May 31 - June 6: Wyoming

6/1 - Rawlins (42 miles 2410.5 total)
what a short & easy day. after menacing winds yesterday we had next to nothing today. the sunshine was bright, skies blue, landscape beautiful.
we rode 20 miles north from the inn at saratoga. leaving saratoga the time/temp said 36 degrees. now we know why we were so cold in the parking lot while we were having our breakfast. highway 130 was quite deserted as it wound its way thru the wyoming countryside. people in this area say it looks very green this time of year; later it will be very dry. coming out of saratoga this morning we crossed the platte river; it's full to overflowing as it rushes along. it was a peaceful & beautiful start to our day.
we came upon this historical marker on the overland trail not far north of saratoga. it was interesting to picture in our minds the conestoga wagons lumbering across those vast expanses. in the distance there were 4 antelope peering curiously at us; you can't see them in this photo.
at mile 20 debby was waiting with the subaru. we filled up on water & had some snacks. then we ventured onto interstate 80. i'd been dreading that. but in wyoming, with the population so low, there just weren't any other roads to get us to rawlins. in iowa it would be illegal to bike on the interstate, but wyoming is one of the states where it isn't.
sari took this picture of me as we were about to leave the safety of the on-ramp to ride along the shoulder of the interstate. i think my expression is more gritting my teeth than a smile.
it turned out that the interstate's shoulders were refreshingly free of debris. we always watch out for pieces of truck tire; they often have little wires in & around them that cause bike-tire flats. gerrie had a flat near a rest stop; fortunately sarah was there to fix it for her.
the worst part of interstate traffic is the huge trucks...whether i'm riding in a car or on a bike. today the trucks loaded with logs--logs that never appear to be securely nestled on the trucks--& the flatbeds covered with precariously perched giant bales of hay were especially worrisome. but sari & i accomplished the 13 miles of interstate biking in a little less than an hour & were happy to alight at the sinclair exit.
a large billboard near sinclair proclaimed that we were approaching the west's most modern oil refinery. as we got nearer our noses told us the refinery was close by. before seeing the refinery i hadn't made the connection with the town's name....sinclair.
as you can see, it's a huge installation; that flame gives an especially eerie aura to the place.
sari & i arrived at the days inn here in rawlins before noon....a record for us. our rooms weren't ready. deanna had arrived here shortly after 9 & was still waiting for her room. we rested in the lobby for a while, then when we could get into our rooms, got our luggage from the trailer. after cleaning up & doing a few chores, sari & i went across the street to mcdonald's at 3; supper wouldn't be 'til 6, after all. neither of us ever goes to a mcdonald's, but we had a yen for some ice cream & there's no DQ in rawlins (i asked). we'd heard about the new mcflurry, mcdonald's attempt to compete with the DQ blizzard. sari & i felt it only fair to give the mcflurry a try. there was no chocolate ice cream to make it with, but the server agreed to our suggestion to put hot fudge topping into the concoction. she said she'd never done that before & wouldn't be responsible for the finished product. we assured her that extra chocolate couldn't hurt anything. sari & i enjoyed our chocolate/oreo mcflurries on a bench out front in the sunshine. they were really pretty good.
patty the chef made chicken & dumplings for supper....along with a salad of mixed dark greens (topped by a fantastic pecan/bleu cheese dressing that anne added) & a variety of breads. we sat in the sun out in the days inn parking lot.
you'll see one of those fashionable dumpsters--a hallmark of the decor in every fine eating establishment--in the background of this photo i took of the group that joined us in pueblo (they did the southern-route cross-country ride 2 years ago); you can see that they're still smiling after miles & miles of mountains.
this evening at supper gloria mentioned that we'd received a letter from mike jacob, the fellow on the recumbent we met in eads (see the 5/20 update). he had to withdraw from his effort to ride 100 consecutive centuries when he was forced to flag down a ride in a pickup for his last 40 miles into fairplay. that day into fairplay was very hard for us, too. he's still biking on the route he had planned, but at least for a while is riding shorter days.
tomorrow we'll cover about 65 miles to jeffery city. it's a tiny place; we'll overwhelm the city's one motel. unfortunately the weather report says we'll face stiff winds by afternoon & maybe even thunder showers. we got spoiled quickly by today's light breezes, but will be back to the reality of windy wyoming by tomorrow.
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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