ray ban
 
PAT & CAT SPIN TALES OF THE TRAIL
"Urged ever onward in their quest of the unknown, Pat & Cat, symbolic of man's age old struggle to Master the Earth, have braved the elements, crossed the deserts, pierced the Jungle and cycled over the mountains. At last their tired eyes behold the goal of their ODYSSEY. It is the gift of WORLD KNOWLEDGE!"
"The Discoverer" N.C. Wyeth
 
Section 1: Salt Lake City, Utah to Casper, Wyoming
Posted on 7/4/02, pictures on 7/11/02

May 25, 2002
Salt Lake City, UT to Coleville, UT

Goodbye Maya & The Inn Cat's Buffalo BuddyThe feelings of melancholy at leaving our sanctuary, The Brigham Street Inn, were soon replaced by the burning in our thighs. East South Temple is an uphill pull for 3 blocks. As we cranked and burned we were looking directly at the mountain that lay between us and the finish of our first day of cycling in a week. To borrow a phrase, “Seven days without cycling makes one weak.”

Old Union StationGreatest snow on earthPsychologically we are both a little intimidated by the next 12 miles. Cat has been dreading it. Our new philosophy about hills is one borrowed from an old Navy Vet. I used to work with. He would always say, “Easy by Slow.”

As we rolled along Foothill Road Cat saw a Mail Boxes Etc. We had the pictures in frames on board that we wanted to send off. While there I talked with a young Doctor and his girlfriend. They were avid cyclists and have been thinking of a cross country ride.

A guy about my age named Ray was very intrigued with us and kept asking why, why would anyone do what we were doing. As he drove away he slowed and yelled out, I’m going to go home, relax and have a Diet Pepsi, you guys make me tired.

No more stalling, we had to get up that hill. Traffic was pretty thick for a Saturday, maybe because it was Memorial Day weekend? I cut across an off ramp lane, Cat whistled. I was headed in the wrong direction. Who ever reads signs?

We were now on I-80 and headed up. It wasn’t bad, we just pedaled. When ever it got steep we would call out, “Easy by Slow.” We stopped to rest and sip Gatorade several times. Cat is a typical convert. She couldn’t stand the taste of Gatorade a week ago, now she was slugging it down.

Three cyclists flew down the opposite side of the road then a guy came pedaling up and past us. Cat asked if he wanted to trade bikes. He laughed and said, “Uh uh, to heavy for me,” then laughed as he pulled away.

When ever we struggled on the steep our mantra became, “Easy by Slow, Easy by Slow.” Amazed, we crested Parleys Summit in just under 2 hours. We were elated. I sat the tripod up then grabbed Cat and swept her up into my arms for the photo. We both felt strong. We were well, we were back, we were on the road again.

Hunger drove us off I-80 but there was to be no food at the first exit. Back on the highway, we took the next exit and followed the signs to Blimpy’s. What a pleasant surprise. They served some one the best turkey sandwiches we had eaten in a long time.

Celebration at 7000'It was mostly coasting from there, past Park City and down into Echo Canyon. It was as scenic as it gets. Green grassy fields filled with livestock. Even with our late start we thought we would arrive in Coalville by 3:30 PM. The best laid plans? We were just a mile from there when my rear tire blew. I found two pieces of thin silver wire stuck in it. They were shards or remains of steel belted radials that had blown to bits.

Flat, Pat hates that! When I pulled the wires out some of the slime oozed through the holes. Maybe we could just pump back up and it would hold? I pumped, and it continued to ooze. In fact slime, the goop that we had pumped into the tires to seal holes like these, was now bubbling out along the rim of the tire. It didn’t hold. I messed with it, pumped again and rode a couple hundred yards but it hit bottom, again. Damn, I would have to patch or change the tube.

This was only our second flat in 1,250 miles. I guess I shouldn’t complain? It’s just that we have to unload the bags then remove the wheel, replace the tube and remount the wheel. It took almost an hour. So much for our early arrival.

The place was still there, our camping gear was still there. We were in by 5:30 which quashed all plans for a dip in the hot tub. We showered then lounged. There are no restaurants near the Best Western. We thought about walking into town. Easy decision, we called a take out place, The Sage Brush Café, the only take out in town.

