• Sophia Fang

Day 56: Cloudy with a chance of fugitive

Tuesday, July 26th

Rifle, CO --> Grand Junction, CO. 76.4 miles. +3,868 ft. -4747 ft.

NB: credit goes to Robert for this excellent blog post title.

Hello, a sleepy Sophia here to share about her first biking day of not biking! Today I woke up at 5:46am (well before my 7:30am alarm)! Even though we’ve drifted a bit off our ideal schedule with bedtimes bordering midnight, I keep waking up just before 6. Hopefully we get our bedtimes back to 10pm! We’ll need it once we hit the Utah desert heat. Speaking of which, we have been mulling over the prospect of a night-time ride (starting at 3 or 4am). Would love to hear your ideas on this.

So I woke up and having slept maybe 5 hours at most, I thought it best not to bike. I still put on my biking outfit for two reasons:

1. Maybe I would bike after lunch & good nap(s).

2. I like wearing my purple biking jersey.

The morning was relaxing: Maxwell and I went to buy a few essentials at Walmart (peanut butter, soy sauce and nectarines), tossed a frisbee under some nice trees, admired a fish-riding cowboy statue, and drove through endlessly scenic Colorado roads to meet the bikers at our lunch stop in a tiny town called De Beque.

great statue in Centennial Park (Rifle, CO) which we skillfully managed to avoid hitting with our frisbee

We managed to get in a quick nap on the surprisingly carpeted floor of the park gazebo in De Beque although we were interrupted by a very loud siren at 12pm sharp. Not sure what the siren was for - probably a regular test for weather warnings.

Besides the siren, there was a sleepy quality about this little empty-seeming town until police and sheriff cars showed up. One of the cars even stopped our incoming band of bikers to tell them that a fugitive had robbed a store and was out on the loose taking hostages! Not your typical small town news. The police said that it would be okay to stay in the gazebo, so we turned our attention to feeding ourselves. We feasted on leftover peanut butter noodles, an abundance of nectarines (I keep buying more because I forget that we still have some) and delicious Mexican bean salad. Some of us walked to a country store to find a bathroom and returned bearing some warm freshly baked rolls! Soon after this, the skies darkened with clouds and the wind picked up along with lightning and thunder. Not too surprised. We had become familiar with this wacky weather - the infamous Colorado summer afternoon storm.

With thunder rumbling, sheriff cars whizzing by darkened buildings titled “Bank” and “Community Center” and rain streaming through the many holes in the gazebo roof, it felt like we were living in a movie. Maybe one of those Wild West ones. Yet again our trusty foam sleeping pads came in handy to shield us from the elements.

After the bikers left, Maxwell and I headed to our final destination for the day to unload the car so that we could have room to shuttle (part of the route went on the interstate which would not be safe to bike since it had just rained).

Driving down I-70 which follows the Colorado River to Grand Junction, we passed by endless lines of magnificent multicolored mesas.

I took this photo from inside a moving car!

Mesas are flat-top mountains as opposed to plateaus which are far more extensive and don’t have steep sides. I later googled that we had passed close by the Grand Mesa (the largest mesa in the world covering an area of 500 square miles!!).

While Maxwell went to shuttle the bikers, I showered, took my second nap of the day, reassured my family that I was alive and happy, read Calvin and Hobbes and walked around the cliffs in the backyard.

imagine having this view behind your home
Franklin watching golden hour unfold

Once everyone arrived, our host Erika cooked us a wonderful spaghetti dinner complete with lactose-free ice cream (or more accurately, ice cream with the lactase enzyme added)! Per usual, we finished everything including the entire ice cream carton and a full tray of brownies.

Also, Erika was reading some sci fi short stories and recommended a podcast called Midnight Burger which has been a captivating listen! If you've read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's a similar vibe. (I'm in the middle of episode 5 where the crew of this time-traveling diner are trying to to help some people in a dystopian Earth where everyone is forced to wear a chip that randomly inserts ads into their speech).

Also, Franklin, Robert and I dipped our feet in the hot tub!

When it got dark, I went out a second time to look at the stars. Feet warm, stars twinkling above (a foretaste of what was to come in Utah!), I felt both content and excited at the same time.

This was my first full day of not biking and not driving, and I enjoyed it immensely from all the exciting lunch happenings to good conversations in the car while watching one of the most beautiful states in our country pass by. It's a see-you-later, Colorado <3.

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