Day Twenty-Six – Saratoga, WY to Walden, CO

STATS
Day: 26
Day Mileage: 67.6
Total Miles: 1,515.0

I woke up just after midnight and the raining had stopped. It was a terrific temperature and I was bundled up. I returned to sleep only to wake up at 630 ready for the day. Turns out I just need the pitter-patter  of rain on the tent to put me to sleep for good. I paid $10 for the plot of grass and to use the covered area for my bike which was money well spent. Dan, the owner of the copper line lodge, talked me into breakfast for an additional $5. He had me coffee is on at 6:45 but kept on with the homemade breakfast ready to go at 8 with bacon, a quiche, biscuits and gravy, fruit, cheesy potatoes and what was left from the morning before. Best $5 of the trip. 

I lingered much longer than I anticipated but the terrific morning, with good company and breakfast with bottomless coffee was hard to move away from. I chatted with a family road tripping from Portland to Phoenix and taking the scenic route. It’s always hard to hear people say they left area I left a week ago to arrive at the place I worked terribly hard to get to in a single day. They were going to enjoy the hot springs before getting on the road while a British couple entertained the group with a guitar and banjo. Amazing what people offer up when they’re somewhat forced to mingle and discover information about one another. It was a very cool spot to camp and even better place to have breakfast. 

I was on the road just after 9am and the general direction I was heading was into the wind, thankfully. It was nothing terrible, but I knew I had to get through it. About 15 miles in, a mini van I recognized passed me with folks waving out of the windows. It was the family for Portland on their way to rocky mountain national park. This happened to me a time or two on my pacific coast trip, where you met folks at camp to see them in the roads few hours later, but surprising was my first of this trip. It was fun and gave me a quick pick me up on my way into riverside. At riverside I stopped to refill water and have a snack before getting back on the road for 48 more miles into Walden. 

I had turned east and happily had the wind at my back before turning southeast still with a moderate tailwind. No complaints knowing what I had ahead of me when I turned immediately south to Walden. A long open stretch was my last goodbye to Wyoming as I hit the state line with excitement. I stopped for the photo opportunity before keeping on. I was welcomed into Colorado with no shoulder to work with and immediate crosswind. At this point in time, I had no idea which direction the wind was going just that it was going. I ducked my head and had another 10 miles before turning south for the homestretch. 

I finished one moderate climb and then it was time to face the smusic. Turning south to Walden was a 13 mile stretch and wind blowing at 20mph out of the west. With no tree cover and just land and land until mountains on either side in the distance, I was struggling immediately. It took what seemed like forever to get into town and I needed to get out of the wind. I headed to the restaurant in town to check in and order green Chile fries that I so desperately needed. I checked in with everyone and sat in silence attempting to recover from what I had just been through. It was done and I was thankful as wind with rolling hills toward the end of the day with s fully loaded bicycle left a sour taste in my mouth.

The county swimming pool offered showers so I took advantage. After a warm shower, I began to set up camp in the local park. These town parks are pretty incredible compared to the ones at home. Or maybe just the ones I’m aware of at home. Nice shelters, great grass, clean restrooms. It’s impressive. As I was setting up, I lady walked up and asked about my ride . She and her 16 year old son were on the TransAm heading to Yorktown, VA. I had been bearing about this mother/son pair since Grant Village in Yellowstone. Campers along the way have been mentioning them as I’ve been about a day or two behind them all trip. They’re from Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, ME where Megan and I spent New Years back in 2015 and actually took a day trip to Peaks Island. 

It was at that moment, as we were talking, a mother was with her two kids when another family and their unleashed German Shepherd happened upon each other. The dog began to go nuts circling the mother and kids and that mother elevated the situation but going HAM back to the dog. With a bunch of yelling and a few tense moments, the cops, whose station is literally 2 blocks away, were on it taking witness statements from Leah and I. Things escalated quickly and the adrenaline was flowing, but it was getting close to dark and an expected cool night, I crawled into the tent.

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