Bike & Build

July 21st - Provo

Sunrise at the campground. A perfectly uneventful night. Neither to cold nor too windy.

We left Starvation campground today for a very tiring 100 miles to Provo. The ride was very pretty, but also climbed up first 40 miles. Alex (leader) warned of a climb, but thought the peak was early in the day. Unknowingly climbing all morning was a smidgeon demoralizing. 

But it was pretty. After the peak, we descended about 10 miles down a narrow mountain valley. After a final highway stretch around a lake, we jumped onto bike trail for the remaining milage and passed a tall waterfall. 

Provo itself is nestled in a floodplain between two mountain ranges - wherever you look, cliffs tower overhead. 

July 20th - Starvation Campground

These road cuts reminded me of a scene of of Pixar's Cars. I love the sedimentary lines on the dunes.

Today's ride brought us from Vernal to Duchense, something like 65 miles. We've been going back into a quiet part of the country, so the ride was mostly empty space. Valleys usually has small towns and farmland; hills were barren. 

July 19th - Tenth State!

Sunrise in Meeker. I live how our trailer looks now.

I biked to Utah. Weird. 

Bike & Build lists the route from Meeker, CO to Vernal, UT as 109 miles. I think that's what the cue sheet said, too. 

In Dinosaur, just before the state line, a liquor store crowed "last chance to buy real beer!" I think Utah has a 4% maximum rule. 

The ride was barren, but pretty. As we entered Utah, the terrain changed from rocky metamorphic mountains into something like petrified sand dunes, slow rolling sandy perks with only a hint of shrubbery growing on them. 

July 18th - Smile in the Sky

One last look at our quadruple bedroom in Carbondale. The house, as you may have read was huge: 20,000 square feet and 8 million dollars.

As I warned before, swathes of the country don't really have internet access. The past few days (before August 8th, I mean) have been a lot of camping and long days. I'll tell you about it when I get there. But for now, back to Colorado!

We headed out of Carbondale today, bound for points west (Meeker, CO). The morning was fairly uneventful, but lunch was definitely an event. Two Bike & Build alumni invited us over to their house in Rifle; since Zoe Goldberg had a birthday, we had a cake, too!

July 16th & 17th - Carbondale Construction

The format for this post is a little funky since it's a cross-post from I'll go back and keep writing articles from the 4th forward, but wanted to put this up today. Apologies for falling so far behind; we had a few hosts with no internet and some long riding days. I'll probably keep pushing pictures here after the trip ends till I've covered everything. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. 

We just wrapped up 2 days of building in Carbondale. As yesterday's author mentioned, our lovely hosts arranged for gondola rides in Aspen. Their pampering only improved as the build days passed.

July 15th - Quiet in Aspen

Aspen is a very cute town (maybe a little too cute) with a ton of old and old-styled buildings.

We were told that the hosts in Aspen wouldn't be ready for us until 4:00pm. Since the ride is only 30 miles, we choose to hang around Aspen for the morning and head out at 1:00 or so for Carbondale. As a test, the Carbondale folks bought us all lift tickets for the gondola in Aspen. 

July 14th - Independence Pass

The trailer looks odd in a campsite after two months without leaving asphalt.

Independence pass was today. Everyone's been anxious for this pass for the whole trip; at 12,100 feet it's the biggest paved through road in Colorado. (The road up Pikes Peak is higher but doesn't go anywhere.)

It wasn't that bad. The road was a perfectly uniform 6% grade on the way up and traffic was light enough to stay safe. The descent had more switchbacks, and I think we came down faster on the bikes than the van could. 

The pictures speak for themselves. 

July 13th - Out of Hartsel!

I didn't get a picture last night, so here's the one room schoolhouse/church/community center we stayed in.

Although the ride into Hartsel was pretty, I'm glad to go. It was a long, rough ride with lots of headwinds and climbing. Today's ride was just what the doctor would have ordered, if doctors prescribed bike rides to cure ailments. Moving on. 

After a short ascent out of Hartsel (and a ton of bugs - my legs were speckled) we crested a mountain pass and started 15 miles of descent. Curving past huge exposed rock formations at 30 miles per hour was an enormous relief from crawling up hillsides. 

Lunch was at the base of the slope, followed by a gradual climb into Twin Lakes. We rode alongside a tiny little tributary to the massive and flooded Arkansas river. That was neat. 

July 12th - On the road again

Andrew and I spent a little while wandering Garden of the Gods. The rock formations abruptly jut out of the ground

Today's ride took us 85 miles from Fountain to a little town called Hartsel. Along the way we passed through Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods, and climbed a pair of mountain passes. 

I was sweeping again today, so I hung out at the back with Andrew. Fortunately, no one has any major mechanical issues today. Unfortunately, a few weren't feeling up to biking after a week off, so we spent a lot of time roadside waiting for people to catch their breath. We can usually bang out 85 miles in 8 or 9 hours, but Andrew and I were on the road for 12. At around for miles from Hartsel, the van came for us as we ran out of daylight. 

But I shouldn't complain. The ride was absolutely gorgeous, especially the pair of mountain descents. Even route 24, which was busy and a little scary, was beautiful. The road barely fit between the winding walls of the river valley it followed. Later in the day, the valley opened up and the road straightened out. Safer to ride on but less breathtaking. 

All told, it was a nice return to the bicycle. Especially the mountain descents. 

July 11th - Blitzed to the End

Some dark and nefarious person inside just cut out a window. Isn't that cool?

We wiped up the Blitz Build today with ice cream and windows. Our bike and build house has windows and blue board now, and the houses across the street are looking pretty good, too. The fence is done, the roof is up (except for singles, which a professional offered to donate) and things are looking pretty progressed.