Platoro to Del Norte
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Del Norte (restdays)

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Del Norte to Salida
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Salida to Breckenridge
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Breckenridge to Silverthorn
   


Silverthorn to Radium
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Radium to Steamboat
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Steamboat to Slater



Summitville, Gost town Colorado
4th of July Party in Breckenridge
Not available yet

1626km - 1691km
Day 26, 23rd June 2003
65km (41miles)

"That's a cute house built by the kids, but here you never know who built it..."

After a short downhill through the open prairie valley, we filter water in the last New Mexican creek - cool, refreshening mountain stream water. A short , but steep ascent takes us up to the Chama-Toltec narrow rail track and to a smooth paved highway. The Cumbres Pass, where the spanish Jesuits first entered Colorado from is just south of us as we surprisingly easy ride through La Manga Pass and initate a long and speed inviting downhill, complete with chiquanes and bends right to left.

After lunch at Red Bear Inn, a good gravel road follows the Conejo river valley up to Platoro. In this valley horseback riding, fishing and hiking are all Big Business. In fact the only business, especially as Platoro is closed during the cold and snowy part of the year. Unfortunately this is also the first contact with Colorado set prices, which are substantially higher than New Mexican. Even the campgrounds at the RV park remains more expensive than what we encountered in NM. Platoror is built up around a beautiful lodge though, with phantastic burgers and great ceasar sallad. Basically all houses are full timber versions, sometimes with non-standard solutions.


  Still in New Mexico...
  

  Filtering water

  This is Colorado!

  Platoro, a fishing village

1691km - 1721km
Day 27, 24th June 2003
30km (19miles)

"So, you get Discovery in with that antenna?"

Slept like a king, and awake already at 5.30! Dreamt sweet dreams of all engulfing back massage... By coincidence both of us now have non- inflatable mats that first have to be repaired. Email check at the lodge, phone the Forest Service for the cabine at Elwood Pass - booked until 1st October, but next year on the first we're welcome to get back to him!

If yesterday was a gentle climb with short breaks of downhill, today's 30km are very much uphill. With the rear derailleur of Renate's bike fixed, we continue through beaver country. Mule Deer are cautiously fleeing at 40m distance through the forest, and most of the day is completely dominated by Elephant Mountain. Majestic, surveying the forested mountain sides the iron-red, lead stained sides protrude above the lower ridges we are following. Slowly during the day we work the bikes around to the west, and looking back the forehead, eyebrowes and slope of the trunk becomes more defined against the clear blue sky. Here in the South San Juan mountains, the two biologists explains, we 're re-introducing the lynx again (one of them waving a sond). We are so tiered, a real hard climb, a cold wind. We succeed eventually in finding a good campsite where we can sleep out of the wind. ( we eat a whole package of pasta, that is actually ment for 6 pers.!!!)


  Elephant Mountain

1721km - 1776km
Day 28, 25th June 2003
55km (34miles)

"Have you seen an intoxicated person?"

Just like yesterday, water downstream Elephant Mountain , repsectively today's Summitville mining site, are contaminated with heavy metals. The more important to filter water here on the West side. On the way to the all-trail high of 11,910ft we indeed pass Summitville ex-gold and ex-copper mine of reknown. Here the Anaconda Mining Company are doing their best to clean up and contain further leakage into the surrounding aquipheres.

There, at Indiana Pass another milestone is reached, 3630 altitude meters above MWL, add another six and we are 3636m above our living room floor. The pragmatic would say that it's only downhill from here, so why hang out the realist? Interesting enough, we both arrive as lung patients at the top - not quite used to the altitude our breathing is close to the frequency of a humming birds in-flight wingtip movements. Celebration is called for, corn tortillas are unfolded, heated and covered with peanut butter extra-va-gan-ca! The swedish cook preheat, then, sprinkle finely the best of Sri Lankan chili powder, followed by well distributed and un-canned tuna fish!

Every good uphill is naturally followed by a better downhill. This time 4,000ft or about 1200m. All the way down to Del Norte (1,200). Again, back in hot arid landscape, with a thriving little town surrounded by real-climbing inviting mountains. The perfect backdrop for a relaxing day or two. All of a sudden the local police shows up! They ask whether we've seen an intoxicated person passing by? Slightly confused we answer honestly no, followed by - So is he on drugs or something (like running around fencing with blades or pointing with guns, like in the movies - the last not spoken but more a thought). But no the big bad guy was last seen displaying three cans of beer - not even a six pack! Anyway, end of the evening the local baseball series are on, and we watch the end of an exciting game of 12 years old hitting away, the excitement is as high as in any pro series.


