September 7, 2001

9/7/01 Jefferey City, WY

58.8 / 7309 miles

I have a cold. All week, I've felt the sore throat intensifying and today was time for my sinuses to join in the act. I've been lucky to have had no sickness or illness during this bike trip. But I think my body is finally wearing down, so my resistance is low. We'll just have to see how it affects my cycling.

A little chilly as I rode out of town, but the sky was blue with nary a cloud. I was confused though because I seemed to have a headwind. With these crazy winds, no wonder people like Van Gogh do crazy things. All I could do was keep pedaling and hope the tailwind would find me eventually.

About the only time I warmed up was the five-mile climb just before Sweetwater Station. I remembered watching two eastbound cyclists struggle up this hill as I descended to Lander several months ago. Little did I know then that I too would have to climb back up it. Someone this morning said that we wee in for some rain or snow this afternoon. At first I didn't believe him because the sky was clear as a bell. But as I rode, things quickly changed.

In as little as two hours, the blue sky was covered with a blanket of clouds. Off in the distance, it looked to be raining. I only wanted to take a quick break at Sweetwater Station but ended up talking with Rick, who runs the store/gas/bar with his wife, and a motorcyclist headed north towards Yellowstone.

Straight nothin'

Sometimes I just talk too much. I only had nineteen more miles to go to Jeffrey but the dark mass of clouds looked determined to get there first. The terrain was mostly rolling flatland almost in a straight line. Because of the storm winds pushing behind me, I was able to kick it up into high gear. What I sure didn't want was to get caught in the rain out on this open range. Every time I felt a drop, I lowered my head and pushed myself harder. The nineteen miles soon ticked off down to ten, nine, eight, seven, and it looked like I just might beat this storm. Because I was so intent on the dark clouds seen in my rear-view mirror, I didn't notice that rain could be seen ahead of me on the left horizon. It was now or never. Push! Spin! Hammer! Four, three, two miles to go.

Push, push, push

Every time a car passed me, I tried to see if it was wet or had wipers on. Finally, I crested a hill and saw the buildings of Jeffrey City. Instead of setting up camp, I headed straight for the Split Rock Bar/Café to get out of the cold wind.

After getting some warm food in me, I felt much better. Visited with a Missouri couple who have some property near hear raising cattle. And the waitress's little girls entertained us all. About 4PM, I could see rain drops begin to splatter the windows of the restaurant and decided I better get camp set up fast in case this storm gets worse.

Last time I was through here, I camped at the abandoned Lion's Club Park. This time because of the wind and rain, I tried setting up my tent inside the covered pavilion, using bricks to hold down the tent instead of stakes.

Already it's been raining for a while and the temperature has dropped dramatically. Looks like we might have snow in the morning after all. I'm warm in my sleeping bag and not to enthusiastic about getting out to cook. Maybe I'll just have a few breakfast bars and get some rest.