Day 6, August 22, was my and Bugman’s 16th wedding anniversary, and a challenging day for a ride. I gave Bugman an anniversary card with an illustration of a tandem bike on it, and it would wind up rain-soaked in our non-waterproof bike trunk.
There was rain overnight, and the dawn was chilly that morning in Lander, but at least we had a dry start. Check out this timelapse video of the bike corral emptying out that morning.
The warmth of the sun was most welcome, but it wouldn’t last long.
I’m not sure what the story was behind this shredded-looking tipi. A sculpture, maybe? It made me feel sad.
Welcome to the Wind River Indian Reservation. The photo was slightly out of focus, so I made it prettier by tweaking the color saturation.
Gray reflections on Ray Lake.
As we were heading into Fort Washakie, it started to rain. We pulled over, put on our gear, and cycled up what was probably the steepest climb of the day in a gentle rain. My Gore Tex jacket was cozy, and I got to feeling a bit cheeky. As the CGY photograhper / videographer car pulled up alongside us, I called, “Come on out – the weather’s fine.” “Do you like riding in the rain?” the guy asked. I grinned and replied something to the effect of “as long as it’s in liquid form.” No hail rider am I.
The rain began to let up, and I pulled my camera out from under my jacket to photograph the scenery.
There were some strange landforms in the area. Those regular hills in the distance made me think of the Sioux Army Depot near Sidney, Nebraska.
There’s the photograhper / videographer car. Click! Right back at ya!
With the sun out and the day warming, cyclists stopped en masse to strip off rain gear.
And away they go!
Here’s a lovely bit of downhill.
Aaaand – another construction zone. We were given instructions on how to handle this intersection at evening announcements the night before. We were to pull up and wait until traffic was motioned to proceed, let all the cars go first, and then travel through the construction in a bike mob. We were also told there would be a surprise waiting for us there. Bugman and I were at the back of the pack and didn’t have to wait long, so our surprise was, there was no surprise. Other riders further ahead of us got candy bars and trinkets.
In the construction zone: cyclists face a giant dump truck.
A view forward of the pack of cyclists on a packed-dirt section of the road. (Dumb camera decided to focus on the edge of Bugman’s helmet instead of the riders ahead. Thank GOODNESS it was not raining when we went through here!
A random snap behind reveals a friendly fellow biker.
I see rain in our future. *sigh* We pulled over, put on our gear, and rode through pretty heavy rain to our lunch stop.
It was still raining when we got to the lunch stop at the fire station at Crowheart. But people were still smiling!
Any port in a storm! Many cyclists took refuge under the lunch truck. Hey! I recognize those cyclists! It’s Kurt and Rhonda from Georgia!
When these cyclists vacated their spot, Bugman and I took their place. A fellow cyclist commented, “Did you ever think you’d be eating lunch under a truck?” Nope. New life experience for me.
We had a brief period of wonderful sunshine at lunch, but the clouds returned. I liked how the clouds and road curved in this photo.
It was a busy day for the sag wagon.
Some blue sky! Come over here, blue sky! Over here!!
The road descended into a valley with beautifully colored rock.
Here’s our rain jacket selfie, with our bike trunk wrapped in a plastic grocery bag. The bag kept it from getting soaked from above, but the tires kicked up water from the road, which seeped into the bag from below.
Here’s a better view of that beautiful rock behind us in the previous photo. Reminds me a bit of Quebrada de Humahuaca in northern Argentina.
Our last rest stop of the day was at Antlers on the Wind. (If you are ever in need of a hunting knife with a fancy antler grip, this is the place to go.) The snack was ice-cold popsicles. We riders, nearly becoming popsicles ourselves, mostly declined the offered treat.
Pretty place for a tire change, no?
We went inside to warm up a bit – and found some antlers!
After we left the rest stop, we were walloped with wind and rain. I packed the camera away in a plastic bag, and we slogged uphill, into the wind, in the rain, for about 10 miles. That was pretty miserable. And cold. Good thing we had our mittens with us.
The rain finally quit, and we made an unscheduled stop at River Park Drive so Bugman could eat something. He was bonking. Good thing we’d hoarded some cookies!
Our phone batteries were dead, so we weren’t sure how much further we had to go. We asked a fellow cyclist with a bike computer, and they replied “5 miles.” A few miles down the road, we saw this awesome family cheering and ringing cowbells alongside the road. That was so wonderful! I’m quite sure it’s what got me those last couple of miles into town.
The Dubois laundromat. Oh my. That’s got to be the most interesting laundromat entrance I’ve ever seen. Dubois had a cute-looking downtown, but we didn’t stop. Bugman and I were cold and hungry, and we wanted to get to camp.
Our camp that evening was in the city park in Dubois (another pronunciation learned – it’s doo-BOYZ). There wasn’t much grass to speak of where the Sherpa tents were pitched, which meant we had mud right outside the tent. I’d heard a fellow camper mention having used cardboard from the recycling stations as a doormat for their tent, so I went in search of some. All of the recycle bins were empty. I asked a volunteer where I might find some, who asked another volunteer, who knew that the manager of the Family Dollar across the road was volunteering. A text message later, and we were told we could pick up some empty boxes at the Family Dollar. Yay!
Taking a warm showed and getting into dry clothes helped my mental state tremendously, but the continued rain was making me cranky, and I was beginning to be glad the ride was almost over.
I was ever so glad there was a building available to serve as a mess hall at this site.
There were rumors of snow at elevation along our route the next day.
Distance and elevation gain (per the official route stats – I’m giving up on the inaccurate elevation on my mapping software) were 76 miles, 2,815 feet
Min temp: 44, Max temp: 55, Winds 8-20, gusting to 24 mph, Precipitation: “none”?? Well, maybe it was dry at the airport . . . [data from Dubois]
Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw