Friday, September 26, 2014

Climbing at the Red River Gorge

Before climbing began, Zach and I went on a trail run to the Natural Bridge. It was a tough mile uphill, but we had fun pushing ourselves up the trail. We then set out exploring the trails at the top and enjoyed to lovely views. We still miss the views Tennessee offered us, but it was fun to get out of the car and move our legs. We even tried our hand at a few trick jumps off the "Lover's Leap" sign. Zach obviously is more photogenic in action shots then I am...
View of the Natural Bridge.



I did land on my feet, surprisingly enough:)
We then headed to Miguel's, the local climber camping, and set up camp. Its a nice place to stay and it doesn't cost much, but it was not as much fun as Del and Marte's. I guess there is only going to be one Lily Pad:)
Climbing in the world class area of the Red River Gorge, can be slightly intimidating for me as I don't feel like I lead/climb hard enough grades. When Zach and I rolled into a wall with some classic climbs in the 5.8-5.11 grade range, I was worried I wouldn't be able to get up them all. But I am apparently getting a little stronger, and I was able to climb to the top of all of them on lead!! I was pretty stoked:) I only rested on the rope on the hardest of the climbs, but I was still excited I was able to do all the moves on the climb and get to the top as the lead climber! My favorite climb was a 5.10b climb. This is the hardest lead I have done without falling or resting on the rope, so I was pretty excited. This was my third year to climb in the Red River Gorge, but my first year feeling strong here!
Hanging out with the rocks;)

We saw our first Kentucky snake that day when the group next to us found it trying to climb up the wall. It was small and harmless and looked pretty freaked out that his territory had been invaded by a group a crazy people. Hopefully, he got away, but we didn't hang around to find out. I did keep an extra keen eye out for them in the path from then on though. 
Our second day was a fun trip back to Muir Valley, a piece of property operated by a family who keeps the trails and signs in great condition. We love going to this place. The rock face we were looking for was called the Hideout and had lots of classic 5.10 climbs on it! I was super excited to work on leading at that grade. Zach and I had a blast on these climbs and I lead everything I climbed that day:) No top roping for me! I was excited to feel strong and comfortable leading. Zach pushed himself on a harder climb (5.12b) and I was really proud of him. I was happy to just belay and watch him make the hard moves. Someday, I'll be able to climb that hard! 
We also ran into a friend, Adrian, we had made last year while climbing at the red. He was working a 5.12d climb which is a lot harder then he was climbing last year. We heard a yell of excitement after we left him and found out later he had finally sent the route without falling! It was his hardest route yet! Way to go, Adrian! 
On our way back out of the climbing area, I was walking along happily (but still on snake alert) when my danger alert alarmed! A copper head snake was lying across the path a few feet in front of me! I remember seeing him for a split second before my flight reaction set in. Poor Zach was behind me and thus in my escape route. I about bulldozed through him because in my mind the snake was after me. Luckily, he wasn't chasing me and when I finaly spoke words again, I let Zach know what the heck I was doing. That snake did not want to give up its spot and it took forever for us to get it to move over. Neither of us wanted to go around off the path because who knew what else was lurking. He struck at the stick Zach was using to move it a long a few times before finally going off the path. It didn't go as far as I would have liked and so I had to sprint by without looking or I wasn't going to be able to stomach walking by. It wasn't close enough to get me, just too close for my own comfort. 
After that, I walked pretty slow with the stick clip pole in front of me to scare away any of the other snake friends. We made it out of the forest and I happily hopped into the car.
At night, there is a group hangout place behind Miguel's Pizza and Climbing shop. We hung out there some of the time, but found we really were more comfortable in our own van. We had fun watching Battle Star Galactica and playing nintendo video games in the comfort of our own home:) I really do love our van and the set up so much!
Our final climbing day at the Red, we decided to search out for some more traditional climbing. This lead us to the Indian Creek area and we hiked up a trail that was a little overgrown (and therefore more difficult for me to do my snake scan!) and found the climbs we were looking for. Zach lead both of these because I am still working on the easier trad climbs (where you place your own gear instead of clipping preplaced bolts). One was a 5.9+ grade crack that was large enough to get hand jams. Zach did a wonderful job and lead the entire thing without falling! I was impressed and also excited to try out the climb. He had made it look easy, but when I got up there, I realized how hard he had been working! I took a few breaks on the rope and fell one time. I had a blast trying to work my body up the crack! It is a far different feeling and technique then sport climbing where you grab the next hold. I would jam my right hand into the crack and then my right foot, stand up and try and get my left hand in up higher. I did this move over and over to get up to the top. It was a lot of work, but so rewarding to be at the top.
Such a cooling looking climb. Crack Attack 5.9+

