Before I get started with this post, obviously the first thing that needs to be addressed is the long hiatus the website has taken. I’m not going to give away the ending just yet; suffice to say that between chaos back home in Texas, various injuries, illness, pitfalls, and crises, all mixed in with an unexpected change of plans, working on this has had to be placed on the back burner. Jon and I are still alive however, and we thank everyone wholeheartedly who expressed concern over our disappearance.
The morning we left Glenwood Springs was another one of those where we got off to an unexpectedly late start. Riding in the storm the day before had left us with soaked and muddy clothing which was certainly the first thing to attend to. We also decided that on the way out of town it would be a good idea to stop and clean off our bikes again, so we decided to hit up a cool looking shop called the Gear Exchange for some bike TLC.
This shop is definitely one of my favorites- the vibe is great, they have an awesome eclectic selection of merchandise, and the employees were all really friendly and fun to talk to. We chatted about the scene in Glenwood and somewhere during the conversation it was brought up that Koichi Yamaguchi and his school were located just down the road in Rifle, an leisurely 27 miles away. Since we were already farther behind schedule than we had intended for the day (it was almost noon by the time we left town), we decided that we might as well just stop in Rifle for the night and see if it would be possible to meet him and see the school.
We finally left Glenwood and headed off to the west. There were some nice rolling hills as we made our way through New Castle and Silt into Rifle, and the overall descent made the few hours of riding we did a breeze. The landscape was slowly growing hotter and more arid as we made our way across the Western Slope, preparing us for what we would experience in Utah. Despite the bias I had developed towards the lush coolness of the mountains, the area we were crossing now was not without its own beauty, many parts of it reminiscent of the terrain we had seen passing from Texas into New Mexico.
We arrived in town that afternoon and set off looking for Yamaguchi’s school. We asked a couple of people for directions but no one seemed to know exactly where we needed to go. We rode around the neighborhood that everyone indicated; we didn’t find the school but we did find a random hill at a 20% grade that lasted for about 7-8 blocks, sloping down towards the main street. Of course, we decided to try it out- it was a ton of fun.
As riding around the neighborhood didn’t seem to be helping us find Yamaguchi, we finally decided just to call and ask where the school was located. Unfortunately, we were told (very politely) that they are not so keen on having visitors, which was disappointing to hear. There wasn’t anything to be done about it though so we decided that we might as well just find a spot to hang out and figure out where to camp for the night. We grabbed a couple of happy hour drinks and listened to a gaggle of ladies enjoying some Friday afternoon refreshments while we sat and talked about what the next few days were going to bring. As the sun started setting we made our way out to the edge of town in search of a soft, quiet spot to sleep for the night. It was still early enough that the parks were all off limits, but we finally found a ridge at the back of a park under a weeping willow, quiet and peaceful. I was definitely in the mood to turn in early and relax while watching the stars. We did just that, and drifted off to sleep for the night.