SLC to Denver.Day 10: Estes Park to Boulder CO

I guess it was because of Labor Day weekend that the supply and demand were out of balance in Estes Park  The two restaurants the hotel lady recommended to me had 45 minute wait so I decided to make do with my banana and yogurt and almonds and go to Starbucks .

I met a wonderful woman there and we had a great conversation. Her husband and child were also perfect. I hugged her when she left; that’s how much I liked her. She was an inspiration!

Whenever I meet people on the trip there are always shocked that I’m doing this alone. But in so many ways I don’t feel like I did it alone. First of all I have my bike who became like a very good friend. But mostly I had the kindness of strangers everywhere I went. People are so kind really most people are very very kind.

What I experienced everywhere was even though in many ways certain people seemed completely different from me, they actually were not different from me at all.

But this woman in Starbucks wasn’t superficially different from me. We were of the same tribe.


I hung out in Starbucks for a while trying to get the blog up-to-date. There are a lot of things bad about Starbucks but when you are on the road, you gotta love it for the outlets and the Internet.

I stayed outside with my bike once I got my coffee and I watched this older woman go in with someone who looked like her son. The woman had never been in Starbucks before and she asked the man “Do they have regular coffee here?”.

Again the supply and demand was out of balance. Starbucks was like a jam packed party! You had to nudge your way through the place to get to the bathroom. I’ve never seen a more crowded Starbucks. It opened at five in the morning and closed at 10 in the night time. The line in front of me was about 20 people. It moved quickly. I enjoyed the whole scene. Lots of families on vacation.

I enjoyed watching these kids playing rock paper scissors. They were outside also. The littlest one asked me what my number was. I didn’t understand so I said nine. And then her sister said “she means how old you are, she asks everyone what their number is”. Reluctantly, I was going to answer truthfully but she beat me to it and said she her number was three. I replied with “Great number!”

I thought it was going to be all the way downhill to Boulder and was surprised when I started the ride with 4 miles uphill at about a 6% grade. I knew this could not go on for long. I knew the elevation of Boulder was less than Estes Park by more than 2000 feet. I also knew that it was 15° hotter in Boulder.

When I got to the top it was then downhill for quite a while. That was marvelous. Then it was up-and-down but mostly down. I was leaving the mountains for good and that felt a little sad. They were majestic just like the song says.


It doesn’t look like it so much in this picture below but these rocks were huge and there was no cement between them.

I thought after coming out of the Rockies in Estes Park that the area between Estes Park and Boulder would be significantly populated with things to get on the road like food. I was surprised to find it wasn’t.

I only passed one place where I could get food and it was the restaurant that specialized in homemade pies. It was packed and I could see that it was going to take me half an hour before I could even give them my order to go and I don’t even like pies so I left. I might have stayed had they had Internet. However, between Estes Park and Boulder I didn’t even have cell phone reception. That was the first stretch of land in my entire trip that didn’t have cell phone reception. Go figure.

15 miles outside of Boulder I found the small town of Lyons. It was an oasis of consciousness. It had many rock sculptures that were Andy Goldsworthy copies.

Here’s a picture I took coming into the town

I stopped and took a seat on the outside patio of a bar and Grill. Everything is a bar and grill out here. I had live music with my meal. It was a one-man band he had a computer and an iPad with him where he could loop himself and play with himself. He was really quite good. I phone recorded him a bit and sent the songs to my kids so they could know what I was listening to when I was listening to it. Some tech things like that are marvelous.


I got some wind and I got some rain but mostly it was a wonderful, easy ride. Especially compared to what I did the day before. You can tell in the pictures it’s raining especially in the north where there was some lightning.


Finally I made it to Boulder. The first place I made it to and stopped was Pearl Street. It’s the upscale shopping district. It’s very hip. Almost too hip.

I put my bike outside the Häagen-Dazs place and had a chocolate milkshake. I don’t have a lock now so I always take my bike close to wherever I am and just watch it. For brief moments I can’t watch it but no one has ever attempted to take it. I think it’s obvious my whole life is on that bike and I just don’t think someone would be that mean and up to now no one has been.

The bike itself weighs 32 pounds and then add another 30 for all of my gear. That’s one thing I don’t like about the Ortleib panniers; their heavy. If I had to do it again I’d buy the Banjo brand. But the Ortliebs are never going to need to be replaced; there are so good. Looking on the bright side Banjo doesn’t come in colors.

