Everybody Knows Us - Rico - 9/1/2006

Today started with an uphill for about 5 miles at 9-10% to Mountain Village.  After doing the climb, I wished we had just put our bikes on the gondola to get to the same point, instead.  But, there will be no cheating on this trip.

Once Ed and I (Dave was supposed to have ridden with us but he texted me and said he was having breakfast with a girl he met and was going to join us later) got to Mountain Village, it only meant more hills to climb.  We had to get over Lizard Head Pass today at 10,222 feet.

After climbing for a while, we finally got a truck downhill sign but we knew we still had a while to get to the Lizard Head Pass so it wasn't that exciting because this truck downhill was only going to take away from the elevation we had already gained.

Here we are at a scenic overlook at the start of a truck downhill.  Why do they put a scenic overlook in the middle of a truck downhill?  I'm supposed to fly downhill on a truck downhill, not apply the brakes to look at a scenery.  Anyhow, here I am sporting my new arm warmers.

More pretty scenery.

It was neat; I was coming around the corner and all I saw was blue.  I knew I was finally at the pass because there were no more mountains, just sky.

Proof that I made it.

We saw this after crossing the pass.  The arrow is pointing to the actual peak.

And this is the actual peak.  It doesn't look like a lizard head to me, but I suppose it looked like to to the person naming the mountains at one point.

We had a slight low grade downhill where we passed a bunch of motorcyclist.  For some reason, bicyclists and motorcyclists get along.  It must be the bond we have of being on 2 wheels.  Anyhow, I enthusiastically waved to the big group of bikers (people on motorcycles are bikers, people on bicycles are cyclists) as I was going down the pass we just climbed.  They all waved back celebrating my triumphant feat.  Then, finally, I got a real truck downhill where I flew down the mountain, reaching a high of 41mph.

In Rico, Colorado, we immediately went to the library to try to send Dave a text message since we didn't have cell phone service.  Since there was only one hotel in town, I texted him to please meet us at the hotel when he arrived in town.

Talking to the librian Sue and Pastor Sue at the library, they were very excited about our cross country trip.  Eventually we went outside where they could check out our machines.  A local golden retriever walked by so I had to take a picture with him.

Next, we took a tour of Rico, population of about 90.  Here's the local church.

Then, Sue got permission to take us downstairs of the courthouse.

Below was an old jailhouse that mostly housed overnight drunks.  All the inmates carved their names on the wall.  It was pretty cool since these etchings were 100s of years old (I think).

No more writing on the walls.

The holding cell.

After our tour of the courthouse and church, we went to the Rico Hotel to get a room.  To our surprise, all the rooms were booked!  What the hell?  This is a small town; who's stopping here?  Apparently people who couldn't get a room in Telluride for the Film Festival stayed here, not to mention it was Labor Day weekend.  Crap.  It was now about 3:00pm and the last thing I wanted to do was ride 40+ miles to Dolores (the next town).  Linda, the owner, called the local bar to see if they had rooms available above the bar.  Phew, she saved our asses.  The owners of the Enterprise Bar used to live above the bar and now the upstairs was just empty, except for the occasional drunks or stranded tourist.

Waiting for our "hotel" to be cleaned, we had lunch at the Enterprise Bar.  Ed had a really good carrot/tomato soup.  I was jealous.  So far with Ed, we've always ordered the same soup during our meals and they've all been really good.  This time I chose a different soup and his turned out to the better one.  Dammit.

When our room was done, we went above the bar to our private apartment.  It's basically an apartment with about 5 rooms.  I was afraid we'd hear all the bar noise from below but it was really quiet upstairs.  This worked for me.  Saved me from having to cycle an additional 40 miles late in the day.

I'm really glad we were able get housing in Rico because Mark (owner of the bar) told us about a private hot springs down the road.  Stephany (wife) even drove us.  People are just so nice.  We went to the hot springs which consisted of a pipe from the actual hot springs dumping the water into a hottub in the middle of the woods with the Dolores River flowing a few feet away.  What an amazing find (well, we didn't exactly find it, we were told about it).  It was completely private and serene.  I need more hot springs tips from the locals.

After we walked back to the bar, we sipped on Coke and juice with Mark and some random drunks outside the bar.  Apparently Colorado has a motorcycle law where you have to have something (glasses/goggles) protecting your eyes; no helmet law though.  Can't have things flying into your eyes, but if you crash and bust open your head, no problem.  So here's how a conversation that went down:  Drunk: "Take me on your motorcycle."  Mark: "Go inside and borrow a pair of sunglasses."  "Come on, let's go ride."  "I said, go inside and get a pair of glasses."  30 seconds later, "Take me on your motorcycle."  "Dammit, go inside and borrow a pair of sunglasses from Steph."  Well, you get the idea...  Eventually the drunk went inside and borrowed a pair of sunglasses and the two guys went on the motorcycle with their protective eyewear but no helmet.

When that episode was over, Ed and I went upstairs and took our showers and got ready for dinner.  We walked over to the Rico Hotel where the restaurant greeted us with many diners and a warm blazing fireplace.  Dammit, I wish we were able to get a room at the real hotel, but our housing alternative was a pretty nice one.

For some reason, at dinner, Ed and I ordered different soups again.  This time, I win.  I had the best corn chowder ever.  The soup may actually rank as one of the best soups I've ever had in my life.  We both ordered the short ribs again.  The short ribs at the restaurant in Telluride was better, but this one was pretty damn good.  And, the portion was huge.  It took me forever to finish it since I didn't want to waste.  I only wished I had a doggy to take the big bones home to.  After dinner, we thanked Linda again for helping us get a room at the Enterprise Bar.

The walk back to the bar was dark and cold one.  When we got back, everyone hanging out at the bar knew who we were.  I guess it's not everyday that cross country cyclists stop in their town.  I chatted with a woman for a little while the others tried to eavesdrop while checking out these two strangers from out of town.  Crazy cyclists.

Back in our room upstairs, Ed was able to guess every single oldies artist that was on the digital cable station.  See, they do have everything in this small town.  I was probably packing up my bags while he was guessing.  To our surprise and delight, it was really quiet upstairs.  No noise from the Friday night crowd below.

Rico is a really small town and I know if I was just with Dave, he would have made me forge onto Dolores.  What a great town though.  I'm so glad we stopped.  The hospitality is 1st class and the food and housing are way above small town standards.