June 19, 2001

6/19/01 Rawlins, WY

66.8 miles

It still amazes me how far the temperature drops up here in the Rocky Mountains. It must have been at least 80 degrees yesterday, but this morning I could see my breath it was that cold. But after I got on the road, the impossible happened - no wind. Not even a breeze. I thanked the weather gods, but knew it might not last.

Made good time to Saratoga, but it was still pretty chilly. Had breakfast at "Mom's Kitchen." When I saw what I thought was a cinnamon roll, I ordered that in addition to French toast. But you should have seen my eyes bug out when she brought out this roll almost as big as the plate. Alas, I couldn't eat the whole thing.

Before I left town, I went in search of the famous hot springs. The city maintains a 24-hour "hobo pool" next to the city pool. You could see the steam wafting off the large wading pool. And no sulfur smell! Some times like this, I wish I was with someone on this trip to share things like this hot spring.

Outside the city there is the Storer-Saratoga Lake Wetland. You could see evidence of salt, probably from the hot springs. Plus, I'm sure the warmer water helps grow things more abundantly. Believe it or not, I watched a whole flock of pelicans from an observation blind.

Besides my quick little friends, the groundhogs, I saw a few groups of Pronghorn Antelope and a few deer. Otherwise, it was just open range land for miles.

I can't remember if it was an interstate highway I rode on in Kentucky, but I sure was on one today; I-80. And to make matters worse, one side of the highway was closed for over 10 miles due to construction. At least my side of the road had a huge shoulder. That is the nice thing about Wyoming - all the roads have shoulders.

Finally got off of I-80 at Sinclair. As I passed a huge refinery, I realized that this is home of Sinclair Oil (you know they have the symbol of a green dinosaur). One of the few other businesses in town was the "Su Casa Café," highly recommended in the guidebook. And they were right. I think I will be a blimp when this trip is over as I eat my way across the USA.

Sinclair Oil Refinery

Next stop, Rawlins. Probably one of the easiest entries into a large city on this trip. I stopped to talk to the girls working at the Wyoming Frontier Prison. Nice museum, but I passed on the tour. The only campgrounds were off route on the other side of town.

The sign said $14/tent at the Western Hills Campground and I started to ride away. But I decided to stop and ask anyway. Wow, what a place - grass tent sites, shower and bathrooms, TV room with cable - all for $6. My wonderful host, Doreen, gave me the low-down on local restaurants. After a shower, I rode down to "Cappy's Restaurant."

How do I find myself in these situations? I mean, they fed me too much! Soup, salad, lasagna, and spaghetti, plus toast. I know I said I was going to cut back on my restaurant eating, but I'm a people person. Just like in my "normal" life, I hate eating alone. So, when I find myself camping alone, I just feel the need to be around people. Like at a restaurant. And the bummer is that I couldn't even finish my dinner.

Wyoming Frontier Prison

Once back at the campground, who should I find but Willem. He said he didn't even make it to Riverside yesterday because of the winds. He stopped at the first house outside of town. And, besides getting a place for his tent, he also got dinner. He tried in Rawlins, but had no luck, and then he saw my tent set up in the campground. He thinks he'll take tomorrow off, but I have a feeling we'll see each other more before we end up in Astoria, Oregon.

Willem from Amsterdam

With the long stretches of sameness along the road, I have a lot of time to think. Yesterday it was a "next" trip called "Lewis, Clark, & Jim" following the route of their 1804 trip up the Missouri. Maybe I could get grant money/sponsors by being an amateur naturalist, recording my discoveries, just like Lewis & Clark. Live interactive classes via the internet with a group like Earthworks would be good, too. How about using one of those white water river rafts with an outboard motor. I'd need an awning so the boat could double as a houseboat. Either a bike or lightweight motorcycle would allow exploration away from the river (and help with re-supply). This would be high tech, a real amateur scientific expedition. With all the excitement of the Lewis & Clark expedition, 2004 would be a great year to be on the river. Maybe even following the route to its end at the Pacific Ocean.

Today was different. I was thinking way ahead, to a time when I'd settle down with someone. How to make a living, but also follow dreams as we get older. I need some property to build on, maybe three buildings: the "Wandering the World.com" internet complex (really just a two room shack). From there, I could offer internet access, do some internet consulting, and maybe even do some web site hosting for local businesses. The other half of the building would be used for music lessons (I'll teach violin and guitar while my wife would teach piano) and massage therapy.

The second building would be a copy of the miner's cabin I saw in Frisco to rent out as a cabin. I'd target folk singers/musicians for that perfect getaway. A close small town with an open mike bar/restaurant would be a plus. Besides a log bed with homemade quilt, loveseat couch in front of the fireplace, closet in one corner, while in the other a complete information/entertainment center (computer, TV, phone, and maybe midi-keyboard), the building would be a highly efficient log home (maybe timber-frame construction or double layer log with packed earth insulation). Other possible additions would be a jacuzzi or maybe a thermal patio/greenhouse. This could be our residence for the off-season, but mainly would be rented out as a cabin. The emphasis would be a winter hideaway with outside opportunity for 10 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails or for snow shoeing.

The last building would be a dual one. In summer, my houseboat would be outside, while underneath the roof would be a boat under construction. In winter, my boat would be moved under the roof by floating in a channel. This would be the basis for Dragon's Breath Boat Building - houseboats in the canal style of Europe.

And, last, there would be an open area for cross-country cyclists to tent. How about a shelter with a composting toilet, solar shower, and a few bunks and covered table.

As you can read, my mind works overtime. Now, if only I could find my granola girl in a sun dress to join me on this adventure called Life (fingers crossed with a smile).