Zach's new pink shoes...pretty:)

Everything checks out A OK:)

The crack!
Zach wanted to lead a finger crack which means you can fit your fingers into the crack, but that's it. I wasn't feeling strong enough of a crack climber to follow this one, but I was super excited to support Zach on it! He worked his way though the difficult sections and took some great falls on the gear he had placed. All of his placements held superbly and he worked hard to keep getting further up the route. Now that he knows the climb, I have no doubt he could get it without falling! It was a 5.11d crack climb! Amazing:) 
Zach checking out the 5.11d called Fibulator.
The climb took most everything he had, so we packed it up for the day and headed back out of the jungle to our van. I made Zach go first because I had already had my snake siting for the trip and it was his turn to jump. And jump he did. He even made a little monkey sound. I was so confused on what was going on until I saw the large black snake ahead of him. This guy wasn't poisonous so he quickly tried to get out of our way. He didn't scare me as much, but I sure enjoyed watching Zach get spooked! He had laughed at how slow I was walking after my encounter. Now it was his turn to pause and go a little slower:) We had fun finishing up our nature hike back to the car. I didn't realize quite how on edge I was walking out of there until we got to the van and I breathed out a huge sigh. I was so happy not to have to look for snakes for a little while!
We drove back to Miguel's where we were camping and made mac and cheese! I was a pretty happy gal! We had also gotten Ale8 from the convenience store and enjoyed the regional sweet pop as we settled in for the night. We also had new neighbors and one of them told me her copperhead story where two snakes were around her as she gathered up her climbing stuff! I was definitely glad we weren't going to be hiking back there again. The snakes must be getting ready for winter, but I'm ready for them to go back underground for awhile. 
The perfect combo!
This morning (Friday 9/26), we packed up and headed out of the Red River Gorge. It was fun, but we were ready to move on. We were listening to NPR and a story about apple cider came on. Zach searched and found an apple orchard and cider place nearby. We stopped and got some cider:) Its so fun being able to go where we want to go! 
 I'm excited to be heading to Ohio to meet some of Zach's family! We just stopped to eat lunch and hang out for a bit at a Panera near Cincinnati and then carry on. Our plan is to spend the weekend with family then head out to the New River Gorge in West Virginia to spend a few weeks. We are absolutely loving van life and all it has to offer! One month in and I can't imagine doing anything else! The vanventure continues!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Lovely Obed

