David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
08/30   Hot Hills
08/31   Maquoketa Caves State Park
09/01   Sutliff Bridge
09/02   Flags
09/03   Maasdam's Wheel Art
09/04   Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
09/06   Fred's Bike Shop
09/07   Clark Tower
09/08   The Terraced Hills
09/09   Tower of the Four Winds
09/10   Just gravel roads
09/11   Grand Island
09/12   Boot Hill
09/13   Highway 34 to McCook
09/15   Tinker Tom's
09/16   The Big Easel
09/17   Mount Sunflower
09/18   Long Dry Day
09/19   Colorado Springs
09/20   Camping High
09/21   Wolves and Fossils
09/22   Cottonwood Pass
09/23   Send up the bicycle guy
09/24   Kebler Pass
09/25   Grand Junction
09/26   Colorado National Monument
09/27   Entrada Bluffs
09/28   Arches National Park
09/29   Hole N''The Rock
09/30   Newspaper Rock
10/01   Comb Wash up
10/02   Natural Bridges National Monument
10/03   The Burr Trail
10/04   Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
10/05   Escalante
10/06   Escalante Mountains and Red Canyon
10/07   Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park
10/08   Dinosaur Tracks
10/09   Snow Canyon State Park
10/11   Cathedral Gorge State Park
10/12   Sunnyside
10/18   A Week in Sunnyside
10/19   Mule Deer Hunting
10/21   Leaving Las Vegas
10/22   Death Valley National Park
10/23   Uphill Against the Wind
10/24   Ridgecrest
10/26   Red Rock Canyon State Park
10/27   Lancaster
10/28   LAX
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Kebler Pass


tl;dr: Went over Kebler Pass in the snow. And mud.

Man alive is my throat sore. The hostel dorms aren't really to be used for anything other than sleeping, so everybody hangs out in the communal area. I talked more in the last 24 hours than the last 24 days combined. Many of the people here have technical backgrounds and are very knowledgeable on any number of subjects. One of my roommates is an older guy who lived in Soviet Romania and was a chemical engineer for a big company. He now hikes all over various countries and writes about philosophy in his notebooks. There was a guy who works in Silicon Valley. Another guy who produced movies. Many are like me in that they quit their last job and are on an adventure before starting something new.

The hostel was full due to a festival in town, so I had no choice but to venture into the snow and make my way over Kebler Pass. It turns out another guy in the hostel, John, was making the same trek. This was John's first solo bike tour, and his setup is about as primitive as my first tour. We played leap-frog all up and down the pass.

At first I thought the weather was turning nice, and was even stripping layers. But as I got near the pass the snow blew harder and colder. Layers back on! Most (but not all) of the road to the pass was paved. There were crazy numbers of cars and trucks driving this route, but because it was obvious most were tourists, I didn't feel bad about making them wait to pass me.

Once over Kebler Pass the pavement turned to mud. Fortunately it wasn't peanut butter, but it was a slimy splattering mess all the same. My derailleur would only work in high gears and would barely shift. It wasn't too long before my brakes were mostly useless. and traffic got heavier if anything.

It was worth it, though. The aspens on this route are just incredible. Look, pictures.

By the time we made our way down to Highway 133, both John's bike and mine were barely functioning. But in the town of Somerset, I spotted a guy hosing off something (I'm not even sure, actually) and asked if he could hose down my bike. Lee was a tall guy wearing a fuzzy Russian hat with ear covers dropping past his shoulders, a long t-shirt, and maybe underwear. I so wanted to take a picture, but it didn't feel right to ask. He proceeded to hose my bike thoroughly<\i> while explaining the long chain of events involving his truck, a friend, a snowmobile and a pawn shop that led to his eventual loss of said truck, and that's why he hasn't visited the mountains in years. John arrived and had to wait impatiently until Lee started hosing off his bike while offering John clothes and shoes and socks while explaining how he ended up with hundreds of bags of Salvation Army clothes. John actually ended up with new shoes and some sweat pants. I let Lee tell us more stories about taking care of his neighbor"s house while John champed at the bit to continue on. Lee didn't want anything for all his help, so I felt it was only proper to let him tell us stories as he clearly enjoyed doing so.

After that I could change gears, but my brakes are still gone. I'll have to fix those tomorrow.

John decided he wanted to tag along with me, because he said it was lonely on the road. Poor guy. This isn't the life for people that get lonely. I have imagined how awkward it would.be to set pace with another cyclist. I imagined correctly.

I told John: "Here is what is going to happen. We're going to bike through all of this open land all day long. But as soon as it is time to find a camping spot there will be nothing but one house after another." And of course I was correct. After biking all day through the glorious Colorado wilderness, we end up camping in a gravel pit beside the highway.

Just as I was thinking about falling asleep I hear singing. From a distance it sounded like chanting. I sure hope that is John.

Just as you walk into the local grocery store. They know their demographic.

the Crested Butte International Lodge and Hostel

leaving Crested Butte in the snow

This is John.

It is starting to get a little slimey.

Kebler Pass

down the other side

I probably should have cleaned my lense before taking this picture.

I've picked up a little mud.

These guys intend to bike up to where we rode down from using their road bikes. I predict failure.

This is me, and I am dirty.

finally down to a warmer elevation

two rivers coming together

This whole area is dedicated to coal mining.

cleaning our bikes at Lee's place in Somerset

good night gravel pit

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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