The following is my unedited, uncut, original on-the-road report:
"Trail Ridge Road is under 2.5 ft of snow". That seemed to be the motto for Day 2. Just about every Colorful Coloradoan I mentioned my plans to told me the same thing. Enough so that it seemed like an omen.
Anyway, on Day 2 I make the trek from Manhattan Kansas "the little apple" into Denver Colorado. Friendly fellow lister "Mike in Colorado" offered to meet me for dinner and shoot the bull. In addition to that I come back from a walk around the beautiful campus of the "Mile High Inn" to find some suspicious fellow staring awfully hard at my GPZ. That fellow (still suspicious in my opinion) was Charles, and we all went out for a good meal. I tell ya, Mike and Charles are a couple of top-notch guys. Mike and his wife drove an hour just to meet me, and they all probably hung out too late for their own good, but it was fun and I got a lot of route advice from both of them. Thanks guys, I owe you one.
Finally, on the third day of my adventure, I get into the mountains. I did a few side roads, by mainly stuck with the Peak to Peak Highway and the Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather couldn't have been any better and the views were just stunning. There were only a few pockets of snow left up on the high sections of Trail Ridge Road.
Truth be told, I *almost* ditched my plans to continue north to the Tetons, Yellowstone, and on up to Glacier, spending my time in Colorado instead. But, I didn't, so I headed north on 125 through Walden. It starts out as a pretty good stretch of road, but those tar snakes are brutal. After awhile it pretty much straightens out. Avoided a speed trap when a friendly gave me the headlight warning. Thanks, whoever you are. I was cooking before that.
From there I cross over into Wyoming towards Encampment. It started getting pretty late in the day, and I had to make a decision: go towards the bigger towns/interstate and find a motel for the night, or to push on and see what happens. I though to myself "no great adventure starts with words relating anything to 'Let's hurry up and go to the interstate and find a hotel'", so I pushed on, still full of energy and desire to do some more riding. So I rode west on WY70 over Battle Pass. Great stretch of road, but it is an open cattle range in lots of places so watch out.
I almost paid the price for my "adventure" when all the deer started coming out along the roadway. I ended my day in the bustling metropolis of Baggs, Wyoming, population 345. Smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Charles warned me that there was a whole lotta nothing in this section of Wyoming, and he was exactly right. I was getting worried but the Country Inn in Baggs is a fine place to stay if you like cheap. Just remember, you're in the middle of nowhere. Next time I'll pack a tent. camping areas are *WAY* more numerous than the four-walls-and-a-roof accommodations.