1776km
Day 29 to 30, 26th to 27th June 2003
0km (0miles)

"A lot of Ao-ies!"

First rest day is busy! Set up camp at Maureen's - the local cafe. Update web pages, insert photos, get the last groceries for the coming four days, by fuel for the Trangia (denatured alcohol), replace three (3) busted spokes of the BOB trailer, insert photos and tune them for the web, and pack in - we're invited to stay at a ranch just outside of Del Norte.

Finally, after "fika" and lunch we set out in the hot afternoon sun. Crossing the Rio Grande, the small ditch we saw last time in El Paso, gives us back faith in the legendary border river. Rio Grande River a sign says, and here the ranch is hidden away in between a group of lush trees lining the river side. The coming two days are nothing but pleasure and fun. Evening barbeque on elk, home made ice cream where the vanilla taste only is trumphed by a pinch of nutella, storytelling, swedish meat balls and dutch apple pie, and sleeping in a real room with a real roof!

We get to know a climbing ranch couple, their dog and cats, surfing friends from Long Beach, parents and parents in-law, and last but not least their daugther Sienna - who in turns sums up all the scratches of a cyclist's legs with - a lot of ao-ies.

This is even more true after an outing to the out-door hotspring close to immense sand dunes (yes it is open in the winter, and no these are not the White Sand sand dunes but are very impressive nonthe the less). As stupid recreants two very red and sun burned cyclists are signalled at the end of the day! We also have a go at the best mexican food lunch buffe on any side of Pesos! If you ever have a chance, not only visit Del Norte, but stay a day at Hooper and the Hot Springs nowadays called Sand Dunes, slightly North West of the former. We want to thank Nemonie and Davy again for their hospitality, it was great staying at their place and have all these 'in Europe'...'in America' conversations.


  Kelly behind the fire 
 

  Nemonie's dad, David and Jeremy

  David and the swedish meatballs

  Do we LOVE home made ice!!!

  David and Nemonie
 

  The Food

  The hot Spring

  Syana after swimming lessons

  Syana and Nemonie

1776km -1853km
Day 31, 28th June 2003
67km (42miles)

"Nice and hot today!"

But only is it hard to say goodbye to friends of new or old, it's actually none goodbye but another way of saying we'll meet again one day.

Badly sun-burned, over-fed and heavy loaded, we slowly work these spinning wheels of former up to a acceptable pace. Harrased once by David on a bike, and twice by David Sr. in a pick-up, we steer through one of the hottest days so-far. First an invitation to a Penitente party (sounds so-cool), secondly a speed delivery of forgotten goods ( a mirror for the fancy).

Lunch, at least in the shadow at La Garrita's gas station as the temperature hits a 36 deg. Celsius. But no cool coca-cola, as the shop is closed, instead a friendly chopper-converter happily refills our water bottles. From the open ranch country and high desert, through granite portals and green valleys the Storm King campground is reached. Again, as the sun sets the coyotes greet us welcome on the trail.

Long before the sun sets over the mountains, two exhausted cyclists are sleeping soundly - but to be awaken to the wild coyotes calling.


 La Garrita's
    

 We got only a few drops

 Sandy road

 Emptyness after Del Norte

 Storm king Camp

1853km -1923km
Day 32, 29th June 2003
70km (44miles)

"Have you got into any kind of trouble?"

Not a leaf is moving as we wake up and the heat is rising early. Cojenos pass is first to be climbed, then at the watch station the solid rock wall in front of us unmasks a sentinel of ancient times - a face formed by the protruded and eroded lava, now granite. Down from the pass, aspen grooves in a pinetree setting, all of a sudden a fox cub crosses the road - not even Lucky Luke would've been able to get his camera ready, thus no pictures. Then Cochetopa Pass, Buffalo Gate in Ute language. down to the valley. This old toll road from 1871 is a steady non-stop climb. The decent starts in forest, winding through grassy hill sides with steadily less forest.

