Our last stop in the state of Utah was Blanding. We were joined by Dan's parents, Joel and Robin, and were spoiled for about 2 days by their company. During their visit/accompaniment we were well fed, hydrated, and for once clean (of course excluding our infamous night at NOT so recreational Hite Recreation Center).
One of the hardest things on this trip has been getting out of the Comfort Inn beds in Blanding, Utah. With the air condition running and our exhausted bodies resting on those amazing mattresses under soft covers, we found it near impossible to finally get ourselves to get out of bed at 4 AM (already a late start for us). We got ready in record time, however, and our biggest problem seemed to be that the yogurts we had bought the night before were slightly frozen. No problem, however, Jen claimed that she loved "a good frozen yogurt for breakfast."
It was to be a nice, easy flat ride of moderate length to Dolores, Colorado. There was a short uphill out of Blanding, and then flats the rest of the way. Wrong! Nothing seems to come too easy out West. Although it was relatively flat, there were ups and downs the entire way. The temperature was on our side with temperatures a little cooler, and the landscape became greener leaving Utah and coming into Colorado. About 40 miles into our ride, we crossed into Colorado. A group picture at the border can be seen above. We also briefly stopped at the border to snack in the parking lot of the Stateline Tavern, "Hunters Welcome!" the sign read. As you can imagine, we were all thrilled that this little tavern catered to our kind.
We made good time heading in the direction of Dolores. Climbing miles upon miles of rolling hills, we saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time. Seeing the snow covered peaks in the distance was quite the sight for us. As the day went on, we edged our way closer and closer to the foot of the Rockies. Quite beautiful we must say, but now we have to climb them. More on that to follow. In the words of Daniel, "It's all downhill from here." Sure it is Dan, except for 2 major mountain chains which still stand in our way. The group seems optimistic, however, and is considering a late afternoon climb into the Mountains to Rico. This would make it a 120 mile day for us but has the benefit of 2 easy days to follow (one day being our off day in Telluride). Check back soon to see if we made it to Rico or quit and turned back around down the mountain to Dolores.