Sunday, August 14, 2016

Days 53, 54 & 55: Literal and Figurative Bunkers

Walden, CO to Saratoga, WY to Rawlings, WY to Jeffrey City, WY
3 Day Mileage: 67.6 + 47.1 + 71.2 = 185.9
Total Mileage: 3,267.3
3 Day Average Speed: 13.0 / 13.7 / 13.2
3 Day Elevation Gain: 2,466 / 1,285 / 1,829
Day 53
Like I said, I woke up spooning David cuddling my sleeping bag in the freezing 41 degrees. Despite what I thought falling asleep, I didn't hit snooze. I woke up right away, packed my sleeping bag and tent and began making breakfast. 
I kept my down Patagonia on until the last moment, but that didn't stop my toes and fingers from freezing. However, just like Breckenridge, that temperate made me feel alive.
Marion and David were heading to Riverside, WY today, about 18 miles south of Saratoga, but I chose to ride with them for the company. David was also happy to have fresh ears other than his father's.
It's amazing how a bond like cycling across the country and fast forward relationships. Maybe it is just the want for interesting discussion, but David and I quickly told stories of past and present relationships and he had a lot of great stories about a motorcycling trip he took around Central and South America.
We jammed out through his speaker during the final miles of Colorado until we hit an oil spill from a trucker accident. We were only temporarily held up, passed the incident, and continued our way to the Wyoming boarder.
Eight quick miles later... My 12th state of the trip is here! Wyoming, forever west.
Shortly after crossing the boarder and making our way up the biggest climb of the day (it wasn't that big) we ran into a tandem couple from New York! Although they were struggling and going very slow, (even taking almost every other day off to rest) they were both very upbeat and happy to be meeting two people who live in New York.
David and I battled headwinds until we reached Riverside. With Marion trailing, we made our way into one of the two bars in Riverside for a late lunch and a few beers.
I said a "see ya later" to David and Marion after lunch and made my ride to Saratoga, WY. I had a warm showers host, Karim, set up and the free hot springs were calling me.
I figured I could do the 18 miles in an hour ten with the way I was feeling and how today progressed. Silly me...
The headwinds David and I fought earlier were back with vengeance.
The first 7 miles were fine, but I took a turn and all of a sudden I was being blown from Jasper. Not really, but if I didn't have 50lbs stuffed into my panniers then I undoubtly would have been in the bushes.
Now I had mixed emotions flowing... All of them mostly negative thanks to this wind.
I wanted to turn around and stay with the Mobley's. I wanted to get off a hitch a ride from a pick up. I wanted to call family for sympathy. I just wanted to stop.
I tried to distract myself with my audiobook, but the wind was more compelling. I couldn't focus except to complain and occasionally look up and scream bloody murder.
I snapped the struggles and Snapchat showed I was going 7.3 MPH. No shot. I was going no more than four. Even on the downhills, if I didn't pedal, I wouldn't have moved.
Like I always say though, one pedal at time I kept pushing. Nine miles became seven and then there were 3, then 2 then who cares about 1 mile. You can deal with anything for a measly mile.
I made it to Karim's in Saratoga! We went straight to the hot springs. They were glorious.
Karim said it was a little cooler than usual but it was perfect for me. The main spring, I was told, is about 115-120 degrees. I dipped a foot in, squinted, and yanked it out. Karim said he's seen two people in there the 3 years he's lived there. Good, I thought I was being a bitch haha...
Karim was an excellent host. After all I am his 88th Warm Showers host. He made me spaghetti and sweet potato fries and a salad. Nothing like carbing a load!
The Mobley's reminded me of a meteor shower tonight that my mom probably told me about a month ago. I told Karim I was going to be up at 3 AM to watch and he said he'd probably join me.
After two beers with Karim, I was asleep and back up in 5 hours for the shower.
