Carbondale, and the road ahead

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I’ve got a friend in Carbondale.  That’s enough of a reason to go out of my way.  Jane and I don’t really know each other all that well, but our paths crossed last summer as we were both running away from home on bikes.  Even adults run away from home sometimes.  She rolled into Whitefish, MT at 10PM.  Stopped at a traffic light in town, I pounced.  “Bike tour?”  Yup.  “Cool.  Need a place to stay?”  

I had met some friendly locals with a roof only hours before, and I wasn’t going to leave a cyclist in the dark.  Come with me.    

Neither of us had planned on fighting tourists alone, so we hatched a plan to ride through Glacier National Park and spent three days riding together.  Then we parted ways.  We talk and write occasionally, and she calls me Glacier Buddy.  It’s possible Jane has forgotten my real name.

Lael and I spent several days in Carbondale exploring local trails and planning for the road ahead.  Above, some riding above Carbondale as snow falls on Mt. Sopris.  It’s that time of year and it’s time to make a move.  New Mexico is calling, so Utah and Arizona will have to wait.  At our exploratory pace, it’s too much for one season.  Instead, we’ve got our eyes set on Santa Fe next week to meet up with Cass and Joe for a few days of riding in the hills.  After that?  Maybe a quick trip to Pie Town, then Albuquerque for the winter.

Riding the Red Hill and Mushroom Rock trails as snow falls in the mountains.


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Bike paths everywhere.



Riding to Penny Hot Springs.





Leaving town, near Redstone, CO.


And on to Marble.  From Marble, we’re headed over Schofield Pass to Crested Butte to visit the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum.


Note: All plans subject to change.  You probably already knew that.

16 thoughts on “Carbondale, and the road ahead

  1. This may veer into the more personal territory, but what the hey. Whenever you get to New Mexico (if you get to NM, I know how these things are subject to change), are you going to “settle down” for the season and find local employment? I’m guessing that the coffers might be a little on the low side at this point. (I’m also assuming the southern trajectory is to wait out winter.)

    • Settling down for a few months is the plan. It is never my intention to be touring every day of the year, even if funds allowed. I prefer to have some time and space to recharge my creative approach to bike touring. Otherwise, it might begin to feel like a job.

      Yes, impending winter, low funds and low energy for travel have us looking for a place. There simply comes a time when you’re not quite as excited about always being the new person in town subject to interrogation, and doing yoga in freezing temps outside isn’t really Lael’s bag despite Alaskan blood.

      In addition to lots of coffee and a little work, I’ve got some projects for the winter that would be challenging to tackle on the road. For example, I’ve been talking about a west coast dirt route for quite a while, which I am calling the Pacific Coast Range Bike Route. The mountains all the way down the coast offer excellent riding, so I’d like to link together a ridable resource. It would begin with much planning over maps and other resources. Eventually there would be field work.

      I also expect to find dry roads from Albuquerque most of the winter.

      • I feel ya there. April and I were on the road for over four months last year. Originally we were going to be out longer, but we were pretty “done” by the third month, and wanted stability. If Portland wasn’t our home, I could have seen settling down somewhere on the road (La Crosse, Wisconsin?)

        I don’t know how the folks on several year journeys can do it without the “job” feeling. Since I’ve worked/work at a hostel, I’ve seen a few of these “road warriors” come through, though they usually are backpackers. They get to a point of being on the road so long they don’t know what “non-travelling” life is, so they keep on moving to keep moving. I would give them a few tips on things to see in Portland, and they wouldn’t be interested, they just wanted to sit inside all day. I see that and I wonder: What’s the point? You’re not even interested in seeing the places you go anymore.

        That Pacific Coast dirt route sounds interesting. I know a few friends who would love to hear about it!

        And when you get a stable place, let me know what your mailing address is and I’ll send you some stuff.

    • I met lots of cyclists that were working towards a distant coast or continent. I’ve learned to appreciate thinking big, but locally. The challenges are just as great, but we aren’t counting miles on the highway.

      Unfortunately, I’m not much of an urban tourist. I enjoy coffee shops and bike shops, city parks and swimming holes. I’ve only visited one museum in recent years, the MTB Hall of Fame and Museum in Crested Butte, CO just the other day. Oh, there’s a funky piano museum in El Triunfo, Baja, MX for $2.

      I’m excited to see what kind of stuff you are offering.

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