Day 51: The laziest ride into Boulder (aka I MADE IT)

I checked out of Hostel Fish at the last possible moment. I didn’t want to leave the place. The people were great, they were accommodating for my bike, the bed was fantastic, and it was just overall relaxing. I’m toying with the idea of heading back there to see about a work/stay deal, but more on that later.

I packed up the bike and was gone by noon, which never happens. But Boulder was only 30 miles away and I just wanted to take it slow. My legs were still hurting from grinding it out with the guys in the previous two days, I’m still adjusting to the altitude (it’s one thing to just be here, but on the bike, I’m very aware of how little air is getting into my lungs), but most importantly, I wanted to soak up the ride in a way I hadn’t been able to by choosing to stay with the guys. I rode slow and lazy, and I didn’t care. Maybe 10mph? I don’t even care how much.

I meandered through the suburbs basically until I made it to US-36 bike trail, which runs parallel to the highway. It would have been nice if this trail followed the highway for the length of it!

The haze around Denver had been heavy, so views of the Rockies weren’t the best. But the mountains are just as satisfying as ever. I’d wanted to see them for weeks.

Somewhere along the trail another tourist came across me me! He was Danny, from South Korea. We were both going to Boulder, so we rode together for a while at a slow pace, chatting it up. He quit his job, packed up his bike, and flew to LA to start riding to his family in Jersey. I can’t believe he went through the desert and Las Vegas in June! He told me he had to get lifts a few times and called 911 because he was worried about dying (his words). I have no idea why all the tourists I meet are trying to ride the desert in the summer. Seems like a bad idea to me. But to each their own, and Danny’s spirits were good. But he also got some horrible luck when he was stealth camping somewhere in southern Colorado and left his panniers for a minute, came back, and they were gone. What kind of horrible person would do that? I instantly felt better about being skittish about stealth camping, not to mention my paranoia about leaving my bike places. It’s always locked up, and I never take the panniers off until I’m setting up camp (at which point they go in the tent) or of course when I’m with a host. In the last 50 days I’ve developed the ability to always leave myself outs, always have a plan B… And I mean always. My bike and gear are my life and I don’t take any more chances than necessary. I say that, but I’m recalling Josh who would brag about his daily mileage yet literally get scared of rain, not take the chance to meet people, and would never camp out of what I could tell was a sense of fear of the unknown. It’s all about perspective I guess.

Danny and I talked about routes going in our respective directions. He wasn’t much help for me on that front. No way I’m riding the desert in July. But I was more than happy to tell him all about taking 36 out of Colorado, Goodland, and Hoxie. He seemed to really want to get to St. Louis as well as Chicago with a time crunch at the end of the ride (he had to get back to Seoul for school), and I tried to tell him Chicago was worth spending more time in.

We had quite the view coming into Boulder:

This last was a very satisfying picture to take. Right down the road the crew was setting up at Folsom Field for the shows I’ve peddled so hard to make. Big smiles heading down the hill into Boulder!

Once into town we went and got coffee at the first place we saw. We chatted a bit more, then rode into campus. I wanted to see Folsom Field, and he would be meeting his host there.

We got a little lost with the winding college campus roads, but I was able to see the Merch workers setting up the tour shirts:

Yes! I love the ritual surrounding rock shows, and I was getting a glimpse of the early stages. I started scheming my two days in the world of the Dead ahead of me.

Danny had to make it to Verizon, as he was very disappointed with TMobile’s cell service. I grabbed a burger, but getting a new phone is never a quick process. We had to part ways. We shook hands and traded contact info – he was looking forward to having a touring resource to text with as he made his way through the corn ahead of him.

I had a 20 minute ride to Mary’s, my Warmshowers host for the night. I was excited to go the Warmshowes route for the first time since Des Moines! I told Mary about the three nights I’d be in town and that even one would be helpful. She’s studying for the Bar Exam and her roommate is coming back from a month in Nepal, so she could only offer one night. Having gone through grad school and knowing how much work might be involved with the Bar I honestly felt lucky  and grateful to get what I got.

Mary was awesome from the get go, as all Warmshowers hosts are. She had ridden from DC to Denver a few years back and benefitted from Warmshowers as much as me and was evening out the hospitality score. It’s always great to stay with people that have gone on long tours. They get it.

Mary’s girlfriend Linda was also around, she too studying for the Bar. But it was night time, which meant British sitcoms from Netflix went on and beer came out of the fridge. It was great meeting them, learning about their lives, having some laughs. Mary fed me some chicken pesto pasta before killing me in Tri-ball, a kind of 3D, 3-person tic tac toe. Through all this I was texting other Warmshowers hosts looking for options the next two nights. Out of 17 contacts the only ones to respond were those who were out of town. It is a holiday weekend after all. I had to think about my next move. My chief concern was keeping my gear in a safe place. My bike would be double locked somewhere around the shows and I could join the party after the shows and then find some park to catch a few hours of sleep in, but my gear needed to be in a trusted place. Mary offered her shed for it, and I could come back on the 4th and grab it all. Perfect.  I’ll just have to see what the scene is like around the shows. Maybe someone will let me sleep on their hotel room floor or something. But I’m not worried. The party begins in a few hours, and it’s a party I’ve waited so long to be a part of. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check until closer to showtime, but it’s hard to.

Before checking out last night I got to play with Morrison, which was perfect. I miss time with dogs, and he’s a stinkin’ sweetie.

And now I’m going to wake up a bit before heading closer to campus. DEAD AND COMPANY ARE IN TOWN AND ITS TIME TO JAM OUT!!

-J

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