The final slog! It was weird as today should have been fairly easy, but we had lost all motivation now and just wanted to be there! We decided to cut the corner off our journey and instead of going all the way through Cortez and past the entrance to Mesa Verde, we would take a short cut to Mancos and visit Mesa Verde on a day trip from Durango. Unfortunately John’s Mother was really poorly in Texas and so Pam had already gone down there and John was going to meet us in Durango and then head off to Texas himself, so the sooner we got to Durango the more time we could spend with John. So off we peddled with the end in sight.
The road out of Dolores was really steep, but after that the road was fairly up and down. It was tiring – sometimes the ups and down are worse than the passes as it seems so relentless and you don’t have the fun of a huge downhill! The scenery was pretty and every Durango sign we saw made us more excited. We carried on up and down until we reached Mancos where we treated ourselves to our last lunch in a lovely little restaurant, out in the garden (even though we had food for lunch in our bags). As we headed out of Mancos, I had my head down cycling and was startled to see Ryan stopped right in front of me looking at the ground beside the road. I braked quickly and noticed what he was staring at. A huge bear, dead by the side of the road. He must have been hit by a car. He was beautiful. Poor bear.
We carried on our up and down day, this time with bigger hills and descents, stopping one last time at Hesperus until finally we had made it up the last hill and the rest of the journey was all downhill. Whoop, whoop!! We reached the outer limit of Durango with huge grins on our faces! We had done it! How on earth did we manage that?! It was quite unbelievable. Now all we had to do was negotiate through the traffic to John and Pam’s.
Durango looked lovely as we cycled beside the Anamas River, and the GPS took us all the way to the door. Ryan recognised the house, although thought it had changed colour in the 10 years since he had been here last. We pulled onto the drive and were greeted by a barking Lucy, closely followed by the warm and familiar face of John Mackley! Huge hugs followed between us all, Ryan and I included, as we basked in our achievement. We knew that lots of people, sometimes ourselves included, thought we would never make it and we felt very proud to have proven so many people wrong. 1,954 miles in the end! After lovely showers John took us to Gazpacho’s – a renowned Mexican restaurant, highly rated by the Musiello family, where Toni worked for 2 summers whilst at university. Several frozen Margarhita’s and huge plates of food followed and we felt truly revived.
The funniest Mule on Earth. It was pulling the most hilarious faces and kept sticking it’s tongue out!
We did it!
Leaving the campsite for the last time this trip
Maybe our best lunch. The steak sandwich was cracking
There were times when we didn't think we'd see this sign
Yeah, we made it
Total Time Cycling:
5h 29m 41s