Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Nerd Slumber Party - Part 2

The lost blog... continued:

Well I left our kind hosts and went to get me some Indian food. I figured I had better get it while the getting was good because we're probably not going to find Indian food again until we get back to the east coast.

After Indian food I went off toward Black Canyon and stopped in the national park. Pat and Maria, if you're reading this, I highly recommend visiting Black Canyon and driving around it's scenic route. I also recommend stopping in Ridgeway (I think that's what it's called, it's between Telluride and Montrose) because it's a quirky little town that seems a bit less expensive than Telluride. I also recommend Telluride if you don't mind spending a little bit of money.

Ok, so I drove around the rim of the canyon and walked out to scenic overlooks that were 100 - 1000 yards away from the road. Absolutely beautiful. The canyon cuts through the mountains and there's a place to drive down to the river for fishing and playing. I couldn't go down to the river because I had to get to Gunnison. I kept getting texts from the boys saying things like: we're going swimming, we're going to eat at the pub, it's so nice here... etc.

I do believe that Black Canyon is the second biggest in the United States, but don't quote me on that because I'm not sure and I don't feel like looking it up (Tim Milligan I'm looking at you).

I also met a really nice man named Frank by the canyon who owns his own bike shop and knows lots of cross country crazies like us. I'm mentioning him cause he was real nice and took our information, so I think he's probably checking this out.

Alright, so I get to Gunnison and our host was so nice. I stopped at Safeway and got everything I shouldn't get to eat before getting there because the boys had already gone out to eat. Well I'm in Safeway looking at the frozen dinners (not knowing our host did not have a microwave oven because I couldn't get a hold of Mike) and I see Salisbury Steak and Mac and Cheese... and I went 'awww it's home and Matt babysitting me and making me a dinner of Salisbury steak in the microwave and can't you just smell home?', so I bought it and ate it and it was delicious.

Our host in Gunnison had a really neat house. It was a log cabin at the dead end of a street. Apparently they get a lot of med students on their rural rotation that stay with them.

The next morning I hopped out of bed and threw on some clothes to go try Zumba with our host while the boys got ready to leave and Jesse went back to sleep because his knee was acting up again. Zumba is basically aerobic dance moves to hip hop/ dancy/ latin ish music. It was interesting.

Jesse and I got going after naps and stopped at the biggest Subway we have ever seen. I mean huge. How does this town need a Subway that big? I should have taken a picture. That subway meant serious business.

Then we drove up to Monarch Pass looking at increasingly interesting cloud formations. Monarch Pass, for those who don't know (I didn't know until yesterday) is at 11,000 something feet and probably the longest continuous climb they're going to have. It is also where the continental divide is located. If you pour water on one side it goes to the Atlantic ocean, on the Other and it goes to the Pacific. Or as our host said, 'you can pee on each side and it'll end up in two oceans'.

We got up there and it was freezing. For all you Baltimore people out there: I was wearing a winter hat and coat and looking at leftover snow banks yesterday. :-p

Oh don't you worry, our day will come. We'll be traveling on the East Coast in August. If June and July were in the 90s and 100s what will August be like? Armageddon? Won't you all be so disgusted if we get back and it's a nice cool breezy 70?

Well at the top of Monarch Pass is the option of taking a little gondola up to the tippy top, about 12,000 ft and looking out all all the fourteeners that surround the area (Pat and Maria, I recommend this too, only 7 dollars with a view to die for that you don't even have to work to get).

We had to wait out the weather, two storm systems were colliding over Monarch Pass, we probably spent a few hours up there before the guys could leave.

Fun Fact: Did you know there are people even crazier than us?

There are people who hike the mountains we were on. All the way down. From the tops to the bottoms. We met one such hiker named Mark from England. This is his bazillionth trip. He's done the Appalachian trail a few times. He's done the Pacific route that is probably also well known to everyone but me because I'm a real details girl. Now he's doing this one. Apparently it's like the triple crown of hiking in America and this is his last one. He hikes for a few days with limited supplies and then he goes out and down into some towns to get more supplies and heads back out again.

He was heading to Salida to check out a hostel and get more supplies. Since he was looking for their number because he needed a lift into town and since I was heading that way anyway, we made room for him in the car and I gave him a lift. This is not that uncommon in the mountains. There are a lot of long distance hikers who hitch lifts into town, in fact we saw a couple on our way down that were trying to do just that.

On the way we talked about what kind of people hitchhike and pick up hitchhikers and the trust involved. He's done a lot of hitchhiking in America. I think the more smiley you are the better chance you have of getting a ride.

We also talked about how everyone out here carries a gun (I know, I know I'm stereotyping, but It's a good assumption to be operating under) and how only criminals and police have guns in England. When I asked him how people go hunting if that's the case, he told me it was too crowded, there wasn't much game and people don't hunt. The ones he knows that do hunt come to America for our open seasons or go bow hunting.

Interesting huh?

He also warned me about getting the travel bug and ending up always having to go somewhere like hiking mountain chains when you're 40. Considering he's hiked around Asia and Africa, I don't think it sounds like that bad a deal.

Well we got into Gunnison and gave our host some last minute notice that we were coming. It wasn't that last minute. We told him that morning.

We were lucky, he had gotten back into town two days ago. We went and got pizza and called our host up for directions. The boys ended up biking with him back to his house while I drove there.

The house is absolutely beautiful. It's an old farm house (they have chickens!) with a wrap around porch that we sat on and watched the sunset.

I got to sleep in his daughter's bed because who wants a stinky boy sleeping in your daughter's bed? His family is still on the vacation he just got back from visiting family, so we had a couple of beds to choose from. Pacella got to sleep on Bob the Builder sheets!

He had huge fluffy towels and one of those free standing tubs with feet.

I'm actually sitting here and looking at all the clouds rolling in and wondering if I should go check on the boys.

They're doing a century into Pueblo, CO today but they're taking different routes. Pacella is doing the hard core cyclist route and Mike and Jesse are taking a route that's missing some of the climbs.

After today it's going to be pretty much flat flat flat until we get to Missouri-ish.

I'm taking the day off from exploring and finding us some places to stay for the next few nights. Once we get into small towns again it will not be hard at all because we have found a lot of places to camp and a lot of pastors that live right next to their churches that don't mind us sleeping on the floor.

For now I bid thee adieu.

Signed most handsomely,
One Shelly Kessler, Esq.


  1. and I'm looking at you, hoping you look at Google or Wikipedia.

  2. But but but but... Why do I need Google when Tim Milligan reads my blog?

  3. P.S. what is the S. for? Samson? Samuel? Sanskrit?