July 3, 1999 - Day 28 - Loveland to Brush, Colorado

85.3 miles, 14.7 average mph, 1564 total miles, 27.6 mph max speed

16 roadkill

A couple of general matters unrelated to the day:

1. I have now paid my dues. 1500 miles of the West. Done. If you haven't done so yet, would you please take a look at the Fundraising Page and consider contributing to one (or both!) of the charities I am making this ride for? Steve and Carol Montgomery are good friends of mine, and Progressive Community Center (The People's Church) is doing great work on Chicago's south side. I've tried to explain both in detail. There's a contribution form you can fill in and print off. Thanks a lot. I would really like to make a financial impact for both.

2. When the computer crashed in Nevada, I lost all my address books. That means I have your email address only if you've written me after Grand Junction, Colo. I'd like to stay in touch with you. So please write (graham@route99.org), so I can get your address back.

3. For those of you who have left messages on the Message Board, I have read everything you've written, but have just not been able to respond to each of you. Thanks a lot for the encouragement, suggestions, etc. I have really gotten a kick out of reading what you've written, especially you, Pete. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts with everybody.

Last look at the Rockies
Last look at the Front Range of the Rockies
Leaving Loveland on Rte. 34, I took one last look at the massive front wall of the Rocky Mountains. (Sigh) Ok, review: why is the eastern wall of the Rockies so steep?

Well, it's just plain hot down here on the Plains. It was somewhere around 100 degrees today. I have a foolproof temperature gauge: my water bottles. Since they take direct air flow, I can tell when the air temp is over 98.7 when I have to let the water cool down to my temperature before I swallow.

Loveland and Greeley are sizeable cities and about 15 miles apart; the stretch of Rte. 34 between them and east of Greeley is pretty busy.
Greeley is named after New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley ("Go west, young man"). It was originally a kind of commune. I should know more about it, but don't. If you do, why don't you put it as a message on the Message Board? We can then all be enlightened.

Bike with Flag
All decked out
Greeley is listed as an 'All America City' on its signs, so I figured this would be the perfect place to get a couple of American flags for my bike. I went to about five stores. Apparently they're SO All American here, they can't keep flags in stock. Couldn't find one anywhere.
And then I saw the Safeway with the display of flowers out front with little flags stuck in them. I went inside to the flower counter and asked Robin if I could buy one for my bike. She came outside and gave me one... and refused to let me take her picture.
But she's Samaritan of the day today. Thanks, Robin, for helping me get all decked out for the 4th.

Who So Teaches a Child Labors with God in His Workshop
Etched onto the Education Building at Northern Colorado University in Greeley

South Platte River
South Platte River, just east of Greeley

The Big Thompson River (see yesterday) is just one of many streams and rivers that rush down the east face of the front range. After Coors and irrigation take their share, most of what's left flows into the South Platte. (By the way, it was right where one of these little tributaries, Cherry Creek, joins the South Platte, that gold was discovered in the 1860's. That confluence is in the heart of downtown Denver today.
The South Platte begins south of Denver and heads north along the face of the range, then northeast until it joins the North Platte in Nebraska to become The Platte, which flows east and joins the Missouri River at the Nebraska/Iowa state line, which flows south and east until it joins the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. So that spit...

Morgan County Sign
Morgan County
This is typical of today's scenery, and it's the right place to remind you of why I include all these county signs. If you check the Information Maps section in the index on the home page, you will see the work of all my U.S. History students during the past academic year. As always, student work varies in quality. But there is often more interesting information on each of the counties than I can give you in these journals. Give them a look.
Morgan County belongs to Charlie Leininger.

A large Storm
Coming my way
This storm really looked bad and when it hit, it was easily the strongest winds I've ever been outside in, but believe it or not, only a few raindrops. People here say it often looks like this with no rain. Anything green in this county is irrigated, either from the South Platte or from an aquifer. If you've ever flown over this part of the country, you see those huge circles of green down there; these are center pivot irrigation systems. I'll try to get a picture of one tomorrow.

I had to ride for about ten miles on Interstate 76, the road that connects Denver with I-80. Bicycles are allowed on it; signs say so. And then you get down there and discover that there are rumble strips on the shoulder every ten yards. The rumble strips are edge to edge on the shoulder and about 6 ft. in length. You have the option of riding over them every 10 yards for 10 miles and ruining your tire, rim, spokes, or all three. Or you can ride off the shoulder into the brush every 10 yards (right!). That leaves swerving every ten yards out into the right lane of a 75 mph interstate on July 3. I was so mad I pulled into a truck weigh station and had the guy call a state trooper. I wanted a complaint on record in case something happened to me.
This is the most boneheaded arrangement I've seen yet. No thought given to the bicyclist. Incredibly dangerous. The rumble strips are there to wake up the driver who nods off for whatever reason and strays off the road. I ask you, who's more valuable to the gene pool, an intelligent, sensitive touring bicyclist or a car driver who doesn't know enough about his own condition to stay off the road?

Sunset in Brush
Plains Sunset
This is the sunset from the street in front of my motel in Brush, Colorado.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! Get those flags out!!!!

U.S.A. versus Brazil, World Cup SemiFinal!!! Go U.S.!!!!!

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