Friday morning opened up with a delicious breakfast from the Chili Line Depot, followed by some logisticizing about where to safely leave Morgan’s car (the waiter had a friend who was willing to keep it in her driveway). Once that was worked out, the bums were off, four strong! …for about 6 miles. It turns out some gremlins had made a home in Joey’s knee, and rather than risk it, Morgan and Joey headed back to the van to meet us further up the road.
Andrew and I had a great, flat ride flying across the desert, making quick work of the 30 miles to the train-themed town of Antonito (crossing into colorful Colorado along the way), where we met back up with our companions. After lunch and shopping, the 3 non-injured cyclists took off east along the Conejos river, while Joey took on the role of sag-wagon driver. The route along the river was amazing, as the landscape slowly transitioned from desert scrub to mountain forest, and we soon found ourselves surrounded by towering peaks speckled with golden aspen.
Eventually, we turned off the highway and onto the dirt road that would take us 55 miles across the wilderness. A few miles up, and we found an amazing camping spot on the river. Set up camp, dip in the river, cook dinner, some stargazing, and it was the end of another great day of biking!