Day 46 – The two sides of the Cycle Touring Coin

(68 miles)

At lunch time today I wrote some notes about the mornings ride. I very nearly uploaded them as the entirety of today’s blog post. Here’s what I wrote:

Freezing rain, ferocious headwind, bumpy rutted hilly road, bleak wilderness with no civilization for 50 miles.

That pretty much said it all for the morning’s ride. It was brutal. Every mile felt like ten. Our feet were soaked and freezing. Our faces were stinging from the icy wind. My composure wilted and questions flooded my mind. What the heck had happened overnight? How long had we slept for? Was it winter already? Was this going to last all the way to Oregon? Is this really worth it?

Even the normally momentous occasion of crossing a state border was a drag. We had to stop, take our gloves off to take a photo, and then start off again, having lost all momentum.

Wyoming - you owe me one already.

But today was to be a day of two halves. After our lunch break (a huge basket of fries each – the West is expensive!) the clouds lifted a bit, the sun showed itself and the ground flattened a bit. I received a phone call from a warmshowers contact, Tom, in Saratoga, confirming we could stay with his girlfriend Sheila (what a trusting chap…).

Our stay with Tom and Sheila turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip so far. They were so easy-going and had a casual generosity that I wish I had. When offering us dinner, Sheila mentioned that she only had chicken and elk for meat. Obviously we were excited by the idea of eating elk for the first time – but were a bit apprehensive in case she was saving it for a special occasion. As she opened the freezer though, our concerns were well and truly wiped out. It turns out Sheila is a dab hand with a rifle and had shot the elk. Inside the freezer were piles and piles of little paper packages of elk steaks. We feasted on grilled elk, seasoned potatoes and steamed vegetables. Not to mention mountains of ice-cream for dessert.

All this was once an elk

Elk steaks coming right up

During dinner we shared some of our experiences from the trip and Tom and Sheila shared their plans to set off on their bikes next summer. They’re going to ‘ride until the money runs out and then settle wherever they’ve got to’. Kinda crazy but kinda cool. I wish them all the best! After such a tough ride today it was real blessing to be fed, entertained and accommodated so generously.

2 Responses to “Day 46 – The two sides of the Cycle Touring Coin”

  1. A.Sheila says:

    Have been looking at Matt’s blog and really enjoying his photos. Do hope the weather will keep on improving for you! Sounded really tough in the cold and wet.

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