After a few serpentines, 140kg panting hiker waves us down - they're a group of five, and one of them is not in shape to walk the distance - if we could help? Only problem is communication. Here there is no cell phone cover, and our cycling-pace ETA at civilisation is +1 day. But we'll try to redirect any cars to them. Across the pass, exit forest and hello open high prairie. No car, and no water in sight. We have to push on in head winds down to the Dome Lake reservoir.

Here we can filter water. At the upper lake the water is full of living things, and the filter clogs up quickly, further down there is the lower lake and a stream where both trout and camper is happier. As we stop a car, the car window goes down and from somewhere behind the moustache, chewing tobacco and ten gallon hat I hear - Have you got into any kind of trouble?


 Open spaces

 Beautiful rocks


1923km -1997km
Day 33, 30th June 2003
74km (45miles)

"Have fun!"

More water filtered at the very foot of the steep mountain side, porridge with both raisins and dried plums, break up camp and on we ride, on through the open. From White Elk Ranch and Doyleville the road is paved and quite heavily trafficked,

Massive granite walls on our left, ranch country to the right. We arrive in Sargent (50) well baked. Three guys are doing East to West on race bikes - interesting enough, the prevailing wind direction is West, South-West even if you're on bitumen, so it's only three months of head winds. The ice cream is good, two water bottles are refilled and we continue on the road to Marshall Pass. At the first water-break, a distinctive petroleum taste of the fresh water makes us dis-apppointed.

Leaving Sargents and the highway, we're back in beaver country, climbing to Marchall Pass. After a barbeque dinner, we walk up the road and can watch the beaver swim around and build dam in the subtle twilight. A mule dear is followed from 30m as the last rays of the sun lingers on , leaving a jagged skyline with sepia around the edges.



 Marchall Pass

 Sargent
       


 Getting dark
 Beaver activity
 Irrigation (for growing grass)

1997km -2063km
Day 34, 1st July 2003
66km (41miles)

"Not all news are good news."

The road up to Marshall Pass follows the old railway line, long gone. It is a winding road, steadily uphill. Ever furthe down in the valley, the beavers have built dam after dam after dam. More Mule Deer is encountered, lunch is early as we reach the highest point already before twelve o'clock. From here the road is initially worse with a lot of very sharp rocks. Down we go, a bunch of boy scouts on mountain bikes are over-taken, via Poncha Springs we race over day-fresh smooth asphalt into Salida (1,200).

Salida is a thriving little town. With skiing at Monarch Mountain in the winter, white water rafting and kayaking on the Arkansas River in the summer and a very neat little town centre - where we for the first time have wide sidewalks where people are strolling around, actually leaving their big V8 4x4 cars behind! At the GPO a wanted parcel is awaiting for Renate - fortunately sent here and not to Platoro, where no mails services are running (thanks h40eaps Emil). Worse is that my father is in hospital. All of a sudden the great scenery, wild animals, unlimited open space and all the friendly people in the world does seem very distant. As the sun set and the Milkyway comes out, we decide to continue to Breckenridge and Friday - where the communications are better to Denver. Once there, the second half of the trip is likely to be postponed to another time.


 On the road to Salida
    

 Downhill

 Salida

 The hardware store

 Old signs

  Salida mainstreet

2063km -2108km
Day 35, 2nd July 2003
45km (28miles)

"I sweat, therefore I am."

Sending all my love to home, there is very little I can do on this side of the Atlantic. Fortunately the new phone card has an extremely good rate to Sweden. How good you know someone, there is always so much more to be said, to be done and done together. Where we not now what next will come, our lives can change in no time forever. Yet, we cannot but continue on. Ever further, in the sun, through rain, under stars and moon, but one place at a time.

Where my thoughts are by dad, we finally are ready to continue - out of Salida. Quickly hitting the gracel again, today 3,000ft will have to be conquered. On our left hand side, across the wide valley, the Collegiate Peaks are standing. Massive peaks, named afer the big Universities in the US, and one Ute Chieftain, they stand tall watching over us. Most of the day is thus uphill, serious uphill. ONLY water is found at Badger Creek, and the odd cattle tank. Here water filtering is a must. Fortunately a man stops and willingly turns over ice, he even asks us not once but twice whether not a beer would be accepted, as he carries no further water or softdrinks. Probably due to the hot sun, the detrimental effect of all the dust that by now late in the afternoon covers us, and mental disorder, we happily say no! After all what is a ice cool beer, at the end of a long hard day of physical excersise...

