Yesterday we crossed two passes on our way to Del Norte. Marshall and Cadera. As we sailed down the second I saw four figures in the road ahead of me. Bikes scattered in different directions. Parts and packs finished the disarray. The Italians. One had a flat. They had the tire off. Two were inspecting the tire for the cause of the flat. Silvia was finding a new inner tube. Simona was grabbing the pump. It was their 5th flat of the trip. Brian and I stopped. They greeted us happily but insisted they could handle the situation. We should leave before the storm clouds overhead let loose. I decided to just watch for a couple of minutes. Brian did too. They really didn’t know how to get the tire and tube back on the rim. Their pump didn’t work. We were slowly enlisted into the process. Brian pulled out his tire pump. We both got to work with the tire and rim. Soon the tire was back into good repair. Silvia had her video camera out shooting the whole process. We posed for photos then they insisted again that we shouldn’t get wet. “Thank you.” We’ll see you in Del Norte.” We left them to put the tire back on the bike.
We were tired puppy dogs coming into Del Norte. We found a cute little Hostel with a restaurant next door. Beer for Brian. Red Wine for me. Of course about 3 big glasses of lemonade before the glass of red. Came in the door hungry and left with no room for another bite.
Here came the Italians. They took the four beds in one side of our accommodation- we had the other side. We had a great time. Conversation flowing – these are very bright and alive women. They are taking the next day off to go over video and post photos for their sponsors.
Today was our big day. We had ridden 18 extra miles yesterday to make today shorter. Indiana Pass, the highest Pass on the Divide Trail at 11,938ft followed at the end of the day by Stunner Pass at 10,561 ft before getting to Platoro. We started the day around 7800 ft so we had our work cut out for us.
The countryside here is stunning. Big mountains heavily forested with occasional soft meadows and big treeless pillows above. As with all our passes here in Colorado the lower grades of our gravel road climbs allowed us to breathe as we wound ourselves up the mountain. The highest grade was 7 to 8 percent. Very doable by bike. We were over Indiana Pass in 2 and a quarter hours. It was a good feeling. There was no sign. I had been looking forward to a photo.
We came into Platoro after being caught in a big rain with hale and falling temps on the way down our second pass. It was the first rain while biking since we started the trip on July 13th. And did it rain. Hailed too. Had to retreat under spruce trees twice for protection. The rain abated and soon we could see the little town of Platoro.
This might be the oddest town I’ve ever experienced. Houses are all types of log constructions from many different eras and phases of disrepair. All face whatever direction they feel like. The dirt streets wind through the town with no apparent pattern. Old mining homes, lean-tos fit at any angle to sheds and outhouses. RV’s of any vintage are scattered amok throughout the clutter. Felt a little like the Twilight Zone.
We check in to a cabin next to one of the two restaurants in town. We find that there is no internet service anywhere in town. In fact, no where in 200 square miles around the town. There is no cell service. There are no stores. This baby is remote. Brian can’t even buy a beer here.
We have what we need tho. A restaurant, laundry facilities at our lodging for guests. We badly needed that. Lodging where we can recover from the day.
All is well.