Day 18 – Elk Creek to Crested Butte, CO – 44 miles

July 27, 2009 smccormick

Today we woke in beautiful setting.  A little cold for Cyndy and IMGP3413 just right for Steve.  The scenery was great we’re actually relaxing and enjoying our environment and looking forward to our ride demands since we have 13 days to cover only 200 miles.

We have reached this point about 10 days ahead of schedule and have been talking about how we will enjoy the bonus.  Several options are on the table: rent a car and go touring and visit friends in Denver, enjoy the terrain we are in by slowing the pace or we can ride together past Pueblo, the original destination for Cyndy, and see where we can get to.  Of course, any blending would also work.

After about a half hour chat with the fish & IMGP3414 game inspector at the campground gate, we finally got rolling.  Our departure this morning took us along the Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Gunnison river for 16 miles into Gunnison.  The valleys were lush and green with forest and grasses and the hillsides were just as colorful.  Mile after mile we were greeted with views of the river and dramatic landscapes the photos just don’t do justice.

We arrived in Gunnison and found a place (or two) for breakfast.  IMGP3423 That is Cyndy found a coffee shop (think sprouted grain bread) and next door was Steve’s “coffee shop” complete with chicken fried steak and eggs. We did eat together; then spent a half hour speaking with a couple on the sidewalk about the trip.  They have been wanting to do the same thing but always found an excuse not to go.  Hopefully our excitement and candor helps them make their decision.

We took an unscheduled left turn today and headed for Crested Butte from Gunnison.  It was a nice 28 mile ride along several rivers IMGP3435 and streams, one of which we took the time to wade around in for a couple of minutes.  Lots of rafters and kayakers.

Further up the road was surrounded by lush fields and the wildflowers the view was such a treat.  It was hard not to stop every 5 feet to take a photo in hopes that just one would capture the true beauty of the scene.  There were deer, prairie dogs, chipmunks, surface water gurgling everywhere, log homes, mountain peaks, what a lovely day!

Arrived in CB as the locals call it, around 4 pm and found IMGP3437 a room at the local hostel; a private room no less, very comfy.  We showered and went out to see the downtown.  Flowers everywhere, Victorian style homes, lots of shops and restaurants. Very quaint with people going every which way and unsupervised kids riding bikes around.  A glimpse of how it should be.  We missed the concert in the park while we were eating.  You would all have lovedIMGP3443 it, country music.

A quick run to the grocery store and we had an indulgent ice cream desert.  What a way to finish off the day.  Now to the fridge for a big glass of milk, mmmm.  If only the slopes were open and we had our skies.

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