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Day 49 - 56 Coast To Coast 1999 by Eric K. Andersen (click on images to see larger pictures)

Day 49  Silverthorne, CO  I followed the flow of the Blue River down to the Green Mountain reservoir and had lunch overlooking the water in Heeney.  It was mostly downhill with a little bit of wind.  After lunch the wind picked up and rain clouds hovered over the mountain sides.  I could see the rain falling but it never reached me. In Kremmling I reunited with the Tandem Teachers, Larry, Jason and met Chris whom the TT's had met back in Kentucky.  He had gone off route to visit friends and was now back on  heading west. We all ate dinner together and stayed at the Hostel in town except Chris who braved the mosquitoes in the town park.  Chris made the right decision.  The hostel was overpriced and the mattress was horrible.  It turned out that the mosquitoes weren't that bad either. Total Miles: 45

Day 50 Kremmling, CO I pedaled to the top of Muddy Pass with the TT's where we stopped for lunch.  As we were finishing, some riders from Oklahoma stopped.  They were doing 100 mile days which is a concept I don't understand.  There is no point in rushing this journey. Especially in this part of the country.  It's a pleasure riding through the valleys surrounded by snow capped peaks and the weather couldn't be better. We all spent the night camped in the city park in Walden and went out to dinner together.  The waitress at the Teapot Cafe entertained us with stories and jokes about other riders who passed through town. Later I went to the Stockman Bar to watch the Knicks. The bartender turned on a big screen TV in the back of the bar for me before she drove a patron home who had a few to many.  It was only 8 o'clock.  Total Miles: 62

Day 51 Walden, CO The Oklahoman's got up early to make their miles and the TT's and I stopped in town for some pastries and conversation with the locals before heading out. At a store on the way we caught up to Chris who ironically knew someone who worked in the little store we stopped at. One of the Oklahomans who slept late came into the store in a sweat. He was anxious to catch up to his friends. They never told him where they were going to stop for the day. We told him he should take it easy and ride with us. He bought a Gatorade and hit the road. (I never saw the Oklahomans again.)

Once again the weather and scenery were spectacular. Ranchers could be seen in the distance herding cattle. The road climbed between thunderclouds before dropping into Wyoming. We got into Encampment in time to catch the rodeo. Finally I was in the right place at the right time to catch a local event. It was a real rodeo complete with corny announcer jokes, Bar B Q, children wearing cowboy garb and sequined rodeo queens. As we were leaving the fairgrounds we were approached by two people who asked us if we needed a place to camp. Chris and Mary were also bikers and they were staying at Mary's grandmother's house nearby. The had seen me on the road back in Dillon, CO. They invited us to camp on the lawn and use the shower.  We gratefully accepted, pitched our tents, cleaned up and went out for pizza and ice cream. Total Miles: 51

Day 52 Encampment, WY This morning we bought Chris and Mary breakfast at the IOOF club's pancake breakfast before heading off. In Saratoga Springs we found the hotspring and went for a quick early soak. As we were leaving town via Six Mile Hill the mosquitoes attacked. There was no wind and I could see dozens of them on Hob and Deb as we pedaled and swatted our way to the top. Once we reached Walcott the route took I-80 for about 13 miles. This is the only stretch of the Trans-America Trail that uses the Interstate. As we were looking for a cheap motel in Rawlins we bumped into Larry. He escorted us to the old penitentiary where he had arranged for us to "stay".   After being whisked into paying for a quick tour, I found out that the accommodations were camping on the lawn and having access to the bathroom (no showers). After seeing the mosquitoes this afternoon I opted for a motel on the highway and a meal at a decent restaurant.  Total Miles: 63

Day 53 Rawlins, WY "I'm a thousand miles from nowhere, time don't matter to me.  I'm a thousand miles from nowhere and there's no place I gotta be".  Dwight Yoakam's song went through my head as I passed through the wide open spaces of the Great Divide Basin. The Continental Divide splits and forms a basin where water can not flow out. It creates a dry arid bowl and a home for wildlife.  You must cross the divide to enter it and again to leave it. Antelope could be seen running through the basin. The TT's caught up to me early in the day and we picked up sandwiches in Lamont that we ate later at a service station in Muddy Gap.  After Split Rock, a landmark on the Oregon and Mormon Wagon trails, the wind picked up.  Lightning clouds started sweeping across the valley, their dramatic strikes streaked towards the earth.  I fought the strongest wind I'd experienced so far and made it to Jeffrey City beaten.  I got a cheap motel room at a motel that didn't even look like it was open. I ate dinner in one of the two places to eat in this once booming uranium mining town that was home to 50,000 miners and again caught a Knick's playoff game at the local bar. I had the whole place to myself. The wind howled all night long. Total Miles: 69

Day 54 Jeffrey City, WY  "You can sit here all day and wait but the wind won't change" said a guy hanging out at the gas station this morning.  The wind howled through the night and continued strong into the morning.  It blew from the west as the road headed north west and continued for the next 18 miles to Sweetwater. At least the mosquitoes weren't biting.  The wind got even stronger until reaching the top of Beaver Rim and a nice long beautiful downhill. As I came into the pretty town of Lander, I saw Larry and joined him for some excellent BBQ. Later we all camped in the city park under rows of tall trees.   Total Miles: 47

Day 55 Lander, WY Traveled through the Wind River Indian Reservation this morning with the TT's and Chris. The wind was light as we passed by Crowheart Butte, but after lunch it picked up again. The scenery was outstanding with red rocks and raging rivers filled with snowmelt. I made it to Dubois in time for the usual drill: a motel room, pizza and the Knicks (yes again!). Total Miles: 76
Day 56 Dubois, WY Back in Jeffrey City four guys heading east had told me about four college girls that were behind them. We joked that we'd see Dugirls in Dubois. We were close. As Chris, the TT's and I climbed Togwotee pass we passed them coming down.  After 20 miles of climbing we stopped at a lodge for a break and Chris and I snoozed on the porch as the TT's chatted with another eastbounder. At the top of the pass we met more riders going the distance including two girls from New York who also quit their jobs to make the trip. That night I had my last dinner with the TT's since they planned to go off route to visit a friend on the western side of the Teton Range. We camped at a Forest Service campground and were eaten alive by swarms of mosquitoes as we hurriedly set up our tents. Total Miles: 48


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