Wow, 40 days on the road! That puts us at approximately 2/3 of the way to our final destination.
We had a great stay at the Douglas KOA last night. The owners, Jodi and Dirk, were very welcoming and shared stories of their extensive bike touring around Europe (on a tandem!). The campground was filled with rabbits, and I’ve been told that Douglas, Wyoming is where the Jackalope was first spotted in the late 1800s.
I’ll probably get an hour or so headstart on Michael today, but I’m sticking around the KOA until 7 a.m. so that I can get in on the “all you can eat” pancakes for $5!
Update (10:00 p.m.): What a day. Michael describes the day metaphorically as “aborting a landing in Scranton, and re-routing the plane at the last minute to Austin. ” In other words, we salvaged a potentially bad day.
Let me explain…
After our pancake breakfast (Michael ate 5, and I ate 7), we hit the road with an hour or so of distance between us. The day started off on the interstate, which wasn’t an issue. Once we both got on the old highway at Glenrock, the winds started to become unbearable: 15 knots of direct headwind for the rest of the ride, with gusts above 20 knots.
I stopped at the Glenrock grocery store for a quick fruit smoothie before heading on. When Michael made it to town, he stopped at Copper Leaf Coffee & Creamery, where he took some time to recover mentally from the unforgiving wind while getting an ice cream. He was served by the owner’s son, a twelve year old, who was a big Denver Broncos fan.
As I departed from Glenrock, and a few miles down the road, I saw a few touring cyclists in the distance headed the same direction. I caught up only to find that I had already met these cyclists, way back in Indiana on Day 21. Tim was still trucking along on his bike, still headed for Utah, and apparently had even stayed at the same KOA as we had last night! Rather than riding with Kim, who I had met back in Indiana, I met Kim’s twin sister (whose name I forget). After catching up with them, I rode on ahead.
The wind was relentless. I had difficulty pushing faster than 10 mph most of the time, and couldn’t stop pedaling downhill, otherwise I’d roll to a stop.
As a side note, I didn’t take any photos from the road, because I couldn’t effectively show you the wind through a photo.
Once finally arriving in Casper, I made a detour to Walmart to stock-up on food, anticipating our departure from civilization on our ride tomorrow. Michael did the same once he arrived in town. In my extra time, I visited the local bike shop (so I could carry three spare bike tubes over the Tetons), and met a local bike tech, whose name is also Michael.
After a quick bite to eat, I headed to the KOA north of town. It was in a run-down area, on the interstate access road past a junk yard and old commercial properties that have long since been abandoned. Still, I checked in, and was led to the tent site, which was a small patch of mostly loose sand and gravel. I couldn’t find a place to set up my tent where my stakes would stay in the ground. After an hour or so of trying (and failing), Michael showed-up and immediately made the executive decision that we wouldn’t be staying there.
Let me note: By no means are we being snobby about camping and roughing it, but this particular KOA campground was not suitable for tent camping. The sand/gravel lot, uneven surfaces, lack of shade, and sparse amenitites could all be overlooked if we were in an RV/camper–but all together didn’t work with tents!
So Michael made a reservation at the Hampton Inn, 3.5 miles down the road–which would take us back into Casper with the wind at our backs! We quickly rode out of the campground (before the nail set in the coffin of what would have been a miserable day on the road) and headed to our new digs.
After checking in and getting cleaned up, we decided to head downtown to see a movie. I recommended “Despicable Me 3.” It was an okay movie, but the reclining chairs in the theater made it worth the trip!
We swung by a local bar to grab a beer, giving me time to write this post (sorry for the lateness of it!). Basically, we turned a day that was aiming to be miserable into one that was actually pretty enjoyable.
Now we’re off to sleep in beds rather than tents, and we’re looking forward to a complementary breakfast in the morning before our long day on the road tomorrow!
Check out the Relive video here. It doesn’t include the last segment (to the hotel) but pretty much captures the day otherwise!