Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 45. Sweetwater Station Junction to somewhere between Lander and Dubois, WY. 95 miles.

I departed just after sunrise and put in a solid 40 by 9:30 discovering the beauty that is Wyoming. Rolling hills coated in green life, red cliffs and blue skies accompanied me the entire ride. Also, it was all downhill except the occaisional short climb.

I rolled into the local Lander libraray where I charged my phone, chattered with pals and charged my communication device. From there I went to breakfast where I was accompanied by a peculiar gentleman. I couldn't not tell if this man was drunk, handicapped, or possibly both. He wore a black, worn-out cowboy had that had long ago lost it's shape. A yellow windbreaker was keeping him warm but under it was a striped cowboy shirt. His jeans sagged low and his black boots were also worn-out. His skin was dark brown as if he had been crossing the desert and his hair was thinning rapidly. He seemed to have been talking to himself but I think he may have been commenting on my wool socks that stretched to my knees. It was hard to tell. As I sat down, I saw him stand and stagger his way over to my table and plop down in the seat across from mine. He looked at me and smiled a toothless smile and I welcomed him. He began to mutter something and outstretched his hand. I shook it. His name was Thornton and honestly something just wasn't quite right. He held up three fingers and muttered some more gibberish. I tried to decipher his speech but couldn't and he gave up trying to communicate what his three fingers were all about. We spoke about simple things such as where we were and where he was from as well as where I was going. He seemed confused by most things and had a lot of trouble understanding what I was talking about, at which point, he would grin his toothless grin in my direction. As my food came and I chowed, he began talking to himself and pointing in all directions. The waitress shot me a look like, 'you want me to get rid of this guy?' I shot back a 'no, he's good.' The man once again held up his three fingers and muttered, 'dollars.' 'Oh' I replied. Sure, I thought and threw him 3 bucks. As I finished eating he begged for one more dollar. 'you're sneaky, thornton.' I told him. 'You just hit me up for three and now you're asking for one more? you should have just asked for four. Sorry, bud but you're not getting another one.' I had a couple more singles in my pocket but I wasn't about to part with them purely out of spite. The man needs to work on his skills. He stood up and walked outside. I paid shortly thereafter and stepped into the now hot sun. Thornton was passed out on a bench.

I toured around town for a bit looking for a bike shop - nada. So I stopped into an ice cream joint and loaded up on dairy, which, i'm learning is a terrible idea. I headed out just after noon for the town of Dubois, 75 miles and 1000 vertical feet from Lander. The first 25 came with no problem, just some climbing, a slight breeze and some gathering clouds. As I turned to head west, dark clouds moved in, the wind picked up immediately and rain began to fall. As if it were written in the stars, a rest area came along and I stopped to wait. After 30 minutes it appeared as if I would spend the night there, though the area adorned a sign that read 'no overnight camping.' Well, what would the law officials expect me to do? I posted up in a picnic shelter, inflated my sleeping mat, got comfy and did one thing I haven't done this entire trip. I opened the book I brought along and started to read.

'Travels With Charley.' by Steinbeck. I picked this book up while traveling in Costa Rica earlier this year. I actually started it there but didn't make it too far in. I then started over in NYC and once again didn't make it too far. But under this shelter I picked up where my bookmark sat, started reading and remembered why I brought it. If you are a fan of Steinbeck you may notice that I am trying to emulate his writing style. Though I am no writer. I'm just a guy blogging on a computer for a handful of readers. Steinbeck is a writer and an incredibly deep thinker I am discovering and if I ever have the talent to think so deeply or write with such brutal honestly about myself, I'd be one.....well I don't know, because I am no writer.

It is Steinbeck and his story of traveling that has inspired this and past blog posts. The last few posts I've written have been absolute crap and for that I am sorry. After my Colorado rest I became lazy and have been leaving out important details. Perhaps not important, but details that truly make the story entertaining and interesting to read. I hope to improve as this trip continues on. One thing reading does to me is put me to sleep. Within a few pages I was snoozing away as the rain continued to fall. What I guess was a couple hours later, I awoke to sunshine and a slight breeze. I packed up as quickly as I could and set out to tackle the remaining miles to Dubois.

Well, the slight, but constant climbing and small breeze drained all my energy and I watched the sun fall behind the mountains. The hills and remaining clouds were drenched in pink light and then darkness as I rode down one last hill. In the distance I could see the road climbing back through some small hills and into the distance. On my left I noticed a large mound of dirt and behind it I thought a perfect campsite. A no tresspassing sign was posted as I crossed a cattle guard and cattle were sprinkled on a hillside above my newly found site. A river rushed below and I was hidden from the road.

I've become accustomed to leaving the rainfly off my tent at night so I can watch the sky grow dark and stars come out from hiding. (I'm trying to sound dramatic. Is it working? ha.) I was definitely short of my Dubois goal, but I thought, 95 miles is nothing to shake a stick at.

1 comment:

  1. wow. your attempt to be dramatic worked. I have goosebumps. you are really out there man. just you and the elements