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We woke to a frigid morning just steps from the rolling creek we heard trickle all night. I climbed a tree to retrieve our coffee from the bear bag Han strung up the night before. Making coffee with large pink fleece gloves is a difficult skill to master.

We set out as the sun rose and warmed us. We headed north to Cotopaxi to meet my best friend, Bethany and stopped in Westcliffe on the way. We were too cold to cook so we had a delicious breakfast at Edwardo’s and charged our cell phones as I discussed plans with Bethany.

Cotopaxi was a small town, smaller than a small town. There was a cafe/gas station/grocery store and a post office. We sat on a bench for a couple hours and caught up as we watched the Arkansas River riffle by.

We said sad good byes and drove on. It just keeps getting better. We climbed and descended, to climb again. The sun highlighted the yellow aspens and we weaved beneath their leaves. We wound turns and the forest was mesmerizing, hypnotizing me with its white trunks and golden leaves.

I deflated air out of my tires so the bike could handle the soft gravely dirt. The elevation is causing power loss but that’s okay, less speed means more time to enjoy the view. We came to the top of the San Isabel forest and stood speechless with gaping mouths as we took in the valley beneath us and mountains ahead.

We descended in to historical Salida and the towns, too, keep getting better. We met a fellow adventure rider, Duke, and he directed us to A Simple Hostel right downtown, just blocks from the river. We took his advice, checked in to our private room and hit the town. It was a quiet Monday night but we enjoyed drinks at Victoria Tavern and a great meal at The Fritz by the recommendation of our bartender, Ben.

A perfect day in Middle Colorado.

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