A bear ate my jerky!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BGil, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    526
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    Once at the top of Moki Dugway, I had to ride another 4 miles on a gravel road to reach our meeting place: Mulley Point.

    The road wasn’t too rough but sometimes it dived in kind of dips filed with a slippery sand. I’m not complaining as that’s probably the reason why the place is avoided by most of the tourists.

    When I reached Mulley Point, Merfman and Rex were already there. 5 minutes later my tent was set up too and I went to explore the surroundings with my camera.

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    They were right, the place is wonderful!

    Huge blocks of rock were half hanging on the edge of the cliff, as if waiting for the next storm to fall.

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    Meanwhile, the two compadres had installed their chair to relax.

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    I discovered at places strange bowls. This one was nearly big enough to house my tent.

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    I wonder what force of nature had dig it. I know that this kind of phenomenon can happen in a river, when a stone is captured by a whirlwind and scrape the bedrock, but here, on a high plateau? The wind maybe? Or is it a relic of the distant time when this was the bottom of a plain or the bed of a river?

    Here too, bushes managed to take a hold in the cracks of the rock.

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    Slowly, the sun set, changing the colours and the shadows.

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    Our camp was huddled between the few bushes and shrubs that were growing on this plateau.

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    Then the night was here.

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    In the morning, the sun was illuminating Monument Valley, far away. That will be my first stop.

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    In the top left corner of the picture: is it a plane, is it a bird? No, it's Merfman's drone! I bet you can take amazing pictures there with it.

    I left my companions after rendez-vous was made in Ouray, Colorado, for WestFest.

    I took Moki Dugway for the 3rd time, crossed again Mexican Hat to reach one of the most iconic view of the western US.

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    I stayed on that road, crossed into Arizona, stopped in Kayenta then went all the way back across Monument Valley and headed nort-east.

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    I entered Utah again, then Colorado.

    I stopped in Durango to change my rear tyre then kept riding north.

    I was on that famous Million Dollars Highway. The night was getting nearer and it started to get cold.
    This morning, in the desert, I had stored my warm clothes at the bottom of my bag. Too bad. I shivered all the way to Ouray.

    It was already dark when I reached the city. WestFest was taking place in the KOA north of it.

    I went in, wandered a bit before I found the spot, with the help of another inmate.

    Mefman and Rex had already set up their tent but they were nowhere to be seen, probably out for dinner.

    Eventually, they arrived with the tertium quid, Duane (@OrangeDreamCycler). The party can now begin!
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  2. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Belgium
    I spent the first evening in Ouray meeting the other inmates around.

    We were briefly interrupted by the manager of the campground who was patrolling in her golf cart, warning people that a bear had been spotted in the perimeter and that we ought to be especially cautious.

    A few tequila shots and the night was over.

    The next day, before the party for the last night of this WestFest, Rex, Merfman and myself abandoned Duane who preferred to stay and rest, and we went to explore the area.
    I will let Duane himself explain here why he decided to nap in a tent instead of riding in the beautiful Rockies. I’m sure he had good reasons and that they had nothing to do with tequila…

    The road to Ouray is called Million Dollar Highway. Ironically, the one we were going to take is called Last Dollar Road. I like that kind of humour.

    But first, Rex and Merfman being both amateur photographers, we stopped here and there for a few shots.

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    Autumn is not very far now. The trees are starting to get lovely colours.

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    Pine forests, of course, are not concerned.

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    We are here at the start of this Last Dollar Road. The birches are gleaming under the sun.

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    After a few miles, we stopped next to a farm.
    “Don’t you recognize the place? This is where they filmed True Grit, with John Wayne.”
    No, doesn’t ring a bell. Sorry.

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    A little further on the road:

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    Don’t worry, it’s not the road, just a point a view. A nice one.

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    Where it’s bare, the rock sometimes have a red hue, reminiscing of Utah, so close.

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    Over the pass, we rode down to the next valley.

