’s daughter rode the TransAmerica Trail before. Jack was the previous owner of Double Shot Cyclery before turning to teaching. They were great to talk to and I wished I could have stayed longer and chatted more.

Boe and Jack, two Gunnison locals

The ride toward Montrose was simply stunning. I passed by the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which was breathtaking. Along the road were many campgrounds and RV parks. There were many RVs, motorcycles, and pickup trucks with trailers attached to them coming and going.

Blue Mesa Reservoir

At the Sapinero Village Store, I bought a root beer ice cream bar. The store owner told me about the road ahead and warned me about a narrow canyon path where cyclists get killed since there is little shoulder. I took heed and kept riding west.

The wind got stronger as the day went on and it was blowing directly toward me. I walked up the hill and saw another convenience store. I didn’t buy anything there, but I talked to Mark, the person in charge of the store. Mark is a Native American and he once walked from here all the way to Los Angeles. He then told me an Indian legend that I’m not allowed to talk about to any white person. So I’ll keep it a secret.

Mark

After walking up one more hill, I finally enjoyed some downhill. The headwind was so strong that I had to pedal. I was only going about 25 mph.

In the small town of Cimarron, I had a chocolate cream pie with ice cream and an iced tea for lunch. That was the best the store could do for me. I had one more hill to go up and it was four miles to the summit. I walked my bike one last time. I tried to ride the flat parts, but every time I got on my bike the wind picked up and slowed me down. It was Murphy’s Law at work.

Bird watching at a rest stop

Finally, a little before 5 PM, I arrived in Montrose. I got a caramel frappé at McDonald’s to celebrate then I rode to my Warmshowers host, Tony’s place.

One of many statues in Montrose

Tony is truly a saint. He had stopped on the side of the road to talk to me a couple of days ago, gave me his phone number, and offered to host me.

After I settled down in the basement of his house, which he is currently renovating, I took a shower. Tony’s wife, Amanda, also arrived. Soon their daughter, Edi, also came in. The four of us went to Guru’s, a Nepalese restaurant in town. We talked a lot and Tony ended up paying for my dinner. Did I mention Tony is a saint?

Tony, Amanda, and Edi

We took a short walk around downtown before returning home. Tony had to go to Denver the next day, so I said goodbye to him. I went to bed shortly after getting inside the house.

This morning, I woke up at 6. I planned on only riding about 26 miles to Ridgway. After 60 days, I’m about 2/3 finished with my entire trip. I’m going to take it easy and only ride about 40 miles a day. This way I can really enjoy the scenery out west and break up the hills into sections.

For breakfast, I rode to Backstreet Bagel Company and had a ham, egg, and cheese bagel, along with a cup of coffee. For the first half of the day, I plan on helping Amanda with some renovations on the house then I’ll ride to Ridgway to stay at another Warmshowers host’s place.

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