Leaving Frisco after expensive parts and repairs and lodging and meals, we took a bike path all the way to Breckenridge, which is probably a nice place to stop if you have a large amount of disposable money. We carried on.
A paved road turned to a dirt road and went over Boreas Pass, 11,482 feet above sea level. The road dropped in to the town of Como were we hopped to have a meal, but the only restaurant had shut down months if not years before (my maps are from 2014). The only other business in town was an art hall with cool desert art and free water.
We continued on a dusty road to Hartsel and dined at every/only restaurant in town. Camping that night was at a nearby lodge, they let us sleep in the barn for $10 each. It was a nice barn though, cement floor, bar, lights. Besides housing smelly cyclists they use it for parties, though sadly not at the same time.
We were joined for dinner and camping by Mark, a recently retired U.S. Army Warrant who was doing a 4,228 mile east-west Trans America ride. That sounded like too much suffering to me. Good guy though.
From Hartsel, another dry dusty road got us to Salida. We tried camping (none) and a hostel (full) and ended up in a motel.
Just one night though, then back in the trail, over Marshall Pass (10,482 feet), and down to Doyleville were we ate lunch at every/only restaurant in town. We sat with two Divide racers (no sense stinking up the entire restaurant), a guy named Bobby and a cool woman named Jill who was so sleepy she probably doesn't remember lunch.
We camped next to a reservoir that night, with several racers passing by, one camping with us, one sleeping in an outhouse nearby. Really.
We'd see them and more racers the next day in Del Norte but loose touch with them as we took a day off and they pressed on. For some people it's hurry up and vacation, for others it's great to be retired.
After a day off we headed out of town. The paved road went up hill gradually but when the pavement ended it went up with vigor. Twenty the miles from town we'd gained over 4000 feet in elevation and none of it easy. Indiana Pass, 11,910 feet.
Down the other side to the town of Summitville (population: people 0, superfund sites 1) and down to Platoro where we camped in the yard of the only restaurant.
From there to Horca (the only restaurant was closed) then up over La Manga Pass (a mere 10,230 feet), back onto a dirt road and then we quietly crossed into New Mexico, our final state.
Later we camped at the Upper Lagunitas campground, spending the night above 10,000 feet and battling mosquitoes the entire time. No snow though, so that was good.
On our way down we came to a detour due to a forest fire. It wasn't marked but we'd been warned that the forest service wouldn't be happy to see us in the area so we detoured to Tres Piedras. The only restaurant in town was open and thrilled to see us. We were thrilled to be there.
After lunch it was back on the roads, till we got to El Rito. The map suggested we would find a restaurant, bar, and lodging. We did not. Instead there was a church. The new-to-the-church priest was willing to let us camp in their front yard and even brought us a pizza when we asked for hot water.
The next morning we headed down the road for breakfast and water in Abiquiu.
After that the trail would be hot, dusty, uphill, and technical. I walked a lot of it with a gallon and a half of water weighing me down. We got to camp near the top of the hill, a nice spot, and then ride down to the town of Cuba.
I ran out of water along the way, finally finding a creek to filter water from. The creek was so shallow that the suction end of my pump would barely stay under but there were few options.
It got me down the road and later we found a deeper stream to get more water from.
In Cuba we took another day off. I really needed it. That first night I drank 3 quarts of Gatorade and another of water before the cramping in my hands and legs went away.