We reluctantly back up, hitch up, and depart Steamboat Lake State Park, Colorado. As we head in a southerly direction, Al and I discuss the weeks excursion. We do a quick recap and then Al asks the question, “If you could pick only one place in Colorado to visit, which would it be”. It doesn’t take long before I respond, “Crested Butte”. Al responds with surprise, “Really? I would pick Steamboat”.
Apparently Al is partial to northern Colorado and I to southern Colorado. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to choose. However, perhaps we’ll need to “pick straws” to see who wins for our next adventure. We continue our discussion on what we like most about our preferred locations and compare notes.
We’re heading south on Highway 9 toward Breckenridge. We’d like to stop in Breckenridge to grab a bite to eat and walk Bear. Al’s thirsty now. A few miles north of the town of Silverthorne, Al pulls over to grab a beverage out of the RV frig. It’s approaching lunch and we’ve been on the road two and a half hours. Good thing we pulled over. We blew a tire and had no idea. Al felt no change in the way the Rig was pulling. Luckily for us, just three weeks earlier, I purchased RV Roadside Assistance. Talk about timing. I give Al the paperwork for him to call.
Al’s walking around with his cell phone in the air. We all know what that means….no cell service! He has me try mine. I start walking up the embankment, cell phone in air, searching….please, just one bar. No luck. We’re on our own.
Al proceeds to go in search of all the necessary gear to change the tire. He’s a bit unorganized and definitely NOT a happy camper. We hadn’t been on the side of the road but 10-15 minutes, when a pick-up truck pulls over…..”You folks need any help?” I respond, “Sure do”. Mr. Cowboy proceeds to take over as if we had called roadside assistance. He does most of the work with occasional help from Al. Al and I look at each other and shrug our shoulders. “Go for it mister”.
We exchange idol chit-chat. He’s a contractor, rancher, jack of all trades kind of guy. He’s wearing Levi jeans with a shiny belt buckle, cowboy boots (the working kind), western shirt, and of course, a cowboy hat. He’s about 5’10” tall, slight build, and his bow legs give you the impression he’s spent some time on a horse. He’s in his late 50’s, early 60’s and has lived in the mountains the past twenty-five years. He loves it, but it doesn’t love him. He’s developed some health issues which are going to require him to move to a lower elevation. The thin mountain air at 8500+ feet is no longer agreeing with him.
He asks us where we’re heading. When we tell him we’ll be going through Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass, he politely informs us we’ll need to wait somewhere for about an hour. Hoosier Pass is currently closed until one o’clock due to the US Pro Cycling Championship. Bicyclers are riding from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs and the pass and road is closed for the event.
While I’m walking Bear, Al and the rancher finish up. The rancher makes some recommendations, Al hands him some cash, which he doesn’t hesitate to accept. Yes, he does stop and help stranded folks often. Somehow Al and I think this is just another way of adding to his income. He has us pull out first so he can follow us into town to make sure all is looking and running good.
He follows us as far as his intended destination. As he turns into Murphy’s Irish Pub, we each honk and wave our farewells. You see, Mr. Cowboy was on his way into town for lunch with some buddies when he came upon this damsel in distress. No doubt, he’ll be able to afford an extra pint or two after helping said damsel.
Mountain towns, as well as cities, can present some challenges to us longer vehicles…. foremost, parking. Silverthorne has a large outlet mall with plenty of parking. Perfect. We park next to other RV’s and grab a bite at Wendy’s. After lunch, Al and Bear take a short nap in the RV while I get in a little retail therapy.
Forty minutes later, we’re on our way. The Cycle event is wrapping up. We get through Breckenridge, the pass is open, and we’re homeward bound. Just two more hours and fingers crossed we’ll be home. We’re extremely familiar with Highway 9 between Breckenridge and Canon City. We know cell phone signal is sparse as is traffic and without a spare…..well as I said, “fingers crossed”.