Happy Sunday y’all!

Nate was on the road by daybreak, or possibly a few minutes before. Michael woke up at 4:00 a.m., then again at sunrise, and finally at 6:45. The only evidence Nate had camped nearby was the matted-grass footprint his tent left behind.

Several camp kids came over while Michael was breaking camp to ask the pressing questions of the day: “How fast does your bike go?” “Did you stay here last night?” “Do you like to fish?” “Do you know my grandma?” One boy, David, said he would be at camp all Summer in case Michael wanted to play later.

Instead, Michael packed up, rode into town, and enjoyed a proper breakfast–pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee, etc.–at Lockman’s Lunch Box.

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It’s quite possible that Nate will reach the destination KOA today before Michael leaves Guernsey. He is not looking forward to the stretch of interstate on today’s route given yesterday’s incident. (Nate confirmed with the Highway Patrol that I-25 is ok for bicycling, for the record.)

Nate has reported there are “some hills” today, and our WINDY app indicates potentially strong headwinds much of the way–but Michael is hoping for a good, safe ride!

Update (12:00 p.m.): The road this morning has been pristine: Wide, smoothly paved surface without trenches, seams, or rumble strips. Traffic has been heavy at times, but most drivers are keeping a safe distance! And, neither the hills nor wind (almost non-existent) have been a factor.

At the 15-mile mark, the route moves onto I-25–which Nate has apparently navigated without issue. (See updates.)

Nate stopped to eat in Glendo, and met a super nice family who bought his breakfast…so, thanks again to them!

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Michael stopped at the Dwyer rest area (in lieu of a town) to refill water bottles. There he met a woman wearing a “Zion Cycles” kit, so he asked if she was riding today. First she said, “Yes, around Glendo,” but seeing Michael’s bike, clarified, “When I get to Glendo…not to there!”

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Update (Day’s end): It turns out that I-25 is an exceptionally nice road for bicycling–even though it’s posted at 80 mph. The shoulders are a full lane wide (at least 11 feet) and paved consistently at the same quality level as the driving lanes. It’s like cycling on an all-weather track surface, for anyone who’s run Track. So, Michael had a great cycling day staying on the Interstate!

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Nate took a slightly different route, but we both arrived at the KOA safely, and with time to explore the campground.

Remember Nate’s comment that the route had “some hills”? Turns out it was the biggest climbing day we’ve had since Iowa! But, they really weren’t a challenge for either of us.

After setting-up camp, and showering, we ate dinner at the KOA cook-out stand. We were the only customers for $5 hotdog dinners with macaroni salad and dill pickles. More interesting than the menu, though, was our conversation with the husband-and-wife team, Debra and Joe, running the stand. They’re retired, RVing full time, and spending the Summer at this KOA. Originally from the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, they now winter in Arizona and otherwise travel year-round. (Working for KOA helps offset their camping costs.) We enjoyed chatting with them.

We then walked around the campground checking out RVs, and dodging rabbits (they’re everywhere and don’t necessarily move out of the way!). We spotted a horse trailer that came in while we were talking to Debra and Joe. They told us that many of the trailers now have living quarters built in. As we approached the trailer, Michael noticed the owner wearing a Clemson University t-shirt. That was enough to make an introduction. (Michael lived in Clemson country, South Carolina, before moving to Raleigh years ago.) The owners generously gave us a full tour of the trailer, which was really cool. It’s amazing how much living space they have, while still being able to transport up to three horses! They travel extensively around the country, as the wife competes in endurance horse races–which we didn’t even know was a thing!

Walking around camp we met a couple more um, couples, and talked more about camping and different kinds of RVs, etc. It’s fun to hear all their stories.

We made our way back to the cook-out stand for s’mores before sunset (more importantly, before Nate’s bedtime), and muscled our way past the kids toasting marshmallows around the fire pit to get in on the gooey deliciousness.

Michael ran into the Clemson couple later while doing laundry and enjoyed talking with them again–as if we’d known each other for years! This time they shared more about their travels interspearsed with familiar anecdotes about life in South Carolina. Good people, those two.

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Tomorrow we continue across Wyoming on some combination of I-25 and somewhat parallel secondary roads. We are told that the old highway is flatter and of course has less traffic than the interstate.

Watch a Relive video of the day’s ride.

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