I25 south to Denver was its usual busy crowded self. I’d worked for a company that had an office in the area 10 years ago, but I can’t say the local knowledge did me any good. trying to get a good view of the traffic on the Garmin 665 caused it to crash and I was suddenly with only 1 GPS. I wish I could say this was an infrequent occurrence, but sadly the 665 crashes all the time. To restart it I often have to remove the battery, as was the case this time. The 665 is really good at one thing, finding the next gas or hotel along your route. The 478 I use is better at routing on the fly and for a weather overview, Waze on the phone is much better at dealing with traffic. I fired up Waze on the phone and it guided me perfectly through the maze of Denver traffic.
Soon I was south of Denver and it was looking like it was a good idea to take my nights rest. It was 9 PM and I had well over 1000 miles on the day. There was no sense in continuing on much further as the stops I had planned for day 3 were off the beaten path and I would have less or no hotel choices near them. Plus I had another light day planned and figured even with a long stop I’d get to the checkpoint with plenty of time.
In Castle Rock, I found a likely group of hotels and fuel. Sady after checking a few hotels it became apparent that it was too expensive for my rally budget tastes. I pulled into the Comfort suites as a last ditch attempt, as I was getting off my bike there were two gentlemen standing there. One of them says: “Are you in the Iron Butt Rally?” You never know who you’re going to meet out there! I explained that I was and was looking for a room. They told me they thought all the hotels were full up here. I went inside to double check and one of my new friends pulled out his cell and started trying to find me a room further down the road. They did have one room left, a smoking room for only $150 a night. I went back outside. My new friends told me that down in Colorado springs I’d have better luck. One of them said that if his wife wasn’t with him I would have been able to say with him! But he didn’t think he could explain a strange man in the room. I thanked him for his hospitality but decided Colorado Springs sounded good. I pulled the battery from the Garmin and it rebooted and soon I left my new friends to the north as the miles clicked away. I’d wasted 20 minutes and not even bothered with fueling. Ah well.
REST – Time Wasted Looking for a Hotel
95 Miles since Rocky Mountain National Park Arrived: 22:16 Departed 22:36
40 miles later I was pulling up to the Super 8 in Colorado Springs. It had a much friendlier rate. Which was a good thing as the decor was reminiscent of a 1970s psychiatric ward. Complete with doors that required the receptionist, seated behind 3″ glass, to buzz you in. I wasn’t sure if I felt safe behind such protection as I wondered who was locked in with me. Before going up to the room, I decided to circle the hotel in search of food. Sadly all that was open was a fried chicken place and a taco bell. The Taco Bell was drive through only and there was a long line. I decided to avoid that. Fried Chicken is a no-go zone, even when I’m not on a rally. I did fuel up at the shell and picked up some chocolate mini donuts, a particular weakness of mine, and some Gatorade.
Back to the hotel, I was buzzed in and got on the elevator with 3 rather large gentlemen and a pizza delivery guy. The elevator matched the decor well and managed to only be a 4″ step up to enter it. The door took several tries, but it finally closed, and then the elevator quickly dropped the 4″ to match the floor and we looked at each other nervously. I exclaimed that at least if we got stuck we could eat the pizza before resorting to cannibalism. The pizza guy looked nervous as I think he realized he was next in line after his pizza. At a glacial pace, we ascended the 2 floors to my exit. Jerkily the door opened and I stepped up the 6″ gap to my floor. Wishing the other occupants well, I looked back and saw the fear in the eyes of the poor pizza guy as the door slammed shut.
As I surveyed my surroundings my concern for the pizza guy was quickly replaced for my own fear for safety. I’m not a tall man, I’ve come to terms with this long ago. However I could have easily reached up and touched the industrial drop ceiling in the hallway, I had no desire to disturb the layer of filth and grime above me, however. The decor of the ceiling was nicely matched by the lighting that featured low-wattage fluorescents with faulty ballasts that gave them a nice flicker.
Finally, I made it to my room. Thankfully the lighting was dim inside my room but didn’t feature any flicker. I didn’t inspect things too closely, but the bed was surprisingly not that bad. I’d certainly slept in worse! After my feast of donuts, I took a shower and was soon asleep.
REST – Rest at Colorado Springs
40.5 Miles Since Castle Rock Arrived 21:22 Departed 5:10
|Day Three Stats|
|Total Time:||19h 40m|
|Total Stop Time:||2h 7m|
|Total Moving Time:||17h 33m|
|Total Distance Covered:||1150 miles|
|Average Speed:||58.5 MPH|
|Moving Average Speed:||65.5 MPH|
|Day Three Stop Tally|
|Gas in Hardin||9|
|Gas in Lusk||18|
|Time Looking for a Hotel||20|