Day 49: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Kremmling to Breckenridge: 60 miles
The ride out of Kremmling started with what is all too typical: a busy road with no shoulder. When traffic is coming in both directions, it's a squeeze, and if one or both is a big truck, I'll just move off the pavement and stop to let them go by. I'd much rather be alive than right, and I prefer to minimize any antagonism toward bicyclists. (Does it? Who knows?)
|Narrow shoulder + heavy traffic => pull off to avoid conflicts!
State route 9 here is known for heavy traffic, so it was a relief when the trail took the back way around Green Mountain Reservoir, along a county road. It was narrow, hillier, and in worse repair, but it was scenic and a lot quieter. And it provided more choice of cover when the storm cell that had been trailing me finally caught up. I took shelter under a clump of birches ten feet up a bank. That wasn't a particularly bright idea, as the rain made the embankment slippery, and my subsequent descent devolved into a backward somersault into a clump of rocks at the bottom. Fortunately, the only damage was a bruised pelvic protrusion.
Back on the main road (where the shoulder finally widened out), I met a couple of credit-card tourists, Jason (I think) and Rose, who were doing a seven-day loop out of Golden. I looked with envy at their five-pound loads. We traded photos, and then they left me in their wake.
|Credit-card tourists Jason and Rose
|The Old Coot tries to figure out
the mysteries of smartphones.
The Silverthorne/Dillon/Keystone/Frisco/Breckenridge conglomerate is a big tourist area. The year-round population is not that high, but all the ritzy stores are there (reminded me of Seattle) and Breckenridge, especially, is a party town. The city of Denver decided to create a reservoir in that area back in 1960, and built a dam, which had the effect of inundating the town of Dillon. (The town moved before it got too wet.) The dam is impressive, and so is the serpentine bike path up the face of the dam. I should have photographed it, but I got too high and then couldn't see it, and didn't feel like going back down.
|Dillon Reservoir's dam.
The serpentine up the dam hill was challenging.
There's a bike path all the way from Dillon to Frisco to Breckenridge, and it's just about the coolest one I've ever traveled on. These people know how to do things right. Just take a look at the photos. You know those adopt-a-highway signs? Here, you can adopt a section of the trail. Businesses set out coolers of water and rest areas along the trail. How cool can you get?
|The bike path from Frisco to Breckenridge was amazing.
|That's an adopt-a-trail sign in the back.
|Several businesses provide water and rest for trail users.
Although it was after suppertime in Frisco, I decided to move on to Breckenridge. That led to both an unfortunate situation (as you'll see in a moment) and a free dessert. Where the trail departs Frisco, a couple who were entertaining friends on their deck hailed me as I approached: "How about some ice cream?" That's a call that no biker can resist! I have lost the paper containing their names but I've included the photo anyway, so pardon all the anonymous heads.
|Ice cream break!
With these Frisco residents right beside the bike path
By the time I got to Breckenridge, it was almost dark. I hadn't realized how much a party town Breck is. And I'd forgotten that it was a holiday weekend. The one place that had hostel-type lodging was full. Breck doesn't have campgrounds or RV parks - they wouldn't fit its image. Most motels/hotels were full. So I was stuck with a suite in downtown Breck. $147 - the most expensive night of the trip. Yeah, it was nice - furnished kitchen, little living room - but I don't need nice. Not on this trip.
|$147 entertainment area