Posted by: rustymccain | June 23, 2011

Conquering Lizard Head

Welcome to Colorado! It continues to amaze me each day I wake up and go outside. We woke up in Dolores, Colorado, which lies right at the foot of the Rockies. It is a pretty little town. Last night, we sat by the Dolores River and had dinner. The cottonwood trees were doing whatever they do to release their seeds, and it looked like snow in the middle of summer. I don’t think the locals like it, but it was really interesting and pretty to see.

Dolores River, CO

Today, we were blessed again with perfect weather. Our ride was to take us to Telluride, a ride of 65 miles. We had a 50 mile climb up to Lizard Head Pass, so we both looked through our bags for our Big Boy pants. Neither of us found any. We stopped at a store and had our morning coffee, then headed up the road.

My amazement today was for this reason. It seems like God decided that Utah should be colored in Brown with a good bit on green thrown in on occasion. As soon as we left Dolores, it was like he turned on a switch and said, “I think I’ll make this part green.” As we rode, we couldn’t believe that the hillsides and valleys were so verdant and alive. The climb that we had feared was, in reality, a bit docile. There were no steep pitches and the riding was absolutely perfect for seeing all the beauty around us. We even spotted an elk on the way up.

We reached the town of Rico at about 38 miles and 9,000 feet. There we got some coffee and Clif bars, my meal of choice lately. As we were there, Phil pulled up again so we were able to visit with him under a brilliant sky and perfect temperatures.

New Friends in Rico!

While we were in Rico, we met the nicest people. We knew Charlie had to be O.K. He was wearing an Alabama cap. We had a great conversation with him and Cindy. We found out that they did several things, including running the Circle K ranch in Dolores. We had passed it earlier in the morning and both took note of it. If you ever want to experience the rugged, real outdoor part of Colorado, I would check into the Circle K. With people as nice as they are, it would have to be a great experience for you.

We left Rico and headed to Lizard Head Pass. Due to the gentleness of the slope, we enjoyed our first taste of the Rockies and crossed the Pass at about 10,300 feet. We then headed into Telluride and ran afoul of the law. We got stopped for riding on the road instead of the bike path. Don’t know if that qualifies us for Hell’s Angels, but apparently we are pretty bad boys. No night in jail though, our plea of ignorance was accepted.

View from Hotel in Telluride

Telluride is in a beautiful canyon and is a great place to stay. We had a great day and a great ride. We are now at 1,301 miles, so we are about 1/3 of the way to the Atlantic! Our wonderful spousal units, Mary Ann and Gail, will arrive tomorrow and for the next five days we will have their companionship and a sag wagon. That will be fun and will give us a big boost!

Thanks again to everyone who is reading and making comments. We are honored that we have people interested and pulling for us to actually make it to Virginia.


  1. Interested and pulling for you? My day does not start until I check your blog and make sure you have survived another day! And did I mention how freakin’ jealous I am???? I am hopeful of meeting you in Kentucky, however, that would require me getting on my bike and riding some….so perhaps I would best serve you as a SAG through horse country. Regardless, I could not be more in awe and inspired for what you and Ray are doing.

  2. I love your blog Rusty! It’s fantastic, and I feel like I get to have a convo with you every day! Hopefully I’ll see you in Pueblo unless baby girl Brewer decides to come around that time 🙂

  3. Hey Rusty, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. We are cheering for you all in Nashville. Enjoy the “spousal sag wagon”. I understand Mary Ann is now experienced at changing flats. 🙂

  4. Your writing is awesome and I’m so enjoying your adventure. I’m excited things are going so well for you and Ray and I look forward to each update. Great job and thanks so much for sharing it!!

  5. I love reading about your adventure and your positive attitude. Keep it up and hi to Ray and the girls!

  6. We are so proud of you. We are routing for you here at MNPS-Applications Training Dept.!!!. Now that your spouses will be joining you, don’t let them tire you out. LOL

  7. Rusty & Ray, You both ROCK! It’s amazing what you’re doing. What an inspiration to all of us back here in Nashville. “Keep pedaling, you just never know where it will take you”.

  8. Rusty, I’ve just started reading your blog today…your unique comments ie., your conversations with your butt and legs are hilarious. When did you Mr. Apple-A-Day health nut become a junk food (really 12 Snickers!) junkie?

    I ‘ve enjoyed the beautiful pictures and encouraged by the wonderful people you’ve met along the way. I’ll be praying for you and Ray (poor Ray…having to wait on you :)) Do you enjoy riding watching his back far, far ahead of you? Okay, I’ll quit picking on you. You guys are inspiring to all us old folks! Keep those insightful, funny updates coming and stay SAFE.

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