Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 35
June 24, 2009
Captain: Rachel
Weather: warm and muggy
Town: Lamont
Where we stayed: Grandma's Cafe

I woke up in a groggy Benadryl-ed haze this morning, feeling like my head was made of bricks. The only thing that could drag me out of my tent was remembering Sister and Elder Gardner had invited us to breakfast. We enjoyed pancakes and eggs and learned more about Elder Gardner's work with the Forest Service, the history of of the handcart company, and their many kids living all over the West. After we ate, we decided we wanted to have a go pulling the handcarts.

Greg and Kendal thought it would be most historically accurate to pull the sickly member, so I got the first ride. It was surprisingly pleasant, but I still prefer bicycle for any transcontinental commute. The mosquitos were terrible, so I spent most of the ride slapping them off my mules, I mean, teammates. Halfway there, Kendal decided he wanted a go, so I was booted to pulling status. It was less pleasant.

When we got back to the Gardner's, Sister Gardner wanted me to try pulling both guys. I pulled my little heart out, but it didn't budge. I consoled myself with the fact that both Kendal and Greg are a bit better fed than the Mormon men crossing in the 1800s.

We packed up to head out, trying not to count the TRILLIONS of mosquito bites covering our bodies. We stopped back in Elder and Sister Gardner's house and they gave us each a book of Mormon, which will make a fabulous campfire read.

We flew down the road with the wind at our backs and stopped at the historical landmarks that have reassured all the hundreds of thousands of travelers on the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Immigration Trail, the Pony Express, the CA Gold Rush Trail, and the TransAmerica Bike trail, that they are going the right way!

The wind was howling, but thankfully stayed at our backs until Muddy Gap, a town that consisted of a gas station. We got to our destination unusually early. We pulled up to Grandma's Cafe in Lamont, WY. The only other building in town was the dilapidated remains of an old schoolhouse. My dad, who was on fearless leader duty for the day, warned us that according to Google, Lamont's population was 3 (perhaps Grandma and her 2 pitbulls?)

Greg amd John, our retired firefighter TransAm comrade from Denver, were already inside. The cafe was technically closed, but Grandma's son was there, chain smoking and watching TV, which he would continue doing until 10pm, so until then we had free access to bathrooms and the soda fountain.

We set up camp in the backyard atop mowed over sage brush and piles of dog poop. We shared the "lawn" with several disassembled oil derricks. Apparently Grandma makes rent by allowing the oil company to use her backyard as storage.

Trying to avoid the overstimulation of CNN's evening news, we hung outside with John and cooked bean and couscous soup. We all had remarkably good phone service, so we caught up with family and tried to figure out Amelia's plant of attack for getting to us from Denver. After a last bathroom stop in the Twilight Zone, we fell asleep.

Day 36
June 25, 2009
Captain: Greg
Weather: still warm and muggy
Town: Rawlins
Where we stayed: France Memorial Presbyterian Church

Today was a short day, only 30 miles. We counted it as a rest day, so we could get some stuff accomplished. The ride into town was mostly uneventful, with a nice tailwind. When Rachel and Kendal rode into town, they were tempted by the local shooting range, but resisted.

I ran a bunch of errands in town and got my shorts stitched up, and my knife fixed. We all met up at the delicious Thai restaurant that we had been drooling over since we saw the bilboard ad several miles before town. We were in luck, the lunch buffet was open until 2!

After enough food to sink the Titanic, we headed for our place of residence for the evening. The original plan was to camp outside the Presbyterian church, but Pastor Ken greeted us and invited us to sleep in the church, since the rattlesnakes liked to hang out in the lawn.

Kendal and Pastor Ken almost immediately launched into a heated theological discussion about the gender of God. It was a very friendly conversation, but the word "heresy" was definitely thrown in here and there. Pastor Ken also told us how he met both Bob Dylan and Chris Rock. Bob Dylan played Blowin in the Wind specially for him, and Chris Rock deemed him "the funniest Honkey he has ever met." He kindly let us use his office computer and directed us to the showers at the local Rec Center, which let us in for free! After our showers we split off into two teams; Kendal computer blogged his tail off, while Rachel and I took care of laundry, dinner, and rented a movie! Two frozen pizzas, salad, Extreme Moose Tracks (my favorite ice cream of all time), topped off with Kung Fu Panda. We love rest days.

Day 37
June 26, 2009
Captain: Kendal
Weather: cold and drizzly
Town: Riverside
Where we stayed: Lazy Acres Campground

Being in such a comfortable place last night made it a little difficult to get moving this morning. I had a late night last night, staying up until 2 AM typing up the journal for the website. We had a hearty oatmeal breakfast at the church, cooked on a REAL stove (not an MSR) and rolled out in the rain to visit the Assisted Living Facility in Rawlins at around 10:30.

At the home, we visited with the residents for about an hour and a half, sharing lunch and stories. Rachel was still not feeling great, so we decided not to make any music, but just chat. My lunch buddy was sure that Rachel was "making eyes" at him, but he reckoned he ought not to do anything about it "cuz her dad is here". I told Rachel to stop flirting with the residents or she'd cause a heart attack, but she can't resist:)

On our way out we chatted with Betty, the loveliest, most graceful old lady you could ever meet. Her husband, Charlie, had done a lot of cycle touring, so she was pleased as punch to share in our experiences with us.

We had to ride on the Interstate (I-80) for 15 miles out of Rawlins today. Yuck. The shoulder was super wide, and we just tried not to notice all the tire carnage depicting the many exploding truck tires on the Interstate. Due to all the rubbish, Greg got a flat on I-80, and got hung up in the rain.

In the last 40 miles we dealt with a pretty heavy headwind, so we were exhausted by the time we got to Riverside. We've also noticed that we tend to be more tired on the days we visit Assisted Living Facilities, as they are always very emotionally powerful and taxing experiences.

We camped at the Lazy Acres Campground, right on the Encampment River. It was a nice place, and our next door neighbor campers, Mike and Nancy, were very wonderful. They shared a few beers and their campfire with us, and talked about living life to the fullest. They both volunteer at a Hospice Center with their beautiful dog, Jasper, offering warmth and solace to people in their final days of life. Mike and Nancy bought us dinner, and definitely made us feel warm and cared for. Many thanks!

We had cheeseburgers at the pub across the street, and then slept on the softest, smoothest grass we've had in a while, listening to the river gurgle behind us.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Hey this is Kristin from Canon City CO.

You guys were really cool. We had a lot of fun. The ambush on Kendal was really fun. You're welcome back any time.
Your Family in Colorado: Kristin Michael Matthew Beth And Colby

P.S. The Patches are awsome!!!=)