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