Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred-two, 090918 - Gillette, WY

Day Two Hundred-two, Date Friday, September 18, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:14
Distance for the Day: 72.08 miles From Moorcroft To Gillette, WY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 10,146 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 3570’/3965’, Highest: 4403’ Accumulated: 2884’
Speeds: Avg: 9.9 mph, Max: 33.8 mph
Weather: 43° clear and dry
Expenditures: $14

Sunrise was just about 6:51am with bright, beautiful Venus; stopped off at Moorcroft from 10:20 and 11:40am, had small lunch of Fritos twisty chips, soda, and apple, ($7) made it to Hwy I-90, and found that, yes, cyclists are allowed on it (at least, there were no signs prohibiting them). So, I will use it to get to Gillette, and points west, on my way to Yellowstone. Michael Johnson my interviewer from the Gillette News Record paper at 3:23pm at Subway – see the article at ; 4:43pm took a quickie 10 minute sponge bath in the bathroom of Subway, charged my notebook, uploaded photos from my camera, and even blogged a little. 4:57pm got my picture taken by Nate Payne with the same paper.

At about 3pm, I stopped at a tire shop in Gillette to get directions to the nearest Subway and the man and woman there asked me about my trip and took my picture. I gave them my blog site, and they must have called the local newspaper, because while I was at Subway, David Johnson, from the local newspaper, came and interviewed me while I was having a meal deal ($7). After the interview, I charged up my laptop while I ate, and did a bit of blogging. After I finished, I left, and got back on I-90 towards Buffalo. I didn’t get very far, before I noticed a car parked on the shoulder, ahead, and some fellow was photographing me with a nice camera. David did mention that a photographer would be out on the highway, wanting to take my picture, and by golly, there he was! I stopped and we chatted; he asked me more questions about my trip, and then he drove ahead of me two more times to get pictures of me on the highway, and then he went on his way, and I continued on mine. So, I’m famous, again – whoo-hoo!

I like riding on interstate highways; they usually have wide, mostly clean shoulders, and smooth over the terrain with gradual rises and falls, presumably to facilitate high speed travel. The bad news with interstates: you don’t necessarily get to experience the land as well – they’re not as intimate. But, for those times when I have used them, it was because they were the only viable route, and indeed: those are the only times a cyclist *can* use them. Even though this was an interstate, I still saw a herd of antelope along the way. They seem to pretty much ignore the zoom and roar of normal traffic, but when they see me, they get alert, nervous, and start running away. I guess I look like a predator, being low and slow. Pretty funny! I rode as far as I could, until the sun got low on the horizon, and then took the next exit at about 6:40pm. I followed it up to a dirt road that had a “private property” sign on it, but it was open. I looked down and to the right of the hill where the gate was located, and saw a rather large herd of antelope about 150 yards away. As usual, they noticed me, and started to move away. They were in a large area where three large, somewhat flat, circular tanks were positioned across from a medium-sized square block of a building with a huge fan on one side of it. I sat and waited – sunset occurred at right about 7pm – and noticed a couple of workers moving around. At one point, the fan in that building fired-up and roared like it was getting ready to launch. After several minutes of that, it stopped, and the worker guys got in their trucks and started to exit the facility. As they came by me to get to the highway, I stopped the first one and asked two questions: what the heck was that facility (a methane collection and storage plant), and if they thought anyone would mind my throwing my tent up just a bit up and to the left of the gate. They said the landowner was a pretty good guy, and probably wouldn’t know, and if he did, wouldn’t mind. Cool! I set up next to a CAT scraper (N44 10.860’ W105 54.272’) to protect against the wind, a bit, and watched the remains of the gorgeous crystal clear high-plains desert sunset, with mild temps in mid-to-high 70s. The methane plant itself made a steady white noise, but wasn’t bad. By now, there was hardly any wind, and at 7:26pm I hopped into my tent with soda and munchies, and finished my book, Stephen King’s “Skeleton Crew.” by 8pm – then went to sleep. It’s still 46 miles to next service, and I was running a little low on liquids, but I should be okay. This night, I didn’t put on my tent fly, so I could see the stars any time I woke up enough to look, which happened several times throughout the night. I might’ve even been okay to sleep out without the tent, but I wasn’t sure what the bug situation was like, so played it safe.

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