Tuesday was a waiting day since I couldn’t get going but I really wanted to. I did my knee exercises, did a little more packing, and went for a 35 minute walk over at Tech. I then decided that I would head out toward Pembroke mainly for the ride through the mountains but I decided that it would be nice to fish a little at Eggleston. The water was flowing gently but it seemed to be too much for the fish, so I moved down to another, slower spot and I got a small red eye bass. I drove back and headed for VT where I rode the bike for a solid 40 minutes. I am a little worried about the trip, but I think once I get on the train things will be calmer.
Wednesday morning saw me driving over to Tech to do a 40 minute bike ride and then coming back for a nap. Then I was able to have a nice phone chat with Kelly and she seems to be doing well enough. She has some minor health problems but overall not too much to complain about. It has been a long time since I really chatted with her and I told her I would like to visit if my health holds put. Then it was time to finish packing and showering and that worked fine with everything ready to go at just about noon, which was my plan. The traffic on 81 wasn’t too bad and once I exited at 150, traffic was even easier. I was way ahead so I took a 25 minute nap under a shady tree and then drove the rest of the way to Clifton Forge. I dropped my stuff off at Jack Mason’s Tavern, then drove back to the police station, parked, then walked in the heat back to the Tavern, where I had an excellent fish and French fries, along with a side salad and roasted vegetables. The fish and roasted vegetables were very good. I was a little worried about getting my stuff over to the station, but I had no problem, and I sat there chatting with a fellow whose son was outrageous, and he kept slamming the door at least 70 times before his father finally stopped him. The train was an hour and a half late but I got on and found myself without much energy so I simply watched the scenery until it was time to go to dinner, during which I watched the New River through the Prince canyon and then through the New River Gorge. Dinner was not very good, a very small portion of Beef Bourguignon with some mashed potatoes and a teaspoon of vegetables. The waiter paid no attention to me but I gave him a small tip anyway. I went to bed around 11:30, very tired but satisfied I had gotten this far.
Thursday began with having to go pee every two hours but that was okay. I finally got up around seven and walked some at the Indianapolis station. After breakfast, I checked my blood pressure which was 129 / 60, so I didn’t take any more BP medication. At breakfast I reflected on how much I still was enjoying travel (it certainly is harder, but leaving from Clifton Forge is so much easier than driving to Cary, NC. I was relaxed and enjoyed passing the little towns, the soybean and corn fields, the vehicles at the crossings. I am not sure if I will take a very long trip again, but I think Denver will still remain a possibility. The train was a little late getting into Chicago but once I got there I stowed one of my bags, emptied a lot of the stuff in the backpack, then headed off to find a Divvy bike location. I had to walk pretty far to find a working one on Adams but eventually I did and I rode over to the lake and then rode along it for at least 35 minutes with one stop along the way because it was too hot. I’m glad I did it for my breathing but the heat took most of the joy out of the ride. After that I walked back to Union Station (with two rest stops) and got there just as it started to rain. I must have walked three miles and when I finally got to the Metropolitan Lounge, I was totally exhausted. After eating some pepper jack cheese cubes and carrot strips and tiny tomatoes, I felt a little better. Then as it got time to head for the train, I waited outside to get red cap service but none came so I walked to the train and that was pretty tiring. Once aboard, I got to stretch out and that felt good and I also found that I could rent a car in Trinidad (about 4 hours less driving when I visit Patty and her kids) so I changed my Amtrak reservation and set up a room in Trinidad for the 16th. Because of equipment failure, dinner was a side salad, a small slice of pizza, some pasta and a small piece of garlic bread, with a little cup of cheesecake for dessert. I went to bed around 11:30 after trying to get the car attendant for a least a half hour. Then I had problems sleeping and I ended up taking two halves of a valium so I could sleep some. I got up around 7 and had breakfast, which was a breakfast sandwich with some fruit. I got a nap in and when I asked for some more water the surly attendant wouldn’t give me any more even though I explained my medical situation. I asked to see the conductor and he was friendly. I showed him my cane and all the meds I have to take and he gave me a couple of small bottles of water. Later outside he told me to call Amtrack to try