Getting an early start in Wyoming — closing in on Colorado
Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
I got up really early this morning at Sweetwater Station, Wyo.
I wanted to get a jump on the other cyclists, and I heard one of their alarms go off at 5. Yes, there is daylight at 5 a.m. out here. I slept very poorly. Though the day was hot, the night was cold. I put my sleeping bag on the top of a picnic table and underneath a pavilion shelter. It was just hard to get comfortable. Several times during the night, I laid awake and looked at the stars. They do look so big at the higher altitudes.
This morning, as I packed up my stuff to leave, a very cute lady came over and sat on my picnic table. She and most of her nine kids were here from Chicago to vacation and to visit some of the Mormon sites in the area. Laurie asked about my ride, why I wanted to do it, and told me about a son with leukemia who used to be a triathlete. She sent me on my way with a heaping bag of watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes. We had a very nice discussion with no one else awake.
I hit the road about 6:30 and had 20 miles by 8:30, 40 by 11. There were few hills in that portion of the day.
I barreled on through a little town with lots of empty military-looking barracks called Jeffrey City, then on to Muddy Gap, home of one store. Lamont had one cafe in need of repair. At Muddy Gap, I met two ladies in their 60s who were going to cycle across America in small chunks of about 4 weeks at a time. At Lamont, I met a cyclist headed west against a brutal headwind. We talked for awhile and he asked to take pictures of my maps. I asked why and he told me that his partner had deserted him the night before and took their maps.
At about that time, Highway 287 became a nightmare. For 19 miles, the shoulders were under construction and reduced to ground up asphalt. This meant that the cyclists had to stay in the lanes of traffic with lots of trucks, vacationers and others. To offset that, the tailwind that I now had was pushing me very well. I eventually got past that and climbed two more continental divides this afternoon. My day was complete by shortly after 4 p.m.
After 90 miles and probably eating 6,000 calories, I have had a good shower, have washed some of my clothes, and will soon be ready for a good night’s sleep. I’m in Rawlins, Wyo.
I promised my daughter some stats on the ride so far. I finished Map 5 of 12 today, and will start Map 6 tomorrow. With a long day, I could actually get into Colorado, state No. 5. After 25 days on the road, my mileage total is 1,667, or about 39 percent of the trip across America.
Freelance writer David Freeze lives in Rowan County. He was hoping to come across a good July 4th celebration, but said he will miss being at Faith. And he wishes his daughter Ashley a happy birthday today.