July 19, 2006
Today I woke up around 8:30 or 9 and hit up the gas station in Walden for breakfast. I had coffee and two of those egg sandwiches out of the refrigerator that you put in the microwave. Salt. Yum.
It’s kind of ironic that I spend so much time at gas stations while traveling on a self-powered bicycle. A few days ago, a guy made a joke and asked, “Does your bike get good gas mileage?” It was during breakfast, and I waved the check for my meal in the air and said “Yeah, here’s what I pay for gas!” By the way, a gallon of regular in Walden, CO was $3.19 today.
I rode among this open range scrub brush all day, and I think I’ll be seeing a lot more of it before the end of Wyoming. I crossed the border into the state by noon.
Riding today was a lot of fun, with an occasional tailwind. I felt like I had a lot of energy. Playing with the radio kept me occupied for the first hour, until I came to where I couldn’t pick up a single station. The few songs that stuck in my head are It Never Rains in California, Harry Chapin Cats in the Cradle, Hollies Stop Stop Stop, James Brown Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Johnny Rivers Midnight Special, Cat Stevens Wild World, Elvis Suspicious Minds, and Grass Roots Live For Today.
Taking pictures of cows, horses, and scenery was good fun too, as always. It required some playing around to get wildflowers in the foreground of all those pictures, and coaxing large mammals into posing accordingly.
The other night my hitchhiker friend had a six pack of 24oz. Mountain Dew. “I love Mountain Dew,” he said, “Want one?” I replied no thanks – I didn’t want to be awake all night. He persisted “For tomorrow then?” I’d been carrying it with my gear all day long yesterday and forgot about it, so I remembered it today and drank it in the middle of nowhere, providing a nice little energy kick.
Last I checked, Wyoming has the lowest population of any US State… lower than Alaska… lower than Hawaii… lower than Rhode Island. Now look at a map. Wyoming is pretty big.
I hadn’t talked to my mom since Pueblo, Colorado, so I emailed today and wrote, “I have no cell reception. The population density around here is about one thumbnail per square mile, so it may be a little while until I can call again.”
I met a guy on his bike today who’s working at a ranch here for the summer. He rode the TransAm route a few years ago, and clearly enjoyed talking to me, telling me what to expect up ahead. Just like when I get done with this, I’ll miss the similar conversations like this one today, where we said things like: “Which way does the wind usually blow around here? Is there good camping in Saratoga? Have you seen any westbounders lately?” I remembered to have him take some pictures of me, but never got his name.
I rode by some awesome “fields of gold,” if you will, and came to the first significant town of the day – Riverside. Gee, it only took me 50 miles to get there. For lunch I had a orange soda and a container of six glazed donuts. After the meal, I made the mistake of reading the nutritional information on the donuts, and learned that I’d just consumed 30 grams of trans fat. Ouch.
Then it started to rain, and I rode out of town… proceeding to get thoroughly soaked within twenty minutes.
Then the rain stopped.
The remaining miles to Saratoga were breezy and fast, with a glorious tailwind blowing from the rain clouds that I’d just plowed through. Thanks to that tailwind, and lack of towns to get sucked into, I finished my riding for the day at 4pm.
The library was still open, so I spent the evening uploading the latest two days of pictures. Tonight I had a pound of spaghetti, but the gas station was out of tuna – so I reached for the Vienna sausages. Life is good.
fields of gold