May 31 - June 6: Wyoming

6/3 - Lander (59 miles 2536.5 total)
it was such a pretty morning. everyone had breakfast & left the little motel in jeffrey city by 6. we rode west on a stretch of peaceful highway; in the first 9.5 miles i counted 4 vehicles---going in either direction. when sari & i would make a seat-rest stop, it was almost deafeningly silent as we stood contemplating the scenery, except for the chirping of birds.
we came upon an interesting historical marker a bit down the road. thot you might enjoy reading about the ice slough. it continues to fascinate us to hear about the habits & exploits of the pioneers who trod these same expanses.
by 8:00 the winds had picked up, at first not so bad, but stronger gusts as the day wore on.
at mile 19 we came upon sweetwater station. it was a very nice state-maintained rest stop...complete with covered picnic tables & indoor facilities. what a rare opportunity to encounter such an oasis in this desolate land. otherwise today we had no place to stop for water or bathrooms; thank goodness for the subaru for water & treats....& to those bushy sage brush plants for potty stops.
a bit further down the road i noticed that a couple of antelope were loping along to my left, parallel to the road. i would stop once in a while to consider trying to take their picture. then they would stop, too, & peer at me. they were too far away for the picture to be any good, so i got on my bike & started riding again. then they would start up again, too, running parallel to me. finally they sped up & dashed across the highway in front of me. guess they got tired of moving along at such a slow pace.
at about mile 25 we came upon the long downhill we'd heard about. you know how i love seeing a sign like this:
here we are over the top of the hill & about to start wending our way down. you can see the road descending on the left, then curving to the right down a ways.
the scenery along those 5 miles was absolutely breaktaking. many riders were actually glad that the strong wind kept them from descending too fast. (i'm always glad when something prevents me from descending any hill too fast.)
going down that hill put us into a hilly area for the rest of the day....lots of uphills & downhills. the scenery was overwhelmingly beautiful. on one 2-mile stretch i bet sari & i stopped every 100 feet just to gawk at the grandeur.
here's a photo that shows a sample of the earthy red rock formations so prevalent in this stretch of roadway; notice the row of snow-capped mountains along the horizon.
at mile 49 we turned onto a road under construction for the last 10 miles into lander. it wasn't as bad as yesterday's washboard road, tho' this one had a layer of light gravel over the top, so the dust was pretty bad & we didn't enjoy the little rocks pelting our legs as cars & trucks went past us. plus by this time the winds had really gotten strong, so they added an unsavory element to the end of our day.
it seemed strange to ride into an actual city. lander has a population of just over 7000. it's a real wild-west town. our motel here, the maverick, is basic but nice. there's no place to park the van & trailer here at the motel, so patty drove her galley 3/4 mile down the street to a nice little city park. we had our supper in a shelter there. it was a delicious salad plus posole, a spicy, thick, chicken/hominy soup that we ate over rice. absolutely great! we're heading into withdrawal, however, because patty will take a well-earned break from our group beginning tomorrow. she'll drive the van/trailer to dubois tomorrow morning, then go home for a few days. we'll sure miss her.
tomorrow it's 70.5 miles to dubois. (say dew-BOYS, never dew-BWAH....unless you'd like a nice swift kick by a cowboy boot all the way to paree.) in honor of the birthday of our oldest rider & our earliest bird each day (that's darlene on both counts), we'll have breakfast starting at 4:45 (!!). sari & i will try our hardest to be on the road by 5:30ish. we'd all like to avoid the winds that we're promised again for tomorrow. plus this area is experiencing a heat wave; again today it was hot by least in the mid 80's. in addition, tomorrow's route will be hillier than today's. we will enjoy & deserve a rest day after tomorrow's ride!
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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