The food was typical truck stop style but suited our needs. A day that began with intrepidation ended with Zantacs to quell the grease and a feeling of accomplishment.

May 26, 2002
Coalville, UT to Evanston, WY

Our favorite show on TV is “Sunday Morning” with Charles Osgood. We watched as we repacked then went to the drifted to the social room for complimentary breakfast. They had a TV there so we tuned Charles in and ate while the show rolled on.

There were 3 very well behaved kids working on breakfast and running coffee to their Dad, back in their room. When I said I was going to make French toast they watched, to learn how to set it up and microwave to perfection. The oldest boy said “That’s half of our name.”

“Your name is French, right?”

“Yea.”

“My name is toast, we oughta get together!”

They laughed, we gave them our card and explained our Odyssey. They loved the story and said they would check our web-site. I hope they do, I would like to develop young friends who would gain some sense of adventure and geography.

Back in our room, we tuned in the end of “Sunday Morning” as we shuffled and re-packed bags. We had the bikes pretty much loaded and were just about out the door. As I picked the remote, the nest show started, an Infomercial. It was LandRider, our bicycle manufacturers. We couldn’t believe it. We sat on the bed and watched it unfold. There we were, big as life. It was very inspirational. If we had any doubt about moving on, it died there in Coalville. We had made a promise to ourselves, we had made it publicly. Seeing ourselves just instilled a greater desire to continue. In the video I say, “We want a bike that will get us from point A to point B. Point A is here and point B is here, the rest of it is the world!” We were off to see the world!

The ride is flat for the first 5 miles. We rode through Coalville then out along Echo Reservoir. It is a decent sized lake. There were lots of families in camp sites with their boats and other water toys. When we thought about it we knew that if the lake were in Southern California it would be packed. More than 2/3 of the camp sites were vacant.

Up a pretty canyonHighway 80 takes a hard right about 5 miles out and begins going up. The ride up the canyon was beautiful. The weather was beautiful. The up was tolerable.

We sat under a bridge, in the shade and dipped peanut butter with our fingers and ate saltine crackers. It was a wonderful moment in time. We were enjoying a view of the cliffs as cars and trucks roared by. Many honked and waved. That raised our spirits even higher.

Castle Rock Ranch The hill crested at 6,850 feet. Somehow it seemed easy. Were we getting used to it or was it the natural high we were enjoying?

The summit brought a change in the scenery. We were in high desert, high plains again. It was dry looking but enough to support cattle and sheep. We had been passed by hundreds of motorcycles since yesterday. The flow continued, many waved as they passed.

Hang on Cowboys At the Wyoming border I tried to pose like the cowboy riding the bronc on the sign. It didn’t look like I had envisioned.

Our bikes made the little ups and the bigger downs. We were in Evanston, Wyoming by 3:30. The town was full of Bikers. Not bicycles, motorcycles. Lots of wild and crazy guys and gals in leather coats and chaps. They ranged from the sleazy to sleek. Some on dressed out bikes others on choppers. What a mix of interesting humanity.

There were a lot of organized events for them but the main one seemed to be roaring up and down the main street. That event went on into the wee hours. The bar at Best Western was open until 5:30 AM. We talked with the Bartender, a lady who has 9 kids. She was nice looking and a nice person. She was definitely trapped in her life. Single Mom, of course.

We slept, in spite of the constant roar of Harley pipes.

May 27, 2002
Evanston, WY to Lyman, WY

Neither a particularly restful night nor an early start. We had a vision of cycling out onto the prairie beyond Lyman and camping. That would give us a leg up on the longer ride that lay beyond.

Thumbs up at 7760’Climbing out of Evanston, we made a turn into the Visitor Information Center. It turned out to be a turn in the right direction. The lady at the counter had a twinkle in her eye as she introduced us to the 3 Sisters. None of our maps told us the cold hard truth like the little hand drawn elevation schematic under the glass of her counter. The Sisters were three summits. The first Sister would crest out at 7,430 feet the second was over 7,760 and the third would be 7,300 and change.

Yes, we were slightly intimidated. This would be a longer day than we had anticipated. The first Sister met us head on in just a few miles. She was tough. We just took it, “Easy by Slow.”

Sister number two stood like a monument, in our path. She was less forgiving, she was steeper. We were huffing and wheezing as the air thinned. It would be ours but not without a price. Our legs were tiring. There was little elation as we summited. We knew what lay ahead.

