September 9, 2001

9/9/01 Riverside, WY

62.8 / 7444 miles

Except for a few times getting up to go to the bathroom, I was nice and cozy in my down sleeping bag last night. Having morning tea with Doreen, she said it didn't get below 40-degrees. But with the howling wind, I put the wind-chill near zero. Even as the sun came up, the wind didn't seem to slacken up at all. Kind of hard taking a tent down when it's blowing all over the place.

Instead of the wind heading southeast like forecasted, it came straight out of the west. Unfortunately, most of my coming day is heading south. Not looking forward to a hard crosswind.

Left Rawlins behind, then Sinclair, WY, before getting on the interstate. After about six miles, I came to some major highway construction. Fortunately for me it was Sunday, so no one was working. I walked the bike across a new bridge and then rode almost seven miles on brand-new asphalt. Completely alone on the roadway, and lovin' it. One trucker noticed me from across the divided highway and tooted his horn.

Champagne asphalt and all mine!

The next twenty miles left the interstate heading south across a barren landscape; no ranches, no homes, no trees, not even any animals. The only thing to remind me of the rest of the world was the occasional car whizzing passed.

The sun felt good but the crosswind out of the west continued unabated. Eventually I reached the outskirts of Saratoga, WY, much later than I expected. Even eating breakfast on the go, it took me to 2PM to go 45-miles. Guess the crosswind and this flu slowed me down more than I realized.

I remember riding through here before, a little disappointed that I couldn't eat at Stumpy's Eatery. How could I resist when I saw the 'open' sign this time through. The very young ladies that were my waitresses proved this to be a family-run business, with everyone doing their part.

As I stated to eat, up walks another cyclist. Pete Smith had been traveling the Divide route from Butte, on his way to visit his brother in Silverthorn, CO. But Pete had been traveling it alone, finally deciding it would be safer to finish on pavement. We talked a bit and he told me he had just sold his part in the two bike shops in Helena and Butte. I think he already misses it. I gave him my schedule for the next couple of days if he wanted to camp together (he already had gotten a motel room in Saratoga).

The miles to Riverside had a few more signs of human habitation, but not much. These Wyoming winds are quite contrary! In a moment of déjà vu, I had to pedal downhill against the wind. Why me!

As I made my way to the Lazy Acres Campground, I noticed a lot of business at the Bear's Den Restaurant and Mangy Moose Bar. Signs reading "hunters welcome" finally clued me in to the post-summer travelers. Maybe I should get one of those orange vests. I would hate to be mistaken for a swift four-footed animal.

After signing up for a tent site, I noticed a young man at one of the trailers. "You're last name wouldn't be Murry would it?" I asked. Chance had me talking to T.J., one of Vivian's grandsons. He works for the forest service and she had said he had a trailer in Riverside but I hadn't thought it would be at this campground. I told him to give my best to his grandmother when he saw her next.

This flu has my mind moving with the speed of molasses. Had a burger at the Bear's Den but I can't recall any thoughts through my head at the time. Later, reading under the lights of the laundry building, Larry, the campground's owner and I had an interesting discussion about books, reading, collecting, passing on, etc. He completely understood me when I told him one of my most prized book possessions was a huge copy of the "Whole Earth Catalog." To me, it captures the essence of potential in the post-60's era. A new edition came out years later but it was a different time, thus not even close to the original. But the first volume is highly recommended.