Things have taken a turn for the worse since my last post!
I left Rawlins after eating about the third of the foot long dog the very nice man had paid for (as I wasn’t feeling too good) then cycled 14 miles to camp by a lake and make the following day’s ride a bit shorter. I arrived to find the place empty bar a few teenagers and thought ‘oh great, there’s youths in the area – that’s all I need when I just want to get some sleep…’. I tried to find a spot away from them as was conscious of giving them a bit of space to enjoy themselves (as it was Labour Day weekend after all). However, all of the more distant spots had no protection from the wind so I thought ‘sorry kids, you’ve got company’ and parked quite near them. A few minutes later one of them started walking towards me and I was wondering whether she’d ask me to move or something but no, she said they’d some food left over and would I like a hot dog? So that’ll teach me to be suspicious of the youth of today! For the sake of international relations, I didn’t say “thanks but no thanks – I’ve got the trots big-style” so accepted her offer and went to sleep with 2 uneaten sausages next to me – a 3 dog day!
Having dodged major storms for a while, I fell victim to an epic one that night. I find the storms genuinely terrifying as the wind rolls the tent and water then gets in and I end up with all my stuff down one end of the tent and sopping wet, including my sleeping bag. The thunder boomed like I’ve never heard before and the lightening was getting more and more frequent and seemingly closer, to the point where the colour (as it lit up the tent) went from white to yellow which I take to mean it’s on top of you. I’ve met 3 people now who have had a bolt come down a few hundred metres from them (although they seem much more ok with this than I would).
Scared by the storm and knowing more were on that way that day, I turned around in the morning and headed back to Rawlins to sit things out for a day. I wasn’t feeling great but didn’t feel too bad at this point. As I was cycling back, I saw Billy (the 60 yr old travelling with the 70 yr old, Dean) coming up the road and he persuaded me to carry on with them. The thought of being overtaken on the route by a 70 yr old was a bit depressing so I thought I should get a grip and go on (especially as when I’d said goodbye to Dean after meeting him briefly, he said “see you later down the trail” and I thought “no offence but that’s extremely unlikely – eat my dust!”).
I did 5 miles with Billy (Dean is much slower and rides miles behind) then felt terrible after a few M&Ms (having not eaten for nearly 24 hrs before that) and said I really couldn’t go on, so turned around AGAIN, having 2 undignified result-of-food-poisoning ‘episodes’ of different kinds on the way back.
So there I was back in my least favourite place! Rather than the typical American friendliness I’d experienced everywhere else, the people in Rawlins tend to get on with what they’re doing rather than greeting you so you have to say “excuse me”, at which point a neck slowly rotates through 90 degrees with them having exactly the same expression you suspect they had pre-rotation and are seemingly shocked when it becomes obvious to them that you’d like to converse about something. I’m not sure we have an English word for it that isn’t really harsh so I’m going to use Tom’s (the Aussie) expression of drongoes, which I think captures it accurately but in a more light-hearted way. It’s not just me who thinks this as Tom and Bonnie (also stuck in Rawlins as she’s hurt her knee) spontaneously commented on things and I chatted to a guy in the supermarket and asked if he lived here and his reply was “yeah but it’s a sh*thole so I’m leaving”. So there we go – proof!
The next day, by now getting sicker than I was before, after investigating train and car hire options and finding none, I realised I was literally stuck in Rawlins until I was well enough to cycle out of there. I tried to find someone who could give me a lift but no success. During this time, I got a puncture – cheers Rawlins! Then I bumped into Tom and Bonnie (who I hadn’t realised were there) and found out they were also stuck as her knee is pretty bad but they’d found a way out by bus and car.
Boring story but to get a Greyhound from Rawlins to Steamboat Springs is 13hrs, leaves at 2am and costs $140 then extra for the bike which you have to have boxed up (which wasn’t really doable). So that’s be $300+ for Bonnie and I. So we’ve gone for the cheaper and easier option all round of me getting the 05.15 to Rock Springs, picking up a hire car to drive 100+ miles back to Rawlins to pick Bonnie and our 2 bikes up then drive 150 miles to Steamboat. What a blast!
Have arrived at the Avis desk at Rock Springs to find it closed and not open until 10am so I’m a bit annoyed they didn’t flag that during the online booking and let me reserve it from 8am. Anyway…
I’m keen to crack on with things and not waste too much time in Rawlins, hence the non-cycling option to the next town on the route. Hopefully things will pick up in Steamboat! The weather is getting better and it’s not in Wyoming so those are both positive signs!
In the meantime, here’s a pronghorn antelope, the best Wyomingites.
And some wild horses in the Great Basin.