The Luv Shack

After the Great Plains, the climb to 9000+ ft was tough, especially as the temperature was in the 90s, but it was only really a practice run for the following day when I climbed the Monarch Pass above the snow level to 11,312 ft. As I stopped for the obligatory selfie at the summit, several folks emerged from their cars and motor homes, and came over to congratulate me. Fortunately, there were no other cyclists around, so I had my moment of glory all to myself. No idea why I made out that climbing the pass was no big deal when it was absolutely knackering. Too cool for my own good, methinks.

Even before I reached the summit, I had started to feel like I’m in the west, and the sign at the summit confirmed this. The Monarch Pass is the continental divide between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m guessing that water to the left of the sign flows to the Pacific, and water to the right flows to the Atlantic. I briefly considered asking two girls whether their dog would be willing to put my theory to the test, but thought better of it. A far more precise indicator that I’m in the west is that I can finally find a decent sandwich – on crusty bread and bursting with goodness. I’m loving Colorado.

The other problem with mountains is that the weather is all over the place, often with ominous lightning and thunder, and occasionally hail pinging off my bicycle bell. Seeing a blue patch of sky in the direction I’m heading, I check the map for campsites and spot one with cabins. In America, cabins are usually pretty comfy affairs, and with lightning to my left, treating myself to a cabin sounds like a good option. The scenery was spectacular – a red sandstone gorge with lakes – but the campsite was a disappointment: run-down mobile homes perched on the hillside. I brace myself that these are the “cabins”. But no, the cabins are further up the hillside and they are truly antique. I’m guessing they belonged to the miners who originally worked this valley back in the 1800s. The proprietress warns me that the cabins are rustic, and takes me to the “Luv Shack”. (I joke not; that’s what the sign said above the door.) Upon seeing the decoration in the bedroom, my suspicions about the history of this particular cabin seem confirmed: Topless ladies in various poses reminiscent of Ancient Greece. “I love the decoration”, the proprietress commented, rather ancient herself. And to think, I always thought the Americans were coy!


Author: CL Mackay

Aspiring gentleman of leisure in San Francisco, who fancies himself to be a trust fund kid swapped out at birth. Not dented by the male menopause and a pesky diagnosis of leukemia, this former strawberry blond cycled across America, coast to coast, in 2016 and is presently cycling from Vancouver, Canada, to the Mexico border.

8 thoughts on “The Luv Shack”

  1. Congrats on summiting the pass and crossing the continental divide! Great photo of the wildflowers and snowy peaks! Did you have the song “Love Shack” by the B-52s playing in your head during your stay there? 🙂
    Enjoy the downhill side!


  2. Wow, 11,312 feet! I too would venture out of my camper van to congratulate you. Welcome to the West, Leslie! You’re hurtling home. Hope you get blue skies and delicious sandwiches all the way.


  3. wow, the monarch pass! most impressive, leslie! i believe you’re spot on about the continental divide and the waterways. welcome back to the western frontier. hope the people you meet are friendly and you continue to find tasty food along the way! love from our little corner of the bay area.


  4. You’re nearly home! I exaggerate but it feels like you’re on the homeward straight! Congratulations on making it to the summit. Very impressive Leslie! Bet you were thrilled to get some decent food too! Oh and I’m intrigued to see a picture of that Luv Shack cabin! Xx


  5. Very, very impressive Leslie! Would love to see the obligatory selfie at the summit. Freewheeling (almost, well…..) from here home. Deirdre


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