Before loading up and leaving this morning, I sent out some couchsurfing requests for Colorado Springs - a potential ending point if I could find a roof. I didn't provide much notice, but this seems to be working okay for me.
Today, I broke away from the Adventure Cycling route and began to point my bicycle toward Denver. I have a phone with Google Maps, and a GPS that I programmed a route on. The GPS route is really just a series of waypoints with an as-the-crow-flies line drawn between them to connect the dots. In this sparse area, it works fine. Programming a route with useful turn-by-turn bicycle directions still seems just outside the capabilities of the unit though.
I began to follow the directions, hoping that the Google Maps bicycle directions wouldn't let me down. I was pleased. I was put on a road that turned to dirt for well over ten miles. When the road turns to dirt and gravel, you will pray to be riding something like the Hoopty. The Hoop performed well as I cruised over this beautiful stretch of sparse road on my wide tires. I was surrounded by desert with a beautiful view of the mountains to my left. I gained altitude all day, but didn't have any challenging climbs. I'm getting closer to mountains, but I'm not in them yet.
In the afternoon, I pulled over in some shade to eat raisins and get a brief respite from the hot sun. I checked my phone, and saw that I would have a place to sleep in Colorado Springs if I wanted it. Two nights would be fine. I was about 20 miles from downtown when I accepted the offer and re-routed myself directly toward a coffee shop.
"How down are you with brass monkeys?" The first time we spoke on the phone, this is what my couchsurfing host asked me. Yup. This would work out just fine.
We each had a brass monkey, and we talked about music and played with iPods. These guys are real young - the guy who accepted my request is 19, and the singer in his band who was hanging out is 22. We walked around the downtown area at night, and it reminded me of Duval Street in Key West with the general misshapen rowdy behavior. These guys are awesome, and they're a ball to hang out with. This 22-year-old dude is entertaining as hell. He thinks he can beat me in a drinking contest. I'm hoping that he realizes it's a bad idea and backs out.