Our ride during the morning was some of the best riding of the trip. We had small passes and wide open views, very little traffic and good roads.
Our final official pass was 10,000 feet and the descent was fabulous. The first part of the descent was steep and fast and then leveled out and followed a beautiful creek for quite a number of miles. What a delight!
After lunch the traffic and the road got worse but the thrill of the morning kept us happy. The final descent out of the Rockies and into the plains was unreal. Catherine handed over the reins of her bike to Sean and we got a good 10 mile downhill run with speeds way too high to talk about, and turns that put the tires sidewalls to use.
When we finally rolled out of the Rockies and into the flat lands of Denver, we loaded up the bikes and drove to Catherine's oldest son's house. Daniel met us in the street and we enjoyed a delightful afternoon with him in downtown Denver. We dropped cousin Jim off at the bus that took him to Boulder where he lives. He called later in the afternoon tell us about the bike he has and it will work for our electric bike conversion project. It was great having Jim along. We took lots of trips together as children so being together now as "old farts" was a real treat. Lots of memories to share and stories to retell.
Walking into Downtown, we crossed over a bridge and saw an endless line of rail cars filled with coal. We are in coal country now and seeing the miles of coal cars that wind across the nation is daunting. Not only do I see coal cars but I see destroyed landscapes, poisoned air and water and and a suffocating atmosphere.
On the other hand, Downtown Denver has recently added a bicycle rental system similar to what exists in Paris. The bikes are beautiful, durable and we did see people using them. There are also lots of bike trails along the rivers and we saw more people on bicycles than we've seen since we left home. We were also treated to a very intense downpour that provided great entertainment as people decided whether to wait out the rain or run through the rain to their destinations.
Daniel is a sustainability hero. He recycles everything, buys almost nothing new, uses house paint from discarded Habitat for Humanity stock for his artwork and thoroughly enjoys his simple, satisfying life.
Sean is so happy to be in a city again where he can hang out with people who are under 50 and wear shorts in the warmer temperatures.