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Day 48 – Ghost (town) Rider

(70 miles)

Quickest. 70. Miles. Ever.

Up at 6, riding by 7, done by noon. Quite often the blogs of people who rode the TransAm in previous years mention how they got up early to avoid the heat of the day (as we also took to doing). What I don’t remember though is any mention of the other reason for riding early in the day: the wind. Almost invariably the wind picks up during the day (no doubt related to the increase in temperature). If you ride early, you can avoid the strongest winds. And as the winds generally blow against you as you travel west, it pays to avoid the stronger winds!

Flying through Wyoming

Wyoming's plains

Our destination was Jeffrey City, once a town of 5000 people with a huge Uranium mine. Then the mine shut and nearly everyone left. Today its pretty much a ghost town with about 50 people and 5 billion mosquitoes living there. But I’d heard good things about it from other cyclists so we were intrigued to see what it was like.We weren’t disappointed. The Split Rock bar/cafe is under new management and they like cyclists! Wahey! When we arrived a group of (real) bikers were just finishing lunch. We’d seen them up the road at a service station and they were amazed we had already caught them and had done 70 miles already. There was lots of banter and even group photos. Part of me would have loved to have just ridden off on the back of one of their Harleys!

Three of these things are not like the others

Almost as soon as we had sat down, a chap comes up and casually says “Hey – you guys can stay over in the trailer across the road. I let cyclists use it whenever they pass through.” And like that, all our worries about where we’d stay and the dreaded mosquito problem were gone ! The chap was called Byron and he runs a little pottery business in town (Monk King Bird pottery) – the stuff he makes is amazing!

The mosquitoes were indeed At Large. As soon as you walked outside a cloud of them swarmed around you. I sprayed myself from head to toe in bug spray which stopped them biting but it did mean you avoided going outside if at all possible.

We ended up staying in the bar all afternoon and evening. There was one scary moment though when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish the obscenely large Split Rock Burger I ordered (oh the shame!) but I soldiered on and polished it off.

Its amazing what 70 miles cycling can earn you

I did find the clarification in brackets quite amusing

We wiled away the afternoon using the free WiFi and reading old copies of Time and Newsweek magazines. Another cyclist, Evan, arrived shortly after us. He’s heading East to Washington DC to start a new job. Later on another couple of West-bounders arrived for the night too – brother and sister Carl and Sallie McDonald (http://warmersummers.com). As happy hour approached we had free monkey nuts and ice-creams. Later we retired to our very own trailer for the night – mercifully mosquito-free. Another night snuggled up to Matt in a double bed – lucky me!

Apparently one of those bars that doesn't operate a 'No shirt, no service' policy...

Our trailer on the right. Cool sky, eh?

Evan and Pat settle into their trailer bunks

 

Final word: Throughout our trip, us lads have joked about one of us meeting a girl in a random town we pass through and just deciding to stay. Sadly for me, I think my town was Jeffrey City.  And I didn’t stay – only my email address did :-(

 

6 Responses to “Day 48 – Ghost (town) Rider”

  1. Sasha says:

    Oh. man. That sky over the trailer is surreal. Sheesh, I SOOOOO wish I was with you. *sigh*

  2. Neil Sneade says:

    What’s happened to Parry? The last mention of him was in Chester, KA. Did you bury him in the corn fields or something?

  3. Lydia Gaston says:

    I love reading and seeing the photos, so glad you decided to keep it up. Especially ending on a Dawson’s Creek moment. Will she email? Will you meet again? x

  4. Andy says:

    Dude, that’s a long ride back from the West Coast if she does email… Worth staying the extra day, surely? 😉

  5. Double ditto what Lydia typed. Really enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

    ron & petra

  6. David M says:

    Eat more pasta. You look like you are losing weight xxx

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