Yoo-Hoo for ‘Rollers’: A great road bike trip starts near Glade Park Store
“Yoo-Hoo!” screamed Dave Von Borstell’s cycling jersey as he flashed by on his Giant 24-gear, two-wheel road-racing machine.
With a keen eye on a tiny rear-view mirror attached to the visor of his Bell Helmet, he announced, “car back,” meaning, “there’s a car back there, and I’m moving in front of your slow, sorry butt so I don’t get splattered on the pavement.”
Happily, we were passed by very few cars the other day, so we rode side by side most of the way and enjoyed a great road bike trip from the Glade Park Store, west to the pavement end at 5.7 Road, coincidently about 5.7 miles from the Colorado/Utah boarder.
My buddy Nick calls this stretch of road ‘the rollers,’ because it rolls up and down and around and across a beautiful expanse of Glade Park, with startling white and red sandstone formations standing majestically behind fields of blossoming yellow rabbit brush, all set off by a huge blue (slightly cloudy) western sky.
That big blue sky got a little hazier later in the week with a handful of prescribed, controlled fires burning north, south and west of Grand Junction by the Bureau of Land Management, but the sunsets sure have been swell!
“I love my Yoo-Hoo jersey. Do you remember Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink?” he queried as I chugged up a hill beside him. “It was really big in New Jersey when I was a kid.”
I couldn’t breathe, or speak, but even growing up in the west, I knew about Yoo-Hoo. One of my all-time heroes, Yogi Berra and his Yankee teammates drank Yoo-Hoo. I still remember “Me-hee for Yoo-Hoo” and “The Drink of Champions,” for some great Yankee teams of the late 50s (although Mickey Mantle probably had vodka in his!). Our beloved Denver Bears were the Class AAA farm team of the famous baseball Yankees back then.
Who cares, you may ask? When you’re rolling along in the Rollers, you need something to think about other than a picture-perfect fall day on the high plains of western Colorado, where the bluebirds sing, the red-tailed hawks soar and the mule deer sneak around the edges of Rancher Gore’s hayfields, waiting for dusk when they all come out to feed.
This area is easy to reach from town. Just take Broadway to Monument Road, turn left and travel to the east entrance of the Colorado National Monument. People traveling to Glade Park are not required to pay an entrance fee to the monument, but if you’ve got your pass with you, show it and support the monument.
At this point, Monument Road turns into Rim Rock Drive. Stay on Rim Rock through the tunnel and past Cold Shivers Point. Turn left at the Glade Park Store sign and travel to the Glade Park Store.
There are places to park on both sides of the road, but please do not park in areas frequented by lots of local traffic, like in front of the local residents’ newspaper stands, or across the road in the middle of the loop needed for large trucks with horse trailers, etc. That’s really annoying.
Also, don’t park in front of the entrance to the Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department, or in the middle of the store parking area.
Before or after the ride, however, wander into the Glade Park Store for refreshments. That’s a neighborly thing to do and, it’s refreshing.
As we pedaled the other day, it felt as if we had a headwind traveling both ways. That’s always the case, I guess. From where we parked to the end of the pavement and back, we traveled 26.91 miles at an average speed of 15.6 miles per hour. The fastest I got going was about 36 mph. Dave was faster, but, well, he’s got more bulk.
Nick chastised me for not riding up to the Glade Park Store from the valley, adding about 15 or 20 more miles to the trip. That’s a great idea, too. Keep in mind, however, that for the next month or so, a chip and seal project on Rim Rock Road might disrupt your ride.
The work will occur weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. According to a Colorado National Monument press release, “All paved surfaces and parking areas along Rim Rock Drive will be treated during the course of this project.”
The Parks Service press release suggested “Glade Park commuters might wish to consider using the county’s Little Park Road during the road work time periods to avoid work zone delays.”
I’ll bet they already know that.
By the way, the Dr. Pepper Snapple group still makes chocolate Yoo-Hoo, but I didn’t see it in the Glade Park Store.