26 July 2010

Hoosier Pass and Breckenridge

Hoosier Pass.  The highest climb of the entire TransAm Trail.  And on the day we arrive guess what is happening there?  ROAD WORK.  Since our trikes are much wider than the average bike, the guys working on the road said they would take us to the top.  As much as it pained us to miss out on this big climb, we finally submitted and let them drag us up.  With the huge trucks going up and down all around us, not only would we have been in the way, it would have been unsafe.  Sigh.
Our anti-climactic arrival at the top of Hoosier Pass.  See the truck behind the sign?  It's one of the two that drove us and all our gear to the top.
Mo made it to the top too.  He also got a ride in the truck.  :)  See him?
Slow enough for ya?  It was at this point that they got on the radio and tried explaining that there were two people on TerraTrikes (whatever those are) who want to ride to the top.  Then the DoT trucks pulled up on the other side of the road and we put our stuff in back and climbed in.
I can't lie.  It was a bit of a relief since I wasn't up to par on this day.  Funny I felt better when we hit the downhill on the other side.  And what a downhill it was!  Miles and miles of it until we finally landed in Breckenridge.  What a FUN town!  I'd been skiing there before and liked it then but had never seen it in the summer time and had no idea there was a bike trail there.  The scenery was on a whole new level.  Wow.

Can you see me?
See the strange looking pattern on the mountain behind me?  Those are all the Breckenridge ski areas.  
Oops!  I almost forgot!  Before Hoosier Pass there was this cute little town called Alma.  And they had a store called, get this...  AL-MART.  It was such a cool store too.  Nothing like that other store!
We now proudly wear AL-MART stickers on our panniers.  :)
This area is called the South Park region, and I am a fan of the show so of course I had to get a shot of this little store in Fairplay.  See the Kenny flag?  I wanted Ken to get one and fly it on his trike but they weren't open...  not that Ken would have gotten one anyway.  lol

Anyway, back to the trail...  There are hundreds of miles of this gorgeous trail running around these mountians and if we could have stayed on them forever I would have been happy.  But we have a commitment to keep and there was still much ground to cover so on we pressed.

This was near Dillon, where we spent the night in an incredible place right on the lake.  Heaton Bay Campground was right off the bike trail and had some of the most spectacular scenery so far.
Now this is a Colorado campground!
It was HARD to leave here...
It was a little cloudy and a few raindrops fell in the night so I woke up thinking we could stay another day.  We watched the sun trying to come up through the smoky clouds and eventually the sky cleared.  Not lucky enough to get rained in this time.

So we packed our things and hopped back on the bike path for what would be yet another amazing day.

The Hidden Jewel

I remember from when I lived in Denver and rode my bike A LOT that there are amazing bike paths all over the city.  They go from the east side of the suburb of Aurora all the way into the foothills and I was ready to get on my trike and show Ken how great the trails were.  Well, the one we took wasn't anything like I remember.  In fact, it wasn't exactly the "hidden jewel" the bike maps boasted it to be.  We ended up riding nearly 60 miles through industrial areas and back streets that left lots to be desired.  To make matters worse much of the trail was not clearly marked.  There were no signs where there needed to be signs, and therefore we took some wrong turns and did some backtracking.  There aren't many stores along the route either which eventually left me dehydrated, hungry, hot, tired, and just plain miserable.  And we were still 25 miles from our destination of Golden when I started feeling bad.  Here I am riding clear across the country and this is the worst I've felt so far.  And we were supposed to just be toodling around town.  Hmmph...
See what I mean?

There were lots of bridges going over the Platte River.
People come here to cool off.  I lived here for years and never knew about this.
I was too busy working I suppose.  And speaking of work...  this is where I used to slave away for the man.
It was so weird being here again, remembering that other life where I was a wage-slave corporate girl.  I worked for Qwest Communications for a few years back in the late 90's.  There was a great restaurant at the bottom of the Qwest Tower called Presto and I took Ken there but it was gone.  In it's place was a deli called Heidi's and it was quite good too.  We forgot the camera there and had to ride back through the busy downtown streets to get it.  Sigh.  We were sure glad it was there! Thanks to these two for finding it and hanging on to it for us!

