Dreary and Weary in Denver
We Suck at This

October 27th-November 3rd, 2015

House-sitting for Sam and Emilio while their owners go to New York to cheer on their son in the NY Marathon.

What happened…

Andrew writes:I always seem to zone-out when we spend a long time in one place. Of course, these days, a long time is generally more than 48 hours. In this case, we are house-sitting two cats for a week. I already knew that I wanted to spend a lot of time in front of my computer, playing video games. When I get an hour or two of WiFi, and time to myself, I’m quite happy to spend it playing games online with my friends. This is a benefit of being so active socially, for so long, that no matter where in the world I am, I still have a community of friends to hang out with. Some might argue that it’s not real, but the friendships seem real enough to me, and some of these guys/gals I have been friends with for more than 20 years!

Still, it’s a matter of balance when it comes to managing my online friendships with my real-life relationship with Amanda, so every day we spent the morning and/or afternoon cycling around Denver. We rode Downtown one day for some retail therapy at REI, which is similar to Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). We did some returns, and picked up some new items, including trading in a pair of yellow panniers, for some bright cherry red ones! We picked up some packages at the post office, and spent half a day going to the main post office depot to pick up another package that somehow was misdirected there. I wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History, and that’s probably the only thing that I wanted to do, that we didn’t.

With fresh snow on the mountains around us, we looked into getting a free ride from Denver, to Moab, Utah, so that we could continue riding through some of the beautiful National Parks in that state, including Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon. When this didn’t pan out, we looked at taking Amtrak, except it would have to take us north to Salt Lake City, Utah. Greyhound was an option too that we looked at, but it was going to be a lot of hours on the bus, and was the same price to get to Moab, as it was to get to San Francisco.

During our stay, we kept in close contact with other cyclists who we had met recently who were riding in Utah and Arizona. Sherry and Ashley, who we met in Rawlins, WY, were sending scary pictures of all of the snow they were encountering on their route. Sylvia Halpern, cycling in southern Utah with her friend, was posting on Facebook about how freezing cold she was. Genevieve and Michel, who we met in Yellowstone, talked about how they had to get a room in a hotel when Genevieve thought she was coming down with hypothermia. We needed to get out of Denver, and it didn’t look like we could. Amanda worked on some routes south, through New Mexico, except the weather forecast was appearing to be sub-zero temperatures with the possibility of snow and/or rain even to the south of us. All of the negativity and fear of weather finally got to me, and I cracked.

I found an airfare with Frontier Air, from Denver, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for only $60. Actually, the ticket itself was only $10 and the taxes another $50. Even when we pay for each bag individually, and the bikes also, the total airfare came to $400USD. This wasn’t much more than Greyhound was going to be, and I was guaranteed to be warmer at the end of the day. Amanda and I went back and forth for a few days on whether or not to book the flight, and finally, on Sunday, two days before we were to leave Denver, I booked it for two days in the future (Tuesday).

Monday was therefore a bit of a whirlwind, as we had to line up transport to the airport, we were still waiting on parts for our bikes to arrive in the mail, and we had to get all of these parts installed on our bikes. The parts showed up around noon, and we hopped on the bikes to go to a mattress store, where we picked up bags to carry our bicycles and luggage on the plane. Then we rode to the bike shop and they spent a few hours taking apart, and putting our bikes back together. The new parts don’t seem to be of the same high quality as we had before, and our bikes are having trouble shifting. The guys at the shop (Cycleton) worked at it, and we did some brainstorming, and hopefully everything will work out OK. Then, we headed home to try and figure out how to make our 10 panniers, fit into 3 bags, each weighing less than 50lbs, and no bigger than 62 linear inches. It took a few hours, but we made it happen. It was late, and we had to be up early but we were definitely going to get better weather!

Amanda writes:
I was looking forward to having a kitchen in Denver more than anything. I have been enjoying traveling in the USA so much that I didn’t really feel like we needed a break. The home we were house-sitting for was in a nice community with great bike access to the city. We relaxed lots, I watched football and baseball almost every day and snuggled with the cats. I enjoyed the relaxing routine that included each night ending with a soak in the hot tub.

As Andrew mentioned the idea of riding over the rockies again was looking a bit scary. I mapped out three different routes, the last one taking us South into New Mexico to try and be in a warmer climate before crossing the Continental Divide again. And while the route looked like it would be a lot of work I figured we were prepared. Andrew got a new sleeping bag rated for below zero temperatures and I stocked up on my hot packets to put in my gloves and shoes. I mean since we’ve been traveling it has been the hard days that are the most memorable so I was mentally ready for it.

Andrew’s account of the flight booking is sugar coated. Yes we looked at Amtrak, Greyhound, ride sharing and routes. And yes he found the cheap flight to Mexico but never at any point did we have a conversation of, hey should we really fly to Mexico? It was more like Andrew was on his computer in the next room and had already loaded up the flight booking page to the point where you press the ‘finalize purchase’ button. He slightly rotates his body toward the other room, never actually looking fully over his shoulder and says ‘so are we doing this, or what?’. When I tried to engage in a level headed conversation with him about it he had to run back to his computer to refresh the screen to ensure he didn’t lose his seats. Needless to say it was an impulsive purchase that I wasn’t completely comfortable with. And once that button is pressed, there’s no return policy on a $10 flight. And so we frantically packed up our shit for a plane. I managed to just roll with it while we were so busy getting ready but as the coming days would show, I clearly was not okay with this impulsive decision and we were not on the same page.

Today’s Photographs

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Dreary and Weary in Denver
We Suck at This