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Worst experience across the US was in CO

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I rode the TransAm solo West to East last summer (2010) and my worst experience with people the whole trip was in Colorado, especially the more rural areas.

Specifically, Kremmling, CO sticks out in my mind. This was the single least friendly town I went through on my entire ride. It was already getting dark when I visited the sheriff's office to ask if there was anywhere I could pitch a tent for the night in or around town. A police officer sitting in his cruiser rolled down his window and told me, with a smile of satisfaction on his face and a chuckle, "There's a city law against that." He told me I could either go to the RV park (and pay $12 to sleep on gravel beside RV generators) or "get out of town". I ended up pedaling just out of town (already dark) and pitching my tent in the desert, private property or not, on top of a bunch of little cacti, and was eaten alive by swarms of mosquitoes. I got out of there as fast as I could in the morning.

I was just a 20-year old kid. Would these people treat their own kid like that?

I ended up sleeping in 3 public restrooms during my 7 days in Colorado. People were giving me shit left and right. I felt unwanted, which made me want to get out of the state and never come back.

Riding through Kansas afterwards was like a 180-degree change, and it made me want to stay there as long as I could (and spend money there, stimulate the economy...).

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?

John Nelson:
Yes, it certainly doesn't take much to make a bad impression. In any area, 99% of the people are friendly and 1% is unfriendly. You were just unlucky enough to run into that 1%. By the way, Hot Sulphur Springs, just 17 miles down the road from Kremmling, has a free city campground.

Kansas does indeed make camping pretty easy. Almost all of the city parks allow camping and have some pretty lush grass.

John Nettles:
I got a little smile out of this.  While riding the TransAm back in '82, I camped at the fairgrounds (I think) in Kremmling but have always thought the town was unwelcoming.  While I didn't have trouble, I did write "I feel like a unwanted outsider here" in my journal.  In fact to this day, I remember a dusty unremarkable town that is best avoided.  This was back when the TransAm was still relatively young and people would continually ask what you were doing and seemed genuinely interested, amazed, and "happy" to assist in making the trip a success.  In 34 years of touring, Kremmling is one of only three towns where I did not have a positive feeling.  Portage, WI and Portsmouth, NH being the other two. Those two were much like your experience except there was no camping option.

Most of my touring has been in the NW.  I have found rural areas to be very friendly throughout WA, ORE, ID, and parts of Montana.  One place I've had some issues more than once is with drivers on HWY 9 north of Seattle, up near Sedro Wooley.  Drivers there have repeatedly roared by without moving over at all, giving the one finger salute, and blaring horns.  I will no longer spend time and money there.

That's unfortunate.  I have a couple of towns I had bad vibes in too, I'm not going to name names, but they were not in CO.

I've toured about 9 weeks in Colorado, and haven't had anything like that happen.  I've never been to Kremmling, though.

For the record, I may be biased, I live in CO - but I moved here after my first 5-week tour here, I liked it so much.


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