Prefix: Writing this from Bret’s & Nora’s place. All settled in and ready for a completely horizontal sleep after 13 ½ hrs on the train.

Day 32. I’m on the California Zephyr headed to Provo Utah. I had originally intended to ride from Denver to Moab, then catch a train to Reno, but that proved logistically hard and riding in the 100+ temps and wildfire smoke would have been quite dangerous. So, I settled for the Colorado adventures I did have, including that 12,000’ pass, and will save Moab and Canyonland for exploration with Dana in the future.

I had a really great time in Denver staying with Aaron. I got to do some hard CO riding, but also had some good R&R to prep for the riding ahead (days 30 & 31), and mostly to give my rear end a break. It was very nice to meet Sandra in person as I have only heard about her through talking with Aaron. It was a bit hard to leave.

Tonight I’m staying in Provo with Warm Showers hosts Bret & Nora, and he’s going to pick me up at the station this evening. Warm Showers folks have been amazing. I had to box my bike in Denver as I couldn’t get a “carry-on” reservation, I would have been very late getting to Bret’s as I would have had to reassemble my bike and ride the 10 miles from the station to his house.

As it turns out, and I mentioned this before, Amtrak is a bit disorganized in the bicycle realm. Baggage and ticketing were closed when we got there at about 7. And no luggage carts or anything so I had to drag my panniers and the bike box to the track where the conductor directed me to just take the bike to the first car. There was a guy behind me with a carry-on bike, and he had the same problem. A second conductor asked if we had them checked, and we both pleaded “emails say 45 minutes, but sign on the counter says an hour.” “We’re pretty full, so I don’t know if there will be space.” He guided us to a baggage hold in the first coach car and opened the door to reveal two bikes and enough space to hold 20 bikes and a slew of luggage (and there were a couple of bags – there’s plenty of storage on the train itself, and most people just carry their bags on!). I did mark my box with my info and the train # & date and origin and destination, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it off in Provo. I did see the other guy and his bike get off in Winter Park, so I think it’ll be OK. Should’ve just taken my bike as it was and skipped the boxing, but live and learn.

Just my luck that this train did not have an observation car; the all glass top lounge car. Amtrak sent a cryptic message that dining would be limited, but never just said, “No observation car.” The conductor told us it had mechanical problems in Chicago, and to keep to schedule, Amtrak sent the train without it. The views were still spectacular, but still disappointing.

Bret has suggested a mountain bike tomorrow up in the cooler air and may join me. Looking forward to that as it’s been quite steamy in Denver and the West in general. The wildfire smoke haze that covered Denver and much of Colorado has disappeared, so I’m hoping for a “clean air” ride tomorrow. Friday, a cool down is expected and I’ll ride up to Salt Lake City and spend two days there. Leaving late Saturday evening for Reno and then planning to ride from Reno to LA.
I’ve been lucky with the Warm Showers hosts in this area and am set for Provo, SLC, Reno, and South Lake Tahoe, with only one day between Reno and Tahoe to fill in. Hopeful that I’ll find something.

Pics today are mostly landscapes taken from the train and various stations. Riding will start again tomorrow, but in earnest on Monday.