Another trip to Colorado 

Date:

7/19/2002 5:29:37 AM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

This will be a short note. I want to hit the road as soon as the sun comes up.

I'm headed to Colorado. I left Iowa City at 10:00 AM yesterday after a nice breakfast with Florence and Kandie and watching Lance Armstrong win the yellow jersey by taking the lead in the Tour de France.

I rode 90 hard miles to Newton, IA arriving here in the late afternoon heat. It was 96 degrees. Today I want to beat some of the heat by riding 75-80 miles before noon. Then I will pause in Guthrie Center and pick a destination for the night. I would like to push on to Harlan but considering the heat and other factors I am likely to head down to Adair. I'll decide as I go.

I am using my camelback and drinking lots of water and Gatorade as I go.

I have no absolute plan. I just want to get to the mountains.

John

 

Subj:

Elk Horn, Iowa 

Date:

7/19/2002 5:21:24 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

Tonight I am settled in the small town of Elk Horn, Iowa. It is a town established by Danish Immigrants who settled here about 1850. They have a huge windmill outside my window that was brought here from Denmark in 1976 at the expense of $100,000. They have some Danish shops and restaurants and would like you to come for a visit.

Getting here was hard. I left Newton at 6:15 and rode 116 miles through some rain, which I enjoyed, and over some awful hills, which I didn't enjoy. I had about 5,000 feet of climb and it felt like more.

I left the Super 8 in Newton with only a small sweet roll to fuel me. Then I rode a ziz-zag course through Mitchellville, Altoona, Des Mines and Johnston before I stopped for breakfast at the 43-mile mark. I was wet from rain and sweat and took a good break at a nice McDonalds and visited with a few of their regular coffee-drinking customers.

About 9:45 I headed out west on Iowa Highway #44 through Dallas Center, Panora, Guthrie Center and Kimballtown before I finally dropped down 3 miles to Elk Horn. I was exhausted at the 73-mile mark in Panora and rested on a picnic table there. I should have eaten more but I headed on and by the time I reached an unincorporated town called Hamlin at the 102-mile mark I had to lay in the shade to rest. The next 10 miles to Kimballtown were excruciating because of the need for food, the awful hills, the heat in the mid 90's and the hard wind. I found a nice tavern called "Arnold's" in Kimballtown and the folks there took me in with a modicum of sympathy and a lot of just plain head shaking. I had a couple cokes and a candy bar and more importantly a real nice visit with everyone in the place.

The owner is the mother of one of the University of Iowa woman assistant basketball coaches and had a large display of trophies won by her daughter as well as lots of memorabilia from the Hawkeyes and Drake. She demanded that I attend some of the women's games this winter.

After this wonderful break I struggled over several more steep hills and made my way down to Elk Horn to a great AmericInn motel. These AmericInns are nicer than the Super 8's and seem to be competing in the same small town market as well as the larger communities. I didn't have hot water for a shower but that was no fuss at all. I was so filthy and hot from all the road grime and sweat that it just didn't matter. Tonight the clothes are in the guest laundry getting a more professional cleaning. My socks were pretty pitiful looking and my shoes are soaked.

I have ignored the temptation to just collapse on the bed. I take care of business first and that means making sure that body and gear are in proper order for the next day. I don't know what to do about the filthy bike. I have lubed the chain but may just ride it as is until I see a car wash tomorrow. The bad thing about the dirt is that it causes problems with my shifting and for about a third of the day I couldn't get up on my big front sprocket. I'd rather lose the big one than the others, especially on these hills.

I'm heading out for a sit down meal at the Danish restaurant. Then I will start planning for tomorrow. Right now I am inclined to just head into the Omaha-Council Bluffs area where I know I can find a motel on Saturday night. I'll be checking my list and making some calls.

Just west of Guthrie Center I passed over our small Missouri-Mississippi divide. They marked it with a sign. Now all the waterways drain west to the Missouri.

All in all the day went according to plan. I am about 60 miles from the Missouri River. I just need to remember to drink more Gatorade and eat a bit more as I go. Right now my calf muscles are still quivering. I'll hit a small grocery store for some bananas.

