We awoke this morning to a hard rain. Luckily, we viewed the rain from the dry comfort of the Hampton Inn and not through a drippy tent flap. More rain is forecasted for today so we decided to make a day of it in Steamboat Springs. The irony is that Michiel and Margot, who intended to stay over a day here, may have left while we have stayed! It was supposed to be the other way around. They are (were) staying at a different motel so we don’t know at this point.

But what I would like to write about today is the strangeness of living between two entirely different ways of life on this ride. Most days we are riding the trail which usually has us miles from civilization on rugged roads high in the mountains. Every few days our route takes us through a town large enough to have a motel and we often avail ourselves of the motel’s and the town’s services. But these two environments are so dissimilar that when I am in town I have to slap myself to recall what the wild was like. Was I really sweating my way up a steep mountain road yesterday? (It doesn’t seem to be that difficult to recall town life when I’m in the wild.)


One way that the Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride is unlike other long distance rides we have made is the types of towns it passes through. On the Northern and Southern Tier routes, the vast majority of the towns through which we passed were quite ordinary towns. On this ride, a number of the towns could be classified as charming or even trendy. The contrast between the two worlds can be startling. Jackson, WY was a charming town. Steamboat Springs is a ski resort town. Coming up is Breckenridge which I have heard is ultra-hip (although I have never been there.) Not that Mary and I are hip or even trendy but we do enjoy observing the local fauna at such places. It’s fun every once in a while to see how the “other half” lives. It’s also nice to have enough money in the bank to buy a roof over one’s head when the rain is falling. In my younger days, that wasn’t an option.

While perusing the wares at one of the many sporting goods stores in Steamboat Springs yesterday, we came across an item that immediately caught my eye. It is an ultra-light folding camp chair (1.5 lbs) that packs about the size of a 2-liter bottle. We have been bedeviled on this ride by the absence of chairs or tables at the remote, undeveloped campsites that we often use. These Helinox chairs are quite comfortable and have good back support. Instead of standing all the time or sitting in the dirt, as we have done up to now, we shall enjoy our morning mochas in sweet repose. Instead of retiring early to our tent in the evening because we have no place to sit, we shall watch a sunset or two from our easy chairs.

Backpacking one of these chairs might be a stretch for the ultra-light hiker in me but my B.O.B. trailer can accommodate them strapped to the outside without too much trouble (I hope.) We bought two because we would always be fighting for possession otherwise. I’ll include a photo once we have an opportunity to use one in an actual camp setting.