i was feeling pretty fresh at this point and now that i had my hat i wasn’t worried about the cold weather at the top so much.

i left the visitor center and about one half a mile up the road is the park entrance. i rolled up to the gate so i can pay my 10 dollars, and give the old guy my credit card. he doesn’t even look at the card and right away asks to see my drivers license. i didn’t think i would need that, so i didn’t bring it. he said, “how can i take money off this if i don’t know it’s yours?” well, he had a point, but there is a certain amount of trust that must exist in society for it to be a civilized place. granted i don’t want someone riding around the country spending my money. however i don’t think that someone that would ride his bike some great distance to climb a mountain, is going to be using stolen money.

i didn’t want to get mad at the guy, because he could make my life even more difficult… so i went back down the hill to the visitor center. i tried to get some guy to let me buy his stuff for him with my credit card, and he could pay me cash.. but he only had credit as well. drats! i started talking to the ranger lady behind the counter and she made a call to one of the supervisors and they said that it should be ok, because the card is signed. i had a feeling that even though this was obvious logic, the old guy at the gate was not going to be convinced unless he was told by someone else. i asked if she could tell the guys at the gate, because they needed to be told. she did, and said it would be ok. i wasn’t feeling too comfortable about this but i had no other choice…. or did i….

i remembered the guy downstairs who rang me up for my hat. he was a young guy, with hardly any customers at his register. [no i’m not thinking about robbing him!!]. i went down to ask him if i could buy something for around ten dollars and then return it, and get cash back. i also told him my whole sad story and he agreed to do it. right on! i found this wooden oven mit holder that read “rocky mountain national park” for eleven dollars. he scanned my card and then paused and said that he could not give me cash back after all. some weird story about how i got a discount for buying with a credit card and …. i didn’t understand the rest but he looked like he was telling me the truth. my first thought was, “i don’t still have to buy this, do i?” the last thing i wanted to do was carry an oven mit holder up the mountain.

well no more back up plan. i had to go back up to the park entrance and talk to the guard. i decided to go back to the same guy because i didn’t want to step on his toes and really piss him off. i explained what the park lady told me about the signature… and he still didn’t believe me, but his supervisor was there and kind of eased him though it. i was still trying to be as nice as i could, but this old guy was acting like he was signing his house over to me or something. i pretended like he really was going out of his way to let me into the park, just to kind of make it easier….. but he still was pissed at me.

oh well at least i got in:


at least i thought it was good to be in

i was riding around a bit looking for a place to get hats, when i finally found a hunting and fishing place… wouldn’t you know it, they were all out of ear covering hats! the lady there was nice enough and told me that the visitor center next door had warm hats, down stairs. so i went next door and walked inside and there were some 3d topo maps and pictures of wildlife, and some books. i then went down stairs to find the warm hats:


not quite what i had in mind… besides i don’t think it’s even for sale.

i went to the other “next door” and found the real visitor center that the lady was talking about… wen’t down stairs and bought my hat.


as i was putting away my camera from this shot, some car pulled up to me and a guy jumped out and started asking me road directions. i wish i could give better directions, but i usually just turn down streets by “feel”. i can rarely tell you exact directions. i think i provided good enough answers to them because they actually headed off the direction i told them… have you ever given someone directions and they go off in the other direction? [happens to me a lot :(]

i had some food in my panniers, but for the most part i forgot to bring some things that was really looking forward to, like my cheese, and turkey. i had some other food, but decided to go to taco instead. i got to the taco bell at just around 8:55, they opened at 9. of course i was the only customer and they didn’t seem like they were ready to serve anyone. good thing for them i ordered something easy, two bean burritos and some water. i sat in the dining area and finished off one, and put the other one in my pack for later,

right after taco bell i went to the safeway to get some gator aid and to see if i can find a knit beanie to cover my ears when i get to the top. i also found some cold frapachinos to try and make the morning super. when i checked out i asked if they had any beanies. needless to say, ‘safeway doesn’t sell beanies”… as i was informed by the checkout lady. she could of just said, “no”, but she said it like i was asking for a few gram of weed or something. anyway i sat outside in the sun and drank my frap and just did a little people watching.


i saw a group of cyclist unloading their bikes from a minivan, getting ready for some big ride. they were probably going to ride the park or something… they didn’t look like they were going to climb trailridge. although they could have been, but a couple of the people in the party, didn’t look like they could it.


remember the movie “the shining” ? well the stanley hotel in this sign is the hotel from the movie. sorry i didn’t get a picture of the actual hotel :) i took the picture because i liked the rocks in the background.

i was really glad to see estes park. i was getting pretty tired, not really sure why, the climb up to estes was only about 2000 feet. i think maybe i was getting a little fatigued because i wasn’t eating very much, and it was a little colder that i planned.

here is estes park as seen from around the corner (note: you can’t really see the estes park sign):


here is the damn:


see those clouds up there? yep that’s where i’m heading…. it should be gone by the time i get up there… so i’d hoped.

close up shot.


this is one of the wider sections


i stopped to “rest” here. not really sure why i took the picture, i’ll bet if anyone saw me with a camera outside the restroom… would be a little worried.


aren’t you glad we don’t live in a two dimensional world? this rock didn’t seem to have a backside.


i wonder how it got that way….

the walls of the canyon are pretty steep. the canyon is like a huge crack in the mountain hundreds of feet high, and maybe one hundred feet wide. anyway in 1976, there was a flood where water from a dam break and heavy rain poured down the canyon…. anyway here a plaque:


there is a man made waterfall right at the entrance to the canyon.


another view of the fall.


as i was riding away i thought the over head water bridge was pretty cool looking.


right before the enterance to the big thompson canyon, there are a lot of “camps”. there are at least two christian camps, a girls camp, cowboy camp… and a few mysterious ones like the picture below:


one love store

i don’t know why i thought this was so neat, but there was this hippie store in love, with this big neon heart and arrow.