Early to bed for me. Hope everyone is well.

John

 

Subj:

Minden, Iowa and the heat 

Date:

7/20/2002 4:00:42 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

Today I pulled up early in Minden, IA. I made the mistake of leaving Elk Horn at 7:50 AM, too late considering the heat. I rode 35 up and down miles and never felt good, never got into a rhythm. When I hit this tiny town at 11:00 I found a little motel, a cafe, and a small grocery store. It was almost 100 degrees and I had no qualms about stopping for refueling and rest.

I had a nice lunch and now I'm reading that novel I brought while I try to eat all the bananas I can stomach. Unfortunately, the novel is one I read several years ago. I may re-read it anyway.

Tomorrow will be a bit cooler but not much. I will head out as soon as the sun comes up and go through Council Bluffs and Omaha while the traffic is light. I may end up in Wahoo but I'm not married to any plan right now.

Thanks for listening. I'll stay in touch.

John

 

Subj:

Wahoo, NE 

Date:

7/21/2002 12:13:31 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

I'm Safely in Wahoo, NE parked in a nice Super 8 that is just 5 years old. I got up at 4:00 and left Minden in the dark at 5:30. It still ended up being a hard, hot 70-mile ride. It was further than I expected.

But the plan worked well. I made about 10 miles before the sun came up and I rode right through all of Council Bluffs and Omaha on Highway 6. I started this ride on Highway 6 in Iowa City and ended back there for much of the day.

I had just a couple bananas and a fruit bar for breakfast in the room so I stopped for a second breakfast at a McDonalds in Omaha. It was the kind of place where I watch my bicycle a bit more carefully.

I expected to get to Wahoo easy and feeling great but the heat hit pretty hard after 9:00 and I just drug myself in at 11:00. I feel fine after cooling down but it is real miserable on the road. It hit 90 degrees by 10:30 and they predict 102 degrees by mid afternoon.

The good news is that all of us will have some cooler temperatures on Monday and Tuesday. The Canadian front is coming in from the northwest. I hope the wind is from the north.

I'm sick of all the hills as well as the heat. Tomorrow I have some hills to go over and then I will be on pretty flat terrain all the way to the Rockies I will head to Grand Island but may pull up in Central City if conditions are real rugged..

They need rain here. The crops look good but they are irrigating regularly.

Now it's time for rest, reading and a visit.

John

 

Subj:

A great ride to Grand Island 

Date:

7/22/2002 6:05:41 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

I feel great this evening. Today I rode 102 miles to Grand Island and it was the easiest day of this trip. Lower temperatures, lower humidity and a flatter ride made all the difference.

I got up at 5:00 and left Wahoo in a light rain at 6:30. My first breakfast was just a banana and two donuts. Then I rode 50 miles without a stop to Osceola, a small county seat town. There I found a nice cafe and ate two breakfasts because I was starved.

Leaving Wahoo I crossed about 20 miles of hilly country and the overall elevation increased 400'. Then I entered a high plains flat area for 50 miles over to the Platte River Valley.

This is pure farm country, almost all corn and beans, but it appears that the fields need irrigation. A woman here in Grand Island said that they usually get 20 inches of rain by this time of the year but this year have gotten only 6 inches. From here on I will see more and more drought. It is the major topic of conversation.

The road was pretty good today. I was able to average 17 mph and I arrived here feeling so good I was ambivalent about stopping.

Tomorrow I am supposed to have another great riding day. I will have a flat course along the Platte and it will be cool. I may also have a nice tailwind. I will go to Gothenburg or beyond.

I'm thinking about putting some money in my stock funds. The market is in a crazy state. Does anyone else think this is wise?

Take care.

John

 

Subj:

North Platte, NE 

Date:

7/23/2002 6:28:14 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   


Western Nebraska is in an awful drought. Here in North Platte they have had only .13 inches of rain all month. It is dry, dry, dry.

Anyway, I did a long ride today and went 142 miles to this town. The road is flat and the wind was neutral most of the day and in my favor part of the day so I just didn't want to stop. The temperature topped out at about 94 degrees but because I have now left the humidity behind me, it feels okay.

