The Desolate Road
On Saturday we started biking out of Rock Springs, WY in a more southern direction that would prove to be the most desolate stretch of this entire trip. We did not see a single town in about 120 miles and saw only two dwellings at about mile 40. At least one of them was abandoned a long time ago, while the other looked like it might still be inhabited, maybe. It's funny how human nature works, we stopped there for a while knowing there was nothing to benefit our ride. We just stared and wondered how and why.
We looked at the house that was surely abandoned and could make out through the dust covered window that someone just walked away one day and never came back. We could still see a dinning room set waiting for someone to come feast on this lonely table. We could make out a staircase leading to what we hoped was a completely empty second floor. The small pull out on the road for the mail box was totally overgrown with dessert plants I can't name, but it was clear mail hadn't been delivered there in a long time. Still, when Anna asked if she could see inside the box, I said no, not knowing why. It felt like our being there was already an intrusive act. I mean, someone did live that removed for a reason, right?
Right before we continued on, we saw 3 or 4 wild horses off a few hundred yards in the distance. They seemed to be the only residents for miles and miles. It was a little reassuring that they were there, at least there's some type of witness to this otherwise beautiful landscape. There might have also been some rattle snakes too. Thus another reason why I always warned Anna to see where she's walking when she wants to try to get close to the horses.
We seemed to go in and out of a few basins, maybe climbing about 300 to 500 feet from one to the other. We could see beautiful mesas to our left and knew that eventually we would take one of the canyons in between and climb higher. GPS had told us our highest point that day (and trip thus far) would be 7500 feet. Once we bent left and started heading up the canyon, our energy started to wane. It was a good thing that the same bend also made our new direction better align with the persistent winds. It eased the climb and the pain.
Let me remind you that our friend Bill was providing support for this section of the ride. We'd see him pulled off the road at about every 10 miles. It would have been almost impossible otherwise. We do have the capacity to carry large quantities of water, but even then, it may not have been enough. But what really helped was the cold drinks Bill was providing. His cooler was like a mobile convenience store, providing many Gatorade flavors that cooled and provided an extra source of energy, even if just percieved.
Bill was going to be with us until the Hagney's, our Steamboat friends, came stocked with food and drinks for camping that night and for the rest of the desolation. Late on Saturday we made the connection and the handoff was made. After a long day of driving, Bill headed back to the comfort of his hotel room in Rock Springs and we continued southeast. We camped at one of the most beautiful campgrounds I have slept in. Turns out they got steak and chicken for dinner from Qdoba and OMG, it was like heaven!
The next day we continued cycling, but this time our tandems were not alone. Beth and Dan took turns driving while the other and their two boys cycled with us, or more accurately, just ahead of us. We did the same routine of stopping about every 10 miles and then decided to stop for lunch at about mile 50, but this time, it would be in the comfort of the first town out of the desolation, Maybell, CO.
The Hagney's needed to be back in Steamboat by Monday morning so our choices were to stay dusty and dirty and camp out another night and bike into Steamboat this afternoon, or put our bikes and gear into their trailer and head to their house where showers and beds awaited us? What do you think we did?