Fort Laramie

If any ham radio operators read this, are interested in the NPOTA contest and are looking for a great place to activate, I can recommend the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, NS-20.

Ft. Laramie Entrance

It’s located about 2 hours north of Cheyenne, is in a beautiful location, is quite interesting with several restored buildings, has some very helpful rangers and reenactors. And if they aren’t occupied, you can operate out of a tepee. There has been a fort there since 1834, and according to the rangers, every pioneer who traveled west stopped there, so if you set up in the shaded picnic area (or in the tepee) you’re bound to be on the spot where hundreds of covered wagons passed 150 years ago. There aren’t any places to camp on the site, and the nearest motel is about 25 miles away, but it would be worth spending an entire day there. With four trails + a National Historic Site + Wyoming, anyone who sets up there is sure to make lots of contacts, and every one of them will be happy when the log is uploaded.  I only had a brief time yesterday to activate the site, and only got 18 contacts on 20M CW, and wish I could have stayed several hours longer.

Ft. Laramie NHS

The best part is that admission is free!

Cheyenne

Cheyenne has a surprising variety of bike paths, although like Grand Junction, they’re poorly marked.  But if you have a guide, you can see a lot of this interesting city.

Total distance: 10.38 mi
Max elevation: 6138 ft
Min elevation: 5971 ft
Total climbing: 591 ft
Total descent: -623 ft
Average speed: 10.61 mi/h

The National Weather Service promised zero percent chance of rain, so we ignored our lying eyes which saw some pretty dark clouds to the west. Of course, our eyes were correct and we had to take shelter under a portico of a rather pretentious apartment house for it to pass.  We then rode to an underpass.  The Union Pacific mainline was to the north, and the city fathers had created a chain link tunnel.  Was it to stop us from running out on the train tracks or throwing things at the trains, or to protect us from things thrown from the overpass?

Tunnel Cheyenne

Mystery Tunnel

Evenutally the rain passed and we were on our way.  A very nice trip.

Mini Tour

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Saturday early in August.  Not the traditional day or time for the Tour of the Valley, which has been held on the last Sunday in the month.  Not sure why they changed it, and the turnout wasn’t as great as in prior years.   I picked and chose from the 75 mile tour by cutting off the Palisade segment which we rode two days ago.  Met several cycling friends along the way, mostly when they passed me…  The temperature was wonderful and the lunch/party was also enjoyable.  Two brewpubs and a local winery were handing out free samples, and the food was exceptional.  If the barbecue and salad are typical of Community Hospital’s cuisine, I want to go there next time I have to visit a hospital!  The only sour note was when it was time to come home and the rear tire was completely flat.  The guy from the local bike shop had left about a half hour earlier, and I wasn’t in the mood to fix it right there; the good news is that Georgia drove over and brought me home.

Total distance: 39.37 mi
Max elevation: 4698 ft
Min elevation: 4318 ft
Total climbing: 1788 ft
Total descent: -1476 ft
Average speed: 11.71 mi/h

Palisade

Allen and I rode on part of the 75 mile route for the Tour of the Valley on Saturday:

Total distance: 38.36 mi
Max elevation: 4879 ft
Min elevation: 4298 ft
Total climbing: 2031 ft
Total descent: -1690 ft
Average speed: 10.38 mi/h

I’ll be taking my much lighter weight/faster Bianchi road bike, but thought it might be fun to take the REI Hybrid.  We didn’t set any speed records – well, actually, I did set one, but it was along Fifth Street in front of the high school.  Before starting up the dreaded 38 Road hill, I saw a couple of interesting sights.  The first was a roadside sign that advertised that they had eggs, bunnies and garlic for sale.  The eggs were apparently sold out, but the bunnies and garlic were still there.  I should have asked the lady if the bunnies were for eating or petting.

Eggs, Bunnies & Garlic

Palisade had a very European looking charging station for electric vehicles.  I don’t know how much a charge would cost, but you can pay with your credit card – if it’s equipped with wireless encoding, which few are.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

We then proceeded up the 38 Road Hill, commonly known among cyclists as Puke Hill.  It’s a 7-8% grade, and I made a discovery.  My hybrid has such low gears that I can be pedaling like crazy and still going less than 3 miles per hour.  Which isn’t fast enough for me to keep the bike upright.  Which means that I crashed.  No permanent damage to the bike or me, just my ego.

Later, we passed by several orchards and wineries.  We followed a tractor pulling a trailer carrying about eight Hispanic (probably Mexican) farm workers to pick the Palisade peach crop.  They were friendly and waved at us.  Very much unlike some of the impatient Anglos who couldn’t wait to pass our caravan (the Mexicans, me and Allen).

There is one spot where the owner has spent a lot of effort on some very whimsical sculptures.  He has a sense of humor, too.

And some interesting sculptures

In case you were wondering, no, there isn’t a nudist colony one mile ahead.

Whatisit?

More homemade sculptures

 

Gas plant

Allen was busy this morning, the MeetUp.com group going to Highline Lake was leaving too late for my tastes, so I rode out to the well known but isolated gas plant and back home.

Total distance: 40.91 mi
Max elevation: 4859 ft
Min elevation: 4488 ft
Total climbing: 1493 ft
Total descent: -1535 ft
Average speed: 10.98 mi/h

The gas plant is located in the desert north of Fruita.  Since there’s no irrigation water, it’s dry but beautiful.

Gas plant road

On the way home, though, I texted Georgia and she met me for stomboli at Fruita’s Hot Tomato.

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Coffee

There’s a great coffee shop in Fruita, Bestslope Coffee Company, backed by the Hot Tomato ladies.  It’s well worth a trip from Grand Junction:

Total distance: 27.42 mi
Max elevation: 4695 ft
Min elevation: 4446 ft
Total climbing: 1076 ft
Total descent: -879 ft
Average speed: 11.23 mi/h

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