Still, I'm tired. I moved fast and averaged 18.5 mph and made only a couple longer stops. I had breakfast in Kearney and no other food till now.

Tomorrow it will be another 100-degree day in this area with a strong south wind so I intend to take a shorter ride. Where I will end up depends on whimsy but my guess is the Julesburg, Colorado area. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm well and feeling strong. I will be sensible and I will stay in touch.

John

 

Subj:

Julesburg, Colorado 

Date:

7/24/2002 5:46:04 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

I'm happily settled in the Platte Valley Inn near Julesburg, Colorado. It is located on Interstate 76 next to the Colorado Welcome center, which I just visited. The man and woman working there were friendly and helpful. They sent me back to the motel with fresh maps, one designed for cyclists and lots of other reading material.

In the small town of Brule, some 25 miles back I stopped for a coke and some ice cream in a cafe where everyone looked a little rough around the edges but we all must look and feel that way in this 100-degree heat. There the proprietor sat in the back and visited with everyone who came in, including me. So I got his recommendation for a good motel in this high desert area and he sent me here. It was a fine choice.

Anyway I count this day as a successful one. I went to the Super Wal-Mart and bought a little radio before leaving North Platte at 7:30 this morning. I was able to listen to NPR for a long time but even too much of that gets depressing with all the negative news.

I rode 34 miles to the small town of Paxton where I had my breakfast meal in a great restaurant. The town had only 500 residents but the restaurant was well cared for. It must serve a large rural region.

As I left Paxton and continued west on US 30 I caught up with a cyclist named Ward Anderson from Jamestown, NY. He is 56 and headed out to California right now taking a route that will take him through Death Valley, just for the challenge of doing it in the heat of the summer.

Ward and I rode together for 20 miles to Ogallala. He is a Vietnam vet and a 20-year Air Force pilot. After retiring from the Air Force he spent a year as a long haul truck driver just for the hell of it and then took a pilot's job with Continental. He was flying their ATR's on small commuter routes in the US and then moved up to their smaller jets. (He had applied for a job with Cathay Pacific but didn't get it. Our Aussie acquaintance flew for Cathay Pacific.)

Ward is camping along the way and rides about 50 miles per day. His pace was too slow for me so I had a nice visit at a convenience store in Ogallala and gave him my card. He gave me a phone number to call his pager where one can get a recorded message from him describing his progress. We will be staying in touch.

I rode 90 miles to this motel and crossed into Mountain Time before hitting the Colorado border. It was 104 degrees as I approached Julesburg but I really didn't feel that hot. It is so dry here that higher temperature is no trouble for me.

I'm hungry as I wait for the restaurant to open at 5:00 and my legs feel a little weak when I ride out to the visitor center and convenience store. Otherwise I feel fantastic.

Oh yes, it helps to see the stock market jump up again. We need some positive news and lots of positive thoughts.

I think the wind is turning towards the north and that could give me a very pleasant ride tomorrow. In fact I may stay right on Interstate 76 and ride it down to Brush, Ft. Morgan or Wiggins. That will set me up well for a ride over to Ft. Collins on Friday.

Take care.

John

Subj:

Fort Morgan, CO 

Date:

7/25/2002 5:40:27 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

Today was an average sort of riding day for me. I rode 113 miles to a point that is about 5 miles west of Fort Morgan. I left Julesburg at 6:45 and tried riding the shoulder of Interstate 76 but soon figured out that was a mistake so I backtracked to Highway 138 and rode it and Highway 6 most of the day until I finished the last 15 miles back on I-76.

The roads follow the South Platte River to Denver so the route is generally flat and the roads are sometimes very quiet and sometimes very rough. They continue to try farming this desolate land but nothing is green unless it is being irrigated. It continues to be oh so dry. Fort Morgan has had just one hundredth of an inch of rain this month. I think tourism is down throughout the state because the reservoirs are low and forest fires are a major concern.

I knew that there were few services available along this route so I had a big breakfast at the truck stop before leaving this morning and then rode 97 miles to Brush before eating again. It's so hot that I really don't feel like eating but at times my muscles tell me that they need some nourishment. My thermometer hit 105 degrees at about 2:00 this afternoon but the hot roadway might have influenced that temp. I felt hot but not too uncomfortable.

