STATS Day: 22 Day Mileage: 75.4 Total Miles: 1,276.9
I haven’t really set my alarm this trip but I wake up early regardless. I woke up at 6:15 inside the church’s community room with the 3 other hikers. I walked down Main Street to find coffee and breakfast before attempting to get on the road early. Successfully finding a coffee shop open, I went back to the church to begin getting ready. I was al packed and ready to go, but the coffee and WiFi kept delaying me. I updated the blog with a few posts and then finally, I was ready to head out for the day.
The first 30 miles flew by. It was mostly downhill and I had a tailwind the majority of the time. I knew that the stops between destinations were few and far between but I needed to stop at each one to fuel up and replenish my waters. The scenery was pretty spectacular in its on way. Moving from Yellowstone to the Tetons to now high desert again, similar to eastern Oregon, it’s a dramatic change in just a few short days on a bike. I stopped off at the gas station in Crowheart and had root beer #1 of the day. It’s what I crave while on a bicycle. I was able to grab a few snacks for the road too knowing that I only had a rest stop between here and Lander.
As I left, things got tougher. I had 45 miles to go and the wind changed directions on me. Not good. Terrain was still relatively flat but the sun began to heat things up and the wind continued to blow. About 20 miles down the road was the rest stop. I had been seeing ambulances go by the last hour or so but didn’t know where they were going. I found out as I pulled into the rest stop. Someone was being mediflighted out of there though I never did discover the reason why. I replenished my waters once more and noticed the blue stripe on my tire. When researching for this trip, I read on the Schwalbe Tire website that that blue stripe signifies when it needs to be changed. This tire had about 2,600 loaded touring miles and probably upwards of 3,500 in total so it proved its worth, including no flats on the rear wheel in two tours. I bought a new tire in Missoula and lugged it around for 700 miles thinking I might need it in the future but if not, I’d have it for when I got home. Well, I needed it.
It didn’t take too long to change it out but while my rear wheel was off, I decided to clean the cassette and do some general cleaning while I was in the shade and not on the roadside in the heat. Once aired up, I was ready to go the final 25 miles. Turning out onto the road once more. Boom. Headwind.
For the next 3 plus hours, I tucked my head down and had to keep going. There isn’t much more you can do. I had s few steady climbs and a lot of road to myself during this stretch. I put in an earphone and just kept going. Finally, after being completely wind blown and completely worn out, I made my way into the Lander city center. I stopped in for a late lunch/dinner and the person behind the counter remarked that I looked like I had been out doing some stuff today. Indeed, sir. Indeed.
After a sandwich and a well earned beer, I headed over to the high school indoor pool. Stay with me here. It’s listed as a resource on my maps and it mentions that showers are available. I walk into the main entry and there seems to be a swimming practice going on, so I walk back into the men’s locker room and find out where the showers are. I go back out to my bicycle, grab my items and then hopefully find someone to speak to. Nope. No one available. So guess my schtick is to now creepily ride my bike across part of the US and shower at high schools without speaking to anyone? It was indeed creepy on my part, but I was well showered and found my way to the city park where they offer free camping.
At camp, I spoke to Shane who just finished hiking section hiking the CDT this year a few days early and was waiting for a ride. He has completed the Appalachian Trail and will be starting the Pacific Crest Trail next year. Crawling into the tent, it was warm and only expected to get into the 60s so I left the rain fly off and was off to sleep.