Slowly, the sun sets over the grasslands.



    

 Splendid views


 Good roads
       


 Sunset in Southpark


2108km -2196km
Day 36, 3rd July 2003
88km (55miles)

"Hi John and Ronnie!"

Onwards, two days long we go through South Park - grasslands where no bush, scrub or tree is to be found but at the horisont. Here and there the mineral salt protrudes into the open. The odd antelope and mule deer is seen in the distance. Though, here the humidity is high enough to actually make sweat remain sweat - not like in the Chihuahuan where moisture just evaporates and disappear into thin air.

Hartsel (60), halfway stop is surprisingly busy. Apart from a post office three (3) cafes, one mercantile and a well assorted Conoco gas station are found. Better than anything else in the world, I phone home and gets to hear that my father is much better. In fact the question can be arised whether the doctors actually knows anything or just throw pills down the hole and hopes for curement. Water driving pills had almost the better of the old man. Tomorrow I can time the telephone time better with Europe.


Four american gentlemen in their 50's/60's, under the spell of the Great Divide Trail, are met heading South. They've been doing it in sections for the last three years, and are now to complete it. Gravel road, with shorter rocky sections, is on the programma. Moderately graded we make it all the way to Como (300). Just as we enter the town, we're met by the Como-Coyote in his bright yellow house. Right next is a small grassy field, where the tent is pitched. Dinner includes microwaved macaroni, parmesan cheese and the most delicious spicy sausages one can ask for. As we head for the tent, another visitor is showing up, verifying that Bjoern very often becomes John, and also Renate can sometimes be blindingly like Ronnie.

Tomorrow is a big day, fourth of July is approaching and everyone talks about the fireworks.


 Clouds
    

 Everybody in a hurry...

 The mothership

 Bjorn, Dickie and friend


2196km -2260km
Day 37, 4th July 2003
64km (40miles)

"Breckenridge - Campers, please proceed."

Fourth of July and to get to Breckenridge (3000) in time, we're riding out of Como at 06.45. Leaving South Park and the grasslands behind us, and cutting across Cameas Pass down to Breckenridge. Like yesterday, everyone in a car is in a hurry. Following an old railway, the grade is not too steep and we can keep a very good pace.

At eleven o'clock we lean back with a cup of coffee watching the parade in Breck. It's a bustling town, where skiing is high on the programma. Full of shops and boutiques, but with a total uninterest of people who actually stay in a tent! Here sportive automobiles and serious real estate is the talk of the day. Urgently phoning dad, he sounds today much stronger and we all conclude that we at this time not cut the trip short. After enjoying the icecream and live music, parades and Paul Taylor (again live at the river side), we're forced to continue. So much for the rest day or two in Breck. Later we got to know that it might have been possible to put up a tent at an old school. Passing Tiger Run, a motorhome so-called camping, where under no circumstances tents are allowed, we sail down to Frisco - on a paved bicycle road!

By now, it's already evening and we are finally able to procure a place at the campgrounds just south of the twon. It's located on a peninsula in Lake Dillon. Excitement is in the air. Firewood is available, but in gigantic lengths. Still a fire is built , for the BBQ. Down to the lake - lined with campers and tents, a bit of a washing ourselves, then back to the fire. It's probably one of the worst barebqued pumpkins I've had, but the meat and chicken makes it to be classified as edible. Then over the bay, where hundreds of lights dance from the small boats floating around, at 9.30 a beautiful firework show is fired off. Here at the lake it's even more spectacular with unobstructed vision and all the boats in front of us. That shower has to be another day...


 Snow!
    

 Old watertank on Cameas Pass

 Goodmorning dear!

 Breakfast is served


2260km -2278km
Day 38 to 39 , 5th to 6th July 2003
18km (11miles)

"One more of these rest-days, and I'm finished."

Where yesterday's restday turned out to be a stressed out event in order to find a campground in the popular ski-resort belt of Colorado - on the fourth of July itself, today 99% of all gigantic campers (motorhomes) are packing up and get ready to dart back to whereever motorhomes are coming from. Hanging out in Frisco at one of the cafe's watching the new locals - generally coming in two flavors, either senior and retired to cozy small town people, or two young professionals starting a family in a non violent small town people.

