My anxiety started to abate when I got on my bike on 7-08-16 and headed out of Rawlins, Wyoming. The first 26 miles were a joy…steady riding with beautiful ranch land and not a care in the world. Then, the Big Dipper, like in roller coaster, knocked the smugness out of me. The unfortunate thing about riding solo is that there is no one to take any photos of you pushing your bike up these unforgiving hills. It would probably look comical from the rear.
I was reluctant to go too fast downhill just trying to delay the inevitable of having to get off the bike and start pushing again. Later in the day a young kid rides up besides me and asked if I would like to ride with him. It was a nice of him, but I informed him that I was wasted and was looking for a place to set up camp. I could see him vanishing over the next monster hill as I pulled off on to a small gravel road and scouted for a place to bed down. I was so wasted that I rolled out my sleeping pad and laid flat on my back…that’s all the energy I could muster…I was running my empty.
After some time, I finally was able to set up my tent and make a home for myself. No dinner. I was just too exhausted to fix it, and where was Beverly, anyhow. I was able to take a couple of nice sunset photos because I was camped out on a bluff. I guess there are some things that you’re never too tired to do. In the middle of the night I went outside barefoot, to see a man about a car and like wow!!! I felt like I was walking on hot coals. Actually, the ground was covered with stickers. I think they call them Texas tacks. I rode 42 miles that first day.
The next day I rode only 12 miles, adding the accumulated effects of the day before with more monster hills. There’s a photo of my tent set up in the brush. Charlie had better accommodations in the Vietnam jungle. I spent the day trying to get my energy back by taking it easy and eating more and filling up on water. There was a stream nearby and I used my water filter. Another fly in the ointment, so to speak, were these pesky biting flies that just wouldn’t leave you alone. When I got inside my tent I would spend more than forever swatting flies against the sides of my tent with my cap.
Sunday started out nice, going through Aspen Alley (check out photo) and then riding on State highwway 70. Then, it was back to gravel with those nasty hills. There is a photo of a road that rises forever. I can’t remember how many miles I rode and pushed but I finally set up camp off the side of the road (check out photo). Actually, while I was struggling to get my bike and trailer up on this knoll, this carload of Charlie Manson lookalikes stops and does all the work for me. I bet they’re still talking about this crazy old man on the side of the hill. Also, there’s a photo of cows staring at me through the fence.
Well, things finally improved on Monday when I made it to Steamboat Lake. It was a relatively short ride but I wasn’t going to by pass up luxurious camping, like level ground and a table to eat on. In case you wondering, the last shower was in Rawlins. By the way, I’m writing this piece from a motel room in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I did shower. I have a lot to say about Steamboat and several photos but I’ll save those gems for the next episode.