Average Speed: 13.77 mph; Max Speed: 35.3 mph
Elevation Gain: 1810
Average Temperature: 69.9 F; Temp Range: 48.2-95.0 F
When I checked the weather report last night, it predicted a thundershower for Dubois around 8AM, so I planned a bit of a late morning. I woke up a little after six, ate a big breakfast, posted on the blog, and took my time packing up. The room had a small coffee maker but no filters, but a paper towel will work in a pinch, so I had some hot coffee with milk I had bought yesterday. Mmmm.
The promise thundershower never came, and eventually deciding it wasn’t going to appear anytime soon, I set out around 9:30. While there was no lightning around, there was a pretty steady drizzle going on which lasted the first hour or so of my ride. My rain gear kept me dry, if a bit warmer than I would have liked, and my biggest issue was wiping the raindrops off my glasses every few minutes.
The mountains I was riding by were beautiful, with exposed layers of strata striping them, but It wasn’t until the sun came out that I even bothered to try and capture some of their beauty. The rain and grey sky made everything dull. I did, however, stop at one particular outcropping that was populated with trees digging their roots into the rock. As Sir Terry Pratchett wrote in one of his books,
“Life lives wherever life can.”
Then I came across a bighorn sheep sign. I’ve seen a number of these, and they never deliver. I believe my exact thought was, “Promises, promises.”
I stared at the cliffs anyway, just in case and do you know what I saw? A butt. Yup, that’s right, I spotted a bighorn sheep by its butt. If it had been facing me, I likely would have missed it entirely. There were two animals that I really wanted to see in Yellowstone two years ago which I did not see: moose and bighorn sheep. This trip has checked off both boxes. Dad commented that it would also be cool to see a mountain cat. I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be more terrifying than cool. I’m good with the sheep right now, thanks.
I also saw some cactus today. I haven’t seen any on this trip, despite riding through some very dry areas. Some were flowering, but I didn’t manage any good pictures of those.
It was a bit odd not feeling hemmed in by mountains today. Oh, there were occasional cliffs like where the sheep were, but in front of me there wasn’t anything towering in the distance. And Crowheart Butte, site of a legendary battle between the Shoshone and Crow tribes, stands tall above the surroundings.
I ended the day fairly early in Lander, where there is free camping in the city park. There are bathrooms on site but you have to go to the school and pay for pool admission to get a shower. It had been nearly 5 days since my last shower, so I coughed up the cash. I would have been happier if I didn’t have to push a button every 15 seconds to keep the water flowing, but hey, it was hot and I am now clean.
I met another Trans Am eastbound rider in the park. Phillip is a Kiwi with a penchant for finding the United States, its people, and its food a bit odd. He also has good luck finding things on the road: two nice pairs of cycling sunglasses, a leatherman multitool, a twenty dollar bill. He had bought a cantaloupe in town and shared some of it with me while we talked and he made fun of the neon coloring of my Velveeta shells and cheese dinner. (How dare he mock the comfort foods!)
Another cyclist, Greg, who is only on the TransAm until somewhere in Colorado told me that my planned destination for tomorrow was a sad little campsite with no public bathrooms. So I’ve altered my plan. Instead of a 70+ day, I’ll only be doing 60, but will end in another church. Much more comfortable sounding. Also, given the tight muscles in my back and that persistent knot In my calf, a somewhat shorter day might not go amiss.
Roadkill count: 5 birds, 1 fox, 1 fox kit, 1 skunk, 2 unknown mammals, 4 snakes
Garmin issues again (my fault this time), so two maps.