June 28, Pueblo, Colorado
What a week! Last Sunday, Father's Day, I woke up with a cold in Larned, Kansas. I spent Monday lying low in a dingy motel, hiding from the 103 + temps and humidity. The high point of the day was a call from my daughter, whose positive attitude and loving words inspired me to get up Tuesday and get the rest of the Great Plains behind me ASAP. In the next five days, I covered 340 hot, windy, desolate miles to arrive in Pueblo yesterday - to my first good cup of coffee, healthy food and great beer.
I met up with Xander and his dog, Ella on the road (from previous post), and we stuck together pushing each other out of Kansas into the promised land of Colorado (See pics below). Resting in Pueblo today, getting caught up on work and healing up. Tomorrow morning I'll ride 55 miles of foothills to Canon City where the terrain turns to Alpine - I ride on another 5 or so miles into the mountains and camp. The route begins to climb out of Pueblo (4400 ft.) and then in earnest after Canon City. Tuesday will take me up to 9000 ft for the night, and Wednesday, I'll lift over Hoosier Pass, 11,600 ft, the highest point on the Trans Am Trail. Then, it's all downhill to meet up with my lovely wife on Thursday for a few consecutive days off for the July 4 weekend. Can't wait to see her! The elevation gains passing through Colorado, Wyoming over the Tetons and into Montana via Yellowstone, once felt a little daunting - now, feeling stronger than ever... not so much. After all, unlike "Fnn" headwinds, hills are finite and reward you on the other side - bring it on!
Although I was born and raised in North Hollywood, CA, I really grew up and spent the largest chunk of my life (30 years) in Montana. Tomorrow, when I enter the Rockies, it will feel like I'm back in the neighborhood. No more crazed canines, jungles chock full of poisonous snakes, plants and insects... in comparison, alpine terrain feels clean and welcoming. And although my route continues through the most rural areas, I have the advantage of speaking Western Rural American fluently, where I was a Jew out of water through the South and Great Plains states.
The last six weeks introduced me to seeing through a new lens. I'm learning to be less judgmental about those who see the world differently and more focused on developing solution-oriented ideas on how to open minds to the notion that in spite how different we all are, we also have a lot in common... and it seems concentrating on the positives has more value than beating that dead horse of differences. We don't have to change each other's minds, we just have to open the gates of tolerance of differences, and inspire the desire to learn more than we currently know.
I also continue to learn that it really does take a village. Although I've spent 95% of my days alone, I've never felt alone from all the support I've garnered through social media. The power of the thoughts and prayers of others feels palpable - and although I admire self-reliance in myself and others, I'm pretty sure we're not on this planet to go it alone. It's not a vulnerability to ask for assistance, it's a strength... and it's the smart thing to do.
I'm continually learning the power of mind over body. For the last 40+ days, minus a rest day here and there, I've asked my body to exert all the strength I can muster for 6 to 10 hours a day in demanding conditions - and if I feed and water it and respect what it says to me... almost every day it surprises me by doing what needs to be done. I've come to realize that I (and all of us) cannot possibly realize our self-potential and the positive affect we can have on others, if we don't push ourselves out of our comfort zones on a semi-regular basis. You don't have to ride across the country, run a marathon or do anything physical - you just have find opportunities to stretch yourself without worrying about failure. When I started my first copywriting business from on top of a mountain on the Continental Divide, Montana, I had to make cold calls to generate business. For me, it was an emotional challenge I had previously shied away from... until I realized that calling and not getting a lead, but getting the experience of how to make better cold calls, was a win. I only failed if I didn't pick up the phone at all.
Lastly, due to changed perspectives, I no longer have a bucket list. I'd rather concentrate on becoming the most productive, evolving, fun-loving person I can be - and really appreciate and live the opportunities every day gives us. Then, however I end up spending my time, it will have tremendous value for me, and hopefully those I interact with.
P.S. Had to mention again how excited I am about seeing my wife/lover/buddy/best friend this Thursday!!! Nothing could be finer...
Thanks for traveling along.
Below: The second circled city to left, is Pueblo - although it looks more than halfway, the vertical Rockies add equal mileage to what I've already covered.
Below: Xander and Ella on the road.
Below: How Xander smuggles Ella in and out of the Marriott Courtyard (no dogs allowed). This dog does everything asked of her and never barks.
Below: Looking back toward three days of Southeast Colorado slow climbing - dry, unforgiving and great clouds.
Below: Enjoying my first good cup of coffee in six weeks (Pueblo).
Below: Professional Bullriders National Headquarters.
Below: Pueblo River Walk
Below: A taste of Hollywood in Pueblo.