We just had the best weekend near Knoxville, TN along the Obed River! Not only was the climbing amazing and not very busy, but the people were so warm and welcoming!
Our friend, Paolo suggested the Obed when we were visiting their family in Nashville. I am so thankful we found out about it! We drove in having no idea what to expect. The directions to the camping were online and slightly vague. Basically, a couple named Del and Marte opened up their private property for climbers to camp in. So the directions tell you to go down a road until you see a mailbox and turn right. We slowly headed down the road and see a house and a cute dog running around. Eventually, we keep creeping down the drive until we see camping rules and a campfire ring. We find a spot and start setting up camp. The little dog comes and checks on us periodically, but otherwise we are the only ones around.
Our lovely campsite:)
We start hearing people's voices and possibly a motor running somewhere in the woods. After eating dinner, we plan to go investigate but want to clean the dishes first. Again, we hear people and this time it is a yelp of excitement! Just as we are planning to head to towards the noises, a man runs up and excitedly exclaims, "You guys gotta come see this!!" We quickly follow him up through the trees and notice a house and more structures in the trees. He is so excited about something and we are equally excited to find out what it is! Turns out, we had just met Del. He had been working on repairing an old air compressor, probably from the 1940's, and it was actually working!! It was so old looking and nobody was sure it wouldn't just explode, but it was working! Beaubien was working with Del and we quickly bonded over the fear of a possible explosion. We finally decided there was a pressure release valve that would blow off air as it got full. The compressor never shut off, just released a little puff of air. During the discovery, we all found hiding places behind solid objects just in case their was a malfunction, but all was well.
The air compressor!!! Such a cool hunk of metal.
It was great fun meeting Del Scruggs! He welcomed Zach and I into his community instantly and we were so grateful! We immediately felt at home as we sat around the antique compressor and talked about all sorts of things. Marte, Del's wife, came to feed the chickens and I got to see the coop Del had built and enjoyed seeing the chickens. Marte is a teacher at the elementary school in Wartburg, TN. She has such fun stories about her days, each one hinting at what a great teacher she is to her kiddos! Del runs the campground and mingles with the campers. He also has a sweet home brew set up and makes some amazing things! They both play tennis every afternoon on a court Del helped bring to the community. Marte makes amazing hot sauce and grows lots of veggies in her garden. They are avid sailors and have done everything you can think of outside. I loved sitting down with these two and just learning about their lives! They love living somewhat off the grid these days and enjoying the company of their fellow Wartburg neighbors.
Tipsy, Del, and Zach

It was an honor to be introduced to their friends/family and we enjoyed every minute of it! Suzie plays the mandolin and sings beautifully. I have had her version of "Never woulda hitchhiked to Burmingam" in my head since we left. I tried to listen to Adele's version, but it wasn't the same. I'd buy a CD, Suzie!! I loved it! Her husband, Jimmy, does blacksmith work for a hobby. We got to see him in action and learn about his tools on Sunday night in downtown Wartburg. He made all sorts of neat stuff on anvils full of history. Zach and I need to learn a trade to bring to the group when we go back. Someday we hope to return to the Fellowship Of Friendly Intentions (FOFI).
The people were our favorite part of the Obed, but we did buy a guidebook and get out climbing. It was epic! Their were roofs extending out over beautiful walls of sandstone rock, riddled with holds just waiting to be pulled on. To top it off, their were hardly any other people out and about! Our first day, we ran into about six people. Zach and I climbed lots of classics and I lead 3 climbs. It was an exciting day of climbing, full of fun moves and exciting falls:) We were quickly realizing, this place was amazing!
Zach getting to the anchors on Solstice, 12a.

Hiking to the climbing.
That night we met the weekend crowd at Del and Marte's Lily Pad. Everyone was so friendly and outgoing. And the dogs! There were so many dogs! At least one dog per group and they all got along amazingly well. Zach and I each had different dogs who would run up and play with us. We learned their names and who they belonged to. It was fun getting to know all of them. The quirkiest by far was Monster. She was Del and Marte's dog who had learned to drop sticks off the top of a shelter called the Perma Tent. She not only dropped them, but she could aim where they went! It was so funny when she hit unsuspecting campers below. She also guarded certain peoples' car. One guy, named Tim, had his own dog, Rudy, but Monster was the one who took over protecting the area around his car. New dogs would run around just sniffing out the area and come sprinting back with their tails between their legs after encountering little Monster.
Tipsy guarding us from the vultures:)
Marte told us Monster got her name because their daughter heard something under the house and said it was a monster. They went to look and found a little puppy with her eyes shut and part of her umbilical cord attached. She was brand new and needed a family. They bottle fed her and kept her warm. She eventually grew into the little monster that we met! She was great:) And I can't forget to mention Tipsy! She faithfully follows her person, Del, around the campground, keeping an eye on the sky for turkey vultures. When she sees one, she looks up to the sky and barks and barks until she feels she has properly scared them away. It was so funny to watch! The other campground pet was the kitty cat who we only saw Thursday night. He came and hung out with us all evening and slept on the hood of our car. I felt bad for him and put out a towel for him to sleep on. He watched shows with us through the window before we all fell asleep. It was fun to have a little friend:)
Little Kitty hanging out with us.
When we went to climb Saturday, our new friend Blake came along. We had a fantastic day getting a tour of Lily Bluffs crag. I climbed a 10A climb (a moderately hard climb) on lead and got it on my first try!! I was so excited! Zach and Blake both pushed themselves on grades beyond their limits! It was fun cheering them on and trying the moves myself. At the end of the day, we were all pretty pooped and enjoyed a beer and dinner around the campfire. Blake gave us an avocado and salsa to add to our rice and bean dinner, taking it from yummy to delicious! We were pretty psyched we met Blake:) We will have to climb again soon, dude!
Zach making faces while Blake climbs, Gangsta, 12a.