Third Sister coming upThe race down the back side was nice but we could see our next challenge growing as we swooped. With a good head of steam, we accepted the challenge and pedaled hard toward her. I had my head down pumping when I heard Cat whistle. Looking back in the mirror I could see that she had pulled up. Another flat tire, same culprit, those little silvery threads of steel from a blown truck tire.

Damn flat, he hates that! We got the bike turned upside down and I was in the middle of pulling the wheel when an alder car pulled up onto the dirt shoulder. It was a couple who were worried about us. What a nice gesture. He had a full beard, they had a sort of country hippie look. We assured them that we were fine. His name was Catfish, hers was Vickie. We shook hands and they continued on to their home, just up the road. Heart of the heartland folks.

On top of the third Sister we ran into another old friend, TA the Travel Centers of America. The restaurant, A Fork in the Road reminded us of our friends back on Rye Patch and Puckerbrush, NV. The wind was cooling, I chose Chicken and Dumplings, and Cat had soup.

After filling our tanks we looked for an air pump. It was around on the truck repair side. I got the bikes leaned up and looked for some help. A big, burly driver hollered and a young guy came running. The driver said, “I saw you changin’ yur tire down et the bottom of little Sister.” He was a nice guy, a local. He told us that contrary to rumor there was a small motel in Lyman. He also urged us to take the back road into town.

We accepted his advice and except for a small pull it was a nice ride, despite the side wind that buffeted us.

Cat circles the wagonsFort Bridger was on the old road so we took the turn in. It was just a few of the original buildings established by Jim Bridger that was later made into a US Military Fort. We chatted with the young man at the gate. He was from Idaho and wished he was back there. He had just graduated from University and was glad to have a job. He was part of the troop that re-creates scenes of the early days. He had to work the gate too and hated that part of the job.

Where the Antelope roamWe rolled on toward Lyman, as we neared a large Antelope strutted across the road in front of us. He kept a wary eye on us but didn’t seem too worried. We were too shocked to even think about the camera. The moment is etched into our memories.

Lyman was sleeping, a little sleeping town on the prairie. The burly driver passed, honked and waved then pointed in the direction we were headed. I think he was trying to tell us that the Valley West Motel was just a couple blocks ahead.

The wind was howling by the time we reached Valley West. A room really sounded good compared to trying to set the tent in this gale force blow. They had only one left. We grabbed it.

The warm shower cleansed us of the grease and dirt from the tire change and the sweat left over from those Sisters.

We walked back to a grocery store in search of a bottle of wine. We had earned it. They don’t sell wine, only the John’s Bar sells wine, beer and spirits in Lyman. Back at the room, I decided to call John’s and see what wines he had in stock. I would cycle back if it seemed worth it. No answer. I checked the number with the folks who ran the Motel. Tried again then gave up, John must have closed up and gone home early.

The Longhorn Restaurant was the only food in town. The wind had stopped and it was a pleasant walk ½ mile walk. Several local folks were enjoying a night out. We ate and observed. It was a pleasant evening.

May 28, 2002
Lyman, WY to Rock Springs, WY

Today would be a stretch, maybe our longest day in the saddle since we started. We breakfasted at The Longhorn. Another study in mid-America. Two sisters came in, they reminded us of my Aunts who live together in the little town where I was born in Idaho. The younger, more able helped the older to her seat. She was wearing a silky jacket with George Strait embroidered on the back. I hoped that she had been able to attend one of his concerts. That would be a very big event in her life.

Wyoming pyramidsThe eternal flame $$$Just a few miles out, we came across a truck that was driving slowly along the edge of the road. The driver was picking up trash, mostly pieces of tire that had blown on trucks. As we rolled by the driver yelled out, “Howdy!” We loved it, it reminded us of Cat’s father, Earl. He says that a lot.

Nature's Stonehenge Fueled up, we were on the road by 9:00 AM. It was a beautiful morning. We rolled the 25 miles to Little America without stop. Little America has billboards announcing their features for miles before you arrive. We thought it was a city. It turns out to be an expanded truck stop. Nicely done, the buildings are all brick. There is the normal gas and repair station, mini market but the expansion starts there. They had a really nice boutique, almost a gallery of works by local artists and others. Works relating to the plains Indians and of course, cowboys.

