La Junta

Hank – We woke to a cold and foggy morning. How nice it was to be inside. We decided on doing a short day–about 30 miles–to La Junta. Since a low budget hotel was only $8 more than the KOA campground a couple miles outside of town, we reserved a room for tonight. We waited to leave until checking out at 11:00. The bright sun welcomed us to ride in the cool breeze.

We cruised down Hwy 50 until we came to Manzanola. We didn’t need a break but we had plenty of time so we stopped for a bit at the Veteran’s Park. The tornado siren sounded at noon. We haven’t heard one of those for a while.

Next we rode to Rocky Ford. Now there’s a town with an interesting history. Back in the late 1800s it became the melon capital of the world. Thanks to the railroad they were shipping watermelons all over the country. The high school teams are called the Meloneers. Every year since 1878 everyone attending the Arkansas Valley Fair received free watermelon. They still grow melons here but not nearly at the scale they used to. It waned back in the 1920s and now they ship more seeds of a wide variety than melons.

Unfortunately, the Rocky Ford museum is only open on Wednesday and Friday afternoons so we missed out on another one. It’s in the 1908 library built by Andrew Carnegie. The old library is much like ones he built in cities and towns all across the country. Spokane’s is on Cedar between Riverside and 1st. It houses an architectural firm now. By the way, Rocky Ford also claims to be the dove hunting capital of America.

On the way to La Junta we spotted three Colorado license plates. Two were in good enough shape to be used in a guitar. The third looked like a trifold. Yesterday I saw two plates but they also were bent up pretty bad. Since plates usually come off as a result of a collision and I’m seeing a concentration of plates on their roadside here I guess we should pay more attention to traffic.

We were very hungry when we got to La Junta. We stopped at Safeway to pick up a couple grocery items. We met Bubba who was outside cooking up barbequed chicken. We jumped at the opportunity for eight pieces at $5.99. Inside at the deli we each got a side dish. Then we hung out with Bubba, who was very friendly, and accommodating, and we chowed down.

We went to the Otero Museum, (La Junta is in Otero County), and we were disappointed to learn it’s only open June through September. Their web site lists a lot of cool stuff inside. What a shame to miss it. La Junta has a lot of railroad history, which continues today as evidenced by the Amtrak station and large railyard next to town.

We checked into our hotel, cleaned up, and hauled our dirty clothes to the laundromat. Tomorrow we ride to a campground near John Martin Reservoir. The state park campground is closed but the private one is open. Twenty bucks gets us a camp site and a shower. We’ll get to use our new tent a second time.

Kathy – We didn’t leave the hotel this morning until 11am when the temps rose to 38 degrees. I gave Scott a package of flower seeds and he said he would put them to use outside the motel. It was a cold morning start but it warmed up nicely as we rode. We completed 33 miles on a sunny day and pretty much flat terrain. We continued to have nice wide shoulders to ride on and friendly drivers that moved over as they passed us to give us more than enough room.

We could see spring in the air with the flowers starting to bloom, green grass showing its colors, and buds in the trees starting to form. We could also smell that it was springtime as the many farms we passed had just laid out their fresh manure on the fields. Lucky us.

It really was a beautiful ride today. Sunny temps in the 40’s and 50 degrees. The sun was shining brightly with blue sky’s all around us. It was a great day for a bike ride. 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️

We have limited towns as we travel east again. Today we could have rode 30 or so miles, or ride 75 or so miles. We opted for the shorter distance. Tomorrow we will ride approximately 40 miles to the next camping site. All is well, our spirits are good and our bodies are doing great.

Looking forward to another day of riding in Colorado.

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  1. I get behind on the blogs. Then I think I’m caught up. But noticed your still two ahead of me . I always enjoy reading how you’s are and where you’ve been. I sure enjoy your pictures. Please keep bogging:) Stay safe and warm ☀️❤️😊


  2. Glad you two are doing well. The chicken looks mighty tasty! 🙂


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