Day 41 Friday July 1, 2005, 41 miles (66 km) – Total so far: 2,493 miles (4,013 km)
41 Miles and 5:09 Pedal time
I was up at 7 and I ate breakfast at the campsite. While I ate I chatted with some people from Texas and a Gentleman who works at the Royal Gorge. After breakfast I went over to Paul and Anne’s cabin and talked with them for a little while then I started packing my gear. Paul and Anne’s friend from the Netherlands showed up to hang out in Colorado for a few days with them. After I packed up I head over to the Royal Gorge. It was uphill for about 4 miles. Paul and Anne drove past and yelled at me ‘GET A CAR!’ I yelled back ‘IT’S MY ROAD!’ while I was climbing up the hill I saw another cyclist riding up behind me. He wasn’t carrying any gear. He quickly caught up and accompanied me up the hill. His name was Chris and I told him all about my trip. He told me that he and his wife had backpacked around the world, a few years ago. He was riding from Hoosier Pass to the park to meet up with his family.
It cost $20 to get into the Royal Gorge, but the lady working there said if I’m out within an hour and I bring her my receipt she will give me back $7. I said ‘It’s a deal!’ so I went in and visited the tallest suspension bridge in the world. I walked around, took a lot of pictures, ate and ice cream and was out within an hour. When I walked out of the Royal Gorge there were about 12 Amish people trying to get in but didn’t want to pay the $20 and didn’t have enough people for a group rate.
Shortly before I left the park I saw Chris and he introduced me to his wife and his best friend. I briefly talked with them and before I left Chris gave me his number and told me to give him a call when I get to Breckinridge if I need a place to stay or do laundry or anything. I told him I’ll definitely call because I was looking forward to seeing Breckinridge. I stopped and ate lunch at the restaurant outside of Royal Gorge. I spent $7 on lunch and after I paid and tipped my waitress I asked her to fill up my water bottle and she told me that they have to haul in their water so I’ll have to buy a bottle of water. I was pretty pissed, so I went across the street to some white water rafting place and they filled up my bottle for me with ice water.
After I left the gorge the rest of the day was spent climbing a 20 mile hill and had about 3000 feet of altitude gain. Today’s pedal time is inaccurate because I was walking my bike all over the suspension bridge. I decided to end my day in a town called Guffey, there was a hostel there and I heard a rumor that the mayor of Guffey is a black cat named Monster. I wanted to go meet this Mayor.
When I got to Guffey I found the Garage where the mayor lives and he was standing right there waiting for me. Bill the owner of the Guffey garage was happy to see me. He immediately offered me a cold beer it was great. Bill and I talked for a while he is originally from Long Island. We walked around his property he showed me the bunk houses where I will be staying, then he showed some of the other buildings he built on his property. Except for his own house which was built in 1880 all the structures on his property were built out of salvaged materials. They were all a sloppy and screaming with personality. I have a soft spot in my heart for buildings built from salvaged materials.
Bill’s wife Colleen came out to meet me. She told me how much she loves all the cyclists that pass through Guffey. Then they introduced me to this old man Lowell that they had been taking care of. Lowell is an 87 years old WW2 vet. Lowell was released today from a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. He got into an argument with a police officer a few weeks ago so they arrested him and sent him away saying he was too old and losing his mind. While he was in the hospital he fell and hurt himself. Colleen and Bill fought like hell to get Lowell out of the hospital. I sat and talked with Lowell about what just happened to him and I could tell immediately this man’s brain was on point. He kept saying they were trying to Shanghai him.
Bill told me today was a great day to come to Guffey because today their whole lives changed because of this Lowell incident.
Bill gave me the key to the Guffey City hall. I went over and inside was museum about Guffey and the Chicken Flying Contest. Every year on 4th of July Bill and Colleen host the annual Chicken Flying Contest. This year is the 19th year. Bill built a Bowling alley on the side of the city hall. The Guffey city hall reminded me a lot of the cookie lady’s house it was just packed with articles and cool stuff to look at it for hours.
I went back to the Garage and sat drinking beer with Bill and Colleen for the rest of the night. They told me about all the projects and charity things they were working on. Colleen showed me some of bills sketches of crazy things he is going to build. They were brilliant. When I pulled out my wallet to give them one of my cards they freaked out because they loved my duct tape wallet. Bill came over with his extra special black leather duct tape that he uses sparingly and wrapped the outside of my wallet with it. Colleen told me I was special because he doesn’t like to use it.
After a night of drinking, laughing and good conversation, I went back to my bunk house and crashed around 10:30. I found Bill to be a very inspirational and a charismatic guy. He is a true artist and he has done a lot for the community. It’s a shame I missed the Chicken Flying contest. They told me all about it and its going to be spectacular. I would really like to come back to Guffey again someday.
‘To travel by bicycle is a humble, nonaggressive way to get close to people. It is a way of saying we are passing through with no thought of invasion or conquest, only the simple will to share a part of the war.’ -Claude Herve