It was mesmerizing. Karim and I watched one meteor every 30 seconds jet across the star filled sky. Some were small like any shooting star, but a few tore a temporary hole through the black leaving a blue trail of fire. It was like staring into a candle's flame in pitch darkness, then closing your eyes only to still see that light stamped on the inside of your eyelids.
With the cold creeping up my legs, 10 minutes was a good enough show for me, so I headed back inside with the hopes of warming up under my covers.
Day 54
Karim left me with the coffee pot and eggs for the morning. That is all one needs before a short day of cycling. 
I was going to ride all 109 miles to Jeffrey City because... Why not? Cycling is fun! Karim told me I could face serious headwinds and let's not mention I am so far ahead of schedule. I checked the map and saw Rawlins had a Walmart and wait for it... A golf course!
Fine, I'll do 47 miles by noon and golf... I don't need to be talked into that!
The headwinds were not bad at all. The worst part was having to get on interstate 80 for 12 miles. This is part of the Transam, it's on the maps, I promise you this was not a choice. Still, I-80 wasn't bad at all; it had a huge shoulder. 
I rode straight through Rawlins to the Rochelle Ranch Golf Course.
Me, 18 holes, rented clubs and a few beers in the cart's cup holder. I was all smiles.
Actually, I felt pretty lonely... I am usually golfing with friends or my dad and brother. I couldn't even get Spotify going due to lack of service. So I talked to my mom through holes 6-8, then birdied 9. Then I called my dad who helped me out of a bunker on 10 and guided me smoothly through 11.
I played the Antelopes, aka the blues
These calls cheered me up and I really started to enjoy the rest of the back nine. Also it was so gorgeous.
I ended up shooting roughly a 91 (a few mulligans) on a long course, with not my clubs, without having played in over two months. Besides that, it was just so awesome so golf.
I then made my usual Walmart stop for the two foot long sandwich for $5.45 and a bag of Doritos. I was going to camp, but it was basically a mud lawn for $23 so I went for the $45 motel... No tax...
It was a dumb, but I really don't care. It was a shower, bed and roof. Also, I just golfed... I am a happy man.
Or is this all just the Truman Show
Day 55
I packed up Jasper and was ready to roll just before 9 AM when I saw it.
My back tire was totally flat. Quick panic mode. Pump still broken, I called David and asked if he was still in Rawlins. He texted me last night when I fell asleep, "Dude, Rawlins is a dump!" He said yes and agreed to come over so I could use his pump.
$45 motel
I found the culprit, a small little pricker stuck through the tire.
Once he arrived I said good morning, he announced his hangover and I began to pump the fresh tube. 
BOOM! The tube blew.
David inspected the tire and laughed at how worn it was. One spot was worn through and he said it was probably the wire in the tire that will pop any tube.
Lucky me, David gave me his top of the line foldable tire and spare tube. For $88 bucks and the cost of a tube I was back in business! David really saved my day. He said he even enjoyed the additional 2 hours of rest to drink water for his hangover.
We rolled out at 11 AM and David was hurting. He struggled behind me and ended up puking, hoping for a cure.
Wyoming is pretty gorgeous. It's a mixture of Kansas and Colorado. Less corn and less pine trees. 
The best part today was approaching the crescent of a hill to unveil the cracked mountains of Wyoming.
Also got to throw up a few stickers!
Gas Stations covered in signatures
After a pit stop David and I rode to meet his dad at the church hostel in Jeffrey City. 
Hostel in Jeffrey City
Jeffrey City is an old town that grew to the thousands due to findings of Uranium for the war in the 60s. Now it is an abandoned town of 52. However, there is a great church here that is basically a hostel for cyclist.
Entrance to the hostel. Basketball anyone?
A cyclist left a great touring tire here. This is what you call a trail angel. I was able to replace my front tire with this one thus saving me money at the bike shop in Lander tomorrow. All is good!
We met Colin here from DC traveling west and it looks like it will be us four through at least Yellowstone!

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