Amtrak forgot my bike in Chicago.
Pity I already published the “Ten Bad Things” post. They put my panniers, food, tent, and sleeping bag on the right train. Arriving in Denver with the assumption I was biking out, I was a bit peeved. I loaded up my panniers and backpack and set off for Union Station on foot; Denver has a Light Rail system that runs north, south, east, and west throughout the city. It’s great mass-transit, kind of a newer version of Boston’s “T.” After about 2 miles of walking, a train, and a bus, I made it to Joe’s house, the Warmshowers host I messaged as an emergency contact in case something went wrong.
Joe was just awesome to stay with. He’s an engineer, writer, and avid outdoorsman with a wealth of knowledge and advice, as well as some awesome stories. He told me about working for the manned space program in Houston, skiing the Rockies mid-winter, and cycling across China, France, and the US. We talked for about 12 hours straight before I passed out, two hours behind mountain time.
The next morning, I took the same rail system back to the Amtrak station (about an hour’s journey) and then set about putting the bike back together for the first time. Everything went fine except the undiagnosed wobble in my headset, so I headed to one of the largest REI’s in the United States. They fixed me up for free; I had four employees talking to me, holding my bike up, checking my front brake, and reattaching the handlebars. The head mechanic diagnosed the wobble as the rotor in my disc brake, so I bought a $5 cassette sprocket I should have already owned in case it came loose again. I carry locking pliers for leverage on bolts like this; a regular leatherman can’t keep a grip.
The bike path system in Denver is phenomenal, and I had an easy 25 mile ride the rest of the way out of town. I could have gone another 30 past the toughest part of the highway in front of me, but I’ve left that for tomorrow. I’ll camp at the base of the rockies for tonight.