Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 35, Why are you so unfriendly, Wyoming???

Day 35, Rawlins, WY – Sweetwater Station, WY 85 miles (2542 total)

July 15, 2008

Time on bike: 6:48:06

Avg: 12.8

Daily Ascent: 2455 ft (29 ft/mi)

Max: 40 mph

It’s tough to get an early start when you have a warm, soft bed to sleep in for the night. Sleeping in a tent just isn’t restful, but a hotel on the other hand… Mark and I got off to a late start this morning after a fabulous continental breakfast at Days Inn. Pat left our company yesterday so it was our first day just Mark and I plus my first day dragging my trailer in about a week. We left Mark’s car there in Rawlins where he’s planning on getting a bus back to there from Jackson, WY.

The morning was beautiful with sunshine and a gentle uphill which lead to a great, slow, gradual downhill. We crossed the continental divide 2x today. In case you’re wondering, the continental divide is the divide that separates where rain water is going to end up. If it rains on the east part of the divide, the water’s going to eventually end up in the Atlantic and on the west side, then towards the Pacific Ocean. Cool, huh? I just learned that the other day.

It seems that the further north you go in Wyoming the friendlier people are. Our first stop of the morning was at Grandma’s Café where we had our lunch. It was really the only thing in this town and the only building we had seen for 30 miles. Grandma’s was quaint and they were very clear to mark with signs that restrooms were ONLY for paying customers!

On to Muddy Gap where there was a convenience store managed by Dennis, a heavy set but very friendly guy who was wearing a shirt that read, “What wind? –Muddy Gap, WY” I hear that the winds can get up to 40-60 mph in these flat lands. We talked to friendly Dennis for quite a while and signed our names on the wall of the store with sharpie markers. He said that they used to repaint every spring, but they liked the way the signings looked so they’ve left them up for the past 3 years. Maybe when I come back someday I’ll still see my name written there??

We are still high up. The altitude here is 6,500 feet. Higher, in fact, than Denver Colorado. The average elevation of Wyoming is 6,700 feet! We stopped for an early supper, because there’s really no where else to stop along our route, at a little restaurant/bar. Another unfriendly bar owner. It’s really amazing to us. It seems like people would welcome bicyclists. We bring business and we talk to every biker we see and recommend places to eat up ahead. We also discourage them from eating at certain places. For example, the ‘locals’ next to us were given free popcorn as an appetizer upon entering, we weren’t even greeted. One man headed back to the bathroom and the owner yelled, “The light switch is on the outside,” but when I went before him I wasn’t told anything. After we had ordered and she started ringing up our food I told her we were paying separate. What 2 guys come in to eat together and pay together?? She huffed and puffed as if I had asked her to bike the rest of the way with me. It’s just unbelievable that people go that far out of their way to be unfriendly to people they’ve never met.

The rest of the day was just a nice day for biking. Some head winds but they died down in the late afternoon. Mark and I talked about all kinds of thing. I think we were both just so appreciative to be outdoors on bicycles surrounded by sagebrush and rocky mountains on either side. Appreciative of each others friendship and ability to do this together even if it is just for a short time.

We’re camped out tonight in Sweetwater Station with the father and 12 year old son. The mother and 10 year old daughter are also here. The mosquitoes are unbelievable here. At one point, Mark and I had to stop our bikes and coat ourselves in mosquito spray because they were all over us. The camp site is called Mormon Arts and Crafts. It’s a clean campsite and they let us here free. The bathrooms are amazingly clean, and there’s wireless internet, which I’m SHOCKED at to say the least. Just down the road is a diner that was closed when we got here at 6:30 and there’s a Rest Area with plenty of signs that read, “No Tent Camping” and “No Sleeping in the Lobby”. Overall it was a great day for riding, but I’m ready to get out of the arid south and into the scenic, beautiful northern part of the state and into Yellowstone!!

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