Blake climbing, Clyde the Mega Dude, 11c.

Me on Ticks are for Kids, 10a.

Zach working his project, Gangsta, 12a.
Saturday night was quite a party at the Lily Pad. Suzie, Beaubien, and Tim all played their instruments and we tried to sing along as Del held the lyrics poster to my new favorite song:) We heard lots of great stories and met fun people. I loved just sitting their and taking it all in! The dogs had their own fun community, making new friends and defending cars. Rudy was one dog who just followed this doberman pincer around all over. The doberman kept coming over to me with this look in his eye, like, "Get this dog away from me!" It was so funny! I held Rudy up for a minute with a belly rub, but as soon as he got up, he was headed towards that dog. I was laughing pretty hard.
Lyrics to my new favorite song:)

The perma tent. Monster drops things off the top and we all hang out around the fire.

The Lilly Pad General Store meets all your camping needs:)
Sunday, Zach and I weren't sure what we wanted to do. We finally decided to go back to Lily Bluffs and climb again. It's within walking distance of our campsite so we set out and started climbing. I was excited to try leading more difficult climbs, but as I started climbing, the rain came. I down climbed off the route and we moved under one of the roofs that kept the climbs dry. I ended up trying and 10B climb (slightly harder then the 10A). I rested on the rope once to figure out a move. When I got to the top, I really wanted to try again and see if I could do it without taking a break. I rested up while Zach climbed it then tried again. Pushing myself to the limit, I went for the hardest move. I missed the hold and ended up falling, but it was such a fun fall! Zach kept me so safe with his belay techniques and I just had fun trying hard! I didn't rest and tried to keep going. I finished the route without falling again, but I was too tried to try again. It was a fun route and I'm so glad I got to do it! The other people climbing at the crag with us were Blue and Sarah. They were so friendly and we had a great time sharing about our road trip with them and learning about their lives a little bit. Come to find out, Blue is the one in the picture on the cover of our guidebook! He is such a great climber and so fun to talk to! We were so lucky to meet him and Sarah!
Climbing Tarantella, 10a.

Enjoying another day with my love!

The holds and climbs were getting a little too wet for us to keep climbing, so we decided to hike up and see the scenic overlook above the climbing areas. We got to the top and it was beautiful! The water was flowing below and the trees covering all the bluffs above the river were gorgeous. I wish the leaves would have been changing, but it was still great!! It may be a contender for an outdoor wedding:)
The view from the scenic outlook.
That night, we were unsure whether to stay one more night, or go on to another climbing area up north. Del made our decision easy when he invited us to the blacksmithing get-together. We had so much fun spending time with their crew. I loved hearing Suzie sing again and we got to see some of Beaubien's artwork! I love being surprised by people and getting to know them better. It was so fun.
Monday morning, we finally decided it was time to head out. We found Del and hung out with him for a while. He gave us some of Marte's hot sauce and a jar of local honey gathered by a guy we had met named David. We got to say goodbye to Tipsy and Monster and last of all Del. We came into the driveway unsure of what we were going to find and we ended up leaving a home. I miss being their tonight and can only imagine what Del got running tonight. There will no doubt be a new group rolling in and hopefully they take the time to get to know the people and the place. Its totally worth it!! Thanks for being such gracious hosts and friends to us, Del and Marte!! We are so grateful and can't wait to come back!!
Enjoying our new friends in Wartburg, TN.

