U.S. Continental Divide

June 7

We woke up the morning of June 7th at the Como Depot B&B that was being managed by a young Welshman named Dennis and his wife.  I am always fascinated by people who would want to operate a B&B such as this – an 1800's depot that was run by the company that operated the narrow gauge railroad that connected the silver mines in Colorado (Leadville, Breckenridge, etc.). As you might expect it was difficult to get the answer to what motivated them to run a B&B.  His wife, an IT technologist from Britain, was interested in running a restaurant, but I think he was interested in something else – perhaps it was the renovation of the building; perhaps he just wanted to meet people.  His answer was elusive.  The building required an enormous amount of work to be done.  The tourist season is short at best.  We were the first occupants and as you can see from the photos of the previous day, the accommodations were rough at best – no sheets, artwork not yet hung – still very much a work in progress. The most interesting part was the financial arrangements.  We were intending to camp the night of June 5th and went to this place as an alternative to camping.  In its current condition, our group determined the rate was worth about $15 per person to sleep on a mattress and not have to put up our tents.  So we negotiated $100 for all of us, which included a spectacular breakfast. We all wish Dennis and his wife the best of luck in completing their dream of renovating the depot.  The service was spectacular; everyone was friendly; we appreciated the important part that mining had in Colorado's early history.  It was a terrific stay and the best news is we were not asked to invest!.

We talked to the local sheriff, who stopped by to say hello. Fortunately, he did not recognize Joe, so eventually he let us continue our trip.  Como has a population of 21.  The bright young sheriff has several counties in his jurisdiction and his nearest backup is 1 ½ hrs. from there.  His biggest problems are domestic disputes among people who have had too much to drink – a common problem is this remote area – and cattle rustling. Speeding and the like are not problems.  After bidding Dennis goodbye, the group split up into 3's.  One group went fishing. Sunday was a free fish day where anyone could fish without a license, so the good areas were packed.  The fishing group went to a crowded alpine lake and fished off a snow bank.  They caught nothing.


On the road again!

 

Roger and I branched off and took a beautiful narrow gauge railroad path that had been converted into a road.  This road connects Como and Leadville and Breckenridge.  We went through Bores Path and encountered a snow storm.  During the day we saw the incredible devastation of the pine beetle.  Approximately one-half of the forest is gone and there is an ongoing argument of what to do with the dead trees.  Some think that they should be cut down to prevent further forest fire devastation.  Others think they should be kept in place and the entire event should be viewed as a mass stand clearing, like wind damage, fire damage, etc. There is currently no market for the lumber either here or in China.  The same devastation is occurring in Canada, which will cause further deforestation.  A serious problem is that with the pine gone, the pine beetle is adapting to the fir and the spruce trees, which will cause further devastation.  Part of the cut or not cut issue relates to whether or not the Aspen or Osier Willow should be planted to help hold the soil and to reduce the erosion that is caused from rain drops hitting the soil.

Events come in twos.  Joe took a corner a little bit two wide and a little too fast and was confronted with a pickup truck.  His antilock brakes were off and reflexively grabbed the front brake and ended up in the dirt staring at the grill of the pickup truck.


Joe's fallen bike!

A few bruises – no significant damage.  The same type of accident happened to me in Breckenridge.

 

Joe's muddy bike

and broken pannier

 


Joe nursing his injured knee

 

I do not have antilock brakes and I reflexively used my front brake and locked the wheel.  I skidded sideways and narrowly avoided going down onto the pavement, but it was a close call.  Another event that was notable in Breckenridge was both Roger and I were extended "you are no. 1" with a middle finger.  I don't know what we did right or did wrong, but we both consider it a compliment. Roger and I encountered heavy rain at the end.


Before going into the mud we deflated our tires from 35psi to 20psi

The ones who spent more time in the woods had no rain.  At one point, all of us were stopped by a stream crossing which was engorged with snow melt and rain, making it impassable.  Roger and I had lunch at his country club and the group of us spent the night at Roger's lavish Steamboat Springs condominium.  We had dinner with some of Roger's childhood friends from New Jersey.


Peter's family pics close at hand inside his pannier

Our goal for tomorrow is to reach Atlantic City WY.

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