Oregon Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado Kansas Missouri Illinois Kentucky Virginia

Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 30, 2007      Miles 61      Total miles 1799

Back

I planned to take a day of rest today but after sleeping eight hours I decided to go ahead and ride. The only people I talked with were in the local cafe when I ate breakfast. I tend to be the topic of conversation in the cafes when people see me slide up on Ol' Blue. I was assured by one of the men in the cafe that getting over the top of Willow Creek Pass would be a tough ride. I asked the waitress what time it rained last night and she said it didn't rain ... it snowed for hours but it didn't stick to anything. It just made the streets wet. She said we were supposed to have gotten six inches of snow. The weather for the whole week calls for thunderstorms each day so I can't sit in a motel room waiting on the weather to clear.
It's hard to tell where the mountain ends and the clouds begin.

When I left Walden it was 43 degrees so I dressed pretty warm. When I got out on the prairie and going uphill, I felt like I dressed too warm. As the day went on, I was either too hot or too cold.
Somehow, before the day is over, I will be on the other side of these mountains. For the last sixty or so miles the traffic has almost been nonexistant.
This is a very familiar sight in this area.
When I left Walden, my plan was to stop in Rand and buy some food to carry over the mountain. According to my map, there is a cafe and a grocery store. The picture on the left is the entire town of Rand and the one on the right shows the store is closed.


But they do have a post office!
When I got to Rand, it was raining hard all around, so I decided to wait under the awning of the store for the storm to pass. I figured I'd be there for an hour. It started snowing real hard for about one minute and it quit and the sunshine was just minutes behind and I was on my way again.
Going over Willow Creek Pass wasn't nearly as bad as some I have done. My right calf is still bothering me and I was wanting to get some sports cream to put on it but the store in Rand was closed. The picture on the left has mountains in the background but you can't see them for the snow. I thought the coloring of the trees was so pretty but realized all the brown trees are dying. I think I heard someone say they are infested with some type beetle which is killing them.


When I was two miles from the top of Willow Creek Pass, I realized my wallet wasn't in my pocket. I was very upset and took everything out of my trailer, hoping maybe I had inadvertantly put it in there. I had a substantial amount of cash, a credit card, my insurance card, and my drivers license. I checked and rechecked everything. It was gone. I had enough money to eat on for a couple of days and that was it. All was not lost because I figured I would just call the credit card company when I got in cell phone range and they could have another one to me overnight. This just about ruined the day for me.
Another Continental Divide
These are the first buffalo I have seen being raised by a private rancher. He has about 10 in this herd.


This was near the end of my day. I was going to stay in Grandby but their temperature this morning was 21 degrees. I went on down the mountain to a town called Hot Sulpher Springs.


Losing my wallet was a pretty devastating blow to me. It wrecked the downhill thrill I would normally have had riding down Willow Creek Pass. Everything could be replaced except the cash. When I got down the mountain, I decided to call and break the news to my wife. I had a call from Walden on the phone. Rachel, the young owner/manager of North Park Inn & Suites, in the little town of Walden, found my wallet in the parking lot. I couldn't believe it. She tried calling the cafes in town, hoping to catch me eating breakfast but I was gone. I told her I would reward her for her discovery and she refused it and said I owe her nothing. I owe her a tremendous amount of gratitude and thanks. Rachel is a prime example of the character and integrity in people we never hear about on the news. She could have easily kept that wallet and I would have never known. When I got to Hot Sulpher Springs I came to the Canyon Motel and told my story to the manager, Geri. She called Rachel, who gave her my credit card number and I am in a nice warm room for the night. Geri said she would go get my wallet for me tomorrow. I asked her what she would charge and she said all she wanted was gas money. I will give her a bit more than that. It is 120 miles round trip. She also gave me a whole bunch of energy bars. So, life is good again. I have been blessed with great fortune, and meeting wonderful people, on this trip.

Back