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Home to Denver to Platteville, CO

This first chapter of our 1998 on-the-trail experiences come to you from the home and computer of Bill's cousin, Janet Burton, of Loveland, CO.

April 15, Wednesday
We took our boxed bicycles and three boxes of gear down to the Amtrak station in Lynchburg last night so they could catch the 5 am train to Charlottesville and then be transferred onto the train going to Chicago and Denver. For ourselves, we opted to have our friend, Tom, drive us to the bus depot at 10am so we could take Greyhound to Charlottesville and catch the 2 PM westbound train from there. In Charlottesville, the Greyhound terminal was only two blocks from the Amtrak station so we walked there and confirmed that our bikes and gear had arrived safely from Lynchburg earlier that morning.

We waited for the train, which ominously arrived almost 1 1/2 hours late even though it only had to travel from Washington, DC that morning. "Signal problems", they said. For this ride on Amtrak, which is supposed to take two nights, we decided to splurge and get a sleeper car for the first time. It consisted of two chairs which recline that can be made into a bed. Above was a bunk which could be lowered into place. Snug is the operative word here but it was actually fairly comfortable and much more conducive to sleeping than curling up in the coach cars. All meals are also included in this deal.

April 16, Thursday
While we slept like babes, the storms raged over the Midwest. When we awoke, we heard there had been tornadoes and several inches of rain. Because of possible flooding and debris on the tracks, the train had been forced to travel at 15 miles per hour for several hours. We were now about 4 hours behind schedule. By the time we left Indianapolis, we were 8 hours late. Hoping to make up time, we found instead that we were sidetracked south of Lafayette for another 2 hours since the crew had used up their 12 hour time limit and a fresh crew from Chicago had to be driven to us to take over. (It wasn't explained why they hadn't foreseen this problem so they could have had a crew waiting for us.)

We arrived in Chicago 10 hours late. This, of course, caused us to miss our connection on the train to Denver which left 5 hours prior to our arrival in Chicago. The train is a fun way to travel, but you really have to be mellow (like Bill). Amtrak did right by us though and they gave us two $50 vouchers for future travel and they put us up in a nice hotel and gave us money for meals and taxi.

April 17, Friday
Sleeping in, we spent the morning cruising the elegant shops on Michigan Avenue. After lunch we took a taxi to the train station and had a peaceful and uneventful ride to Denver.

April 18, Saturday
We awoke to a view of miles upon miles of sagebrush outside our sleeper compartment window. After passing Fort Morgan, we were disturbed to see a fresh dusting of snow, which by the time we reached Denver, was three inches deep. We actually arrived in Denver almost a half hour early, thereby proving that Amtrak can sometimes pull it all together!

With our arrival in Denver, we had three strikes against us:

  1. We were a day late due to our Amtrak delay.
  2. There was 3 inches of wet but melting snow on the ground, and
  3. Bill was developing a bad sore throat and was feeling lousy.

We unboxed our bikes and reassembled the handlebars, pedals, and seat. Then, our good friend, Anne Angerman, arrived to shuttle us to our starting point. After a cup of coffee at Starbucks and a chance to catch up on 10 months of family news, we were ready to roll. Anne was able to drop us off within a quarter mile of the intersection of the Platte River Greenway and the Bear Creek Greenway, the point where the northern and southern routes of the American Discovery Trail meet. We rode to this point and snapped a picture and we were finally off on our 1998 ADT adventure. We apologize for the three days of description about the trip to Denver, but, you see, getting there really is half the fun!

The snow had melted on the paved bike trail but the bridges were still full of wet slushy snow. The sun shown bright as we pedaled north on the Platte River Trail past Mile High Stadium, a large amusement park, and downtown Denver. After 21 miles of pleasant trail riding, we used county roads to get to Fort Vasquez and the small town of Platteville. By now, the temperature had risen into the lower 50's and we had great views of the snow-covered Front Range as we rode along under the watchful eye of several red-tailed hawks. At Fort Vasquez, Bill's cousin, Janet, picked us up and took us back to Loveland for a planned two night stay so we could visit with Bill's aunt who is also here. By the time we got to the house, Bill was feeling very poor and had a fever, so he spent the evening in bed trying to recuperate. It's good we had planned a day off so he can use tomorrow to convalesce.

53 miles, 12.1 mph, 4 hours 21 minutes

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1998, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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