5 April 2016, Rawlins, Wyoming

Hi all,

I am currently in Rawlins, Wyoming at a hotel. It’s been a pretty interesting couple of days; I will try to catch up with this post. I mentioned that the talk went well, but I forgot to add that I experienced wonderful hospitality while in Laramie at the home of Jazlynn Hall, and her boyfriend Rob. Thanks guys!

I got an early start out of Laramie the morning of April 4th, headed to Medicine Bow. On the way I got a good view of the Snowy Mountains. Years ago, I biked over these mountains–which doesn’t sound like a lot until you recall that my bike weighed 80 pounds.

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The Snowy Mountains are old–they actually predate the Rockies. I really enjoyed the first part of this ride; most BLM land and ranch land with a couple of small communities.IMG_0017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone recognize the old car on the left?

 

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About 1/2 way through the ride, the wind began to blow. It was a tough 30 miles to the town of Medicine Bow, but nothing that a cold beer at the local pub couldn’t fix. The bartender advised me that the wind doesn’t generally start blowing until 10 AM, so I was determined to get out of my tent at 4:00 AM, so I could be on the road with first light.

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At about 6:30 AM, the wind started to blow again. I thought, “Hey–the wind isn’t supposed to start until 10!” But come 10 O’clock, it DID start, and with a vengeance. I was blown off the road several times, once falling off of the bike. The wind was much colder than I had anticipated, and I was beginning to really get concerned. The only way I could keep warm was to keep pushing into the wind; whenever I would stop I would start to shiver. I came across a small outcropping of rocks where I was able to hunker down for a while. This gave me a chance to put on another pair of socks (my feet were numb). My speech was beginning to slur and I was finding it hard to make decisions–classic signs of the beginning of hypothermia. Getting out of the wind helped. But, when I sat down in the rocks, something poked me in the backside. I am pretty sure it was part of a cactus.

When I got back onto my, I took a few pedal strokes and noticed that it was getting hard to pedal. A rope had fallen out of my bags and got wrapped about the rear hub. It took me 30 minutes to untangle it. After a while, a nice woman from Rock Springs came by in her truck and offered to let me sit in it a while to warm up. Thanks whoever you are! When I got out of the truck, I could feel something on my backside. I had a welt the size of a golf ball–probably from the cactus.

Have I mentioned that the wind was really bad? For those of you in Colorado, imagine riding in the Triple Bypass (a 120 mile ride with 11,000 feet of vertical gain) and how you feel after doing that. Now suppose at the completion of that ride, you realize that you have only traveled 21 miles. And, there were no passes! That is how hard those 21 miles were.

I eventually got to the turnoff for Hana (a small town a few miles north) at about 1:30 PM. I found a structure there and parked my bike in front of it so that I could be out of the wind. And, I stayed there for about 2 hours until my friend Craig Blumenshine came by with a coworker. Craig wanted to shoot some video footage of me on my bike for a special he is doing for Wyoming PBS.

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One of the problems with scheduling speaking engagements on a bicycle tour is that you can’t plan the weather. My lecture in Riverton is this coming Friday evening. My schedule has me arriving in Riverton on Thursday night. In theory, I could just camp anywhere (short of today’s destination of Rawlins) and use the buffer day to cycle until I get to Riverton. However, if I encounter another day like this one, then I wouldn’t make it to Riverton. And, the wind is supposed to blow tomorrow too, but it should be warmer at least. My fear was that I wouldn’t make it to Rawlins even with 2 days cycling in the wind. So, Craig offered to give me a ride to Rawlins and that is what I did. Yep. I skipped 40 miles.

Now I know that some of you are thinking, “Wait a minute. This is supposed to be an around-the-world bike ride. Now you have an embarrassing gap in the middle of your ride! That’s not fair.” OK–let me put it this way. In between the continents are these things called “oceans.” Those are some pretty impressive gaps. I’ve just added an additional smaller gap in my ride. And, since I have toured this route before, strictly speaking, I have already covered it. And, I suppose, that I could always come back and ride it at the end of the tour just to say I did. There. Feel better?

Actually, this does raise a question that I will need to address soon. Have I planned enough buffer days into my route? I am thinking not. After Riverton, I have scheduled 4 more lectures that have firm dates. After Calgary, I am likely to do things a bit differently.

Tomorrow, I am highly motivated to make it to Jeffry City. The first half of this ride is North, but then I head west again. I may need to use that buffer day of the 8th after all. My next internet connection will likely be Riverton, so I will be dark for a day or two. See you then!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott

4 Responses to “5 April 2016, Rawlins, Wyoming

  • David Stischer
    2 years ago

    Wow. Sounds like you are having quite an adventure. Glad you have met some nice people that could help you out. Keep up the good work and have a great visit in Riverton.

  • Rich Dixon
    2 years ago

    Don’t worry about the miles. There will be plenty of them before you’re finished!

    Keep cranking.

    • Bill Hayden
      2 years ago

      Tracking your adventure! The car may be a 1950 Packard.

  • Scott, Loving your updates. The wind can be your friend, but doesn’t sound like it so far. Keep on peddling and taking pictures!

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