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    Do you spot the problem with Rex’s bike? He’s missing a pannier. The wound is fresh; he broke it that very morning at a fuel station. He rode a bit too close to the pump.

    We met the valley and its birch groves.

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    Another stop, where the rocks ripped off the mountain by the winter frosts accumulate .

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    Rex left a little before us while I was taking pictures. While exiting a corner, I saw him laying along the road. I had a brief burst of worry: did he try to equalize his bike by crashing the other pannier against a tree? No, he was just trying to take a nice picture of us.

    Here it is, with just a little touch of Photoshop to enhance the colours. Great job!

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    I almost look like a real biker!

    Further, the road was hanging above the valley.

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    Colorado is beautiful, don’t you think?

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    Then we crossed the town of Telluride. On the other side of the valley, a hairpin road climbs the mountain to this little cabin. Now that’s a nice location.

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    The valley of Telluride.

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    On the side, the remains of a railroad leading to a mine.

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    U-turn. This road leads to Black Bear Pass and my two companions didn’t want to ride there on their heavy Super Ténéré. Maybe another time.

    Instead, we went to Silverton, where they filmed some bits of True Grit, too, to grab a lunch, pizza.

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    Pretty little town.

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    Back to the campground.

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    The sun was setting, colouring the sky like a wildfire.

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    Everyone is getting ready for the party that will end this meeting. Barbecue and beer, to start, then beer and beer to finish. And a little more beer for those who are still thirsty.
    I didn’t register to the WestFest like all the other, I’m just a guest, so I refrain from eating the barbecue and drinking their beer. Maybe it’s a bit silly to have these qualms, they probably don’t care, but … I have my own supply of booze anyway.

    We are around a hundred inmates here. For some, like me, it’s our first time at an advrider meeting. Thus, of course: de-noobification.

    Nothing serious, I will just have to drink a shot of Fireball. I like cinnamon, more please.

    So, I’m officially no longer a noob. Yeah!

    We spent the rest of the evening chatting around a fire, here and there, with people I didn’t know an hour before.

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    I woke up in the morning, with a mouth like if someone had emptied the cat’s litterbox in it. I’m sure that you know what I mean.

    With a smile, Duane told me that we’ve had an unexpected guest. In the middle of the night, he was awakened by a huge black bear strolling between our tents. He shouted to scare him off, which only half-worked.

    My eyes catch something on the ground; and slowly I realize the gravity of what happened.

    My jerky! The bear ate my jerky!

    I had bought that pack a month ago in California and wanted to bring it back home and it ate it! It took advantage that I was sleeping peacefully, numbed by the sleeping pills that I had swallowed (beer, tequila and corn whiskey, no doctor prescription needed) to steal the pack of jerky stored under the awning of my tent.

    It didn’t attack me, so at least now I know that I don’t look like a piece of jerky.

    Then after that, the bear went to pay a visit to our neighbours where it had a bite on Guido’s cooler.

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    That’s where he kept his beers. Is there nothing sacred for them bears?

    I munched sadly the last pieces of meat that the bear had left in the pack. I suppose I have to thank Duane for shooing away Yogi before it could finish its snack.

    It was good but made even more salty by my tears. No, I’m not overly dramatic!
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  3. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ojo Feliz...New Mexico
    I LIVE the Rockies, Dude.
    I'm in them daily so much so
    that sometimes I need a rest break.
    image.jpg too bee honest with y'all.
    Dora the Explora was feeling a wee bit under the weather
    And still had a few hundred miles to get home.
    She is tempremental that way.

    Thanks so much for your acquaintance, Bernard.

    Oh btw, the Bruin was super bigly.
    I would guess #550-600 pounder.
    42 ish inches at the shoulder.
    That bite into the cooler is practically 6".
    Big enough to put the squeeze on your
    Cranial Capacity. What awakened me was some heavy panting
    By my head. I thought I was going to get lucky????KNOTT!!!!
    I unzipped my sleeping bags and gingerly opened the tent
    to shine the light on the situation and all I could see was
    Big black bear butt. All was knot lost, had plenty of Jerky to share and one hell of a story to tell.
    :kumbaya
    ODC.

