Tuesday, August 2, 2011

day 32: happy monthiversary!

Today marked one month since we set out for this big old adventure. I have to say, in a way, it feels like it's been longer. I guess a good way to make yourself feel far away is to peddle your way there. We're at a campground in Lusk, WY tonight, again marveling at how we always seem to wind up so close to he freight train lines. Lusk is at an elevation of 5015 feet. Last night, we were in the ballpark of 3200 feet, so today was a busy day. It probably ranks in the top 3 or so in hardest days we've had so far, not because of the climbing, but because of a combination of the hills (including one in the "mountain" category), the wind (reached something like 30 mph *sustained* from the west this morning), the heat (a dry, dry 90-something), and most importantly, the desolation. We biked around 75 miles without a place to stop. We'd been told about a coffee shop and a rest area at the Mule Creek Junction about 25 miles in, but it turns out the coffee shop was closed and the "rest area had no vending machines and drinking fountain water that was very brown. We did, however, get our bottles refilled by a nice man driving an RV. We subsisted on Cliff Bars, dried fruit, trail mix, tortillas and peanut butter, and a few little goodies to help replenish our electrolytes. Not bad, but the amount of water we had was a concern, mainly because we haven't had to be concerned about it yet. I timed myself, actually, taking sips from my bottle every 15 minutes. This was to be sure I wasn't guzzling my supply and also that I was drinking consistently. We hit the aforementioned mountain - tree line and rock face included - with about 13 miles to go for the day, so as you can imagine, the four mile ascent was a slog. We didn't have much of a downhill either. I guess that's how things are going to be for awhile.

So, what else is there to say about having been at this for a month. It's still hard, but we think we're getting better at it. "We'd never have been able to handle this a month ago," Aaron said about today. Y'all know I can't be so self-affirming, but I do think we've gotten a better handle on things. For me, this has meant keeping my cool mentally and getting physically more comfortable with my bike. I think Aaron is learning to pace himself better, mainly out of necessity. It's worth saying too that team morale as a whole has been better in the last week or so.

Gail, my neighbor from the ol' days in Epping, asked earlier if we're running ahead of schedule, being in Wyoming by now. Not quite, as we'd love to have a few days in San Francisco at the end of all this and we know we might be pretty slow heading through the Rockies. But a week or so ago, during one of his fuzzy math mapping sessions, Aaron said it'd be awesome if we could make it to Wyoming by the beginning of August. It'll still be awhile til an ending seems truly possible. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
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1 comment:

  1. I heard a news story a month ago about a man who is the sole inhabitant of the town of Buford, Wyoming. He is 60 years old and he runs a gas station and convenience store there. He talks to people passing through all day but at night its just him. His wife died and his adult son opted to live in a more populated area, so now its just him living in a desolate Wyoming mountain region.