Brrrrrrr. Another cold morning. Instead of my tent being wet this morning it was frozen. When I opened up the door little snowflakes fell down on me instead of raindrops.
Packed up, made breakfast and started climbing. Up I went until I got to where the sun was and it felt so nice to start to feel warm. Pretty soon I was hot so had to stop and take off my layers.
This was a pretty good day to not have brakes as I was either climbing or I was on the snow mesa which was flat but too bumpy to ride. Therefore I walked most of the 10 miles from camp to the highway.
Saw these cowboys and horses along the way...
Along the way I did try to ride a bit and had my biggest fall of the trip so far. I was riding in a deep rut and my pedal hit the side and I went flying off superman style. Did a roll and came to a stop. Laid there for a bit, caught my breath and slowly examined myself. Just a little bit of blood on my elbow and knees. Got up and my right knee was sore but not to bad so kept going. FYI the reason I had a pedal strike is cause I had the longer cranks on due to having no brakes.
Finally made it to the road where I stopped to hitchhike into town where hopefully there would be a bike shop to fix my brakes. Surprisingly it only took about 15 minutes for a nice guy to stop at mile 357.4.
When he got out I noticed he only had one leg. Thought it was funny that a guy with one leg was helping out a guy with one wheel. Along the way I asked how it happened and it was due to an avalanche accident awhile ago when he was a ski patrol.
His name was Cliff and he lived nearby. It was like a 20 minute drive into Lake City and we had nice conversation the whole way. He didn't know if there was a bike shop so I told him to just drop me off at the camping store and I would figure it out.
Inside the store I asked the gentleman working where I might find brake pads. He said my only luck would be one guy in town named John who had a small bike shop at his house. He gave me his number and I went across the street to the pay phone to call him.
The pay phone didn't work so I went to another store that had a free WiFi sign. Used Skype to call as my phone didn't have service. All I got was voicemail so left a message. As I was leaving a nice lady working at the salon named Bear started chatting with me.
I told her I was trying to fix my unicycle and she told me about John. I said I couldn't get a hold of him so she said she would try as she had his cell phone number. Sure enough he answered as he was out for lunch.
I talked to him and asked him if he had brake pads. He said maybe but no guarantees. I would meet him at his shop at 3pm. It was about a mile away and I had an hour to spare so I started riding thru town.
Decided to stop at the bank to get some cash out but when I looked at my balance it was practically down to zero. An automatic payment had came out for a storage unit I have in Australia for $150 along with a few other automatic payments. The only other card I had on me was my Canadian bank account where all of my money is in but my card wouldn't work back in Salida and wouldn't work here either. I had $16 cash on me and that was it. Fuck.
Decided to ask my brother in law and my friend Woody to see if they could squarecash me money ASAP. I was now running late so decided to head to the bike shop.
Found it and met John. He was probably the nicest guy I've met on the trip. So happy and cheerful. Unfortunately he didn't have the pads I needed but he had some old pads that he might be able to cut and modify to make work.
He spent well over an hour working on them and eventually they fit and worked. The brakes weren't 100% perfect stopping power but should be good enough as a drag brake and should get me to Silverton in two days where hopefully I could find new ones.
I asked him how much I owed and he said nothing. What?! He just spent his time working hard to help me and he wanted nothing. Wow. What a nice guy. I had to give him something. I pulled out my wallet and said I can pay with my card or I have $16 cash. He said just give me ten and call it good. I gave him $16 and said I wished I had more to give. I'll probably be sending him a thank you card with a gift card when I finish. If you are ever in Lake City and need a bike shop I strongly advise meeting John and checking out his cool little shop. It's called Lake City Bicycles and his number is (970) 944-0405.
Said goodbye and headed back to the bank. Luckily my bro in law and friend came thru and I now had $300 in my account. Thanks guys. You are lifesavers. Time to celebrate and get some food.
Decided to go to the Packer Saloon. They had free WiFi, beer and food. Everything I needed. While there I started talking to the beautiful couple at the next table. They were from Seattle and worked at Boeing. They were curious about my trip so we talked for awhile about it.
To my surprise when they got their bill they told the lady to put mine on theirs and paid for my burger and beer. What genuinely nice people. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it and promise to pay it forward.
Now it was time to decide if I should try and hitchhike back to the trail or spend the night. The beautiful waitress told me about the hostel in town and how they sometimes shuttle people to the CT for free so I decided to go there and ask.
Once there I met Lucky the owner. He was super chill and showed me around. He didn't shuttle people anymore as it was off season but gave me a number to someone that might be able to shuttle me. Called him but he couldn't do it either.
Loved the sign at the hostel. How cool is this? Based on the honor system. Wish more of the world be like this.
Decided to stay the night as it was only $25 and all the other people at the hostel were hikers and very friendly. Took a shower, set up my bed and went back to the bar for a nightcap.
Small town USA.
At the bar I sat next to the guy who worked at the camping store. Talked to him for awhile and when he left I decided to buy his beer for him for helping me out today. Plus I wanted to pay it forward for the couple that had bought me dinner.
John, one of the hikers staying at the hostel came in so we sat around the bar drinking and telling stories. Good times for sure. Such a nice guy with lots of cool stories. I could totally see us being friends if we lived near each other. He was also hiking the CT and has a blog. Check it out here: www.bumblingabout.com
Towards the end I asked Hannah, the waitress, if she wanted to make $20 by waking up early to drop me off at the trail. She said she wasn't an early morning person but that we could use her car. What?! Are you telling me she was willing to give two strangers she had only known for an hour the keys to her car?! Yup. That's exactly what she did. Wow. Three fireball shots for all of us on me.
Turns out that John was taking another day off so he could drive me to the CT in her car the next morning. Weird how things just work out sometimes. I wasn't planning on stopping in Lake City but I'm so glad I did. It's a beautiful place and I will be coming back someday in the future for a holiday getaway. One of the highlights on my trip for sure. And so unplanned and unexpected. Plus it restored my faith in humankind. I had so many nice people help me out...the one legged guy, the camp store worker, the salon lady, John the bike shop owner, my brother in law Mark and friend Woody, the Seattle couple, Lucky, Hannah the bartender and John the hiker. Thanks a million. I have some pay it forwarding to do now.