Friday, November 19, 2010

A single woman on the road to Ironman, part 2

While digging through my "office" for a notebook I could use for my crochet designs, I found my travel diary from my summer Ironman roadtrip. You see, I trained for my first Ironman triathlon this past year and took a road trip to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to compete in it (by "compete" I mean "attempt to finish"). Check out Part 1 here (beginning the epic journey and adventures in Palo Duro Canyon).  Here is the continuing saga...

On the Road Again... to Colorado
I set out early for Rocky Mountain National Park.  I also managed to spot a Starbucks in Amarillo before really setting out...

(watching my campfire in Yellowstone through the car window)

I never knew the Texas panhandle was that pretty.  I guess taking the scenic route pays off... sometimes... more on that topic later.

I was excited to see Denver until I hit the traffic.  I don't know how they do it!  2.5 of my 3 hours there was spent in traffic.  Or at least that's how I remember it.

Yay!  The Denver Apply Store fixed my iPhone glass! (I'm casually forgetting that small fee.  By small fee I mean really big fee).  My helper guy was even more helpful than expected.  He informed me that the hotel from The Shining is in Estes Park.  Yay!  Just what I needed to remember before spending my first night alone in bear country - I need to watch out for crazy Jack Nicholsons too!  Thankfully, my campsite was full of super friendly people.  My neighbors' little girl even offered me a cookie upon arrival too.  Then she told me she was from Boulder and that they had arrived "the day after tomorrow".  How entertaining.  So I freaked a little when I had to go pee in the middle of the night.  Thus, I learned to reduce my late-night water intake to prevent unwanted nighttime bear encounters.

Early morning - once again on my bike in a very pretty place.  But. forgot. how. high. up. no. oxygen.  I coasted down the hill from Moraine Park and only later realized that I would have to climb back up that very same hill in order to get home.  At least the Elk gave me some funny looks to distract me from the oxygen headache on my way up.

Semi-Curious Elk


By the way, baby wipes aren't all that.  (In case you didn't know, Rocky Mountain NP is one of many with no shower facilities).

Next stop, Trail Ridge Road.  Alpine tundra.  Less oxygen.  But at least I'm not wearing flip flops like that one chick.  Seriously?  I survived the long, slow journey with only one engine light coming on.  The view was pretty but I think I'm more of a desert gal.  That night, I defrosted next to my campfire while grilling steak, veggies, and corn on the cob, and roasting a yam.  Yummy!

Alpine Tundra Shots




The next morning I woke up to the soft munching of elk grazing around my tent.  I didn't want to scare them off so I just stayed still and quiet, enjoying the sounds.  One got a little curious and sniffed my tent; then I saw its hoof under the fly before its snout appeared in my little round plastic window.  Alas, they left too soon for pictures!

Yay for showers at swimming pools (gotta keep up with the swim workouts)!  Boo for altitude sickness!  I tried hiking the Bear Lake area but only managed about 0.5 miles.  Yes, I am training for an Ironman.  I had fun with chipmunks for a bit before I decided to take care of that engine light and get my tire checked out.  Apparently a plug was leaking - thank goodness it didn't blow on the Alpine tundra!  Tire replaced, weather turned bad, thus spent some time in Starbucks to catch up on the happenings in the real world.

Fun with Chipmunks


The Oregon Trail
The next morning, the weather was still nasty.  This is June.  I drove a little-too-scenic route to Wyoming.  The weather was still bad, and somehow I chose another too-scenic route that had previously yet deceptively seemed shorter and thus found myself on the Oregon Trail in snow.  Thankfully my friend Gigi reminded me not to ford any rivers greater than 6 feet deep so I neither lost my oxen nor my axle.  Seriously - snow in June?!?!

Snowy Oregon Trail


The snow finally abated and a pretty red rock magically appeared east of the Tetons, however I had yet to drive over a snowy mountain pass to actually get in to Grand Teton National Park.  At least I wasn't on a cross-country bike tour with saddle bags like those other crazy people (I disagree - I am not the pot calling the kettle black).

Pretty Red Rock


Coming up in our next issue... Grand Teton National Park (click here).
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