Day 33, Walden, CO – Saratoga, WY 68 miles (2415 total)
July 13, 2008
Time on bike: 5:54:21
Daily Ascent: 2754 ft (41 ft/mi)
Max: 47 mph
We tried to beat the cold by starting later (6am) and having breakfast first. Both good choices. It was cool but not cold by the time we started. We had camped at a city park and 2 other cycling groups camped next to us. One was a group of 3. Mark went over to small talk and brag about being 47 and doing this kind of trip, only to discover that 2 of them were in their late 50s and the other guy was 72!
We headed north towards the Wyoming border. Winds at our backs, cruising along at 20mph without a problem! Bluest skies you’ve ever seen without a cloud in sight! And if that wasn’t enough, the most picturesque snow covered mountains were sitting off to our right for the next 15 miles as if God had painted them there himself just for us. I know I say this a lot and I certainly think it more, it was just unbelievably beautiful and one of those mornings that makes you glad to be alive, glad to be on a bicycle and to wonder why you’d ever want to do anything else in life but ride a bike around God’s amazing planet!
We climbed a moderate hill and to our pleasant surprise there was a magnificent downhill beaconing for us to go all out. Mark and I both hit 47mph without really realizing that we had done it. This area and on into Wyoming is desolate to say the least. Still pretty, but void of anything other than cattle.
Up ahead was a lady on a recumbent bicycle. The 4th we’ve encountered. Unbeknownst to us we were on the state line for Wyoming. Judy, I think her name was, was a solo rider and as nice as could be. She reminded me a great deal of my cousin Dixie. Free spirited and fun to talk to. She warned us of a restaurant in the next town. She said there were 2 and that the one had a rude lady who basically threw her food down on a plate and wasn’t nice to her one bit, though she tried her best to butter her up.
As we cycled on, the wind seemed to pick up and shift. Before we knew it we were peddling into a diagonal cross wind which felt about like a direct head wind. Our speed changed from 20 mph to about 11. We rode through rolling sagebrush and not much else, just waiting to get into town for our lunch.
We finally arrived and found 2 restaurants. Pat was parked at one so we went in, but had a feeling that it was the wrong one. Didn’t take long to find out. I had just plugged my laptop into an outlet when a very plain looking lady approached me and said, “you should ask before you do that.” “Do what? Plug in my laptop?” “Yeah.” “Well then, is… it… ok if I plug in my laptop?” “Yeah, but you should ask next time, k?” Mark shot me a look as if to say, “Sheesh, guess this was the other restaurant.” We went ahead and ate there and tried our darndest to be friendly, but we couldn’t sweeten this lady up one bit. We’ve had problems in these restaurants. It’s as if these small town people don’t want others around. As if they’re just sick of tourists who come to ski and see the mountains and cycle through their towns. Not an ounce of friendliness. And believe me when I say this, Mark can sweeten someone up and even his charms had no effect on her. She was clearly the owner as well and she did work up a storm while she was there getting everything ready, but man, were we ready to get back on the bikes. Pat wanted to stay for some reason, reasoning that the camp site was a good one, but we had only biked 50 miles by that point and that’s a lame amount to stop at.
We wanted to cycle more, we really did, but unfortunately towns are so spread out that if we didn’t stop here after about 68 miles, then the next decent town was 42 miles away. Not happening today, so we’re going to bed down somewhere here tonight. Currently I’m at a laundry mat which has free Wi-Fi. It closes in 15 minutes so I gotta get this done and get to our site. It’s been a good day but I’m tired and ready for bed. This trip is absolutely amazing. 3 states to go after this but it’s good to be in Wyoming and headed for the beautiful country that lay ahead!