Jimmy's blacksmithing setup!
Tonight we are settling into our week at the Red River Gorge. Its going to be a fun week with great weather. The local camping area is called Miguel's. Zach and I have been here before, but it is always a fun place to hang out and meet people. Zach is working on his book and I am enjoying sharing our adventures with all of you! We are excited to see where this vanventure takes us!

I've been out of high school 10 years already!?!

After living from our bicycles for 5 days, we were excited to get back into our home and on the road again! We had a long drive back and spend the night in Colorado Springs. Getting in late, we didn't expect to see to many people. Lucky for us, a group of our friends was hanging out downtown! We met up with them for an hour or so at Brewer's Republic. This was the scene of our going away party and the end to the last part of the night I remember. I turned pretty red when the bartender
came up to me and remembered me! I wasn't very proud of that, but we all ended up laughing about it:) It was great to see everybody even if it was only a few weeks after we had left.
In the morning, we headed onward to Wichita, KS to visit my family and go to my 10 year high school reunion from Andover High School! I can't believe its been 10 years, but I was excited to see people and catch up a bit. I was so proud to bring Zach and share about our adventure! It was so fun to learn about my other classmates adventures as well! I can't believe we are all grown up!
My preschool buddies! Me, Stacy Simmer, and Andy LeValley.

Jay and I were best friends growing up and had a fun time talking about our grown up lives:) 

Pre-picture picture:)

My twin, Erin Reusser.
While we were home, I made an appointment with a seamstress who specializes in updating older wedding dresses. My family was all free, so my grandmother, mother, aunt and cousin all headed out to Derby to meet with this lady. It was such a fun experience to share with my Grammy! I am wearing her wedding dress and just having a few things updated and fitted to me. She and I are so excited with the sketch the designer came up with! I am so excited to share this with my Grammy! I can't post the pictures, but I can't wait to wear it!!
Back at my parents house in Benton, we enjoyed spending time with everybody and doing some reorganizing again on the van. Megan and I had an epic fooseball match, which I came out on top of this time! Its been awhile since I could win:) She also decided to buy my car which made me so happy! It was such a relief to finally sell it and exciting to know somebody great is taking over the car:) We also left a bunch of stuff that we've discovered we don't need at my parents. Its so great to have a place to store things and do laundry! Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Monday morning, we headed to Kansas City to visit my friend from college, Ciara and her husband Logan. They are foster parents and we got to meet the kiddos they are loving at the moment! I am so proud of them and their hearts to love kids and give them such a wonderful home to be in! Thanks for sharing your morning with us!!!
It had been a while since we climbed, so we were anxious to find some places to climb again! Jackson Falls is an area in southern Illinois and we had a great time exploring and meeting other climbers! Its a great place to sport climb and a beautiful area to hike around in. I did some lead climbing and followed some of the harder climbs Zach lead! It was a great few days with the bonus of free camping!!
Repelling while drinking coffee:)

First lead climb of the day! 5.8 with fun holds!

A little egg in a bird's nest.

Free camping!!!

Great scenery down by the Railroad Area.

Zach the route finder:)
Yesterday, we headed down to Nashville to visit some of our friends who recently moved from Colorado Springs, Elizabeth and Paolo. They have three beautiful children who we love spending time with. Zach even got to experience Elizabeth's fun breakfasts she used to make for me this morning! Thank you for taking time to spend with us!! We love you guys and will visit again soon:)
Now we are doing a quick load of laundry and then heading to Knoxville, TN for some climbing near there! Anybody in the area, come join us!!
Our beautiful friend, Elizabeth!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

6 people, 5 days, 4 mountain passes, 3 rainy days, 2 campsites, 1 amazing adventure!!!