Via the West side of the reservoir we're happily rolling down the paved bicycle paths, first to Dillon on the dam, then to Silverthorn at the foot of the dam. Since El Paso our burger gourmet have been looking for a Dennis, and voila! Here in Silverthorn we're back in burger mode again. Singing happy tunes we enter the premises for dinner - not to be disappointed. Prior to meat munching and garlic-mushroom tasting we also find out that camping is far from standard practice here. Only some Forest Campground around, but those are without showers... Thus, we jump at the opportunity to stay two nights in the Ski Hutte of Silverthorn.

What a gorgeous bed! A professional kitchen free to use goes with it, and Erik the owner can educate you about aeroplane flying (what else?), rock'n'roll (Doors and Grateful Dead) plus naturally how to best skii the area (when there is snow). That are wisely spent dollars, though bad for the average spending rate. In addition TV and Video makes it possible to get square eyes from this glimpse of civilisation. Twins, Terminator 2, Tombstone and Windtalkers are watched at a quick pace, making the evening become morning and 02.30 - any side effects?
- Yepp, easily too many chips and choclate chip cookies to go with it...



2278km -2342km
Day 40 , 7th July 2003
64km (40miles)

"Mozzies for hire."

Spoiled by two nights in a real bed, cycles are finally rolling down long after lunch, way after planned ETD. At Kinko's we eventually could update the website - at the library no floppys what-so-ever were allowed to enter their hacker free environment. Out here in the remnants of the wild west internet access is hard to find and usually consists of one or the other 28.8 tlelephone connection, is this really the high-tech nation running the world economy? Not even cell phones are particularly useful in this area, there are simply no network here! On the other hand that is maybe what makes this so attractive - just forget the rest of the world step on the bike and see you when I see you!

After the initial downhill run, saying hello to a cycling couple all dressed up like wasps in black and yellow, we take a right turn onto Ute Pass road. Bang! here goes all the calories from the choko chip cookies and unhealthy junk food from the last two days. This late start day, seems to turn into a short mileage day as well - but aid is not far away, no sooner is the Ute Pass climbed, the gravel whirls up and we're racing downhill! Pass the small dam, the pipeline, the mega power plant, the unhealthy looking spruce forest, the meadows, the cattle, the village like ranche or two, and enter green and pleasant land, all the way down to Williams Fork Reservoir. Here right nmext to the lake, the humidity is much higher than what we've encountered so-far, breathing doesn't automatically makes you thirsty, more so, by breathing you can improve your protein intake - we've hit mosquito country.


 Williams Fork Reservoir
    

  Colorado wildflowers


 No Swimming allowed!

 

2342km -2409km
Day 41 , 8th July 2003
67km (42miles)

"It is a lo-ong hill!"

In nature, just like in life in general, there often seem to be chaos ruling but in fact there are common laws that even chaos have to follow. In short the nature of things is to reach equilibrium, at one or the other level. This is also applies to bicycling.

- If yesterday was surprisingly smooth a transition, today was payday. Up until Kremmling the gravel is good, Then with a bit of luck, charm and fast talk we get around or rather under the new bridge being built at the moment. Telephone network down in Sweden - thus no contact. Past the bridge again, a rollercoaster ride begins, magnificent views along the Colorado RIver. But today is hot! Surface is good, more asphalt classified than expected.

At 16.00hrs past the inviting campgrounds just before Radium - right next to a creek in a shaded area, past the tiny shadow let by letterboxes and bridge railing, past Colorado crossing it comes. On the map it says start diving, that is for the cyclists about 16km more to the North and riding North to South, we ride South to North and in 35deg. Celsius we start to climb out of the river valley at Radium. Soon, like soon in kilometers not necessarily in time, the steep graded hill road deteriorates to a less maintained dirt road.

There he is! Dressed in yellow shorts and a red t-shirt, sporting a black helmet to go with it, we meet a moped riding gentleman. While he's smiling and happily blurts out - It's a long hill! I can just barely smile and get out a wheesing - It sure is, as my final gulp of warm water runs down my dust-busted throat. Yet, this must be one of the most beautiful stretches of road to be conquered. Perhaps more going North to South.


 To Radium
    

 To Lynx Pass 


 A Hell of a climb...