    I was not scared
    I deal with bears pretty much daily when they are not napping.

    Man, that mulley point holds a special place in my heart.
    It's almost spiritual. I remember when I was like ten my dad went there in the middle of the night and we camped. Boy when I woke up it was a WONDER.
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  4. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

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    You gotta stand up! Standing up accentuates the awesomeness.

    Last Dollar Rd is a good one. Shame you didn't try Black Bear Pass - when might you pass that way again?

    I had no idea they shot the original True Grit off of LDR and Silverton. That's really interesting. I'm going to watch that again now.
  5. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ojo Feliz...New Mexico
    The original True Grit was also filmed in the Cimarrons over in the owl creek pass & silver Jack res. area.

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  6. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    I imagine myself awakened by heavy panting and first thing I see is a big butt... That would be another nice story to tell !
    OrangeDreamCycler likes this.
  7. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    The bike is actually in Salt Lake City but I plan to come back in Autumn to avoid the heat. I suppose that Black Bear Pass will be closed at that time of the year.
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  8. duneman

    duneman n00b

    Joined:
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    Great pictures, one of these day's I'm going to get rid of my 82 wing and get something more off road
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  9. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    You can keep your wing and use it to pull a trailer with a little enduro bike. Best of both world!
  10. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    So WestFest was coming to an end.

    What should I do now?
    I was tired and needed to rest. Every day, or almost, setting up the tent, then pack it again, always on the move… Yes, I needed a little rest.

    Merfman offered to host me for a few days. He wasn’t living far, in Colorado Springs. Again, I gladly accepted his offer. But I made a little detour.

    As I would not have enough time to visit the Grand Canyon this year, I had been suggested to pay a visit to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

    En route! First, I said goodbye to Ouray. What a pretty little town.

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    I crossed it to the south. To reach the Black Canyon, I wanted to ride another bit of the BDR.

    At its beginning, I saw that strange building. The entrance of a mine I guess.

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    The road followed a river for some times.

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    Then it started to climb the mountain toward the next pass.

    Another abandoned mine.

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    There was a little board: for sale. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss! Some work needed: new roof, new walls, new road…

    Then I crossed Cinnamon Pass. I heard it’s famous. The road was a little steep at places, otherwise very a pleasant ride.

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    Then the landscape become even more impressive. The road was now hugging the cliff.

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    Even back on the highway, nature was still wild. I understand why hunting is so popular here.

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    Do you think that it would bother it to be so close to me and my noisy bike? At least, no need to mow the shoulder.

    Eventually, I discovered the gorges of the Gunnison.

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    The road climbs to the ridge.

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    A dam transformed that part of the river into a lake.

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    Then I reached the canyon itself. I wandered from a point of view to another.

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    I think this one is called the Balanced Rock.

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    And those are The Islands.

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    These trees don’t need to fear the axe of a lumberjack.

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    I camped next to the canyon, while the sun was setting.

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    The morrow, I headed to Colorado Springs.

    Deer again! They’re everywhere, here.

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  11. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

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    Nice report and pictures. I look forward to the next installment every morning.
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  12. Aggie21

    Aggie21 Red Dirt Aggie

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    Awesome report! Thank you for taking so much time to tell this story.
  13. bromax

    bromax Bromax Supporter

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    I just found this and loved all of it. Great pictures and narrative.
    Thanks
  14. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Sorry for the pause. I've been a bit busy the last few days.
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  15. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I got to Colorado Springs on the evening of the 17th September.

    I went to a sushi restaurant to wait until Merfman was back home. I choose the “All you can eat” option and realized that my stomach had shrunk during this trip. I was satiated faster than I expected, even if I had a fair share of Dragon Rolls, my favourites, especially since it was my first meal of the day.
    I lost some weight during this trip. It's not surprising when you're too busy rinding to think about being hungry.
    Mark, you said "Standing up accentuates the awesomeness". That's true but the reason why I wasn't staing up is because it was a bit early to see the moon... :evil I had to buy a belt!

