Biologist on a Bike

Day 30 Riverside, WY to Routt National Forest, CO


Distance: 76.43 mi
Average Speed: 11.7 mph; Max Speed: 40.78 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,881 ft
Average Temp: 74.5 F; Temp Range: 53.6-93.2 F

I am tired. It has been a long day of rolling hills with net climbing. But let me start at the beginning.

I woke up around 6AM not feeling like doing much, so I visited the restroom and went back to sleep. I woke again a bit after 7 because somebody from New Jersey whose number I don’t recognized called my phone and didn’t leave a message. Ah, well, maybe I should have thanked them for getting me up.

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Where I woke up, Day 30…I forgot again! Grr.

Because today’s goal was to camp in a National Forest, I called the family this morning while I still had cell service. I learned some interesting things, such as the fact that I am not the only member of my family to have slept a night in a Walmart parking lot: my grandparents did so in Texas in an RV.

Breakfast was the usual and we got to say goodbye to Tracy and Pam as they rode out on their tandem headed west. By 9:15 Greg and I were on the road. Just a bit out of town we saw a cyclist who turned out to be an old man out on his recumbent tricycle for his exercise. He had to turn on his hearing aid to be able to hear us talking to him. I didn’t look at the time, but now that I’m thinking about it, I hope he had a mirror on his bike because if he couldn’t hear us, he wouldn’t hear traffic coming up behind him either.

Not even a mile further down the road we witnessed a collision. A pronghorn antelope ran into the side of a car! The driver slowed and tried to swerve but couldn’t completely avoid the animal running right at him. The car looked alright from what I could see (although I couldn’t see the passenger side at all) and the antelope ran off like it was trying to set a land speed record. The driver pulled over looking a bit frazzled, and Greg and I talked to him for a bit. Greg reiterated several times that it wasn’t the driver’s fault that the antelope ran straight at him, but the guy said he felt terrible and he hoped the animal was alright. I hope it was too.

We got into a rhythm shortly after that. It was a lovely day, with blue skies dotted by puffy clouds, warm but with a cool breeze that mostly behaved itself as a tailwind. A marathon of a ride later (26 miles) we left behind Wyoming and entered “Colorful Colorado.”

Goodbye Wyoming

Hello Colorado. 4 states down, 6 to go!

The first town we hit in Colorado was marked on my maps as having lodgings and a post office but no store or restaurant. We stopped at the tiny post office because we both had postcards to send off, but decided not to try and find water until the next town only 10 miles away.

That was a good decision, as Walden had a nice market on the north side of town where we both picked up some food for a snack and for dinner tonight. As a bonus, they had outlets outside the building, so I charged up a bit as I ate.

We met quite a few riders today in addition to the old man we saw in the morning. There was a Dutch couple who, when Greg asked them where they were from, made us guess. I said their accent sounded Germanic but not German and guessed either Switzerland or the Netherlands, so I’m fairly proud of that. We also passed another couple who were enjoying their downhill and just waved and shouted hello across the street.

Next, there was a group of 4 riding from Boulder Colorado. Some were headed to Yellowstone, others to Glacier National Park. This section of the TransAm trail seems to be popular as a way of getting through Colorado and Wyoming to other places.

I’ve been a bit remiss with my flower pictures, so here are a few for your visual pleasure



and more flowers

Today was also a day of fun wildlife. I spotted a badger in the field, which is a new wildlife sighting for me

Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger….

The last town we passed was Rand. It was small but had a tavern, a shop that had closed half an hour before we got there, and a place that had a sign up about camping in the yard for $5. We kept riding, but not before a fox walked across the road in front of us.

A few miles later we passed yet another cyclist, this time a retired gentlemen riding solo on a bike that didn’t look like it was built for touring. There weren’t water bottle cages on the frame, and I’m hoping he had some water stashed in his bags. I don’t know how he would have made it this far otherwise, but stopping to open the bags every time he wants a drink must be a pain. He told me that I had some lovely sights ahead of me, and insisted I not miss the Fireside Inn in Breckenridge. I hope to make it to that town tomorrow, so I’m planning to keep an eye out.

We kept on towards the border of the National Forest, but on the way we saw a sign for an “Old Homestead” RV Park and camping. We turned off to check it out, but in front of what had been the driveway was a tree trunk, and on the tree trunk was a No Tresspassing sign. Out of business, I guess. We pressed on towards our original destination, slowing down when a skunk walked across our path. I was not getting anywhere near that and risking a spray.

The Routt National Forest wasn’t that far past Rand, and the big challenge was to find water. We passed one semi-stagnant stream and went on, hoping that Google Maps was correct when it noted a waterway a little ways up. It was and it wasn’t. That was also a semi-stagnant stream. But at this point we had covered over 76 miles, climbed over 3,000 feet, and I was practically dead on my feet. This is what the water filter is for. So we went back up the road a bit to a National Forest Service road and set up camp just beyond the barrier blocking the road to motorized vehicles. Then we rode our unloaded bikes back down to the sort of stream. A bit of walking convinced us that there wasn’t really an area nearby where the water was flowing more quickly and was easy to access. The ground was muddy and 7-8 ft tall bushes. So now Greg has swimmy things in the water he was attempting to purify with a cemical purification system, and I’m hoping my Sawyer Mini is up for the job. But there is a campground 16 miles from here. The plan is to get up, munch on things that don’t need to be cooked, and ride over the pass to the campground where we’ll have a break for a hot and sort of late breakfast.

Right now I’m hiding from the mosquitoes in my tent with the rain fly open so I can chat with Greg, Given my loathing of being bitten up by mosquitoes, it is unlikely I will venture forth again tonight, so it’s likely to be an early night for me.

An early night in the quite of a National Forest. Sounds good, because as I said at the start, I am tired.


Roadkill count: 1 bird, 1 badger, 3 prairie dogs, 5 unknown mammals, 1 snake


Map Day 30

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