Today was going to be a long ride but we were hoping for a tailwind and we were not dissappointed. Heading out of town at 6:15am we felt the winds a blowin in our direction. This is the first real tailwind we have enjoyed since we began this journey.
The landscape has drastically changed and become more arid. Beautiful, Utah style, red rock walls on the east side of the road and tree lined mountains on the west side as we travel. At times we had a sidewind that was knocking us around but it didn't last to long to really annoy us. The wind can get in your head after a while like a relentless mosquito. Speaking of mosquitos, they were out in force today. As I have said before, I hate mosquitos. We stopped in a gas station on the Wind River Reservation. Sarah went into the store with her helmet on. As a man held the door open for her he gave her a funny look and she said, "I know it's weird looking." He came out and sat in his truck to eat lunch. We struck up a conversation and he told us that he travelled to Wyoming from Georgia last year, with his wife, to spread his mom's ashes and ended up staying. He then asked us where we were going and he gave us another look of "Are you serious?" His name is Darnell and Sarah asked him if she could snap a pic.
We arrived in Lander around noon and immediately headed for guess what? Yep, ice cream at a Dairy Queen knockoff. We met a couple there who extended an invitation to spend the night at their house but we had already made plans. We did some grocery shopping and headed over to our motel, Holiday Lodge Motel. We plan to go out to dinner but let me first share a story for all the arachnid (spider) fans. Back on the Oregon coast there was a very curious spider who was enjoying his coastal life. A man, whom I know, decided to set his bicycle helmet down on a campground table. That evening the rain fell from the sky and the curious spider climbed into the helmet for shelter. The next morning the man put the helmet back on his head and rode off on a tandem bicycle. Days and days went by and his wife kept seeing spider webs form on his helmet thoughout the day but no sighting of the spider. This went on for days which turned into weeks and finally one day, over a month later, the spider made his move. While the man and his wife were eating lunch, the spider climbed out from under the man's helmet and walked across his sunglasses. His wife swept the spider onto the ground and just like that his journey was over and a new home would have to be made. But imagine being this spider, one day a cushy coastal life and the next day he winds up in a dry, high desert environment. Here is my wisdom, please feel free to share. No matter how well you plan your life it may not and probably will not turn out the way you had hoped. Remember this, life is not fair and it can be challenging but how you roll with it will make all the difference. Get up and get going.
Rode 75 miles today
Day 40 06/30/22
I have been retired for a few years now and no longer tied to a daily routine until now. The alarm rings at 5:20am and Sarah without fail tells me to hit the snooze button. I haven't slept with an alarm clock for forty years and back then it was a real alarm clock not a phone. Then comes the breakfast which is now more of a chore than a joy. Get as much protein in you as possible for the days ride ahead and then break camp, pack up and load the bike. Now it's time to ride 6 - 8 hours and find another place to camp or motel and eat dinner and repeat, repeat, repeat. I am not complaining because the routine has been amazing at every turn. It's hardly a job and certainly a priviledge. Today the routine began as usual except we ate breakfast at McDonalds. We talked with a young guy who was hiking the Continental Divide Trail as we ate. The day started out with a nice cloud cover and no wind with the sun shining through the clouds making it perfect for photos. We made good time for the first 6 miles and then ran into road construction. A pilot car lead a string of cars and trucks through the construction zone and then they let us go, traffic free, to a beautifully paved road all to ourselves. One of the worst experiences we all have faced in life is needing a restroom when none are in sight and this day, none were in sight. My intestines were screaming at me for miles as I tried to ignore them. At every turn the anticipation of finding a restroom or an outhouse was a anxiety producing moment. There was nothing but 1,000's of cows and 100,000's of acres stretching out ahead of us; but no place for relief. Suddenly, unbelievably, I caught a glimpse of what many people in my shoes can't find soon enough. There stood a port-o-potty out in the middle of nowhere. I am usually a curious person who likes to ask lots of questions, but not this day, not at this moment. Before the bike came to a stop I hurdled my leg over the bar faster than most Olympians and made it to my destination in record time. It is amazing how quickly life returns back to normal after an intestinal event like that!
Back on the bike, we road through countryside where you can stretch your eyes in every direction. We listened to the Beatles with the wind to our back. Amazing! We ran into a couple cycling west and sold one of them our bear spray. We landed in Jeffrey City which is this eerie ghost town. In the 1950's it was a uranium mining town that was home to a few thousand people. Today it has a run down cafe/bar and a church building a mile off the main highway that serves as a hostel for bicyclists.
Sarah and I showed up and had the place to ourselves until later in the afternoon when Sean, another west bound cyclist arrived. We literally had to push our bike down a road that was drifted over with sand. It looked like a place out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. We had our own bedroom and there was also a full kitchen. All over the walls people have left their mark in some form or fashion as you can see in our photos. Very unique place and very encouraging to read about others journeys. Time for bed.
Rode 58 miles today.
Day 41 07/01/22
Today we set the alarm for 5:10 to give us a jump on the wind. Breakfast was the usual with a bagel and cream cheese thrown in.
We headed out the door grateful that we got to share in such a unique place. Our first stop was Split Rock which was used by the wagon trains, trappers and native Americans as a landmark for traveling. Within minutes of getting back on the road the headwinds began. We pulled into this trashy gas station in Muddy Gap to pick up some donuts, milk, Body Armour and protein drinks.
We sat outside on the ground against the gas station wall to eat our donuts and this enormous bug crawls up to greet Sarah. You can probably guess it wasn't a warm reception. He headed off dejected and we packed up and left.
By now the wind was ugly which can be discouraging when you still have 40 miles ahead and it's mostly uphill. We just put our heads down and pedaled. An hour outside of Muddy Gap we see a cyclist coming in the opposite direction. He pulled over to our side of the road and obviously wanted to talk. It is interesting how people think it will be great to travel alone but always end up looking for community. We chatted for a while and moved on. The wind began to change to a more favorable direction and we rolled into Rawlings, Wyoming by 1:00pm. We tried to check into our room at the Comfort Inn but the room wasn't ready so we headed over to Burger King and waited. We are taking the day off tomorrow to rest and catch up on sleep and laundry. We plan to cross into Colorado in a couple of days which will be a milestone in our journey.
Rode 68 miles today.