Made an easy 78 miles today, across the Wind River Reservation to Dubois, the gateway to Togwotee Pass and the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range.
As always in a hotel bed, I slept later than usual. The breakfast spread was awful – a self serve waffle Baker that claim to be “America’s Waffle” and cold cereal were the only choices. The waffles tasted like cardboard, but I ate them anyway because I hate to waste food and even empty calories are leg fuel. I had several helpings of Cheerios, and hit the road at eight am.
It turned out to be a splendid day of cycling, as I crossed the Wind River Reservation, each bend revealing ever more splendid views of the snow shrouded Wind River Range, and eventually buttes and bright painted canyons. The wind, though light, was favorable. The scenery made the ride go quickly and I stopped for more pictures than any other day – maybe all other days – on the trip.
Lunch was in Crowheart. Crowheart Butte, it turns out, looks just like the island of Corvo in the Azores. Corvo means crow in Portuguese. Go figure.
The Crowheart Store was well stocked, and the first independent general store I have been into since Maryland somewhere. The people coming and going were very friendly, and the store doubled as a post office as well as a local crafts outlet.
On the way up to Dubois, I met another cross country cyclist on a geared up but lightly packed bike. This one stopped; his name is Rick, and he said he was supposedly in a race across the country. In addition to the rider east of Casper, I saw two riders yesterday with racing numbers on. The non-stop Bike Race Across America is a thing, though apparently they dialed back the competitiveness after fatalities in the race last year. And for Rick, non-stop means aiming for 90 miles a day and quitting in Omaha, since a recent promotion at the Monterey Aquarium where he works would not let him complete the ride.
Seven miles short of Dubois, under a blue sky dotted with those cumulus clouds that sailors take as a sign of fair weather, it began to rain on me. Then it began to hail, chunks of ice bouncing off my hastily donned raintop. Then it stopped.
I made Dubois just before five. Bill Mayo told me that they let bicyclists camp for free in the city park. Looking forward to finally breaking bread with some fellow cross country pedaled, I went looking for information about the town park. The people at the outfitter store told me camping was not allowed at the park. By the time I got to the visitor center, it was unstaffed, though the woman in the parking lot said if I camped in the park no one would bother me. I was tired of gypsy camping, so I called the KOA (I had been avoiding them). At first they said they had no tent site left because of river flooding (the story of this trip), but they agreed to make a space available. KOA rate for a tent is $38, more than I paid for a motel room in Davenport.
As I set up my tent, Tim, a pastor and youth minister from West Virginia, came over to talk. He was very interested in my trip, and the sailing adventures I told him about too. We talked motorcycles, too. His family camping trip I being cut short because the axle on their car broke. I invited him to join me for a beer at the Outlaw Saloon, but he is a non drinker. At the saloon, no one made eye contact with me (still wearing my bike shirt, but with respectable pants). I drank my $2 Bud quickly, left a $1 tip, and went back across the street to KOA land.
I was doctoring my toe after dinner – trying some ambesol to numb the pain, hey, if you can drink the stuff it probably won’t hurt your skin. Tim’s wife Kate was walking by with another camper named Noreen. When I excused myself for not standing up, due to my toe, Kate smiled and said “the good lord provides.” Noreen, it turns out, is a foot specialist RN from Iowa. She recommended immediate surgery – on my shoe. I reluctantly put my new shimano’s under the knife. Noreen also soaked the foot and inspected it, cut off a flap of skin, and confirmed there was no infection. So if you are ever in Iowa and need a foot specialist, I can definitely recommend Noreen Johnston, RN!
Tomorrow I attempt the 9500 foot Togwotee Pass over the Continental Divide