Rod McLaughlin

The thermarest chronicles (11 may 12)

The next place east after Dinosaur is Maybell. It's a lovely village, where you can camp in the city park and have a shower. A restaurant has just opened. 'Restaurant' in this part of the world means steak, burgers, and maybe overcooked broccoli.

Made my own breakfast (macaroni chese) and set off up the Yampa valley. Not much to say - up and down long but not steep hills and valleys with grass and sage and a few prairie dogs. The young ones wander close to the road and don't think of jumping back into their holes until the adults make the special danger noise. Occasionally you get a view of the Yampa winding through the valley in the midst of willow trees.

Ospreys and eagles have given way to crows and vultures. I didn't realise that magpies are carrion birds too.

(only English people will get the connection between this picture and 'carri-on birds')

In Craig I camped in the campsite on the right a few miles east of town. In the night, my Nemo sleeping pad went down, after numerous attempts to fix it. Luckily, it's from REI, so I can send it back, but the ground was cold.

Steamboat Springs is a shock after days of empty prairies. It has bike shops, ski slopes and microbrews. Luckily for me, less luckily for its economy, winter was late, and spring is early. Time for two days and three nights off. The campsite on the right two miles west of town is really nice. I was camping right by the Yampa.

I've had dozens of inflatable sleeping pads, including various Thermarests, the Nemo which I am going to return, and the latest one from Exped. This had an integral pump, but it was so small it took 15-20 minutes to inflate the sleeping pad, when you are tired. The one I really wanted was the Exped Nine, which looks well-made and has a better pump, but they don't sell them any more. I was looking for the bike store, when I chanced upon Boomerang Exchange, which had a second-hand one. It had a hole in it, so they reduced it to $69. I fixed the hole by religiously obeying the instructions in the REI repair kit booklet (clean the area, cover it in glue, leave two hours, glue the patch, put patch on, press, leave two hours). It worked.


Portland London