Friday, 15 July 2011

Day 43: Gorging on scenic views

Day 43
0 miles

So today started off at a pretty leisurely pace. Spent most of the morning watching the Open golf and sorting out a few emails, credit card bills etc. My dad and brother were at the golf today, but I didnt see them on the TV. Also had a couple of good bits of financial news. Turns out that last night I won the lottery. Sadly I wasnt quite as lucky as Jerry and his colleagues – I won the princely sum of £10! That will keep me in gatorade for a few days. I'm also apparently getting a £700 tax rebate from a couple of years ago. Which is nice – pays for my flights home.

After some lunch, I took a slow walk into town to have a look round the shops and catch my train. I had booked myself a seat in the bar coach of the train. And I do reckon if trains in the UK looked like this, then more people would be willing to ride them!
My kind of train

One of the advantages of the bar seats was table service, so I ordered a nice bottle of Fat Tire. Fat Tire is a Colorado brewed beer, which is very nice. It also has a bike as it's logo, so I feel it is appropriate to drink it!

For most of the journey I left the bar and went and stood in the outdoor platform car. The views within the Royal Gorge were pretty stunning. It was very steep and narrow, with the Arkansas river flowing pretty quickly through it. Saw quite a few white water rafters heading down the river. The train was followed on the tracks by a pick-up truck which was adapted to ride on rails, and which towed a big tank of water to be used in event of a fire. The car and the train are also apparently used on a frequent basis to rescue rafters who have got into trouble, as its the only way of accessing the inner part of the gorge!

Handy mans dream!

Handsome looking chap!

Suspension bridge (and cable car if you look closely)

The gorge has quite a few tourist attractions. There is a suspension bridge which, up to 2003, was the highest bridge in the world and also a cable car across the canyon.

Got chatting with some of the other people on the train, including a woman from Oregon. Which was useful as I got a few ideas for places to visit when I finish. She asked to take a photo of me because she found my story/adventure interesting, but also because she thought the suntan lines on my face from my glasses and helmet looked funny!

I would definitely recommend the train ride to anyone in the area. Afterwards I picked up Whiskey from the bike shop. The guys had done a great job, and everything felt tight and responsive.

Then just rested up for the remainder of the evening. Tomorrow is a bit of a unknown. Obviously there is going to be lots of uphill. But I dont know how long it will take me, or how far I will get. Everyone says the Rockies are easier than the Appalachians, but the first couple of climbs I have to do, starting tomorrow, do look quite steep. Some of the later ones do seem to have more gentle grades. So we shall see. I'll set off early and see what happens. One thing is for sure – should ebe in for some spectacular views.

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