The mini mart was so big it could almost qualify as a Super Mini. They even had clothing. The restaurant was part of the Hotel. Both looked first class. We weren’t hungry but had been reading the sign with the big picture of a giant soft Ice Cream Cone and the clincher, 35 cents.

The sun felt wonderful, we walked around the entire place then sat out front and finished our cones. They were every bit as good as the sign had indicated.

We pushed ourselves as we made for Rock Springs. About 10 miles out the same yellow truck, we passed this morning came by in the median, passed us then cut across the lanes and onto the shoulder, ahead of us. The driver who had hollered, “Howdy” got out and walked back toward us as we rolled up.

“Folks, I want to warn you that if you continue on the Highway you will enter a construction zone and be forced to ride with the cars and trucks in a single lane. I recommend that you take the next turn off. It is the old road. It takes you through Green River. It’s a nice little town. It will be a safer and better ride for you.”

He only slowed talking to take a breath a couple of times. There was no room for any words from us. I had decided that the old road was probably hilly and were going to stay on I-80.

“Your name Spike?” I was finally able to ask.

“Yea,” he said with that look like how did you know so I told him.

“It’s on your helmet.”

“Oh yea, well I didn’t want to upset you folks but it really would be better for you to take the old road.”

We thanked him and waved as he honked and pulled away. I could have kicked myself for not getting a picture with him. He was so sincere and concerned. That was very refreshing. We had thought at first that he was going to scold us for being on the Highway.

The red cliffs of Green RiverCresting a small climb, we could see Green River lying below red cliffs. We did have to climb up against the base of the cliffs but Spike was right. It was a good ride. The road dead ended in front of a chrome and glass replica of a railroad diner, Penny’s Diner. We were drawn to it.

*Picture of Oscar/Elvis Sosa

Leaning the bikes on the pipe rail at the entry, we took a seat where we could watch them. A guy came up and stood, staring at them. When he came into Penny’s I nudged Cat and pointed out that he had Elvis Pressley side burns and jet black hair. He asked about the bikes so we recounted our tale then I asked if he was an Elvis impersonator.

“No,” said Oscar Sosa. “I am a living tribute to Elvis.”

He was wearing earphones. I asked if he was listening to Elvis and he told us that that is all he ever listens to. When Cat went to the restroom he came to the table and gave me a sample of the Elvis Trilogy. I thought it sounded pretty good but he apologized saying that he had just gotten up, he had worked all night. Oscar’s day job is and has been for over 20 years, conductor on the Union Pacific trains.

We entered Rock Springs in gusty wind with big raindrops scattered about. The Super 8 Motel was our shelter. I immediately called and found the bike shop. The second call was for a rental car. The best we could do was $45.00 a day. The agency was located at the airport and the airport was miles out of town. True to his word, Lee called me back after he finished working the rush of an airplane arrival. He picked us up and had to take us back out to the airport. It seems that the reason it is so far from town is that it was an old Air Force base that had been converted.

Our Olds Alera was barely big enough to get both bikes in the trunk. I rushed to get them to Bike and Trike before closing time. We had decided to have Mr. Tuffy tire liners put in. I also had them install a water bottle cage on the handle bar stem of my bike. We seem to go long distances between water holes here. Also, it was a safe place to store them while we were away the next few days.

Jason, the young owner, was in a wheel chair. His leg was elevated and he said that would be his life for the next year. He broke it in 9 places in a motorcycle crash. I suggested that he should never ride anything that didn’t have pedals.

May 29, 2002
Rock Springs, WY to Jackson Hole, WY (by car)

World Drivers 2 Distances here in Wyoming are hard to believe and you can see rolling hills, cliffs and sage brush for miles in every direction. It is 84 miles from Rock Springs to Pinedale. It was time for lunch as we cruised the main. There were several Restaurants to choose from. We finally chose the one with a full parking lot. It was full of pickup trucks and half of them had a dog in the back.

The Rangler Café is definitely a local’s favorite. Mostly guys, mostly cowboys. We had just ordered when an SUV pulled in and parked just outside the window. Cat noticed the license plate was California. The ring around it said, “Ventura Toyota.” As the couple entered we asked and, yes, they were from Ventura.

