Bike Tour 2022 – Saratoga to Rawlings

For a few minutes, we thought we were mighty. Alas we proved to be suckers for a tailwind.

The hostel worked out great. There were two couples who stayed there. We had met Mark and Sue on the street in Walden. They stayed at the same motel as us. Ed and Harry, two young Englishmen from Devon, rolled in just before dusk. They had ridden over 100 miles in that brutal wind. They looked whipped but seemed in good spirits.

Corey, Mark, and I were up at dawn on the longest day of the year. We had aspirations of riding over 100 miles. And for about 90 minutes we were confident we’d get the century ride done.

We left at 7:15. Temperatures were in the low 40s. A light tailwind out of the south have us a gentle push up a series of small hills, each with a gradual incline.

I locked into a groove and rode much faster than usual. Corey and Mark stopped often to smell the figurative roses.

After 21 easy miles, we arrived in Walcott Junction and took a breather. Then we headed west on the Lincoln Highway (a great book, by the way), US 30. It also happened to be I-80.

The interstate had a wide, paved shoulder with a rumble strip. We were quite safe and legal. We expected the winds to be crosswinds but they had shifted into headwinds.

Oof. So much for my groove. I struggled mightily the entire way. Corey and Mark rode together and swapped leads until Mark left him weeping in his wake.

We left the interstate in the town of Sinclair, home to an oil refinery. I was relieved when we were upwind of the place. Stinko!

The town itself was interesting. It was a pre-depression planned community. The buildings featured the Spanish Colonial revival style. The town was established by an oil refiner whose business, the P&R Company or PARCO, went belly up. He sold out to the company that would become Sinclair Oil.

Another seven miles of riding into the wind followed. I stopped to talk with two eastbound TransAm riders. We swapped info on places to stay and avoid.

I finally arrived in Rawlings, passing some interesting white mineral deposits along the way. They looked like salt. The hotel clerk said they were calcium.

Over lunch Corey surrendered. He wanted nothing to do with riding 60 more miles. I concurred. Only Mark seemed interested in another6 hours of masochistic pedaling.

Long story short, we checked into a hotel at 1 and decided to treat this as a semi-rest day.

Miles today: 42.5 Tour miles: 1615

The Overland Trail passed this way
The I-80 Lincoln Highway
The Sinclair oil refinery
The PARCO Inn
Susan and Colleen, eastbound TransAm riders from Eugene, OR

Bike Tour 2022 – Walden, Colorado to Saratoga, Wyoming

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 remains in the 50s foremost 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

My “salad” last night. Mark accidentally ordered extra chicken with his. It was monstrous. He had plenty left over for breakfast.
The Chicks sang about this.
Too bad my camera couldn’t capture the wind
Wyoming: we have rocks
The Mule turns 66