(Disclaimer: This post is a little out of date, we’ll have another coming up shortly. Thanks for your support!)

Hello from Pueblo, CO! Since last checking in, our team has traversed mountains, lakes, and the Great Divide. We have also talked with administrators at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and Colorado State University in Pueblo, CO.

A little refreshment to celebrate our Colorado crossing

This leg of our journey began in Blanding, UT. There, we celebrated Lidia’s 27th birthday with Navajo burgers made by a local family. The burgers had all the fixings of a classic burger, but they were wrapped in homemade fry bread. Needless to say, they were delicious!

Next, we traveled through Monticello, UT and into Colorado. Our first stop was in a small farming town called Lewis. John ran into a local grocery store to ask about nearby camping options, and he met Rod. After learning about our ride, Rod invited us back to his ranch and let us camp in his RV. He showed us his horses, fed us homemade zucchini bread, and shared stories of traveling around the world. Plus, his home had a stunning view of the Colorado mountains.

Out of Utah and into Colorado

The next morning, Rod helped us adjust our biking route so that we would follow safer, more populated roads. In the end, we broke away from the Adventure Cycling Association’s route and instead chose to roughly follow the route of the Race Across America. Our new path took us through Durango, home to a huge cycling community. While there, we were hosted by Jody and Seth through Warm Showers. They were incredibly kind and welcoming, and they helped introduce us to professors atFort Lewis College.

On July 3rd, we met with the Vice President of Advancement, Mark Jastorff, at Fort Lewis. We discussed the purpose of our trip, the lack of representation of individuals from low-income backgrounds in DC, and our plans to implement an informal mentoring program. He was excited to connect us with other staff members at Fort Lewis and begin exploring how SAIS students can mentor undergrads at his university. We are especially excited about this relationship because Fort Lewis awards 16% of all undergraduate degrees conferred to Native Americans in the US. We hope our partnership will allow Native students’ voices to be heard in DC and abroad.

Next, we traveled to Pagosa Springs, a small town at the foothills of the Rockies. We celebrated July 4th with a pancake breakfast, a town parade, and watching the fireworks from a rooftop hot springs spa. From Pagosa Springs, we climbed to Wolf Creek Pass–which crosses the Great Divide. Then we sailed down the mountain to a town called Del Norte, where we spent the night in a town park.

Fireworks over Pagosa Springs

The next morning, we biked over 80 miles from Del Norte to Salida. We crossed over from the Rio Grande watershed to the Arkansas River watershed. In Salida, we stopped by Simple Foods Market, which donated day-old groceries to us after hearing about our ride. The food was delicious, high quality, and just what we needed!

Finally, we made the 100-mile journey from Salida to Pueblo, CO. This marked the end of our journey through the Western mountains, and we will now be headed into the Great Plains. In Pueblo, we were grateful to be hosted by Marlene, who we were connected with through friends in Durango. Marlene was incredibly hospitable. We enjoyed played chess and watching Star Wars with her three charming (and brilliant!) children. Marlene also helped us connect with administrators and professors at Colorado State University – Pueblo.

In Pueblo, we also said goodbye to Sarahann and Jesse, who are headed back East. We also meet with our dear friends, Yizhen and Chris, who are both SAIS grads and recently relocated to Denver. Next week, we will be biking through Kansas, and then we will be in Missouri.

One thought on “Sarahann and Jesse say goodbye!

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