Tomorrow I will take it easy and just mosey on over to the Loveland-Fort Collins area or maybe somewhere else. I'll just decide as the day starts. I think I will wait till Sunday to go into the mountains. That way the weekend visitors will be leaving as I go in.

Best wishes,

John

Subj:

A Nice Day in Loveland 

Date:

7/26/2002 5:30:13 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

I'm sitting outside my nice motel room at the Jade Inn on the west side of Loveland, Colorado. I have a nice cold beer and even better, a small box of juicy strawberries. Then even better, I can view the Rockies if I step around the corner a bit.

Today I left my motel at 7:45 and had an excellent ride west for about 73 miles. Highway 34 is the route. It is the same road that passes through places like Burlington, Fairfield and Red Oak, IA. It is well equipped to handle cyclists here but after getting to Greeley the traffic load really got heavy. These communities are growing like gangbusters and it seems like Greeley will keep growing west all the way over to Interstate 25.

The friendly people in the Loveland Visitor Center steered me to this nice little motel. I took a room for two nights and will rest here while running up to Fort Collins tomorrow for a little tour of some property there. Other friendly folks confirmed that my plan to stay here until Sunday was wise. The traffic on Highway 34 heading into the mountains is very brutal on Fridays and Saturdays.

About 12 miles east of Greeley I passed by one of the largest feedlot operations that I have ever seen. ConAgra owned it and I guess they are very big in the beef business here. The cattle looked happy but I wonder why they don't locate a meatpacking plant right next door so they can haul the finished product off to distribution centers and eliminate one expensive transportation charge. Maybe that would be bad for the morale of the "internees."

A more enjoyable sight came about 8 miles from Greeley. I rode right past a prairie dog city next to the highway. They had holes all over the place and as I rode by they screeched their warnings to each other and scurried into their homes. I was wondering why they didn't hide from the cars and trucks that passed by.

I feel incredibly healthy and hope to keep with the program. I intend to ride some shorter distances in the mountains while enjoying the new environment. There has been a forest fire near Estes Park. I will try to find it and think about visiting the area if it seems sensible.

Now I will just read and relax.

Take care.

John

Subj:

Estes Park, CO 

Date:

7/28/2002 7:23:52 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

Hello Friends and Family,

It is a glorious day here in Estes Park. There was just a tiny sprinkle of rain about noon but now it is about 80 degrees and sunny. The dry mountain air feels good.

Yesterday I was in Loveland and took a scenic ride up to Fort Collins and back. I went north on a county road that had as many bicycles on it as cars. It went by the Horsetooth Reservoir on the way into Fort Collins. The reservoir is practically empty and I took some photos. I figured the low water level was the result of the drought but a couple cyclists that I met explained that it was being emptied while they work on a five-year dam improvement project. The two cyclists are apartment operators in Fort Collins so we commiserated about the vacancy rates. Fort Collins has a 13% vacancy rate. I read in the Denver paper that there is a 10% vacancy rate there. Iowa City will soon be faced with a higher than ever vacancy rate but it will probably be more like 5%. We'll see.

Colorado roads almost always have some room for cyclists but the main roads are very, very busy. I rode back up to Loveland on the main highway and went to the outlet mall to buy a pair of running shoes. I found a nice pair and will now tote them over the mountain passes. I just want them around for some hiking, walking and maybe a little running. I spoke with a man at the visitors’ center who had been on Interstate 25 going from Denver to Loveland for 3 and 1/2 hours. They were having an air show at the Loveland-Fort Collins Airport and the fair was in town but I really don't know why traffic on the Interstate was at a virtual crawl in the northbound lane. It made me happy to be traveling by bike.

Yesterday's ride was 42 miles. Today I did 35 miles up and around Estes Park. My legs feel a bit weak on the climbs and I haven't been eating a lot so tonight I intend to have a pretty heavy meal to prepare for my trip through Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road.

It was a lovely ride through Big Thompson Canyon up to Drake this morning and then I took a county road up to a little settlement called Glen Haven and then on into Estes Park. The whole ride was very scenic and I even took time to stop for some pictures.