While we ate we took in the big city sights and look what we saw:
Very cool!  Out of all the states Colorado has the highest percentage of people signed up to be donors.  That is quite impressive!  Perhaps it is due in part to all the extra effort they they put into getting the message out, like putting it on the sides of buses!  
The Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Invesco Field, where the Denver Broncos play.  Go Broncos!
People who don't have bikes can rent these and ride all over town.  We saw a lot of people riding them and could always tell it was a rental because the headlight was on.  We finally got through Denver and back towards Golden and the path got a little better.  The traffic noise lessened a bit and the trail itself was prettier, shadier, and less busy.  We still went through some more industrial stuff though.

See?  There ARE some trees along this path!
Golden is beautiful but the Coors plant here is HUGE.  It really detracts from the view and as I looked at it and looked at it as we pedaled by, I couldn't help but be amazed by the magnitude of an industry that contributes to the demise of so many people.  People everywhere are going to meetings to try to stay off this stuff, and here is this huge plant just to make the stuff that gets people drunk.  We humans are such an odd lot.
By the time we reached Golden and the Coors plant I was feeling TERRIBLE.  We finally made it though and I paused at the end of the trail to try to steady myself for the last 5 minutes of riding.  We met my parents in the park and listened to some live folk music for a few minutes, said hello to some people they knew, and then finally headed home. The entire next day I slept trying to get over the heat exhaustion and dehydration I'd let happen to myself.  Even that didn't go well, though.  For some reason I just couldn't take a good nap.
One small section of the Coors plant.  It smelled like bread.
This ride was not very fun.  I felt like such a wimp.

The Donor Dash

The much anticipated Donor Dash was even more of an event that we'd expected.  With nearly 3500 people running or walking the 5K, it was quite a big deal!  Can you imagine all those people, all of them touched by organ donation in one way or another, just like I have been.  There were teams of recipients running in memory of their donors.  There were recipients running that would never have been able to do so if not for their transplants.  There was lots of laughter and lots of tears, and the energy there was LOVE LOVE LOVE.  We found a shady spot near the finish line and set up our trikes with signs on them explaining our need for help with trip expenses, we set up a table and put JenTiles on them, and we then proceeded to try to get some financial help for the remainder of our trip.  We talked to people all morning and sold 16 JenTiles plus got some cash donations!  We made almost $300 and that will sure help!
The Start Line. 
Teams and individuals came to run/walk.  It was a gorgeous morning for it.  Washington Park is my favorite of all the great parks in the Denver area.
Read the signs.  Wow.
This team had a clever name.  lol
The bags they gave out had healthy stuff in it.  These kids were kinda bummed about that.
I couldn't resist...  I asked him if he'd gotten a liver, and he said....
Ken selling JenTiles.  That's my cousin Peggy sitting on my trike.  It was really nice to get to know her better.  My Dad and Mom were also there to help out with the Dash.
JenTiles galore!  I get so attached to them that I take pictures so I can always a memory of them.
This is Dave Legg!  I met him right after Alex died when I did a TV show with Dave to raise awareness for donation.  He is a liver recipient, and he introduced me to Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead who is also a liver recipient!  Good times.  It was great to see him again and it was nice to get one of his hugs.  They are the real thing!  It made my day to see him after all these years.
This is a poster of Dave's donor, Rob.  11 years ago Rob became Dave's donor and Dave has been so appreciative ever since.  He is very active in raising awareness and has done the Donor Dash every year since his transplant, even though it is getting harder for him each year.
There were many posters like the one Dave had, each with the face of a Donor on it.  I would have liked to have gotten one with Alex's picture on it but I didn't know about it until too late.  Nor would I have been able to spend the money on it, though.  It was very powerful to see them all lined up together.
Nicole Williams from Donor Alliance has been on board with our trip since WAY before we even left.  It was wonderful to see her smiling face after all this time!
They had a ceremony following the Dash and after the last speaker they released thousands of balloons into the sky while music played over the speakers.  The balloons were symbolic and everyone was silent as they floated upward until they were gone.
I sure wish I had a bigger lens for this.  It was something to see.
The End.