Steve & Molly from Oxnard Steve and Molly Crawford have a place near Jackson. They were both born and raised here. They live in Oxnard, in a place surrounded by the golf course called Island Villas. Amazingly small world, our friends Michael and Marja live there and we traded into one of the Villas just before we cycled away from home. It was a great time comparing people we know and places we like.

PVC CyclistAlthough we don’t visit museums too often, we were drawn in by the Mountain Man Museum. Steve and Molly had seen and enjoyed it. We found it to be interesting. I bought a book on how Native Americans had tanned hides. I was curious, I remembered seeing a tanning factory in India that was several hundred years old. I bought a book that tells how the Natives here used brains of dead animals to condition there buckskin. It never ceases to amaze me how a museum like this could have so much about Mountain Men on display and completely ignore the fact that they pretty much just adapted to the lifestyle of the natives to survive. Most even worked together with the natives to gather furs and hides.

Jackson Square Bronze Bronc Another 77 miles and we were in Jackson, often referred to as Jackson Hole. The Hoback River carved a canyon that early travelers used as a pass. They called it the Hole to Jackson hence, Jackson Hole. It is a quaint little town. I decided that if they balanced the state based upon net worth of its inhabitants it would be very top heavy and list toward the left.

We took an inexpensive motel room on the main street then set out to explore. Cat has always wanted to go white water rafting and I have never been so we made a reservation for a rapids run in the morning.

Old Yellowstone Garage crewCat takes a Bear NapThe time had flown, we chose a place recommended by the gal at Lewis and Clark Rafting. It was great and we now also recommend it. Our Server, Tillie was a gem and the food was incredible.

 

May 30, 2002
Jackson Hole, WY to Yellowstone, WY (by car)
The white water then on to Yellowstone.

We were loaded into a van with six other adventurers, two guides and a raspy sounding driver and on our way to the Snake River by 10:00 AM. The six were young people who worked for a resort called Dornan’s in Grand Teton National Park. The general rule is 5 people and a guide in each boat. The youngies wanted to ride together. The guide agreed. Good news for Cat & Pat, we had our own boat and personal guide, Shag, for the ride.

Whitewater rafting with ShagMost water levels are fairly low for this time of year. They are talking drought. It looked pretty big to us, especially once we were down on it. The first half of the ride is just a fairly easy float. Then several class 1 and 2 rapids. They save the best for last. The two class 3 runs were called “Lunch” as in it will eat your lunch and “The Big Kahuuna”. It was wet, wild and pretty exciting. We enjoyed Shag’s (real name Dave) stories. He was experienced on Eastern Rivers. This was his first year here. He is living the simple life with his girl friend, in a Van. He inherited the Van from his Grandfather. White Water Guides sort of reminded me of musicians. They love what they do and the money is secondary.

Le GrandThat afternoon we soaked in the beauty of The Grand Teton Mountains. They and the National park are just north of Jackson. There is a $20.00 per car charge to enter but it is good for both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The two parks are virtually contiguous.

Even more grandWe stopped at Dornan’s because one of the guys told us he works in the wine store and they have a great selection. He was there and he was correct.

A Bird in the GrandGrandeurIt took most of the rest of the day to drive the 100 miles to Old Faithful. We did see a large bird and some Bison or if you prefer, Buffalo along the way. Took way too many pictures of majestic scenery. If you haven’t been there, you must go. When you go, allow more time than we had and make reservations well in advance. Yellowstone Greeter

An Emu in Yellowstone?Our problem with advance reservations is tied to the bikes, the weather and our health. We had to pay a premium price for a minimal room. (When you visit try to book a 3rd or 2nd floor room in the newer, yellow walls wing. Make sure it is an even numbered room. You will have a view of Old Faithful from your windows. Our view was a parking lot.)

Old Faithful Spasmodic Geyser Old Faithful Inn Cat & Elk Elk Herd A Buffalo Crossing

By now we were feeling very glad that we had chosen to side trip here. To ride the bikes would have been a 2 ½ to 3 week experience. We had no idea that Yellowstone had more than two million acres in the Park. Also, the roads were often narrow and many were under construction.

We did see Old Faithful keep her promise twice that night. (Movie: Old Faithful Geyser 0:45) Dinner was a very late and so, so affair. (Movie: Dinner at the Old Faithful Inn 0:24) We also recommend making your reservations for dinner in advance, too. It wasn’t even full season yet and already the crowds were starting to gang up.

