Day 46 – Ordway to Pueblo CO

And just like that, I see mountains! From my new vantage point in Pueblo, there, to the west, the Rockies rise. Still murky forms in the monsoon July air but I can clearly make them out, even see snow on the north sides here and there. I’ve been elated all morning, just seeing them slowly emerge and grow.

And as if there was any doubt about it, we are truly in the West. I had huevos rancheros for breakfast with an amazing green chile sauce, and I saw my first roadrunner. as I was poking around railroad cars near the river (again I fail as a wildlife photographer). We still follow the Arkansas, which oddly is bigger here than farther down. Tom, who runs the Ordway Hotel said that a lot of the water disappears into a rift not far from here. Apparently much of it goes down into the Ogallala aquifer, the massive water supply that sits below Kansas and Nebraska.

I got a late start today but still reached Pueblo by 1:00 or so. Today was only a 50 mile leg and it’s gotten much cooler so no need to beat the afternoon heat.

This storm rose last night and I opted indoors again. Glad I did, it dumped buckets again with fierce winds to boot.
I stayed here at the Ordway, run by Tom and Carol. Tom grew up here and knows a lot about the area. He worked “in the city” as a line cook for many years – Phoenix, LA, SF – but settled back here to escape the BS. They often host cyclists and have a great deal for hostel rooms. This picture looks right out of Poltergeist. Boomers next door has some mean huevos rancheros too.
I had to take this photo because it was my first glimpse of the mountains. Don’t even know if you can see them in it but they’re there, right above the road where it meets the horizon.
Wild sunflowers by the road. Some rolling hills beginning to emerge too.
Grasshoppers are everywhere and have been for that last few days. When you walk in the sage they all jump along out in front of you with each step.
Some of the same I saw earlier, though they’re more pink here.
I just love old storefronts, what can I say. They have character.
Speaking of character, their neighbors will not be outdone. These are from a little burg called Olney Springs. Don’t miss the face in the tree. Not sure what we’re shhh-ing about. Shhhh, don’t tell them, but the neighbors have a purple bottle-tree.
Why the sign? And why put it 20 feet from the port-a-potty? Not sure if it translates to the photo but I laughed out loud when I saw that sign.
Approaching Pueblo I saw tons of wild watermelon? Squash? They seem to prefer the roadside for dropping their fruit.
We’re in coal country again, although I suspect this came from Wyoming. If you zoom in you can see the coal cars stretching to the horizon.
Burning the coal in this railcar will release about 200 US tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
As I was standing by the railroad contemplating emissions, I was passed by two big Vestas trucks – giant nacelles, the hubs of zephyr turbines. Renewable power passing coal – there’s progress afoot!
It’s been so long since I’ve taken a picture of a decorative manure spreader. I’m sure that you’re missing them. At some point in US history, there sure was a lot of manure spreading going on in the Midwest whereas nowadays it’s focused in Washington.
Custom low rider bike built by a local mechanic from junk parts. (Pueblo outskirts)
Fountain creek as I cross it on the way into downtown Pueblo. This flows into the Arkansas so it must be even bigger than this. No doubt high due to rains the last couple of days.

Tonight I’m headed to spend some time with the local zen sangha. One of their members has graciously given me a cushy pad to crash in for a couple of days. Thanks, Kerry! Rest day tomorrow to explore Pueblo and rest up for the coming climbs. Big slopes a comin’!

9 thoughts on “Day 46 – Ordway to Pueblo CO”

  1. Amy’s right-you clearly need a decorative manure spreader for Christmas. I loved your Washington observation. Is it nice to be away from all the current political news, or do you read about it in the evenings?

    1. I can’t not read the news, and tune in every few days. Though I spend less time on it then at home, and generally it seems more ridiculous. I choose to laugh or I’d be in tears all the time.

    1. Sadly, no – I’ll be passing through the south near Bryce, Cedar Breaks and Cedar City.

  2. Didn’t get your e-mail this morning but went to your website to see the mountains (sort of). In the 4th from last picture you use the dreaded 4-letter word twice. Can you rename that CO2-free method of energy generation?

    1. Sweet Mariah forgive me. The context caught me sleeping. Thanks, Marv, I’ll update immediately.

  3. The flowers are in the morning glory family… but known as bind weed and can be very invasive. Very curious about the wild squash melons…. Enjoy your rest days!

  4. Jim,
    Your journal brings up thoughts of my trip that was one-sixth the length of yours and 30 years ago. Pre-mobile phone, pre-internet, pre-digital camera. I didn’t read the news. Short of buying a newspaper on the California coast, it was kind of impossible. There was a multi-day plane hijacking during my trip, with passengers being shot and thrown on the tarmac. I remember stopping in a place for lunch that had a TV and everyone was wrapped up in it. I didn’t even know it was happening! If you can, try NOT reading the new for a night or two. It’ll all still be there when you get back to it.
    Regarding all that coal, I sometimes wonder how much it would cost if we just said we would stop mining coal and would just pay those in the ‘coal industry’ their salary with adjustments for inflation until they were 66. Crazy idea. But as the size of the coal industry keeps growing smaller it might be a sane climate investment.
    Enjoy those mountains! They put you closer to god, whatever she, he, or it may be.

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