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- [first draft: 2002-12-25]
- [modified: 2003-01-10]
I left Chicago with mixed feelings,
wanting to leave, yet missing Chicago already. It has been my home for
a whole year. In the cold months of early 1999 I drove to see the frozen
lakes of Wisconsin, and also drove to see February 26th "Missouri
Froze Toes" bicycle race by Columbia, Missouri. That's probably when
i decided to get my own racing bike, but i would never bike in the crazy
freezing temperatures. In April i started cycling, and drove to Missouri
and Ohio for cycling events. In July and August I flew to Phoenix twice
for Lake Powell, drove to Toronto once and went to Lake Temagami with
Peter. While fun for a while, Chicago was not a long term place for me.
I packed everything into my jeep,
put a bed on the roof and I headed west through Iowa and Nebraska. I reached
Colorado the second night. Just like the previous night, I opted for a
motel because of lack of other options. The following 10 nights however,
were all in a tent -- the most special way to sleep within southwest.
Rain or snow or hot (maybe not hot in Colorado) or cold -- it's all good.
The following day I drove to
Denver. At the gas station i patched a hole in the plastic bag which covered
the bed. In downtown i visited an area with flowers arranged to show "Denver
1999". That was enough for the city and i headed south to Colorado
Springs. It was night-time when i headed for the mountains. Surely there
must be a nice place to camp in the mountains -- but where, and when?
The road rised up and up, and civilization was soon behind me. I found
a promising sideroad and I found a super-cool camping spot. It was very
quiet and peaceful. In the morning I was amazed at the sight of buffalo
within 50 yards of the road. I had to pull over and eventually hop the
fence for a closeup. One buffalo was within 20 yards, but i had my eye
out on the distant 2 buffalo in case they came charging.
I spent the following days driving
up and down Colorado, through Independence Pass and Aspen, Rocky Mountain
National Park by Estes Park and Boulder, Gunnison and Durango and Telluride,
and Vail too. The most special place was Independence Pass and I returned
to it at least 2 times within my 10 day stay. The road from Aspen to Independence
Pass was long and winding. From the Twin Lakes side, the stretch of road
just below the Pass was uniquely scary with the narrow road zig-zagging
down to the tree-line.
By Leadville i found a nice camping
spot at night. A dirt road soon led to a clearning between the trees and
a great camping location. I woke up to light cover of snow and frost.
Somewhere past Buena Vista I
tried finding a promising dirt trail leading to the mountains, but only
found houses, horses and mules
After almost 2 weeks in Colorado
I headed through Utah. The drive at night was amazing on the one-lane
road. Dark silhouttes rising the distance, and only occasional cars. The
road was rising and falling, and winding. No cities for a long time, then
only for a short time before the darkness of the night consumed all.
I arrived in Phoenix after 4,000miles
on the road. Direct route would have been under 2,000miles but no trip
is fun without detours.