The Honk-O-Meter and Conquering the White Monster!

Introducing: The Honk-O-Meter! At the beginning of our journey, Douglas began counting the number of cars that honk at us. We have recently decided to name this the Honk-O-Meter. And currently we are up to 79 honks. We would love to hear from you about ideas for how to celebrate if/when we reach the 100 mark. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section. 

 You’ve heard about several of the storms we have weathered. Here we are under a bridge avoiding another storm that passed after about 30-45 minutes. It was actually a very comfortable place to take shelter. There was even a creek that the boys could play in to let out some creative energy. (See next picture.) 

You’ve heard about several of the storms we have weathered. Here we are under a bridge avoiding another storm that passed after about 30-45 minutes. It was actually a very comfortable place to take shelter. There was even a creek that the boys could play in to let out some creative energy. (See next picture.) 

 As we waited out the storm, the boys made a rock dam and played in the water. 

As we waited out the storm, the boys made a rock dam and played in the water. 

One of the places where we stopped a few days ago was the town of a Guffy, CO. This is an interesting and slightly quirky town. In order to reach the town, we had to go UP 1 mile off route, which may not seem like a big deal, but after a tiring day of biking, a one-mile incline is a bit of a physical and mental challenge for this group of 5! But it was well worth it! What an interesting experience to stay in the town of Guffy! 

 Bill gave us warm welcome to Guffy, CO, offering us water as we pedaled up to his place, the “Guffy Garage.” He had heard about our family from some other TransAm cyclists who had previously come through. He has been hosting cyclists for about 40 years at his hostel, which consists of a series of historic cabins that used to be active in the mining days. 

Bill gave us warm welcome to Guffy, CO, offering us water as we pedaled up to his place, the “Guffy Garage.” He had heard about our family from some other TransAm cyclists who had previously come through. He has been hosting cyclists for about 40 years at his hostel, which consists of a series of historic cabins that used to be active in the mining days. 

 Here is another view of the “Guffy Garage,” headquarters for the cyclist hostel and for Bill’s collection of unique antiques. Throughout the town there were countless antique cars, buildings from the mining days (some of which have been repurposed), collections of antique bathtubs, horse-drawn wagons, and skeletons of different animals on display. 

Here is another view of the “Guffy Garage,” headquarters for the cyclist hostel and for Bill’s collection of unique antiques. Throughout the town there were countless antique cars, buildings from the mining days (some of which have been repurposed), collections of antique bathtubs, horse-drawn wagons, and skeletons of different animals on display. 

 Here is a taste of one of the sights in Guffy.  

Here is a taste of one of the sights in Guffy.  

 This is cabin where we stayed in Guffy. It used to be where they would assay gold during mining times.  

This is cabin where we stayed in Guffy. It used to be where they would assay gold during mining times.  

 Ha! We thought this was funny! We parked our DOUBLE (tandem) and triple here in Hartsel, CO, then we saw this sign. Behind this café and saloon is where we camped for the night (open to through cyclists) . Also camping there was a young man mountain biking the Continental Divide Trail. 

Ha! We thought this was funny! We parked our DOUBLE (tandem) and triple here in Hartsel, CO, then we saw this sign. Behind this café and saloon is where we camped for the night (open to through cyclists) . Also camping there was a young man mountain biking the Continental Divide Trail. 

From Hartsel, we pedaled a very difficult 18 miles through a strong headwind and heavy traffic. We were so glad to make it to Fairplay, where we stayed in an historic inn, and where we would wake the next morning (around 4 AM) to begin our ascent to Hoosier Pass. 

 So that’s where it got it’s name! It’s neat to us, too, that the pioneer Kit Carson is mentioned on this plaque. Back in Rocheport, KS, we had stayed with a couple, the husband of whom was a relative of Kit Carson. 

So that’s where it got it’s name! It’s neat to us, too, that the pioneer Kit Carson is mentioned on this plaque. Back in Rocheport, KS, we had stayed with a couple, the husband of whom was a relative of Kit Carson. 

 Check out this view of the sunset from a spot in Fairplay! Wow! 

Check out this view of the sunset from a spot in Fairplay! Wow! 