May 31, 2002
Old Faithful, WY to Cody, WY (by car)

Our waiter at breakfast was a very cool black guy from Detroit. He knew how to work and he was a great conversationalist. He was as much fun as our walk around the geothermal area there. We did see a small herd of deer being photographed by an even larger herd of people.

Grand Prismatic SpringWe drove at a sauntering pace and made several stops between Old Faithful and Mammoth Springs Junction. There are interesting pools and ponds that steam gurgle and belch. (Movie: Pools 0:21) The mud pots were most interesting. The mud bubbles perk and jump in random disorder. (Movie: Mud Pots 0:15) (Movie: Outdoor Laundromat 0:26) (Movie: Mud Volcano 0:10) (Movie: The power for yo'Momma 0:11)

Upper Yellowstone FallsFalls and the RiverOur sauntering pace was to observe nature but it was also dictated by the line of cars in front of us, too. We all wanted the same thing, a great picture of wild life, wilderness and open spaces. (Movie: Yellowstone River 0:24) One of the Rangers we talked with described the roads in full season like a train. (Movie: How about a shower? Yellowstone Falls 0:12)Cars bumper to bumper, intent on seeing something other than the bumper of the one in front of them. Summer ice

The mileage is just under 20 from Old Faithful to Cody, WY and it was nearing nightfall when we pulled in. Not wanting to just have a motel we cruised off the main street. Cat spotted an old Church with a sing, Parson’s Pillow B&B. What a kick. The couple just bought it in September. They were real nice folks from Arizona. He is actually ordained but not a practicing Preacher. They had no problem with our glass of wine before dinner and recommended a great place.

Dad, Mom and CarterDuring dinner a family, Mom, Dad and Carter Eric, a 7 year old came in celebrating the last day of school. Carter was very out going. He stopped to show is the gold medal that he won for reading. I had to have his picture. (Movie: Carter's Gold Medal 0:24)

June 1, 2002
Cody, WY to Rock Springs, WY (by car)

Our Parson’s Pillow PalsBreakfast was a treat. We were joined by a couple from San Bruno, CA. He was a talker, she slept a little later. Amazing, Grace, Pat slept in a Church and the roof remained intact.

It would be a dead head drive back to Rock Springs. The map says 280 miles. It is more of the same. Don’t get me wrong but we are really tired of desert. Some in Wyoming may say that they are high plains or plateaus. It is huge and beautiful but a lot of sameness. Also we were pretty tired of being above 6,000 feet. It is dry and the air is thin.

There a several small towns, Meeteetse, Thermopolis, Riverton and Lander. We stopped and ate lunch in an outdoor patio in Lander. It reminded me so much of my former Grocery Store partners, Harold and Duetta Landers, that I called them. We did take a recommended short side trip to South Pass City. It is a resurrected Ghost town. Dave at the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce was adamant, it was a must see. We left the highway and drove on bumpy dirt roads for almost ten miles. As we drove down the hill we both knew that we would see it from the car windows, only.

We had to hustle. The car rental agency closes at 5:00 and we had to find a place to stay, pick up the bikes and return the car. The Sands Motel was just across from the Sands Restaurant. We wanted to get a room, the sign directed us to the restaurant. The gal at the restaurant asked us to come back in half an hour. We shopped for food we would need for tomorrow’s ride. Returning, the lady at the restaurant gave us a key and asked us to take care of it when the girl got back. When we asked how much she said “How does $40.00 sound?”

We took the deal and headed for Bike and Trike. They had our steeds ready. We were in too big a hurry to talk much.

Wing, Audrey and The Happy Buddha I drove back to the Airport only to find the Avis counter vacant. I called Lee’s cell phone and woke him up. He came out and picked me up. On the way back into town he asked about our trip. When we talked money he thought that our budget was pretty big. I told him that lots of people retire, buy a huge motor home and pay $1.50 a gallon at 7 miles per gallon and $20.00 to park with services. Our bikes seemed like a bargain when compared, except, of course for the comfort.

The Sands Restaurant was pretty nice. A guy putting up light bulbs turned out to be the operating partner, Wing and his wife Audrey. They are a family operation. She, Audrey is going for her Real Estate License. She had a lot of questions about Real Estate, he just wanted to know about our trip. After a very good dinner we took their picture.