2409km -2500km
Day 42 , 9th July 2003
91km (57miles)

"It's a brutal climb!"

Indeed, the immigrated Londoner was right yesterday, it is a brutal climb. Camped at French Creek, a remaining 3.2km are awaiting us this morning. Very steep, very dishy. The two enlish miles take just under an hour to complete. Then, it flattens out about 1200 altitude meters later. Lovely campgrounds here and there, Beaver dams, mixed forest, singing birds and solitude. Cross to another gravel road and on through aspen grooves, meadows, and flowers. Wild flowers everywhere, shades of blue, yellow, purple, white and rich red. Lupines and wild sunflowers.

After Lynx Pass the decending road takes us through a valley where big log homes subversibly starts to appear. The forest grows thicker until the reservoir, where we hit the grassland, this time with new loghomes spread out around the reservoir. Via Elk Run Trail we cross the narrow concrete dam, from where the road follows the fishing stream through deep, mysterious forests before again emerging out into ranch land with more homesteads than cattle.

Steamboat Springs (6000) the last of the ski resorts that we are to visit in Colorado. Probably the most fashionable camping makes home tonight, at USD24 dollar the thin grass seems a bit pricy, but the jacuzzi would probably make up for it - though we don't really take the time to soak. Alabama Ben is getting himself ready to bring two groups of cyclists down to Salida, he's one of the leaders for Adventure Cycling this year.


 The road...
    

 The biker...

 It smells wonderful

 

 

2500km -2564km
Day 43 , 10th July 2003
64km (40miles)

"What sounds like a duck, looks like a swallow and dives like an eagle with air-brakes?"

Four and a half hours of sleep later, thinking, dreaming away, wondering and rescheduling, the sun breaks through. A refreshing contact with Sweden, iced french vanilla coffee and blueberry muffins later the gentle paved road lead us direction Clark. Where another ice-cream makes it feel like summer vacation. Occasionally we catch a glimpse of a well built 100 square meter timber house - after the last couple of days we realize that such an ordinary house even look small in comparision of all the massive manors erected in throughout the valleys during the last five or ten years. It's a rural setting, similar to Switserland but with cowboy styled loghomes on the pastures.

Surprisingly, we're asked for the road to Hahn's Lake by a driver with one of the big Chevrolet 4x4 pulling a big aluminium boat - just as good for racing as for the intended fishing. He's only driving South instead of North, but he's very close. At Steamboat Lake we take a break, eventually decide not to swim then continue - 3km too far! At the Dutch Creek Ranch they almost convince me to stay for some horesback riding. But we double back, this time downhill to the junction - where the sign for road 64 is high up in the meadow. Here the last gravel is exchanged for serious bad dirt road. steep and with a lot of rocks. Climbing, we again have the chance to prove ourselves being dedicated cyclists of the Great Divide.

Just below the peak we make camp. On a cleared ridge, where we can see the sun set and tomorrow greet the sun as it rises.


 Breakfast after shopping!
    

 The Clark store
     

 

 


2564km -2644km
Day 44 , 11th July 2003
80km (50miles)

"Some cyclists go behind the bushes, others go outside the bushes, but you can just use the campground."

Quickly, we flee the field in the morning - where also mosquitos are enjoying the early morning way to much. We continue up and into deep spruce forest. First few km's up and down on very rough tracks. Then the road gets better and the forest gives way to open blooming fields covered in sunflowers in bloom - Slater Park. The whole air vibrates with high summer, and the meadows are enclosed by light White Aspen groves. The odd cowboy is working the cattle. A sudden sign at an Outfitter invite us for some cool refreshments, then on through the rather deep valley the wheels are spinning.

At Slater we're on paved road again, leaving tiny postoffices, blooming high meadows and rollercoaster rides on Colorado scenic routes for Wyoming. Open grassland, prairie and antelopes are abundant. Water is not. We push on to Apsen Alley. En-route we meet a danish flagged solo-cyclist and his BOB trailer, averaging 70miles a day he's keeping a fantastic pace, and also is up and running around 05.30 in the morning. That's quite a feat, but makes it hard to get that extra photo of the mountain peaks in warm afternoon sunlight. With todays effort of 50miles we're quite happy - each of us drinking about 7ltrs of water.


 
    


 Fields with yellow flowers