    Then I was welcomed by Merfman at his house. In the end, I would stay 4 days there.

    The first day, I did almost nothing. Just resting and updating my blog.

    My camera was acting up. I guess some dust from the deserts had penetrated in the body and sometimes the zoom would not work. It was a good device but after 5 years carrying it around the world, it was time to get a new one.

    I really enjoy taking pictures so I wanted to try something better than my little Lumix. Merfman being an amateur photographer, I asked him for advices. We went to a shop nearby and I ended up with a Nikon D3400, with two lenses, UV and polarizing filters, etc. All I needed now was to learn to use it. It will take times.

    Then we spent the rest of the evening in a Mexican bar so that I could taste a good margarita.

    We talked about my journey so far, about what I still had to discover. Of course, we talked about guns and Merf suggested to pay a visit to a gun club to perfect my “American experience”.
    That should be nice! My last experience with a gun was as a kid in Mali in 1988, shooting a can in the Niger River with a .22 with a friend of my father.

    The next afternoon, we hauled his selection of guns in his truck and went to the shooting range.

    First, the handguns. A Ruger.22 as a starter, then a Colt .44, and lastly a Beretta 9mm.
    My favourite was the Colt .44.

    Then we moved to the range for the rifles. We started again with a Ruger .22.

    Here is Merfman using it.

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    And last, an AR-15.

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    I had a lot of fun, so much that I started to look at the guns law in Belgium. I will just say that Belgium is not Wyoming… We make guns, a lot of them (FN Herstal), but we don’t really use them.

    We spent the rest of the evening watching True Grit. Merf was filling up my tequila glass each time it was empty; I’m not sure that I remember the end of the movie.

    The next day, I went to explore the area. First, the Garden of the Gods.

    This little park is located just out of the city, at the feet of the mountains.

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    The jagged rocks remind me a little of the deserts of Utah.

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    A little trail winds through the rocks.

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    Here is a view from the road.

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    After this garden, I headed for the mountains. Merfman had suggested me to take the road leading to Pikes Peak.

    At the toll booth, something worried me: I saw a sign deporting the temperature at the summit. 25 °F. I don’t really know how to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, but I know that water freezes at 32 °F, and I was only wearing a t-shirt under a light riding jacket and summer gloves. We will see how it goes.

    The ranger at the booth told me to be cautious. There could be ice patches on the road near the summit.

    I made a first stop at a reservoir. Pikes Peak is the mountain in the background. You can see a little snow.

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    The long climb to the summit starts and I feel my fingers progressively freezing as I come closer to the peak.

    I’m shivering uncontrollably when I enter the souvenir shop at the top. I take my time to choose a t-shirt and a fridge magnet: the shop is heated! Then I head out to snap some pictures.

    You can see the lake where I stopped on the way up. I don’t know which one it was.

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    The view is far. Merfman told me that, when the sky is clear, you can see Kansas.

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    Down below, Colorado Springs.

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    The time has come to ride back down. I stop a few minutes to bring back some life on my numb fingers. The sun shines and feels almost warm when I’m not moving.

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    Back near the plain, it’s not only warmer, it’s also easier to breathe. Up there, I was uncomfortably out of breath. It’s not the first time I’m riding at high altitude, but I’ve never climbed so high so fast; my body didn’t have time to acclimate to the lack of oxygen.

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    Back at Merman’s for a last night, we spent the evening playing pool and watching American Football while Merf was trying to explain the rules. I need to watch another game to see if I understood.

    At dawn, we say goodbye. I will certainly pay him a visit next time I come in the US.

