September 8, 2001

9/8/01 Rawlins, WY

71.3 / 7381 miles

Argh!!! I'm sick as a dog. Guess my cold is really the flu; scratchy throat, stopped up sinuses, sore muscles and a wracking cough that kept me up all night. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Guess it shouldn't surprise me to see all the surrounding mountains blanketed in white snow. The waitress at the café said they're calling for scattered snow all day statewide, just not at the passes. Wonderful! At least there's no wind and the cloud-cover should keep it from getting too cold. I hope!

The trouble when it gets colder is regulating body temperature. I had most of my cold weather gear on but it didn't take me long to figure that was a mistake. All of a sudden I could feel the sweat underneath it all. To reduce layers now would expose me to chills because of the wet clothing. My plan now would be just to keep going, stripping off layers slowly. Not a great plan but worth a try.

The clouds thinned out a little to let some sun to light up the landscape. The white mountains seemed to make the yellows and greens on the range even brighter. Add to that the 'big sky' views and I just rode on in awe of the scenery.

Stopped for a quick candybar and conversation at the Three Forks Gas/Store at Muddy Gap. Sadie, the junkyard dog, was much friendlier inside the story. The woman minding the station said the weather called for a repeat of yesterday; rain in the afternoon changing to snow. That means two days in a row of hammering out the miles to get to a campsite before it starts coming down. If only I didn't feel like crap because of this flu. I tried to keep my breathing slow enough so I could inhale through my nose, lessening the effect of the cold air in my lungs.

As I made my first Continental Divide crossing of the day, I began to ride across the Great Divide Basin. But even as I pushed hard across the some forty miles to get out of the basin, I could see storm clouds with visible rain behind me.

I pushed it as hard as I dared, not even stopping to take a break until I reached the base of my second Divide uphill crossing. My hope was that the mountains behind me would take some of the punch out of the storm system. I just wanted to be out of the basin when it built back up in intensity. Everything about this crossing was so different than last June. I didn't even stop at Grandma's Café in Lamont, WY, because I thought a break for lunch would let the storm catch me.

Sometimes, I'm amazed at how efficiently my body handles this adversity. Ascents over mountain passes always seemed such a struggle but today I literally flew up the road - not fast but very steady. I breathed a sigh of relief when I crested yet another pass, looking forward to a long downhill into Rawlins. But I had to laugh out loud, for when I crossed the city limits, a few pellets of sleet hit me. Ah, but it was too late and I was home free.

Even at 3PM on a Saturday, the traffic through town seems non-existent. I headed across town to one of my favorite RV campgrounds this whole trip, the Western Hills Campground & Trailer Court. Before I could utter a single word, Doreen exclaims, "You're still bicycling!" She was so nice to me the last time I was here. Guess I made an impression since she remembered me out of all the cyclists. Doreen was a little concerned about me sleeping in a tent because the temperatures tonight were to dip to the 20s and she didn't like the sound of my cough at all. "You get cleaned up and park yourself up in the lounge, relax and get warm." She said. "And there's hot tea with honey for that throat!" Now you can tell why I like it here.

I had promised a friend of mine back in Kansas City to visit her 82-year old great-aunt when I came through Rawlins. Vivian Murry had had a late lunch (if she had known I was coming today, she said she would have taken me to Rose's for Mexican food), so I stopped at Cappy's Restaurant for a bite to eat before heading over to see her. Vivian had been born in Marysville, KS, but had lived here in Wyoming for over 50-years. We had a good visit. She's awfully proud of her kids and especially her grandchildren. "But it doesn't look like I'll be getting any great-grandchildren yet." She said. "Those boys have no interest in settling down. Too much fun hunting and fishing when they're not working." We tried calling Claire back in Kansas City but it's Saturday night, so I wasn't surprised to get the answering machine. As I said my good-byes, I knew from the big hug that Vivian gave me, that I'll have another person worrying about me out on the road. I promised to send her a card when I finished.

Vivian ready to ride!

Later, I just sat in the lounge at the campground watching some TV. The weather channel is calling for cold temperatures tonight but a warming trend for the next four days. Might even reach 80-degrees tomorrow. That's a weather forecast I could life with.