Day 45: Colorado Springs to Buena Vista! What’s that? You thought we were done with the 100+ mile rides? SIKE. 102 mile day headed straight into the Rockies.
We all knew this was one of the days that would include some mountain climbs, but it would be a day that would make us all say “THIS is why I wanted to bike across the country!” We woke up excited to get back on the bike after two days of building.
We had to take a photo together with an On The Boarder restaurant bag because they donated a meal to our team. The picture turned out pretty good with the mountains in the background, so I think it’s blog worthy:
We rolled out and our first stop was Garden of the Gods! I’m not sure how these rock formations were formed, but they were beautiful and they created a really pretty park with greenways and roads swirling through.
Before we knew it, we were climbing! I climbed up to lunch with Max, Sam, Steven, and Andrew.
After first lunch, I spent the rest of my day riding with McWeens! Often when I climb, I find myself with my nose to the ground, grinding it out. When I do this, I tend to miss out on the scenery around me. Luckily, McWeens would say “Kim! Look left!” and suddenly an unbelievable view of the Rockies towering along the horizon would appear.
When we crested the final hill to go through Wilkerson Pass, the REAL Rockies, the snow capped ones, were off in the distance. I had such an overwhelming moment of pride and happiness seeing these mountains that I actually cried. It was absolutely stunning to see these mountains in front of me, and it was an amazing reward for having gotten myself there with my own two legs.
We learned at the top that many of the 14-ers (the mountains in the Rockies that tower over 14,000 feet) were named after Ivy League universities. Scott later joked with Ryan, who graduated from Columbia and will be attending Harvard medical school in the fall, by saying “ohh I went to Columbia. I own nature” in a snobby voice.
The ride into Buena Vista was amazing. There’s a Bike & Build video that we show during presentations that gives an idea of what we’re doing this summer by showing some of the cool landscapes we ride through. Every time we watch it (we’ve watched it several times since we’ve given several presentations) we get goosebumps because we’re reminded of just how incredible this experience is. This ride into Buena Vista WAS that B&B video. It was perfect and beautiful! I kept stopping on the downhill just so I could drink up the scenery.
Scott sent out a message to the GroupMe saying “Need motivation to make it to the host? There’s a coffee shop on the route!” Obviously, we stopped and treated ourselves to a little afternoon caffeine.
We settled in at the host at Buena Vista and prepared for a build day the following day!
Day 46: Buena Vista Build day!
Another day of building in the beautiful Rocky Mountains! How lucky are we?!
We spent the day working at a Habitat for Humanity house that would have a fantastic view of the mountains all around! The site was actually in Salida, which is a really cute town down the road from Buena Vista!
The best part about this site? A dog named Ocho was there to play with all day long!!!
At the end of the day, the Buena Vista Habitat for Humanity chapter held a spaghetti dinner for us and other members of the community to raise money for the cause. We also gave a couple of presentations so that community members could learn more about what we did in Salida that day and what we’re doing this summer. The dinner and presentations were very successful!!
Afterward, my friend Amelia hooked some of us up with a FREE experience of a lifetime: some of her friends are white water rafting guides in Buena Vista, and they took us on a white water rafting ride on class 4 rapids!!!! They only go up to class 5, to put it in perspective. It was SO FREAKING FUN and I’m so glad that I was able to go! We rafted just as the sun was setting, so looking down the river was like staring into a postcard. It was the most gorgeous Colorado scene I’ve seen yet. My retirement home (it makes me laugh out loud to even say the word “retirement”) will be in a log cabin in Buena Vista on the Arkansas River. So SO beautiful.