I left Loveland without breakfast so I stopped at the 20-mile mark at a picnic table and ate one of my energy bars. Then when I got into Glen Haven I started to ride right through but as I passed the General Store I smelled cinnamon rolls and decided that I had no reason to hurry on. I turned around and had a great roll and cup of coffee.

I made it to Estes by 10:30 so after riding through the downtown area I settled in a chair by the river behind the Starbucks and read the Sunday paper while enjoying a large cup of their daily brew. Then I had a lunch at McDonalds and headed to my motel room, which was available for check-in.

I've been to the grocery store for Gatorade, yogurt and bananas and now I'm doing my laundry in a real washing machine with real laundry detergent. I am getting to feel a little dingy and I'm hoping my pre-soaking will help revive my jersey and socks.

The first thing I checked this morning was the news about the 9 miners. I knew that they were going to be found dead or alive during the night and I was very, very glad to see the good news about their fate. We can use a real good run of good news for a change. It would give everyone a more positive outlook.

Well, I will turn in early and plan to have a good breakfast before leaving town in the morning but I do want to be headed up by 6:30. It is a long 5000-foot climb up Trail Ridge Road. I think I will stop in Grand Lake or Granby tomorrow. Grand Lake is the more scenic stop. Granby is the "pits." But I'm going without a room reservation so I may end up most anywhere.

I hope all are well.

John

 

Subj:

Estes Park- Grand Lake-Winter Park 

Date:

7/30/2002 3:58:24 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

It is a cheery summer day in the mountains at Winter Park. The sky is blue, the sunshine is bright and the temperatures at this 9,000' elevation are in the upper 70's right now.

Winter Park has continued to grow and improve itself over the last 15 years. It has good streets, sidewalks and bike paths and the citizens take pride in landscaping. Flowers and shrubs mixed with the natural mountain backdrop of pine trees make this a pleasing town to enter.

Yesterday I made it to Grand Lake about noon after a hard 50-mile ride from Estes Park over the Trail Ridge Road. I began the ride at an elevation of about 7,500' and had a long climb to 12,180', the high point on the road. I didn't really rest on the way up. I just took three short "pause" breaks and I reached the top about 10:30 AM. After a short break at the Alpine Visitor's Center I headed down the steep grade to Grand Lake.

During the climb up I remember feeling disappointed in my progress but as I look back I am a bit more satisfied. I wish I were a stronger climber but that has never been one of my better attributes. I'm too heavy and even my light load seems like quite a burden on the steep inclines.

The day was just perfect, sunny and cooler as I climbed higher. It was about 50 degrees at the top. The wind was light and that was a pleasant surprise because winds up there can be pretty threatening to a cyclist.

I met only one cyclist on the way up. He was a college professor on sabbatical. He lived in Boulder but had been teaching in Germany. He was lightly loaded with just one water bottle and was a strong rider. He was riding over to Grand Lake and back in the same day so he hurried on ahead of me. I did meet him again on the way back. He was leaving Grand Lake as I was just arriving there.

During my pauses I did take some photos but they don't do justice to the real thing. I just used the picture taking as justification to have a rest.

Traffic was very livable. On the way up I was never bothered. On the way down it was a bit more tenuous because I am "plunging" down a steep road at 35-40 mph and there isn't much room for impatient drivers who can't wait to pass a bicycle whether they really need to or not.

I made it to Grand Lake by noon and was pooped so I took a nice motel room, showered and then had a fine lunch in a downtown restaurant. Grand Lake looked busy and prosperous but I know that the prosperity is short lived. I have been there in the off-season and seen it in a much more dismal state.

This morning I just wanted to do a short 35-mile to Winter Park. I didn't want to tackle Berthoud Pass until tomorrow. So, I slept in and left Grand Lake about 10:00 AM and got into Winter Park just after noon. It was a much easier, relaxing ride and I felt fairly strong. I have now gone over the 1000-mile mark for the trip.

Now, after a nice lunch I am just walking around a bit and stopping to read my book here and there when I find a comfortable seat. It is perfect weather to be outside.