 And on our way to Hoosier Pass, we pedaled through the town of Alma (highest incorporated town in North America-see sign), where we also picked up some instant hand warmers for the boys. 

And on our way to Hoosier Pass, we pedaled through the town of Alma (highest incorporated town in North America-see sign), where we also picked up some instant hand warmers for the boys. 

 Whew! No wonder it’s so hard to find oxygen to breathe!! Look at that elevation!

Whew! No wonder it’s so hard to find oxygen to breathe!! Look at that elevation!

 See that peak?  That’s Hoosier Pass Summit, a.k.a., “the White Monster.”

See that peak?  That’s Hoosier Pass Summit, a.k.a., “the White Monster.”

 “Ok, guys! Here we go! We can do it!!” 

“Ok, guys! Here we go! We can do it!!” 

Early in our journey- back in Virginia- we were so thrilled when we were able to report our conquering of what we called “the Green Monster,” which was the series of climbs in the Blue Ridge Mountains. On our elevation map they looked like a giant green mountain- thus the name. Here in Colorado there is a similar challenge: reaching the highest point of the TransAmerica Trail, Hoosier Pass, at an elevation of 11,539 feet. The climb to this point could be seen as beginning in Kansas as a slight constant incline. But the most challenging part of this would be the final 4 miles of a consistently steep grade to the Hoosier Pass Summit. These 4 miles are literally a constant uphill (absolutely no downhill breaks). We figured we would have to walk our bikes up most of this section. But we are so happy to report that we made it up  to Hoosier Pass Summit without walking any of it!! The sight of the parking area and official sign at the summit was almost more than we could bear! How gratifying it was for our family to conquer the “White Monster” together! We were also thankful that we made it up and then down the other side safely, as we had heard about the potentially busy traffic, treacherous switchbacks going down, and very little shoulder to ride on. 

 Up the 4-mile climb, we took a break to catch our breath and this was our view as we looked behind us. Both the view and the altitude were breathtaking! 

Up the 4-mile climb, we took a break to catch our breath and this was our view as we looked behind us. Both the view and the altitude were breathtaking! 

 Here is our victory picture after making it up to Hoosier Pass Summit. Notice the socks on the boys’ hands and leggings on their legs. It was quite cold and windy!

Here is our victory picture after making it up to Hoosier Pass Summit. Notice the socks on the boys’ hands and leggings on their legs. It was quite cold and windy!

 Standing at the Hoosier Pass Summit sign, looking down the way we would descend the other side, here is our initial view. Can you believe that view!!

Standing at the Hoosier Pass Summit sign, looking down the way we would descend the other side, here is our initial view. Can you believe that view!!

After descending Hoosier Pass, we made our way through Breckinridge, Frisco, and finally Dillon, where we have been able to stay and have a day off. We are incredibly thankful for the generous hospitality of the parents of our friend Craig (Jerry’s long-time friend from VT who lives in Boulder). They have opened up their condo in Dillon to us, and we have fully enjoyed the comforts of it!  Craig worked out his work schedule to come up from Boulder to spend some additional time with us in Dillon. A great way to continue to strengthen a cherished friendship separated by many miles. 

 After a trip to the grocery store, we enjoyed making a delicious dinner and eating it on the balcony/porch of the condo. We grilled steak and salmon, accompanied by baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, corn on the cob, and brownies. A fitting celebratory dinner for having conquered the “White Monster!”

After a trip to the grocery store, we enjoyed making a delicious dinner and eating it on the balcony/porch of the condo. We grilled steak and salmon, accompanied by baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, corn on the cob, and brownies. A fitting celebratory dinner for having conquered the “White Monster!”

 What a great view off of the balcony of the condo: Lake Dillon with the Rockies in the background!

What a great view off of the balcony of the condo: Lake Dillon with the Rockies in the background!

 Enjoying a relaxed breakfast with Craig after sleeping late on our day off. 

Enjoying a relaxed breakfast with Craig after sleeping late on our day off. 

Tomorrow we plan to get an early start as we continue to head north through more of beautiful Colorado. We will be approaching Wyoming sometime at the end of the week.

*Don’t forget to comment on the Honk-O-Meter if you have suggestions for a celebration upon reaching 100 honks.