GRMA Day 35: The Mountains in My Rear View Mirror
Several county music songs make reference to some town “in my rear view mirror,” usually with a sense of being happy to put something unpleasant behind the balladeer. This morning as I left Pueblo I could see the Rockies in my rear view mirror (well actually side view mirrors but you get the picture). As I looked at the flat prairie unfolding before me and the majestic mountains shrinking to nothingness at the miles rolled by, I had sharply mixed feelings. It’s good to be going home after nearly five weeks on the road, but I know I’m going to miss the mountains that gave me so many hours of riding pleasure, miles of scenic wonders, and crucial moments of spiritual contentment.
These beautiful piles of various rocks, these soaring stony spires, these color wheels of geologic evolution, these Rocky Mountains have lasted for tens of millions of years; I imagine they’ll still be there when I return. And I will return. Many times, I think, before I’m done riding on two wheels.
During August, eastern Colorado is a lot like western Kansas. Small dusty towns trying to hang on to their pioneer past; flat landscape; hot stale air; wheat fields and alfalfa fields that stretch endlessly to the horizon; odiferous feed yards every 30 miles or so packed with clueless cattle. What’s a rider to do? Well, one approach, and the one I took today when I could, is to go fast, don’t stop and try to get through it as quickly as possible. But when you have 440 miles to go and every 20 miles bright orange cones, dusty yellow highway equipment and florescent lime-green safety vests pop up like spring flowers in a fecund meadow, the distance from point A to point B seems to shrink much too slowly. Still, by pushing the speedometer above the posted speed suggestion limit signs pointlessly littering the roadside, I covered the distance in about eight grueling hours. And that included a pie and coffee lunch (coconut cream, again) and two petrol stops.
I’m back in Wichita with family for a couple days. I’ll continue to write and post some short remarks. I may even go back through my photo gallery and post a few pictures taken along the way that didn’t make the cut to the blog the day they were taken but probably should have. There will, as always, be something here for die-hard blog readers who are usually killing time at their desks when they ought to be doing the productive work they’re getting paid for. At any rate, I’m glad some readers are hanging on to the end of the GRMA. There may still be some Adventures along the way home.