May 31 - June 6: Wyoming

5/31 - Saratoga (69 miles 2368.5 total)
we awoke to another beautiful day. it was coolish but bright & sunny by the time people left the motel in walden by 6 or so....some as early as 5.
we rode north out of walden up that beautiful valley i wrote about yesterday. how lovely to see the sun rising onto the mountains. sari & i stopped a couple of times just to get off our bikes & look back at the strikingly beautiful vista behind us.
at about mile 23 we crossed into wyoming. here at the welcome sign are, from left, lee, judy, sari, & patty fainer. notice those wide open spaces in the background.
a feature of wyoming that we bikers particularly appreciate is that all roads have nice wide shoulders. they often didn't have shoulders at all in colorado, so in wyoming it will be easier to stay out of the way of vehicles with whom we try to share the road.
on the other hand, a feature of wyoming that we bikers don't particularly appreciate is the wind. i realized that today's scenery was as spectacular as yesterday's, but somehow those tailwinds made yesterday's vistas look even prettier.
the winds this morning weren't too bad 'til we got to this climb. notice that the road wends its way up & up to the crest of the hill. that's judy contemplating the climb.
when i took this picture we had already been riding upward on this stretch for quite a while. when we got up toward the top the winds that had started to plague us near the bottom became ferocious. patty fainer said that when she realized she was biking only 2.5 mph she decided she could walk that fast, so got off her bike. i noticed i could muster only about 4 mph as i rode up that last stretch into what seemed like gale-like headwinds.
just at the summit, where the winds were at their worst, i got pushed off into the gravel along the road's edge at one point. lee, patty fainer, judy, sari & i got off our bikes & rested at the top. fortunately carol came by with the sag wagon so we could get water & gatorade. we were as dry as a bone. & we knew that riding down that hill wouldn't be any picnic either; the winds were gusty so we'd have to be careful descending so as not to get caught broadside & pushed off the road.
when i wasn't fighting the wind today i did notice some neat things along the way. when we'd come to little streams i'd hear frogs croaking away; i always enjoy that sound. & there were lots of cute little prairie dogs & ground squirrels skittering into & out of their holes along the roadside. & the landscape is breathtaking....mountains on one side, huge rocky hills here & there, cattle ranches along the way, & huge stretches of scrub brush.
this photo gives you some idea of how it looks.
again today there were few towns. finally at mile 51 we lumbered into riverside. on the outskirts of riverside we saw a couple of elk grazing in a grassland. by that time we'd been pedalling into headwinds & dodging crosswinds for what seemed like days, so were very glad to plop ourselves down in a little cafe for soup & pie. after that it was 17 miles into saratoga. half of that we had tailwinds; what a treat. then into saratoga we had some of the strongest gusts of the whole day. we were bushed by the time we reached the saratoga inn.
out in the back courtyard of this inn is a swimming pool & some small pools, all fed by natural hot mineral springs. the temperature of the water in the smaller pools is 104-110 degrees.
here's a photo that gives you an idea of the layout.
only one of the smaller baths is outside; stone seats line the edges of those pools so you can sit down submerged up to your neck. i sat in the outside one for quite a while this afternoon. it was hot at first, but so relaxing once you got used to it.
those teepees cover the other smaller pools. that's so you can use them nude if you want to. here's deanna inside one of the teepee hot baths.
we're hoping the winds will have decreased in intensity by tomorrow, even tho' we understand that wyoming is almost always windy. we ride only 40-some miles tomorrow, but several of those miles are on the shoulder of interstate 80. that won't be fun, but i guess there's no other road that gets us to rawlins.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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