Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 43 - Riverside, WY to Rawlins, WY. 60 miles.

A ride has really never been so uneventful as today's. It was a short 60 miles, so I didn't leave until nearly 2pm and didn't arrive until nearly 7pm on account of strong headwinds. But if you ask the locals, "today wasn't windy at all. you shoulda been her yesterdee" they told me.

I slept in a bit, had a large breakfast somthered in gravy accompanied by endless glasses of water and hot coffee. Today was the reason everyone had flooded to Riverside. The Woodchoppers Jamboree. I strolled up the hill to the event, paid my $7 entry, and sat next to my newly made bicycle-pals. I must say i was a bit late to the chopping on account I had just spent nearly 30 minutes talking to a wise old soul at the visitors center.

"They call me Cowboy." an old feller, dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a properly tied neckerchief told me. "well sir, they call me Andrew" I replied. Cowboy had been all over this great nation of ours, from NYC to SF to Texas to Seattle. Seemed to have a good business in each spot, whether it be a restaruant or ranch. He gave me a brief history lesson about my route through Wyoming and I gave him a brief history lesson on my ride thus far. After snatching a free WY state map, he handed me a business card and asked that I drop him a note when I finish my trek. "You got it, Cowboy."

Woodchopping is cool for about 20 minutes, unless you're drinking Bud Light, as all the spectators were. I, however, was not as I had a ride to do. I watched men and women with small chainsaws and large chainsaws slice through wood like butter. I watched man and woman teams hold large two-man saws and cut through fresh pine. One man, I felt badly for. He came all the way from Wisconsin to compete in this match and just shit-the-bed. He even had a special sheeth for his Xcaliber-ish saw. He started to cut and tear into the wood until his saw jammed. Then he'd get it going again, and once again jam. Sorry buddy, maybe next year. As the woodchopping ended a bbq started up near the ol' corral where I immediately headed, chowed some brisket, drank some Mtn Dews, said goodbye to my friends and walked back to camp. I'm fairly certain I'll see the frenchman in NYC. He'll probably even sleep on my futon.

As I said before, the ride to Rawlins was uneventful. Some ups and downs. Only a little wind until I reached I-80 to head west. Once I headed west, the wind so strong, it was a challenge to pedal downhill. I'm talking about being in the easiest gear and still working my ass off just to get moving. And I was on 80, so the semi's were ripping by, which actually was a blessing. These semis are just big wind-blockers, deterring the worst part of Mother Nature. I spent 20 miles on this stretch which took nearly 3 hours. Just brutal. So brutal I feel as if I was going insane, literally. So insane, I was talking to myself, singing, even letting out an occaisional yell just to keep myself moving. At any rate I rolled into RV World Campground just before sunset. Thanks again to the folks at

I stolled over to a local restaurant called Cappy's near my campsite where I enjoyed a wonderful dinner and some great coversation and then made some awesome friends. My bike was parked just outside where I could see it, but as I watched ESPN and enjoyed my food, I heard "Who's bike is that outside? I just ran it over." My heart immediately jumped and my head turned quickly. The bike was fine. A man, Bobby, strolled over to my table laughing. "So what's your story?" he asked. I dived right into the details and before I knew it, Bobby picked up my check, paid, and brought me a nice bit of soup for breakfast the following morning. As I packed my stuff up and began to head out, Bobby invited me over to his table to hang a bit. Turned out, his sister, Tina and her husband Jeff own the joint and they were sitting there too. There I met the whole family: Bobby's daughter, Rachel. Tina's daughter, Kristin and Tina's mother. I also met Bobby's best pal, Jim. Bobby and Jim had come up from Phoenix, AZ to remodel Tina's bathroom. It was only to take a week but three weeks later, here we all were partying at Cappy's. This is what traveling is all about.

I ended up partying with the family until 3am. We laughed, talked, danced and basically just had a good, solid time, just the few of us. Everything was on the house and I couldn't have been happier. I knew I had at least 124 miles to ride the next day and I was set on making it happen. But as you can imagine, a drunk mind is invincible and even stonger, though more unaware than a sober one.

As 3:30am rolled around, I climbed into a frigid sleeping bag. It can be 80 degrees during the day in Wyoming, but once the sun sinks below the horizon, the temps can drop to the 30s and 40s. I was not aware. Were you?

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