Torrington trip

On the agenda for last Sunday was a ride to Torrington, Wyoming, and back – a round-trip distance of about 72 miles. Good prep work for our ride in August!

As we headed out 20th Street to Highway 92 towards Wyoming, I noticed wildflowers alongside the road, the fading blue flax joined by pale lavender shell-leaf penstemon and scarlet globemallow.

I like heading out on Highway 92. The terrain provides a good workout, with the hill just east of the South Morrill Road topping out my route profile at 4,289 feet.

We stopped at the park in Lyman for a bathroom break (the women’s toilet was freshly painted and had toilet paper, but the door would not close). We encountered another biker from Scottsbluff who had stopped to refill his water bottles. He was also headed to Torrington that day, had ridden there before, and was able to assure us that our planned route was about like we thought it was from our research with Google street view: decent, but shoulderless and very rural. (The one town along the route between Lyman, NE, population 342, and Torrington, WY, population 6,690, is Huntley, WY, which claims a population of 30.)

We discussed the fact that drivers are generally so courteous and give cyclists plenty of room. The problem spots seem to be elderly drivers who can no longer judge the width of their cars and distracted drivers. In fact, the cyclist we met was still in therapy from an accident he suffered last year – his only accident in 30+ years of riding. A woman got distracted by her cell phone cord as she was driving on Highway 71, drifted out of her lane, and hit the cyclist, breaking his pelvis, arm, and I forget what else.

So put down those cell phones when behind the wheel, people!

Ok, where was I?

Oh, yes – Wyoming:

No picture next to the sign this time. Been there, done that, picked the goatheads our of our tires.

No picture next to the sign this time. Been there, done that, picked the goatheads our of our tires.

Not too far past the state line, I rubbernecked at a sign:

Winery? You don't say!

Winery? You don’t say!

This was, indeed, the sign for Table Mountain Winery, which I have been wanting to investigate for some time. Maybe on another trip …

Once we left Lyman, it was 17 miles before the next town (as I hinted before, Huntley doesn’t really count, as I don’t think there are any services). That’s a lot of lonely distance. We had packed plenty of water and snacks for the trip.

Roadside snack break: salted nut roll GOOD! Om nom nom!

Roadside snack break: salted nut roll GOOD! Om nom nom!

Actually, the road wasn’t TOO lonely. We were passed by several vehicles. And there were plenty of cows. And birds. And a few prairie dogs. Even a couple of horses.

I was a few beats too late for the perfect shot of the two horses looking quizzically at us over their trough.

I was a few beats too late for the perfect shot of the two horses looking quizzically at us over their trough.

After some uphill climb, we could see down into the North Platte River Valley, with Torrington in view.

Downhill, you say? I like downhill!

Downhill, you say? I like downhill!

On entering the city, we got a strange caution.

Fog area? Not on an 87-degree cloudless day, I don't think! (By the way, this ride was very unusual: don't think the wind speed exceeded 10 mph the entire ride!)

Fog area? Not on an 87-degree cloudless day, I don’t think! (By the way, this ride was very unusual: the wind speed didn’t exceed 10 mph the entire ride!)

I had neglected to look up city parks in Torrington before we left for our journey, so we kept our eyes peeled for picnic tables – and found one! The “Npyco Botanic Garden” (I have no idea what “Npyco” means) just across the street from the Great Western sugar factory silos on the south end of town. The park is adjacent to a fireworks shop and two churches, in the parking lot of one of which we “howdy-ed” a cowboy-hatted man with the most fabulous non-ironic mustache I think I have ever seen in person.

Great Western sugar silos and a metal tipi

Great Western sugar silos and a metal tipi

The park had no restroom or water that we could see, and there were bottle rocket sticks everywhere (an unfortunate side effect of its proximity to the fireworks shop), but it had very nice single-table shelter and a gorgeous landscape bridge.

botanic garden

Shade! I love shade!

Pretty soon we were back in Nebraska again (I’m mentally singing this to “Back in the Saddle Again.”)

back in Nebraska again

Those last miles were difficult. We stopped in every town and several times along the roadside to rest and rehydrate. I didn’t take too many pictures, as I was often looking at the ground, head drooping with the effort of continued pedaling. (We were out on the road for about 7 hours, breaks included.)

But I did take one more horse picture just east of Henry.

Awww . . . babies! One of the babies was quite frightened of us cycling by.

Awww . . . babies! One of the babies was quite frightened of us cycling by.

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s