Judy, a nurse practioner I worked with in Colorado Springs, plans a bike trip every year with her friends. Its a loop and usually takes 4-5 days. I went with her last year and we road around through Frisco, Leadville, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Vail. It was an amazing experience and I was so excited she invited me again. I couldn't wait to share the experience with Zach. Neither of us are avid cycleists, but we do enjoy riding our bikes and had prepared both of our bikes for this tour. The plan was to ride from Ridgeway back to Ridgeway going through Silverton, Durango, Doloras, and Telluride. Zach and I had just driven most of the route backwards, so we had some idea how steep the mountain passes could get. Every time our car started going downhill, we both got a little more nervous and worried about being able to ride up on our bikes. The area we drove through was beautiful and we were excited to be able to ride through and experience it at a different, and much slower, pace.
We all met at a hotel in Ridgeway. Vicki, Jill, Judy, and Scott were our group members and I enjoyed introducing Zach to my cycling buddies. Dinner was our first priority and we ate at a restaurant called True Grit. Apparently, John Wayne's True Grit movie had been filled in Ridgeway and the restaurant had a lot of memorabilia and fun facts. I enjoyed being there and thinking about the Duke hanging out in the same town we were in:) 
It was off to bed after that. Zach and I got permission from the motel to sleep in our van in the parking lot. She offered us towels and blankets and anything we needed! It was a great and we felt much more at ease sleeping. We never woke up thinking we were getting towed there:)
We set out in the morning for a 33 mile long day to Silverton over Red Mountain Pass. I did a quick post about this pass during the ride, but here are some pictures! We had a blast testing our biking abilities and climbing the steepest pass of our trip! For Zach and I, it was tough, but not as bad as we had thought. It was a pretty ride and rained on us a little going up. Zach had an admiring fan in Ouray who was impressed by Zach's older bike. He even took a picture. Maybe its more of a relic then we originally thought! It did make it to the top of the pass and even survived the heavy rain and hail on the way back down.
The rocket pack is ready!

Our group getting ready!

Quick break in Ouray!

Group picture!!

The open road!

5 miles from the top!

An old mine.

We made it to the top of Red Mountain Pass!!!

The waterfall was so pretty!

A rainbow over Silverton after the storm!
We woke up early to get a head start of the weather. Zach and I left first in the group and headed up Molas Pass which was 6 miles up. It felt considerably easier then the 13 mile pass from the day before, but we still worked hard. The rain was moving in so we kept going and zoomed downhill towards our second pass for the day. Coal Bank Pass was only 3 miles up and Zach and I cheered when we saw the mileage sign! 3 miles seemed so doable and we were happy to be making such great time. We took a longer break at the top and met some motorcyclists from Kentucky who were putting on their rain gear. It was fun chatting with other members of our two wheels club:)
The next 21 miles were all down hill and it was wonderful! We found a Cafe to eat at for lunch and really enjoyed sitting down. We finished the 8 more miles to get to our campground and happily checked into United Campground of Durango just outside of town. To our surprise, there was a free shuttle that ran from the campground to downtown Durango. It was perfect because neither us wanted to jump back on our bikes to meet the rest of the crew at their hotel.
Our trolly driver was named Roger and he ended up picking us up several times that evening as we ran some errands. It was so fun getting to know him in quick spurts. He is a fellow pilot from Colorado Springs and he recently has started getting involved in motorized parachutes. There was also a couple on the trolly who had previouly done tours on bicycles and also had lived out of a Eurovan for a time. They loved our plan for the year and were great fun to talk to. I just love meeting new people who have similar adventerous spirits:)
We ate dinner with everyone and then headed back to the campsite to sleep. Everyone thought we were crazy for camping, but Zach and I were so excited. It rained a little through the night, but our tent kept us dry and the gently rain lulled me right to sleep.
Getting started on the road again!

Some beautiful wildflowers hanging on.

The Colorado Trail goes through this area!

Top of Molas Pass!

Rain layers back on:)

Hiding from the rain at the top of Coal Bank Pass

Our second pass of the day!

Great place to take a rest!

These horses had a beautiful home!

Eat, eat, eat:)

I loved this lake and the houses on it!

What a cute pair:)

Break time! Almost there.

