ready to leave
I woke up around 6:30 AM to Shane and his friend Josh working on the four-wheelers. I started packing up, and after 30 minutes, Shane jokingly said, “Jeez, I thought Ryan was going to make us breakfast.” Weird. Was that a hint for me to fire up his grill and cook food? I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I just sat there and laughed nervously. It wasn’t funny.
Shane had a bossy streak in him. “Get that. Do this.” I first saw it when he was telling EC to let me use his laptop. It continued, and it eventually came to me. I had dug a deep fire pit to protect the fire against the wind, and he questioned the design. “I think that’s too deep. You should make it wider.” He took the shovel from me and adjusted it. It really turned me off and put a damper on my mood. I was ready to leave the previous evening when that happened.
I cooked up sausage and egg beaters. I should have just eaten my bagels and bananas. I could feel my stomach getting pissed at me for eating crap. A few minutes later, EC woke up and once again began squabbling with Shane. Shane and Josh were planning on riding some trails, and EC felt left out. Ugh. Stupid squabbling. I felt awkward just watching them argue. So did Josh.
I wasn’t able to push my bike out of the forest due to all the loose sand, so Shane drove me back out to the highway. During the short ride, I enjoyed a conversation about his present relationship with his girlfriend. Those were the conversations I wanted to have with him…not ones about a $5,000 sound system.
I said goodbye to Shane and let him know how touching it was that he pulled over to ask me if I needed help. It wasn’t a lie. It really was touching. I was grateful that this trip brought me such an experience, however unique it was.
onward to wyoming
The day’s ride would take me to the town of Saratoga, WY. I’d stay on a stretch of highway for about 60 miles. After cresting one of large hills, I saw a landscape that I had in my head of Wyoming. Sage grass covered the terrain, and the sun broke through the rain clouds into the high desert. It was beautiful, but I wasn’t looking forward to riding through the rain.
The storm seemed to be blowing nothward, and I was following a hole in the clouds just above me. Very lucky. Most of the ride was rolling hills, which was very different from Colorado. The highway I was cycling seemed remote. A car would pass by every 20 minutes.
60 miles later, I rolled into the town of Saratoga. I noticed a National Forest building off to my right, and I slowed down to pull into the parking lot. I wanted to figure out where public land was located so I could primitive camp. Suddenly, a woman in a truck truck yells at me. The truck had passed me a couple hundred feet back and did a U-turn in the parking lot. She wanted a picture of my sign that read “I miss my shower.”
Her name was Noelle. She worked for the Bureau of Land Management up in Rawlins, WY, the next big town on my route. I started talking to her about places to camp in town and asked if she had any maps. We spoke for about 5 minutes, and I asked her where she was headed. “Rawlins,” she said. “Want a ride?” OK…I’ll go with it. She said I could camp in her yard. I was pumped because I had a sure-fire place to camp.
After getting to her house, she offered me a shower. Damn…awesome!!! After being in the sand dunes for two days, I was caked with dirt. It was in my ears, nostrils, and fingernails. I felt disgusting. And then she offered for me to do a load of laundry. And then she offered to drive me to the grocery store. I was blown away. Noelle was awesome. I would have never expected this to happen. At best, I was hoping for a public shower at the hot springs in Saratoga, WY.
Her husband Andy got home from work. He worked as an officer for Animal Control. Shit. I hope he’s cool with me camping at their place. And he was.
We went to the grocery store, and Noelle told me that she was grilling that night. “Don’t worry about food,” she said. What? Are you serious? When does it end? When I got back, Andy offered me a bed to sleep on downstairs in the basement. These guys were great.
I tried to contribute and show my gratitude by washing dishes in the kitchen. I also baked up a batch of brownies. Yo Andy and Noelle, you got browned!
Here’s Andy feeding a baby bird that he didn’t have the heart to kill on the job.
day in rawlins
The next morning, I got up early to prepare for a long ride. It was going to be a 90 mile day in the wind and rain, something I was not looking forward to. After Andy left for work, Noelle told me that they were going to Casper the next day, and they’d be happy to drop me off at Muddy Gap. I looked outside. OK. That would be awesome.
I spent most of the day helping Noelle clean the house. She was preparing to have family over for the next weekend. I also cut the grass. Although it was 3-4 hours of chores, I really enjoyed helping out. I wanted to work off some of my karma debt and pay it forward to show my gratitude.