Tomorrow I will probably do another short ride that will take me over Berthoud Pass at an elevation of 11,315' and then on into Idaho Springs for the night. I might go elsewhere but I will wait to see how I feel. I expect the weather to be much the same as it has been these past 3 days.

It appears that the Midwest will suffer with some heat and humidity for a few days. For those of you there I hope you can bear with it. For Frank and Maxine who are venturing to the northwest, I anticipate fine weather and many remarkable sights.

Best wishes,

John

Subj:

Re: Cheyenne 

Date:

7/31/2002 3:28:07 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   
   

Hello Ward,

I'm very glad to hear from you. The bad rim sounded pretty worrisome to me when I listened to your message.

Yes, do get as much weight as possible on your front wheel. When I was riding with you I had a number of thoughts-advice but I didn't want to intrude at the time. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had just mentioned these few things: Move as much weight as possible up front and even consider buying front panniers. The experts say the bike should be loaded more in the front and as low as possible. Wearing cycling gloves would help cushion your palms and avoid the numbness. I always carry extra spokes when I travel as well as the nut things. The spokes for front and rear are different and the rear wheel may have two different sizes of its own.

I don't know what you are using for tubes and tires but get the best touring tire you can get and use heavy-duty tubes. I have learned that the hard way but now I have about 2,500 miles since my last flat. I also believe that keeping the tires highly inflated reduces some flats, especially "pinch" flats. I weigh almost 200 pounds so it is real important to me to have good wheels, tires and tubes.

I hope you are using lots of sunscreen. You are getting lots of exposure. I also wish you wore some protective sunglasses. You need eye protection from rocks and large bugs and you need UV protection. You don't want to have your sight damaged. Small rocks in the eyeglasses have hit me twice in my career. I'm sure I would have had serious trouble without the good glasses.

Enough for my meddlesome advice. I was real glad to meet you and want to stay in touch. Maybe I'll find you on your return and ride with you some. Who knows?

I'm glad you hit the same Brule cafe. Was the heavyset owner sitting in the back visiting with lots of folks?

After Julesburg and Fort Morgan I went to Loveland, Colorado where I stayed two days. I wanted to do a quick side tour to Fort Collins and I needed to wait for the weekenders to leave Estes Park.

On Sunday I did a scenic 35-mile ride to Estes Park. On Monday I did 5,000 feet of climbing as I went through Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake on Trail Ridge Road. It was a 50-mile ride that took me up to 12,200'. Then on Tuesday I did a leisurely 35-mile ride to Winter Park, a ski resort town. Today, Wednesday, I rode 40 miles over Berthoud Pass to Idaho Springs. The climb was 2,500' to an elevation of 11,300'.

Tomorrow I will climb Squaw Pass as I inch my way to southeast Denver. I plan to arrive in Denver on Friday and that will end my riding for now.

I'm enjoying the more relaxed pace. When I get good cell phone coverage i will be checking your pager again. I have the number in my phonebook.

Please stay in touch and continue the great adventure. I wish I were doing the same.

John

Subj:

Fwd: Cheyenne 

Date:

7/31/2002 3:28:09 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

I think you might enjoy reading the note that Ward Anderson just sent me from Cheyenne. He is the fellow cyclist I met in Nebraska.
-----------------
Forwarded Message:

Subj:

Cheyenne 

Date:

7/31/2002 11:36:04 AM Central Standard Time

From:

namcavalry@yahoo.com

john....am here at fe warren afb in cheyenne....got in last sunday, limping in on the bike.....i am picking up my "new"back rim and $33.00 tire today and leaving out of here friday or sat......thanks for the page, john.....am interested in your spin on the colorado rockies, ie, difficulty etc.......i am emailing from the afb inn lounge here on base.....i at first told the shop to "true" up the back, but thought the best thing to do was get a new rim....they had to get it out of denver, so it should be in today....i'll probably go over and get it tomorrow.....tip......route 30 john from the 138 split into colorado is really neat toward wyoming......it does not have a shoulder, but there is not traffic either.....really neat ride....neat quaint old deserted towns.....i had breakfast in the same brule, neb cafe "huskie cafe" or "max's" something like that where you had eaten the day or two before..........

