June 26, 1999 - Day 21

Glenwood Springs to Gypsum, Colorado - 25.9 miles
Zero roadkill

Today begins a sabbatical from riding. I went to Wheaton College with Helen Murray. We were both history majors there. She married Dick Lindow about 15 years ago and they now live in Gypsum, 25 miles east of Glenwood Springs. I will spend the night tonight with them and their two children, Chelsea (12) and Ivor (10), and probably tomorrow night, too.
Dick met me just up the street from my motel at 10:00. We put the bike and equipment in his car and drove over to BSR Sports and talked briefly with a mechanic there. He said my rim would take a 700x28 tire (I had started with 23, then moved up to 25 in Price, Utah). So I bought one reinforced with Kevlar. And I bought ANOTHER pump, and left the shop feeling pretty confident.
We headed right over to the hot springs where we were to meet up with their friends from Denver, Jim and Bev Booth. Bev and Helen had been old roommates at one time. Following this?

Glenwood Hot Springs
Glenwood Hot Springs
The Glenwood Hot Springs are world famous. Hollywood actors and actresses used to take the train out from L.A., get off at the station right across the street from the hot springs and its beautiful hotel, and relax in the vapors.
Now, of course, Hollywood actors and actresses just snort cocaine (oh wait, that was LAST week) and nobody takes the train anymore. But that leaves the pool to us plain folk, so I'm not complaining.
The pool is split into two parts; the regular part, which you can see best in the picture above, and the hot part, way down at the other end. The temp is 104 degrees there and it feels great. For awhile. Then you go into the cool part or just lay in the sun or shade for awhile.

Dick, Bob, and Jim
Dick, Bob and Jim
Does it get better than this?

Well, we baked in the springs, cooled in the pool and toasted in the sun all day long. This was the first day of the trip I didn't use SPF45. I already had my tan base, of course, so I didn't need that stuff.
What was I thinking? 6000 ft. elevation on a clear day. Man, I fried like a tortilla in hot grease. It hurts, but it hurts good. What a great day.

About 5:30 we left. I put the new tire on the bike and put it back together. Dick carried some of my equipment in the car to lighten the load, but I pedaled the 25 miles. I did this partly for the 'integrity' thing and mostly for the beauty.

Glenwood Springs is located at the western end of Glenwood Canyon, carved by the Colorado River which roars through it.
The problem with the canyon is all those other transportation routes want to go through it, too, and the canyon is just too narrow to accommodate them all. Actually, it DID accommodate the river, the UP line and 2-lane Rte. 6.
But when Interstate 70 was completed all the way from West Virginia (?) to Utah EXCEPT for the 2-lane stretch through Glenwood Canyon, something had to give.
The first plan was to just ram the interstate through and reduce the Colorado River flow to the width of small creek to make room for the highway. It was only due to the clout of some highly visible environmentalists, like John Denver, that the government was forced to take the preservation of the beauty of the canyon into consideration.
What follows is a picture essay of probably the most expensive section of interstate highway in existence. But it shows what we CAN do to co-exist with our surroundings if we really WANT to. When I bicycle up this canyon I feel like I'm in a rare combination of God's work of art and man's ingenuity combined. It's sweet.

Interstate. Bike Path, and River
You can see the interstate, the bike path, the raging Colorado River, and the canyon it has carved.

Class 5 Rapids
This bike path gets CLOSE to the river. These are Class 5 rapids. I like it that they trust you to pay attention. No guard rails for most of the path.

Narrow Colorado Canyon
This narrow canyon is shared by Amtrak, the interstate and the river. The old 2-lane Rte. 6 is gone.

New Symmetry
There's a symmetry here, isn't there? The highway swoops through the tunnel, an offramp sweeps under the highway, and the bike path and river are under it all. Beautiful.

Eagle County Sign
Out of the canyon at the east end you enter Eagle County. Hello Renae Grimestad.

Crossing the Colorado
About five miles into Eagle County, Rte. 6 crosses the Colorado River and continues east while the river goes north. It's goodbye to the Colorado River until we see its source near the top of the Rockies in a few more days.

Oh yeah, I had a flat tire three miles out of Glenwood Springs. At least I could patch it and pump it back up, but only to 90 psi. It did the trick the rest of the way, but man this IS frustrating.

NOTE: I am saying I'm following the Colorado River. Just so the record is straight, I'm riding against the current of the river. In fact, I will be riding against the current of every stream until I reach the top of the Rockies in a few days. That, of course, will be a Continental Divide.

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