Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wyoming Winds

Monday July 13

This was a tiring day. Exhausting. You would think that with a day off everything would be rosy, fresh and vibrant. Didn’t happen. We woke up OK at the Saratoga Lake campground despite my paranoid fears that someone would intentionally drive over top of our tent. This is due primarily to the fact that we were required to set up directly behind the “office”. This also happened to be right next to the driveway and there were at least 4 vehicles that drove by our tent overnight. The headlights would light up the inside of our tent and then I’d listen to the engine as the vehicle drove by; not once did they decide to drive over our tent! That was a big relief but I still woke up each time someone drove by.

We crawled out of our bags in the morn and managed to get everything packed up and were actually pedaling away around 8:00. This is a pretty good start for us. Breakfast was next on the bill. We had purchased some cinamon rolls the day before. These were enjoyed outside of the café Lollipop and were washed down with some of their coffee and a hot chocolate for Lewis. There was still no reason to be exhausted. Next we went to the community center to use their wifi. Unfortunately, the battery was exhausted on the computer so we couldn’t update our blog or check e-mails. Still no reason to need a rest. So we began our ride.

Our intent was to get an early start in order to beat the winds of Wyoming. Our 9:00 start barely qualifies as early and our plan was faulty. Almost immediately we were pedaling into a head wind. Wyoming is really starting to annoy us. Our first and only stop of the day to purchase refreshments happened at 8 miles. We were aware of the fact that the next place to buy a soda or a gatorade or a candybar was nearly 62 miles further. So we stocked up on liquids and headed out.

The skies that had been cloudless when we awoke began adding clouds as we rode. The temperature which had been a pleasant 62 degrees when we departed, rose into the 80’s. The wind remained the one constant. And we rode on. Team Jackson crossed into Colorado at mile 28 of this day and were surprised to discover that it was windy there too! Now we don’t like Colorado either.

And we rode on and on. For most of an hour we had been running away from lightning strikes in the hills behind us. After 6 and a half hours of riding time (not including any stops) we were forced to stop and take cover as a series of severe thunderstorms cornered us just 8 miles from our final destination. Fortuanately an RV park happened to be within sight as the first raindrops fell. We parked our bikes under a covered picnic table area and ran to the bathrooms to stay out of the wind and weather. We huddled just outside the bathroom door under cover of the rain and watched the display of lightning and listened to the thunder. Lewis has had limited experience with thunderstorms so he was enraptured. I was just hoping it would hurry up and blow over so we could get the final 8 miles in and have a chance to eat and check out the community pool.

After three quarters of an hour, we were finally able to leave with confidence that the thunderstorms had left the area. Less than an hour later, we pulled into Walden Wyoming; elevation 8011 feet above sea level. Having pedaled a total of 7 and a half hours to cover the 72 miles ridden, is what I believe zapped all of my reserves (or it could have been the altitude?). It was nearly 7:00 when we arrived so we immediately started looking for the city park where we would be setting up. We found one behind the courthouse but couldn’t identify where the community pool might be, where a shower could be had. It was supposed to be a block away but we were clueless. So we changed gears and found a place to have dinner. We located the Moose Creek Café on main street and temporarily filled the voids that were in our stomachs. A guy at the restauarant let us use his cell phone to call the Sheriff to let them know we were going to be staying in the park. This is how we found out we had the wrong park.

With directions in hand we left the café and located the right park and then located the pool. Intially only Lewis was going to swim ($2) while Donna and I were going to be bathing in the bathroom at the park. The pool charged $3 for adults to use the showers which seemed a bit steep. But the same $3 would also get admittance into the pool. While Lewis swam and Donna watched, I returned to the park and set up the tent. While setting up our camp I came to the decision to bite the bullet and pay for Donna and me to swim. I ended up swimming with Lewis for the better part of and hour while Donna opted to use her $3 for an extra long shower with no swimming. She spent quite a bit more time on the computer “tweaking” her initial posting on the blog. It ended up that Lewis and I were the only people in the pool so it was our private pool party (photo). The pool closed at 10:00 and at 5 till we left the premises.

That should have been the end of the story as we returned to the tent and everything was as it should be. We retired to our sleeping bags and that should have been the end of the story. If only those stinking sprinklers didn’t come on at 4:00 in the morning, everything would have been peachy. Or not!

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