I've taken for granted the dryness of the desert!
When we went to bed the spinklers across the lawn were running and we had no idea whether the area where we were camped would also have sprinklers. Seth put the rain fly on the tent as a precaution. We woke around 1:30 to thunder and lightning, and then the rain came. So much for worrying about the sprinklers! It rained steadily for maybe a half hour, and I was reminded again what a humbling experience it is to be in a tent in a thunderstorm. My thoughts ran back to the Appalachian Trail and the many nights I spent in my tent listening to the rain. I dreaded packing up our wet tent in the morning, and hoped the rain would stop before dawn.
My wish was granted and the rain quit around 7. Josh had a package to pick up at the post office, so we killed some time by breakfasting at a local diner per Nicholas's recommendation. The daily special was pancakes, eggs, bacon, and coffee and the four of us enjoyed the leisurely morning. George left around 8:30 and Josh, Seth, and I waited until 9 for the post office to open.
Lizard Head pass is a 3500 foot climb over 50 miles. The goal today was to get over the pass and camp on the other side. The climb began softly, a gentle incline up into the mountains along the Dolores River. The roads through Colorado have not been ideal...narrow or no shoulders and full of cracks, rocks, and potholes. The people have not been as friendly either; in Utah we received lots of cheers and thumbs up from passing cars, but in Colorado we have gotten angry honks and close passes. Today we were run off the road by a truck passing another truck and trailer right in front of us!
The three of us took a lunch break at a campground about 25 miles up, and the clouds began rolling in. Shortly after we left we heard thunder and it started to sprinkle. I thought it would be a passing shower but as we got farther up the mountain, the skies grew more ominous. Suddenly it started to downpour, and we jumped off the bikes to get our rain jackets. It started hailing along with the pouring rain, just small pea-sized chunks, but I was thankful for my helmet! This was my first time riding in the rain and it was quite the experience! The spray from passing cars soaked us and my legs were covered in dirt from the road. It was miserable riding but it finally slacked off a few miles later just as we arrived in Rico. We pulled over at the gas station and decided to find a place to stay in town. The Mine Shaft Inn is the only place open and we are staying in the hostel bunk room. It's a gorgeous building from the 1800s, with original woodstoves, artwork, and stained glass windows. We took hot showers and dried out over dinner at the bar across the street. It rained off and on throughout the evening and has finally subsided. It feels so good to be inside!
George made it over the pass and is camping on the other side as planned, so we will do a large day tomorrow to catch up with him in Montrose. Until then, I will enjoy this bed!