Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 20, 2018- Into the mountains

Another beautiful day in CO!  It was 45 degrees when we got up.  I get up around 5:30 and let Pattie sleep to around 7:00.  We wandered down the street in Buena Vista and found Jen's, a family run breakfast/lunch restaurant.  After eating motel breakfasts for many days it was great to have a fresh cooked meal.

We only had 90 miles to cover to get to Vail so a lazy day it was.  We packed up and waited until 10:00 and the temps had risen to 56 degrees which is a very comfortable temperature to ride knowing that as the day progressed it would rise quickly.  So far we had seen little in the way of traffic and today was no exception.  We had been in the valley which I have to mention is huge , many miles across surrounded by mountains and today we would climb up to Leadville, an old mining town.
Leadville was what you would expect to see.  Very old structures with a charming main street but little else.  We met a bicyclist loaded with probably 50 lbs of gear taking the same route through the mountains.  We saw a number of these people on the road and many were single riders either women or men.  The route was the Top of the Mountains Byway or Rt. 24.  It was beautiful reaching elevations of 10,500.  The canyons were equally as beautiful.  The only problem was a lack of ability to stop anywhere to take pictures.  I had the video cam on but the battery died quickly and I am having trouble getting the pictures out of it.  The few pullouts that we came to had deep pea gravel which the bike doesn't handle very paved pullouts.

We arrived at the Doubletree in Vail and it was a welcomed surprise.  The town was packed with a lacrosse tournament and we were lucky to get this.  Pattie was shocked at the town.  It looked more like a Disney designed town for adults, spotless with no sign of age!  We had lunch at one of the many restaurants outside then took the gondola to the top. WOW!

What a beautiful view.  I skied Vail many years ago and I think the landscape is prettier in the summer.  We wandered around the top of the mountain for an hour watching the many people doing zip lines, some kind of obstacle course and a little sit down slider on tracks.  We didn't even consider walking down....on to the gondola!

The people at the hotel were very nice and Pattie asked why we weren't staying multiple days there.  We arranged massages for both of us and enjoyed the day.  Dinner was at the attached restaurant violating my traveling rule of never eating at the hotel restaurant.  Excellent meal and it was not part of the hotel.  This would have been a great place to spend a few days but we wanted to get to Steamboat for our last night on the road.

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