Day 22, Wyoming
From Jefferson to Rawlins.
I don't carry an alarm, but rely on the clock in my head. So I was laying there half-waiting for the dawn, when I saw a flashlight nearby. It was Rita getting up. Now that's my kind of gal. I like to rise with the dawn, and have met very few adventurers who do the same.
Rita and I exchanged pleasantries, then I hit the road a minute behind her, going the other way of course. The morning was quiet, windless, and traffic free, although that would change in another hour.
For a while I thought about Rita, about how she was among the among the most "Think for yourself" people I have met this summer. Her home-made panniers were just one example. Another was her traveling style. Most cross-county cyclists start at one coast and pedal every inch of way to the other coast. This is the style that I prefer. But Rita had a different plan. She wanted to cover the distance with her bike; but in order to do that, in her very limited time away from school, she had to cover some 130 miles a day. So she had struck a good comprise, and was pedaling the first half of the day, and then admittedly hitchhiking the remainder of the day to her 130 mile point.
Some would say that's cheating. Another approach is to say that the ones who stay at home are the cheaters, because they are cheating themselves out of - not only the second half of the day - but the entire adventure. I used to belong to this second school of thought, but have sense changed my mind. Now I think that everyone's doing the right thing, for them. If someone wants to stay home, then that's what's right for them.
While pedaling along, I observed a large number of antelope, a few at a time, some up close. Many were between the fence and the road, as though the browsing was somewhat better than out in the field. whenever I came along, they would have to cross the fence. But they don't like to jump over a fence, as deer do. Instead they would crawl under them. But they also know where the best gaps between the ground and the lowest wire are, and make a beeline for them when necessary. Smart animals.
A little bit of heaven
The past several days have been shadeless, due to a lack of trees out here in the Wyoming desert. Only once did I find a bit of shade: a small patch under a highway sign. It seemed like a bit of heaven.
Those who think that the U.S. is crowded have not traveled this road. It is out in the middle of nowhere, and goes on and on . . . and on. But did I mention the lack of shade? and water?
The headwinds sprung up, and I labored for five hours at slow speed. So when I reached Rawlins, I felt pretty beat. The sun, the wind, the traffic, the road leading to the endless horizon - all play with a person's mind. And not only with those who pedal bikes; I saw some pretty crazy driving out there.
Now I'm in a comfortable motel and looking forward to the morrow's adventures.
Miles pedaled today: 67