Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 44 - Rawlins, WY to Sweetwater Juntion Station, WY. 83 miles.

I awoke with a dry mouth and my skin was leaking. Nature's alarm clock was beating down on me. I packed up slowly and headed across town to my northern route. But before I started I needed sugar and grease and McD's had just the right combo. After a solid gut-bomb I headed to the market where I ran into two other cyclists headed east. "Gear up, man." they told me. "There's nothing out there for miles. It's kinda creepy actually." I stocked up on carbs - bagels, gatorade, peanut butter and a chocolate eclair and headed north toward Muddy Gap junction, the point, at which, I would head west.

The ride climbed for miles until I hit a massive hill that I am thankful I didn't have to climb. It dropped over a thousand feet and in about 6 miles. The next 19 miles straight-lined into vastness, tons of traffic whizzed by, wind came from the west and the north, constantly changing, until the small, nothing town of Lamont, WY. From there I climbed over a short pass and cruised 11 miles into Muddy Gap Junction. The ride down was effortless as the wind suddenly changed and raced down the valley at my back. Sweet.

There I stopped at a small gas station that seemed to be a mirage. There I met another cyclist heading to Denver. A doctor who had some time to kill and why not just kill it on the road. I gave him a bagel as he was bit unprepared for the 45 mile haul to Rawlins. The man was most likely going to get stuck in between.

In the gas station a tip jar stood full of washingtons. I went into the bathroom and discovered why. Due to the extreme location of this station, people mainly went in for water and el bano. A nicely drawn sign asked for tips to keep the bathroom clean. I dropped a single bill into the jar as I was thankful for the placement of the station and felt it deserved a buck for letting me use it's facilities and re-fill my water bottles.

It was a little after 2pm when I headed out, planning on getting to Lander, WY, 81 miles away. Well, my friends, that just didn't happen. The next 40 miles took a little over 5 hours due to violent wind. I say violent because it whipped all over the place, gusting without mercy, sending me and my bike all over the highway. But I will tell you that my route is full of history. Wyoming is very proud that people used to crawl through the state on a trail you may have heard of - the Oregon Trail. You know, that game you played when you were a kid. Hunting was the best part, killing deer and bison left-and-right. Anyway, I stopped just to have a break at every landmark. Feel free to read more about it, but that shit was crazy back in the day. There were some incredibly tough folks out there.

Needless to say, after being wind and sun burnt I rolled into the Sweetwater rest area where I threw up a tent and cooked some dinner. I even received a text about a full-time job when I return. But who wants to work a full-time job? I'd rather ride in violent wind. Ha.

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