i am really psyched about getting to the ocean via now i think thru salt lake city, las vegas, death valley and then the ocean...i am still very much considering a southern return to the east coast......time will tell on that.....

i bought a handle bar bag  and am going to transfer some of the weight up front...tools and stuff......odds and ends......fingers still a bit numb.....i hope that clears up soon.....

dodged a couple storms out here, but all in all have been very fortunate and lucky to be in the right place at the right time.....sleeping out is a gasser.....have slept under the 80 overpass and that was neat because the constant stream of cars and trucks put me to sleep and i slept like a baby....in dix i slept in the village park and woke up to some 18 year old school quitter wanting to sell me crack....he said he had something that would "kick start" me into wyoming.......geez, enough already......i also spent a couple hours once under a tractor in the field to get out of the storms.....anyway, you know the routine out here.......john, good luck.......let's stay i touch......

ward

Subj:

Denver, end of trip 

Date:

8/1/2002 8:58:48 PM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

   

Hello friends,

I am now in Denver, actually some suburban part of this metropolitan area to the southeast.

Yesterday I had a fine ride over Berthoud Pass from Winter Park to Idaho Springs. It was just a 40-mile ride but I began at 8,700 feet and had to climb up to 11,300 feet to get over the pass. I was determined to do the climb with no pauses or stops and I was able to do that with no problem.

Last night I took a nice room on the Fall River in Idaho Springs and listened to the water run over the boulders in the river as I finished my novel. The book was predictable. I think I could write one just as well.

This morning I took my time leaving Idaho Springs. I could have taken a fairly easy route into the Denver area but I stuck with the plan of riding Colorado 103 which took me from the 7,500 foot elevation at Idaho Springs up over 11,000 feet as I made my way to Bergen Park, Evergreen, and eventually, this nice Wyndham Hotel in SE Denver. It was an 81-mile ride with almost 6,000 feet of climbing throughout the day so it was a good, hearty way to end the trip. Hell, I'm pretty pooped.

Tomorrow I will make some business calls and then go for a run with Aimee who is getting ready for her Triathlon on Sunday. I'm just going to enjoy myself. However, I do hope to see if my new running shoes can actually "run."

The trip has gone well. I have gotten stronger as the days have gone by. I have been able to cover some new ground. I have pretty well stuck to the plan. I have probably lost a few significant pounds that I wanted to shed.

I'm well and I hope all of you are well too.

John

 

Subj:

(no subject) 

Date:

8/2/2002 10:56:13 AM Central Standard Time

From:

John Cruise

To:

Florence Glasgow

CC:

CherylCruise, Arborhill LC

 



Hi Florence,

I'm enjoying an easy morning. Soon I will ride with Aimee and then she wants to run a couple miles to get her legs a bit more ready for Sunday. Tonight I am invited to have pizza at her place with her friend, Dean. She met Dean about a month or two ago and they have been dating at a slow pace.

Cheryl should be in Omaha about now. She and Ray will stop in Holdrege and stay there tonight. They will be here tomorrow in the late afternoon.

I ended up picking a pretty premium place for us to stay but with special weekend rates it's just $80 per night. I have a room that is really like a one bedroom apartment. It has a separate bedroom, kitchen and living room. Hope we can rent some more apartments to pay for this.

I don't really understand the banking business well enough. I have always treated bankers with great deference because they had the power and I always thought of myself as the poor kid who couldn't believe that someone would loan me so much money. I guess it's time to grow up.

Actually, I think the banks are making quite a good return on "the spread" right now and I should go to work to hammer down some interest rates on mortgages. But to really work that angle hard I have to be willing to take some business away from Hills Bank and I am very reluctant to do that. Hills Bank and Bruce were two very important factors in aiding me to invest in real estate.

When I get back, I intend to set up a meeting with Brad Langguth, Greg Downes, and any partners who will be willing to come. The topic would be to get a general review of the rental market in Iowa City-Coralville and to generally review property values and strategies for the future. For years I have largely worked all these things alone but now it is time to be more careful. Using some professional help and involving partners seems wise.

I've got to run. Thanks for staying in touch.

John