I know that a bunch of Colorado is very friendly towards cyclists, and I'd never judge an entire state (or even an entire city) by the experiences of just a couple days or a couple rotten people, but it has had a lasting impact on me. I'm wondering, has anyone else has experiences similar to these?
Sorry to hear about this, I've lived mat of my life in this state and I understand that on occasion you're going to run into "provincial" attitudes. Not that this should in any way excuse this king of behavior, but I've watched this become a prevalent sort of stance as Colorado's population has grown. In fact, my family and I just moved up valley to avoid an increasing Red Neck Dixieland BS attitude that is insinuating itself throughout this culture.
While touring there are things you can to to minimize these kinds of encounters. Some of this will apply more here tha elsewhere, but it may all be helpful.
1) Plan your stops. For all the growth that Colorado has seen its still gifted with ample public lands. This is also where the good stuff happens to be so it's a no brainier in my book. I'd rather wild camp my way around the state than even use NP or forest facilities. Plan your resupplies in the middle of the day and you'll have plenty of time to make it up into public lands before dark.
2) Avoid anything with a tourist flavor to it. If you're entering a town where you see lots of RVs, assorted big ass trucks with ORVs, and/or "attractions" plan on getting the hell out of there as soon as possible. The Natives are already wrestles or shell shocked or worse AND they cater to those tourist dollars already.
A cycle tourist, no matter how lavish or wealthy, is never going to leave a bigger pile of money than they dude from Texas who drove his dully pulling a fifth wheel, pulling a boat, pulling a trailer full of ORVs staying at a hotel (and yes we see this all the time). You, like myself, probably look askance at these sort of folk too, so even if you do find a place to stay in such a town, you'll spend all your time rubbing shoulders with this guy. It's no fun and actually pretty risky.
I understand that it can be difficult to know in advance if you're entering a sleepy little high country berg that caters to mountain bikers and skiers or a three ring circus event with law enforcement that would rather run you out of town. There a many great place to ask in advance such as this BBS and CGOAB.
3) If you get stuck and have no other choice but to camp in a hostile environment look for FNs. Friendly natives are more often than not going to be found at a successful "Third Place" in the town. Anyplace where people congregate on a regular basis is going to have suggestions for you. Look for coffee shops that have been around a while, cafes, the town library, bike shops, a National Forest Service office, I've even had good luck with second hand stores (not antique stores however, go figure?). You want to find people who have lived in the area for a while and know all the little pockets and loop holes. Newer places with shinny facades and huge parking lots won't help, more often than not, because they are staffed and frequented by transient populations that work most often seasonally.
4) Get geared and comfortable with night travel. Notice, this does not include travel at dusk. Many years ago I worked on the White River NF as a backcountry guard. This is not a spectacular job, it's essentially a uniformed janitorial position for wilderness areas. You know what's worse than hiking around a wilderness area swatting mosquitoes all day? Carrying a huge backpack full of last seasons hunter trash, swatting mosquitoes and horse flies all day in the sun. Suffice it to say, this is where I got comfortable with the dark (to keep the insect populations and trash stench at bay). But I've found that with a little gear and forethought it works on many of Colorado's back roads and state highways as well.
DON'T do this in the dusk. Blinkers, lights and reflective gear are useless and during a tourist season many of them will either be searching for a site to park their monstrosity or will be headed back into that circus you just left to get their nightly boozin done.
DO have plenty of good well charged gear to make you visible.
5) Get used to carrying more water than you're used to taking. Wild camping requires it! Doing this all the time and becoming accustomed to it makes it much, much easier in the long run.
6) Get used to collecting plate numbers and badge numbers. Hey if that guy is supposed to help you and he didn't than make a stink about it. Anything west of the Front range is largely dependent on your tourist dollars. If the sheriff ran you out of town there is a local chamber of commerce and a tiny business population that is going to want to know. Identification is critical, if you post on your blog or trip log that some dude in a town of 1500 did you wrong then you're far less likely to see any traction. Rather if you make the same post and say Sherriff's deputy (12345) Smith in Grand county did me wrong on such and such a day then youre more likely to get follow up.
There is more, but I'm sick and I need some sleep I think. Please don't poo poo this state, it's a beautiful place and frankly we need more bike tourists here (both to visit and to stay).