Day 36, Sweetwater Station, WY – Lander, WY 40 miles (2582 total)
July 16, 2008
Time on bike: 3:55:49
Daily Ascent: 992 ft (25 ft/mi)
Max: 40 mph
It was as if we were the last living creatures on the face of the earth and the mosquitoes were going to feed on us as if their life depended on it. There were 3 groups of us bikers at the Mormon camp site last night and all of us were in our tents by 8pm because of the thick nest of mosquitoes. We all kind of figured that they would be gone by morning but instead I think they called in the morning shift to take over. We hustled to get our things packed before we could get eaten up too badly. Mark and I set out by 6am.
We ate a little bit of trail mix before we began and it was a good thing. The map only indicated that the nearest restaurant was 30 miles and it’d be 40 miles until the next town. That’s a long way to go before breakfast but we wanted to get a jump on the days cycling so that Mark could get to Jackson and the Teton Mountains as soon as possible so that he could then get back to his car in Rawlins.
We stopped for breakfast at a log-cabin looking restaurant which I believe was called Frontier. HUGE pancakes that were bigger and thicker than the plate they were on. Mark was so hungry that he ordered 2 to go along with his Mexican Breakfast Burrito. I had to eat his other pancake.
We spent the next few hours plotting out how he would get back from Jackson. We looked up bus routes, rental cars and trains. We talked about getting a ride from a trucker and even called a few lumber yards there to see if they had any trucks going in or out. I contacted my friend Angela’s dad who is the chief of police there in Jackson and he recommended some bus companies, but after checking it all out we couldn’t find an efficient way for Mark to get back, so we decided to rent a car here in Lander and just drive him and his bike back to Rawlins and then I’d drive it back. It worked out well, really. The winds picked up severely this afternoon and it even rained on us on the way back to Rawlins.
Driving back along the route we came was very surreal. It took 90 minutes to cover the same distance that we covered on our bikes in one day. After driving for a while I really just wanted to get back on my bike. The car was too fast and too superficial. It sped past the beautiful sights and I couldn’t smell the wind in the car. It felt cheap in comparison to what all I had done. I like the bike.
Mark and I said our goodbyes and he bought me supper at Peggy’s Diner. It was fantastic to have my friend Mark along for a week. We both talked about how we wished it could be longer and then made tentative plans to bike again together somewhere.
Along the way back I happened across some east bound bikers we had met the night before. They were off their bikes at the base of a loooooooong, steep hill. I circled back and asked if they were ok. Come to find out that they had been battling headwinds all day at a speed of “3 mph” and were mustering up the strength and courage to forge the hill ahead. I asked if they wanted a lift into Rawlins and they practically groveled at my feet in appreciation. Sometimes you just need a break from a long day of cycling. They called me ‘angelic’ and a bunch of other mushy names to express their gratitude for stopping to give them a lift. The winds do whip pretty badly here in Wyoming, so I was glad to give Dave and Katie a ride to town.
So, tomorrow I’ll be solo again for the first time since Illinois (by the way, a person from Illinois is called an Illinoisan). I’m looking forward to it, to be honest. I got in a grove last time. Just me and the road. Pray for my safety if you think about it. I’d appreciate it a lot!