Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 45

Sunday, August 21

Miles today: 68
Walden, CO to Saratoga, WY

We woke up to another brisk morning in Colorado. I went down to the cafe and bought us two coffees while Ben took down the tent. We warmed up with the coffee and had English muffins with cheese and almond butter (we don't suggest trying this combo) for breakfast. Since we had an electrical outlet in our gazebo we blasted some music from the iPhone to get us pumped up for the day- it was a great way to start!

We got out on the road and went 22 miles to the border of Wyoming! We pulled up to the welcome sign at the same time as a family from Chicago (by car) so they took our picture. They were staying at a dude ranch for the week, which sounded pretty fun.

We had a good tailwind in the morning so we rode pretty fast for about an hour until we met another cyclist headed east. He started in Portland 26 days ago and was moving out to CO for the winter. His brother lived in Walden so he was finishing his trip today to stay with him. He was pretty excited to be done but jealous of our coast-to-coast adventure.

After talking to that guy for a while, and getting his advice about shortcuts through Idaho, we started pedaling into some headwind. Even though we were steadily decreasing in elevation, there were still a ton of hills that slowed us down along with the wind. We had one big hill of 7% grade that lasted about 2 miles. The wind made it even worse but a kind driver stopped to give us bananas so we enjoyed those as a victory snack at the top of the hill.

50 miles after we started for the day, we hit our first town- Riverside (pop. 59). We sat on a bench outside of the bar and had some snacks. There wasn't much going on there but it felt good to rest for a little. A hilly and windy 19 miles later, we came into Saratoga. We stopped at the grocery store, which was actually really nice and well priced for such a small town. Our maps told us that we could camp at the city park for free and shower at the public hot springs down the road, but unfortunately the showers were destroyed in a recent flood. We both needed showers pretty badly so Ben made a few phone calls and found a motel that would let us shower for $5 each. We decided it was well worth it, and it feels amazing to be clean again! Camping for free is awesome but it does have some drawbacks: no showers, restrooms or a place to wash dishes.

We found the park and set up camp and made a delicious dinner. We deviated from our normal meal for the first time in a while. We had salads! Big salads, of course, with hunks of cheddar cheese, carrots, and chick peas. It felt great to eat a fresh salad and not have to cook our meal!

After dinner we went down to the gas station for ice cream and as the sun set, it started getting chilly out. We got in our cozy sleeping bags and now here we are! We are both really happy about Wyoming, it seems like a great state even though they don't have a lottery. This is problematic for Ben's plan to play the state lottery in each state we pass through. We have about 300 more miles until we get to Jackson Hole, where we are debating renting a car to go to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is on the route, but we are taking a detour to save a lot of miles in Montana and Idaho because the route goes far north into Montana just to come back south into Oregon. We don't have anything against Montana and hear that it is beautiful, but we would rather save the miles (and time and money). It would take about 2 days to ride from jackson to yellowstone, and then two to ride back to take our shortcut across Idaho. It's possible that it would be cheaper and definitely faster to drive there from Jackson so we are still trying to decide what to do about that. We really want to see the park but don't want to add 4 days of riding... We still have a few more days to decide.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that if the sprinklers on this field come on in the morning, we stay dry!


  1. That Welcome to Wyoming sign is in the middle of nowhere! And in some parts of the world population of 59 could be a single house. Congratulations on entering another state. Now only two states to go! Wahoo!

  2. I'd like to stay at a dude ranch.