Having my milkshake I’m on the phone trying to get a bike shop near a hotel I can afford. Additionally I’m trying to get a bike shop to box my bike and ship it the way I want it to be shipped. I ship through ship which is infinitely cheaper than any other way to ship. Bike stores here want to charge$100 to box the bike and then another $200 to ship it. That’s crazy.

Here’s some pictures of the guys I met in Boulder.

One of them worked in the recreational weed shop and the other one obviously is a cop. I had great conversations with both.

Finally performance bicycles which is a chain I have benefited from in Berkeley is willing to ship the bike with weship for $60 and to box it for another $60. A wonderful guy there named Steven was super helpful to me. Cute too.

I felt sad leaving my bike (Who has been my best friend these last 10 days) but it had to be done.

Then I walked the mile and a half back to my hotel mostly through the University of Colorado and the student housing apartments. It was dark by then but I felt safe. My hotel is the cheapest in Boulder thank goodness. Most hotels here are $200 a night. Here some pictures of my hotel.

Pretty cool place. Rodeway Inn took it over but it used to be called Broker Inn and it has all this old-fashioned looking stuff so it seems like it’s really old and authentic but actually it was built in the 70s.

It’s funny in that there are two Renoir paintings they have hung in every room and on every blank space of every wall: the same two Renoir paintings. I never realized before how much they look like. In fact it wasn’t until the third time I walk down the hall that I realized they were different paintings.

In a little while I walk 1.2miles to where the shuttle will pick me up. They won’t pick me up from this hotel. In a few hours I fly out of Denver airport to home. My kids will meet me at the subway stop near our house and we will go to our favorite Mexican restaurant.

This adventure will have ended and my regular life will resume but something will remain forever different because of these last 10 days.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Love, Dana

10 thoughts on “SLC to Denver.Day 10: Estes Park to Boulder CO

  1. sallybike

    Dana, I just love your writing and will never forget meeting you on the Larkspur Ferry at the end of your ride a couple of years ago. Thank you for keeping me informed. Your trip brings tears to my eyes. I haven’t done my bike trip yet, but you keep encouraging me. Ever onward! Sally Burr

  2. monica

    Thank you for another vicarious adventure, Dana! Loved every minute of it. We were in Estes Park/Boulder this summer for a family reunion so it was fun to read about your impressions of some of the same areas we passed though (though admittedly we were in our car for most of it!) We drove along Trailridge Road one afternoon up to 12,000+ feet. Sleet, hail, rain, wind. Cannot even imagine being on a bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, Monica

  3. Janice Jagelski

    Dana, what a fantastic journey, thank you for sharing your keen insight and fabulous photos. I didn’t catch up with your blog till you hit Grand Lake (I share your sentiments), but 2 miles east of Hot Sulphur Springs you passed our family’s ranch, the Sheriff Ranch, right on the Colorado River, big red barn in the meadow and four rustic cabins right on the river. I recognized so many of your photos as I spent most every summer out there from when I was a wee lass through high school, then returned to work on an adjacent dude ranch in 1987. I’ve been out there about every other summer since. Sadly, we were just out there at the end of July for a very moving, cathartic memorial service for my Uncle who has lived his whole life on the ranch. My mother’s maiden name is Sheriff and the ranch was founded in 1881 by my great great grandmother. We’ve driven Hwy 40 dozens of times, sometimes we’ll take Hwy 50, or if in a rush Hwy 80. Kudos for crossing Trail Ridge Pass on a loaded bike! It’s darn difficult and dangerous to just drive it. I’m glad you persevered, made it safely and met so many original people who where pleased to help you or just shoot the breeze. See you around Oakland after you return and re-acclimate to urban life.
    Janice & Pat (Estates Drive house you did several Celtic-style windows for us!).

    1. betweenstops Post author

      hey there Janice,
      that’s SO COOL to know I passed your family ranch and that you have such strong connections out there.
      I just LOVED the colorado river. how amazing for you to have spent so much time there.
      you’re a lucky girl!!
      best wishes,

  4. Matt

    Hi Dana,

    I just finished your blog and really enjoyed it. Especially around rocky MTn National Park estés Park and boulder. We went there in july and loved it. So beautiful. We stopped in lyons too, looked like a really cool town. Can’t believe you biked trailridge road, the highest contiguous paved road in north América! I was out of breath after hiking up the trail from the visitor center.

    Congrats on your journey. Love, matt

  5. Lisa

    Reading about your stories is fun! Isn’t it great that because of cycling, you get to see and enjoy the sights of different places? Then you get to make new friends. I must say, those are ten days well spent!


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