to get a refund for the food. I did get a short walk at Raton and the next stop is Las Vegas. I finally did get a Colorado license over the phone after failing 3 times before. We are an hour behind so that shouldn’t prevent me from getting to Alamosa by 6 or 7. The train attendant did not show up to help me with my bags so about 10 minutes from Las Vegas, I carried my bags to the doorway and waited for him. However he didn’t show up even as the train was slowing down and I got really upset. Then the train stopped and he still wasn’t there and I freaked. I waited two minutes and then I started opening the door and he finally appeared. I cursed him and after I got off and he didn’t offer to help me with my bags, I cursed him even more. Thank god I got off the train and didn’t have to go to the next stop. I found my rental car and in a few minutes I had picked up my package from the Post Office and was on my way to Alamosa. It had some mountains in the distance but it wasn’t particularly scenic until I drove through the Sante Fe National Forest and that was pretty impressive. As I neared the intersection of 64 I saw that Taos was only a couple of miles out of my way and the pueblo was only about 6 miles. I decided to go for it but it was a mistake. There was construction so it took 25 minutes to get through the highly commercialized town and then the pueblo was closing for the afternoon and there was admission so I just parked for a few minutes and took one picture of an adobe building. It was a waste of time but I fortunately didn’t have to go through town again and as I was heading out I stopped to take a few pictures at the bridge going across the Rio Grande. That was pretty impressive. I kept on my way and got to Alamosa around 7, and after gassing up and accidently driving off the curb to exit (which seemed to do no damage) I drove to the Comfort Inn and brought my stuff in. I then headed for Nino’s Mexican and I had a terrific dinner of chicken flautas and red and green chile. Back at the Comfort Inn I used the exercise bike for 30 minutes, did some weights and back in my room I wrote a long complaint to Amtrak about the room attendant.
Saturday morning found that thought the tire warning gauge was on, the tires were all full and someone told me that a bump like going off the curb could have affected the gauge. That was comforting and as I traveled the gauge would go on and off at points. I drove toward Gunnison passing through a lovely canyon in Carson National Forest and got to Gunnison just in time to watch the second soccer game between Russia and Croatia (I had watched the first game between Sweden and England in my room). The game was a good one but I had to leave to meet Dane for the float trip so I headed off and met him at around 2:30 at the Garlic Mike’s put in. He was friendly and very helpful and I sensed that this was going to be a good trip. I wore my tevas and just my long sleeved shirt and that initially seemed a dumb idea because the weather looked very threatening but fortunately the weather held and we both had a good time. He could see that I was a very good fly fisherman, and he complimented my casting quite a bit. The river was tough, having been fished all day, but we saw a number of rising fish, and I caught 5 and Dane caught 3 (though he only fished about a third of what I did). We floated about 5 miles and that took about 4 hours and I was pretty exhausted when I got done. I gave him a good tip and thanked him for his services. The river was very pretty and I cast into hundreds of enticing spots. I checked into my room at the Water Wheel motel (which was kind of dumpy, but only cost 100 dollars instead of the 174 at the Comfort Inn. I was told to go for dinner at Anejo’s for good chile but they didn’t have chile but the fish tacos was pretty good. I drove back to the motel, and I was too exhausted to do anything so I just stayed in bed and watched TV till 11 and went to sleep then.
In the morning, I took a good shower with the Ringworm shampoo, then applied the cream which made me feel pretty good. I had a quick breakfast then started driving toward the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It was a very scenic drive and after about an hour I reached the South Rim entrance and in a few miles I was at the first viewpoint, Tomichi Point, then stopping at Pulpit Rock, Chasm View, and Sunset View. What a remarkable place. Now it was time to head to Montrose to do my laundry and that went pretty well and soon enough I was on my way to Durango. I passed through the very lovely town of Ouray then several mountain summits, with rain and hail at points. It finally cleared as I approached Durango and I headed to the Quality Inn for a nap and then dinner at Ken and Sue’s, a very nice restaurant where I had cilantro crusted halibut, sticky rice and sautéed spinach, with a small salad and excellent bread. After that I walked along the historic downtown for 20 minutes then headed back to my room to finish up my blog.