Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred-five, 090921 - Emblem, WY

Day Two Hundred-five, Date Monday, September 21, 2009
Time in Saddle: 8:29
Distance for the Day: 72.29 miles From Ten Sleep To Emblem, WY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 10,334 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4605’/4635’, Highest: 4674’ Accumulated: 2657’
Speeds: Avg: 8.5 mph, Max: 24.9 mph
Weather: 38° mostly cloudy, clearing through the day
Expenditures: $9

Well, despite all the lightning and howling wind, buffeting my little tent, making me feel like there was either a gale that was going to send my tent tumbling over the field with me inside, or that a tornado that was going to pick me and my tent up, and send me to Oz, or at least Kansas, I survived, and even managed to get some sleep. At 5am, I thought I’d wait at least until dawn, to see if the wind would die down, then, which I notice oftentimes happens, and indeed, by 6am, it did. What I thought was the pattering of rain, was actually just windblown leaves hitting my tent. Miraculously, there was not one drop of rain the whole night, and everything was completely dry – pretty lucky! My trike’s cloak had completely fallen off, but was kept from blowing away by my weighing it down with water bottles. I don’t know if any passing motorists noticed me, but if they did, none of them did anything about it. That morning sky was amazingly nasty looking – overcast, yes, but it was dark and lumpy looking – it still looked like it could rain. The field was an already-harvested cornfield, and with most of the wind gone, I was able to quickly break down, secure my gear, and got the heck out of the dirt at 6:57am before rain might muddy me up after all (though I still took a bit of time to take some pictures – it was actually very beautiful).

I continued on my way, and as the day progressed, the sky became clearer and clearer, until it became a beautiful, mostly sunny day (yes!) with lovely, puffy cumulus spread out from horizon to horizon. The terrain changed from mostly flat farmland to mesas and desert which reminded me of Nevada, with mild grades going up and down. The wind came back, and gave me a nice, cold 10-20mph headwind, thankyouverymuch. I was thinking, as I often do, about how wonderful the roads of Wyoming have been – smooth, nice shoulders, light traffic – and then out of the blue, practically the moment I finished thinking the nice thoughts about Wyoming roads, the shoulder became un-rideable due to the start of a wide vibration strip in the middle of the shoulder! You know what it was: I’d forgotten to knock on wood when I was thinking how nice the roads were – foolish human! Now, I had to ride in the roadway, and dodge through the buzz strip onto the gravel shoulder whenever traffic came. Fortunately, this did not last very long, but why it was there at all was a real mystery. Visibility was excellent, and I could see 50 to 100 miles away, now, and saw the mountains to the west covered with snow – sure hoped I wasn’t going through those. I made it to the town of Manderson at around noon, but pretty much just passed it by. I then made the town of Basin by 1:30pm, and stopped at the mini mart for food and drink ($5). I just kept on truckin’, not stopping long at any place, today, as I did want to get as far toward Yellowstone as possible.

I made Greybull by 3:15pm, and stopped to get info on the terrain in and around Yellowstone, and the weather, via a moderately weak wi-fi signal I managed to pick up in front of the local grocery store (which also had an outside outlet I could plug into). The highest altitude I was likely to encounter in that whole region was about 8500’ ASL, and the weather looked very good for the next several days – excellent! More luck, just for me. I got some food and drink items at the store ($4), and took off west on Hwy 14 towards Cody, the gateway town to the east entrance of Yellowstone.
I found an ‘okay’ stealth camp site at 6:40pm along the highway on BLM property (Bureau of Land Management – aka, government) (N44 28.685’ W108 29.097’). It was all open, high desert – quite flat, with low, calf-high scrub, and I was fairly easily visible from the road. If nobody else minded seeing me a hundred yards from the road (if they even noticed), then I didn’t mind, either. I would have loved to see the stars from this clear, wide open plain, but I wasn’t quite willing to face the near freezing temperatures to do so. Perhaps I’ll be braver/tougher in Yellowstone. The sun set around 7pm, just as I was finishing setting up my tent. I cloaked my trike, and hopped inside with my bag of Fritos Honey BBQ Twists, a bottle of Squirt soda, trail mix, my book, and munched, swigged, and read until it got too dark to read, around 8pm. I was far enough away from the highway that the occasional traffic passing by was an insignificant whisper, and had no trouble falling asleep, especially since the night before had been a bit less restful. Zzzzzzz!

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