Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 34, Wyoming = wind

Day 34, Saratoga, WY – Rawlins, WY 42 miles (2457 total)

July 14, 2008

Time on bike: 3:05:39

Avg: 14.7

Daily Ascent: 1389 ft (33 ft/mi)

Max: 34 mph

Wyoming = wind. Last night we found and hung out at a local watering hole. No, not a smoky bar, but a hot springs. I’d never been to a hot springs before and MAN were they hot! It was open 24/7 and it also had showers available 24 hours a day, so we had to take advantage of it. We found some others there at the springs. One guy was a left tackle for the University of Wyoming standing 6’ 7” and weighing 310 lbs. They sure grow ‘em big out here. His brother was just a shade smaller than he was, but they were super friendly to talk to. The hot springs were actually too hot. You had to get in and just not move long enough to get used to it and then bury yourself up to your chin and just tolerate the pain until it became comfortable, and eventually it did. On a cool July evening (only in the mountains can a July evening be truly cool) it really hit the spot and we enjoyed talking late into the evening with the folks around there. One family was hauling 18 horses in 2 trailers from California. The horses were cutting horses and as Mark described them to me, they single out a calf from the herd of cows and the horse, with the rider not touching the reigns, has to keep the calf from getting back to the herd. Interesting, eh?

We found a super sweet spot to camp for the night, in town. We were supposed to camp out by a mosquito infected lake but we worked out a deal with someone in town. It’s so secret, in fact, that I agreed to not even put it on my blog, but just trust me on this, it was sweet!

Mark stayed behind in the morning to get his oil changed on his car but caught up with us a few miles down the road. Apparently the guy in town didn’t know if he could change the oil on a Prius so Mark decided to try Rawlins instead. The winds were very calm and we were doing 20 mph for most of the morning. The only road to Rawlins that was near us and that we were supposed to take was interstate 80, so we hopped on and headed there. We encountered headwinds and big trucks, but fortunately the shoulder was super wide and it didn’t prove to be much trouble, other than the constant noise. The fields surrounding the highway were lined with antelope almost everywhere I looked.

We got into Rawlins and ate lunch preparing to move on to the next town as we eventually approach the Grand Teton Mountains. Pat, however, decided that this was his final biking destination and that he was taking a Greyhound to Salt Lake City and then a train to Nevada where he’s heading to the Burning Man Festival, so we wished him well and promised we’d keep in touch. It’s been good to have him along, especially for something that wasn’t planned. We helped each other out, kept each other company and pushed each other along.

Mark had some business to attend to so we spent the afternoon in Rawlins which turned into the late afternoon which turned into the evening which turned into the night, so we got a hotel room and here we be. While at the library checking out friends websites and blogs, I stumbled onto some shocking news. Katie Reider, folk singer and songwriter from Cincinnati, died this morning after a 2 year battle with a rare tumor which started in her jaw and spread to her sinus, eye socket and in March of this year a spot developed on her esophagus taking away her voice and ability to perform. I read through a blog which was posted to inform her fans of her progress. She had gone from 125 lbs to 85 lbs and she lost her left eye and her face was disfigured from the surgeries. It was shocking to see it all and to process it and take it all in. Even now, as I type this, I’m just at a loss. I had met her only a few times but was inspired by her spunk, talent and music. I was on her site to see if she had any new albums coming out. I knew she was fighting this tumor but I wasn’t ready for what I found. Truly, a light has gone out. Katie, you will be missed.

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