    And maybe you will come for a little tour of Europe.
    Thanks for your hospitality my friend!
  16. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    I had reached the last days of my trip. All I had to do was to come back to Salt Lake City, not too fast, not too slowly. I had agreed with Ken to get there the 25th, my flight for Los Angeles leaving the morning of the 27th.

    I followed the advice of Merfman to leave Colorado Springs and avoid the morning traffic. I crossed Canon City, Buena Vista…

    I was in a “mineral” country, if I am to believe the name of many towns.
    First Granite, then Leadville, Basalt, Carbondale… I went back on the Freeway at Glenwood Springs; Merfman had recommended me to see that spectacular section, the last constructed in Colorado. Then again on the small roads after Gypsum.

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    I found safer to avoid the village of Radium, I don’t need to glow in the dark.

    The evening was already there. I wandered on a trail east of Toponas to find a place to camp.

    Eventually, I found a campsite almost empty at Lynx Pass. There was only two bikers.
    I went to greet them but after a few seconds I stopped. “You were at WestFest too, am I right?”
    Yes! Bill, from Seattle, was the one who helped me to find the right camp spot at the KOA. He was travelling with Tom, a friend from Calgary.

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    We spent the evening chatting and experimenting with their food leftovers; they had almost reached the end of their journey, too. They only had to get to their pickup truck, load the bikes and head back home.

    The morning seemed cold, as expected in mountains, but I was surprise the find no traces of frost on the seat of the bike and on my clothes left outside the tent. Was the weather warmer than I thought?

    Then I remembered that Merfman had explained to me that the weather was very dry in Colorado. Maybe there isn’t enough moisture for frost to form.

    My guess was confirmed when I tried to brew my morning tea: the cap of my camelback was stuck by ice.

    During the evening, Tom had talked about rodeo (it seems to be a favourite past time in Alberta).
    I hadn’t had the opportunity to see one, it was the last chance of this trip. A quick research on the Internet told me that the not-so-far city of Rock Springs, Wyoming, had one scheduled that week-end. Let’s go there!

    Heading northwest, the mountains started to disappear, replaced first by hills, then by the prairie.

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    On that plain, the cattle sometimes gave way to more unusual herds, antelopes.

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    Once in Rock Springs, I paid a visit to the local KOA. 51$ for a tent! I’m sure I can find a better deal than that.

    I was right. No toilets or shower, that’s true, but no fees either.

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    Maybe you wonder what is that stain on the side of my tent. No, it’s not the business card left by an incontinent or emotive bison. Do you remember the can of “butter” spray? The cap fell off while in the bottom of my bag and the can emptied on my tent and my rain gear. Even now, month later, after washing my rain jacket 2 or 3 times, it still faintly stinks of rancid oil.

    On the background is the Flaming Gorges Park.

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    The sun sets slowly on the plain and on my bike.

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    The last rays disappeared behind the hills.

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    And that’s when the fun begun. For an hour, around my tent, coyotes sang me a lullaby. A pack had assembled nearby and was getting an update on the last news.

    That was not the first time that I had met coyotes, but never so many, or so close to me. Their howl sounds like something between a wolf and a spaniel that got a kick in the ass.

    I went out of my tent with a flashlight to see them but it was too dark; I didn’t even manage to catch the glow of their eyes. Maybe they were farther than I thought.

    In the morning, a veil of fog was quickly dissipating at the foot of the cliffs.

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    I went back to Rock Springs, in time for the rodeo, to find … Nothing.

    Even now, I don’t understand what happened. Cancelled? A mistake on the web page? I read again and again the page. It was the right time, the right place, even the right year. But it was empty.

    Oh well! I didn’t came here for nothing. I had a pleasant night in a wonderful place with a concerto for coyotes in B flat.

    Back on the road to Utah. Just before leaving Wyoming, I stopped in a little liquor store. I told the cashier that I wanted a souvenir from Wyoming. I got a bottle of bourbon.

    I stopped on the shore of yet another lake, Bear Lake, but this time it was too cold for a bath.

    Almost all the tourists had already left. This place too was quiet.

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