Home sweet home, for the night:)
Our third day was started in Durango where we were awoken by the warm sun! We had missed it so much and were so thankful for the warm rays! Drying out didn't take too long with the high alitidude and intense sun! We knew the sun was short lived because the reminents of hurrican Norbert were headed our way. The forecast called for 80% chance of rain all day! We packed our rain layers on top and headed out to meet the group. Staying together was fun on our ride to Doloras. We had intermittent rain and then it started raining pretty hard and consistnetly. We passed by another couple who were touring and headed in the same direction as us. Turns out we saw them everyday until the end and enjoyed our brief chats. 
With 5 miles left to our lunch destination of Mancos, we heard a loud thunder clap and the rains of Norbert came upon us. Norbert was not finished apparently and drenched us all from head to toe, dispite our fancy rain gear. Six drown rats pulled up on our bikes to a lovely little lunch spot in downtown Mancos and parked outside. You couldn't keep the warm drinks coming fast enough! All of us had to warm up and were so happy to be out of the rain. We all had such a blast that day and really enjoyed dealing with the elements! 
Zach and I did camp again that night. It was raining the entire time we set up camp and then stopped abruptly as we set out to meet the the crew for dinner. It was and extra 2 miles back into town for dinner, but we were hungry and decided our little butts could handle a few more miles on the bike seats. Dinner was lovely, but we wanted to head back before dark. It was getting close as we set out for our tent. There were two deer running beside the road as we rode home. I realized how big they really were being on my bike. I did not want to hit one of those suckers while cycling. They gingerly hopped across the street in front of me and carried on their way. We safely returned to our campsite and settled in for the night.
I don't have too many pictures from this day because it was so rainy, but here are a few.
Drying off inside:)

We rode through a hurricane!!

Hot drinks all around!

One of the few times without rain.

Drying out at the campsite in Doloras.
The day was beautiful! It was going to be our longest day (70 miles), so the sun was a welcomed partner to our journey! Doloras to Telluride crosses over Lizard Head Pass. It was not a steep ascent, which helped the mile markers pass by a little faster. Mile 56 was the steepest and we all shifted down quite a few gears! It was exciting to once again get to the top! My shifter cable wasn't worker right, so I couldn't get down to the lowest gears, but I survived. We arrived in Telluride tired and ready to find our motel. Zach and I were lucky enough to recieve a free hotel room from another couple who had to cancel on coming for the bike trip. The king sized bed and TV were luxuries we had not had in quite awhile, so we were pretty happy that night. 
Our dinner was a delicious Thai restaurant a block from the motel. Zach likes his food hot hot hot and happily ate the hottest dish they offered. I tried somebody's meal who ordered mild spice and thought my mouth was going to burn off, so I stuck with the no spice option:) It was then off to bed to rest up for our final day of riding!!
Vicki enjoying a break by the river.

Zach enjoying the view.

Our beautiful blue skies!!

Sweet Jill hanging out with us.

Jill finishing up the last mile up the pass!

Cross looks more like bird flying straight out of the ground to me.

Scott, Judy, Vicki, Jill, Sarah, and Zach at the top of Lizard Head Pass

Making our way down into Telluride.
We had to get up and go to a bike shop to fix my shifter cable. Judy and Scott went with us to get their tires aired up. Jill and Vicki bravely set out to conquer the final day! After the bike tune ups and repairs, we set out to leave Telluride! It was an amazing first 16 miles of down hill! We had blast with only one mishap of Zach dropping his MP3 player. It survived the fall and still played his music as we coasted downhill. What goes down always goes back up in Colorado, so we eventually had to climb up our last uphill. It wasn't too bad but our bodies were tired. We thought we were climbing the final hill of our trip so we pushed hard and rode as fast as we could. As we crested to top of the hill, we realized this wasn't the top...we slowed back down and kept climbing. Finally, we got to go down! We were flying down when a bee struck me in between the eyes. It got stuck behind my sunglasses and freaked out! I got stung before I could flick him away. I was able to keep control of the bike and pull over. Zach came in and saved the day by getting the stinger plucked out. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it did hurt pretty bad. I had 4 miles to go at this point and so we hopped on our bikes and kept going. 
Pulling into the parking lot and seeing our van was so exciting! We were home!!! Thanks for an amazing ride Judy, Scott, Vicki, and Jill! Its something we will never forget:)