Yup, a whopping 40 miles today. We got up late, had a nice breakfast at the resort lodge and went back to the hot springs upper pool that has a 300 foot slide. Then slid right into a “day off” mode that was hard to shake.
After dragging ourselves out of the pool a nice gent from Ohio stopped Steve outside of the pool gate and they proceeded to chat about the ride for a half hour or so. Time was ticking. We stopped over at the little grocer, down by the main office, to grab some stuff for lunch. Of course we had to sit by the river and enjoy while we ate and now it was 1:45.
When we finally did get going the return trip to Salida was much easier than riding to Princeton. Turns out it was all uphill to the crazy place. We did the 22 miles to Salida in a little over an hour, very refreshing. Getting out of Salida proved a little more tricky.
We stopped at the Laughing Ladies Cafe for lunch but they were closed. Then the hunt was on. Back to the river front to watch the goings on. They had a kayak slalom course and plenty of swimmers and rafters. Then we found a little sandwich shop on the river and proceeded to have a leisurely lunch then chatted with some local riders for inside info on the area. Oh what time was it now, having only ridden 22 miles, Hmmmm… 5pm!! and we hadn’t gone anywhere.
Finally started making our way to route 50 and our departure. We arrived at the intersection to find a 15-20 MPH wind blowing right up the valley. It was very clear that the ride “down hill” was going to be less enjoyable so we negotiated whether to stay or go. In the end we went. 50 followed the Arkansas River for our entire evening providing great views, but again we were pedaling downhill going 11 or so. Argh. Even with the wind we managed to check off another 20 and get to a little river front camp spot just short of Coaldale, CO outside of Cotopaxi.
While writing this we watched the sun go down as the clouds parted a little. Nice cool breeze from the east kept the jacket on for a few minutes while we finished our picnic dinner. Couldn’t wait to enjoy the benefits of our sleeping bags. The full moon makes for a very nice evening and the lull of the river should make a nice background noise to sleep to.