When I wake up and I’m close to leaving after having packed up my tent and clothes the guy in the RV closest to me comes out and asks me if I want oatmeal before I set out.
I thank him but say I’m looking forward to breakfast in Hayden. The park ranger told me there was a breakfast place in Hayden that opened at six and I am looking forward to this because I didn’t really have a real dinner and I’m hungry. He looks at me like I’m crazy and he looks sort of offended. “OK’,he says and walks back into his trailer.
I get to Hayden and there’s a gas station. Nothing else is open. There’s a pizza parlor and a bar but they don’t open until the afternoon. So I make the best of that and have breakfast at the gas station which basically consists of coffee strong coffee thank you and a premade sandwich which is pretty good.
I figure it’s only 28 miles to Steamboat and Steamboat is going to have everything. Besides I have some almonds and a yogurt and water so I’m fine.
I have a conversation there with a guy who has a completely cool car.
Every now and then on Highway 40 there Is a sign that says point of interest. I usually stop at these. Why not?
I stopped at one that had picnic tables so I ate my yogurt there but there was no trashcan I thought that was a little strange to picnic tables without a trashcan. So I carry my trash. Guess that’s what they want you to do.
The point of interest was a sign telling all about the coal mines that used to be there and the towns that used to be there. These towns had everything. They had theaters and hotels and restaurants and all kinds of stuff.
The sign listed the names of all the guys that had died and all the accidents and it was really quite moving. I was glad I stopped to read the sign.
The Yampa river has been my friend for quite a while now. Highway 40 has been following it. That’s why i haven’t had a lot of big hills lately. Coming into Steamboat however, the road got a little dangerous.
At one point there was a 30 foot cliff on the right of me with no shoulder. The white line is the shoulder with the guard rail, next to the white line, separating the road from a 30 foot cliff down. The road was curvy. It was scary. It didn’t last long however, Thank God.
It’s always in these gnarly passages, when it’s already difficult enough, that you get these signs that say “falling rocks”. I mean what are you supposed to do with a sign like that?
Outside of Steamboat Springs I go to a thrift store and a pawnshop. The pawnshop is like the one on the TV show. It was incredible. When Noah and I biked Highway One, we were going to the thrift stores and pawnshops.
Highway 40 takes on different names in different towns. sometimes it’s Brontosaurus Avenue often it’s Lincoln sometimes it’s Jefferson sometimes it’s Main Street and sometimes it’s Victory Way.
It’s a 2 Lane Highway so when it goes through a town it just becomes the Main Street in the town.
I got to Steamboat Springs early and it’s like an oasis in the desert. It has everything even a real health food store. It used to be a ranch town and now it’s a ski resort also so there’s a mixture of people and a mixture of money.
I am staying at a truly superb hotel which is listed as two star I don’t know why. It’s called Nordic lodge and it’s a run by a guy named Greg and his wife. The breakfast spread was like none I’d ever seen. Greg is helpful and talkative it was a true pleasure staying here. I give it seven stars.
Steamboat Springs has been famous since the time of the American indigenous people for its mineral waters. The indigenous used to call it “Medicine Waters”.
I took advantage of those waters and spent the afternoon in various tubs. I had conversations with hunters. In my hotel guest laundry room, I met another man who is also a hunter. He and his buddy almost got chased down by some bears this afternoon. He showed me a video of it on his phone. You can see the Bears and you can see them coming after him and then you know he drops the phone and the whole thing is chaos really quite amazing.
What’s even more amazing is I can have these wonderfully friendly and perfect conversations with people like hunters.
I don’t think I’ve ever known a hunter before. it’s really quite wonderful to be able to cross over like that and be part of a different culture and watch this guys video and listen to his excitement telling his story.
I had a similar conversation in the mineral water tubs with a guy who shot an elk yesterday. He claimed I t was the best experience of his life and I actually got that.
I’m experiencing a different kind of peace than I usually have. Ha! I usually don’t have any. Just a lot drops away when you do something like this. And part of what drops away is judgment.
I have no idea what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes and everybody’s shoes are different.
Tomorrow I do the big pass RABBITT EARS. It’s a very big deal. I hope I make it.
When I was having lunch I met two German guys who are backpacking the continental divide, from Canada to Mexico.
. They are young and gorgeous and friendly. They hitch hiked over Rabbit Ears!