It was the best of winds; it was the worst of winds.
We knew what we were getting into. The weather forecast called for light tailwinds in the early morning followed by strong gusty winds in the afternoon. The route called for us to descend from Walden, Colorado at 8,099 feet to Encampment, Wyoming at 7,277 feet. Downhill yay!
We left Walden around 8 and had a nice tailwind. The road wasn’t exactly downhill but we were cruising along without a care heading north.
Then the road, the very bad road turned west and we felt the power of a crosswind. Bad.
Soon we were once again enjoying a tailwind. La di da.
Somehow somebody put a honking big hill in our way and a mighty crosswind began blowing us all over. No fun. Corey thought the hill was harder than Hoosier Pass. I think I agree.
After way too much wind and four stops by yours truly the big bad hill was defeated. Mark had been waiting a long time at the top so we didn’t linger very long after I crawled to the crest.
Back on the road, Mark took off. Corey and I did not give hot pursuit. Corey is tall and I am wide (plus my panniers act like sails).
Here we are being good bike tourists getting blasted all over the place when we came to an 11 mile stretch of road maintenance. Crews had milled the pavement for re-paving. Of course, it was downhill.
It was scary riding. The tread on my tires did not agree with the milling. Add in some strong gusts and you have Danger Will Robinson!
The milling stopped at Riverside, a town adjacent to Encampment. After conferring with a vintage barkeep, we decide to ride on to Saratoga.
Turning north, we caught a tailwind to die for. Corey zoomed ahead. Dang. Mark pulled ahead of me but he stopped to talk to two eastbound TransAm tourists. We heard interesting things about Jeffrey City which we will ride through soon.
The last few miles to Saratoga were a slog through truly brutal crosswinds. We caught up to Corey who had been waiting 20 minutes at a grocery store. After shopping we rode to the St Barnabas church in town where there is a hostel for bike tourists.
In a sense we were fortunate that temperatures remained in the 50s for most of the day. We started to see more wildlife. I watched four redwing black birds in a dogfight with a crow. I also saw a seagull snatch a small rodent (alive) off the roadway. There were several pronghorns and cattle from time to time. Corey saw a bald eagle perched on a roadside fence post.
Oh, and The Mule turned 66 today.
And, Wyoming became the 35th state I’ve ridden in.
Total miles: 68 Tour miles: 1,572.5