June 2, 2002
On the road again!
Rock Springs, WY to Wamsutter, WY

Our first day back on the road and it would be a wild one. I started the day feeling oxygen deprived. We are still at 6,500 feet and will be for the next three days. Even packing was a struggle. We took on two bottles of water and two Gatorades. It was tough finding space then getting the bags strapped down. We added food, too. We’re ready to rough it, if need be.

Breakfast at Lew’s Restaurant, part of Wing and Audrey’s family. They don’t open until 10:30 on Sundays. We met a gal who works for the County running the shooting range. A

We climbed out of Rock Springs at 9:20 AM. The road was familiar at first. The auto rental place is at the airport and it is off exit 111. Our day will take us from exit 107 to 173, that’s 66 miles.

Cat does Dirt Without stopping, we rolled 23 miles to Point of Rocks, a service station and mini market. We made good use of their restrooms and rolled onward. The “Road Construction next 10 miles” meant what it said. We struggled on surfaces ranging from loose dirt to the old concrete with rocks and chunks of asphalt creating an obstacle course. Just as we reached the end a young guy drove toward us, rolled his window down and told us that we were breaking the law. There was no other option but he was adamant. “If you get hurt out here our Company would be liable.” We thanked him and moved on.

Our next stop at 47 miles was called Table Rock. There is a reason why these places are all called rock! The scenery is scrub brush, some short grass and rocks. Cliffs of rock, rolling hills of rock. Cat had noodles in styro, I had a Chicken Cor don Bleu sandwich, heated in the Microwave, not bad. Three guys came in, fishermen from Colorado. They were characters. They made a big deal of our trip. It was fun.

I found the sign above the bar interesting. “There is no non-smoking area so stop being a whining maggot!”

The wind was picking up. As we headed back out onto the Highway we felt a few drops of rain. Behind us the sky was growing dark and the wind was beginning to howl. We were in a storm, the only good thing about it was that we were with the wind. At first it was great but as it continued to grow in intensity we were at its command. The wind may have reached 40-50 MPH. We didn’t have to pedal and I felt that we were going at least 25 MPH. It was awesome.

Continental Couple In the midst of the howling monster we crossed what would be the first of several Continental Divide markings. The reason for multiple crossings was that off to our left was something called the Great Divide Basin. Each would be in the 6,900-7,100 foot range. As I recall from long ago geography lessons this is where the water flow goes either east or west thus dividing the high point of the continent

Cat was cold and wanted to stop and put on our coats. I knew that once stopped we may not be able or want to roll again. What a ride. We were in Wamsutter, WY by 3:10. That means we covered the 23 miles in just an hour and ten minutes. We were averaging 20 MPH. WOW!

As we turned the corner and caught the blast of wind broadside it almost sent us into the ditch. We cut across a field to the Phillips 66 station. Cat got knocked over as she pushed. The shelter felt pretty good. It was full of travelers of all varieties, truckers, RV’ers, cars and motorcycles. We were the only bicycle riders. We were an anomaly. Everybody wanted to know where we were going and how we had handled the “Gale Force Winds?”

While Cat told our story I walked the ½ mile to the Wamsutter Motel. It is a workin’ man’s Motel. The workin’ men around these parts are Oil and Gas guys. The place looked like a workin’ mans place. I rang the doorbell, the dogs started to yap and Ariena, opened for business. She and her husband Don own the place. They had a double bed, ground floor. It is pretty plain, in fact it was rough but it was shelter and it had to be better than being out in the storm trying to set up a tent in the blowing sand.

The thought of trying to get the tent up in this wind brought a story I read 3 days ago back to my mind. It goes; “If you live in Wyoming and your dog runs away, if it’s running east, forget it, it’s already in Nebraska. If it’s running west you can wait 2 days and pick it up about 5 miles from home.” (Get it? The wind blows predominately from the west to the east, chuckle, chuckle.)

The wind was still so fierce that we walked the bikes into it, back to The Wamsetter. The place had all of the essentials, lights, TV and toilet with a flimsy plastic walled shower.

Dinner would be Mexican food back at the Phillips 66 Café. The wind let up slightly but was still howling as we hit the sagging mattress.

June 3, 2002
Wamsutter, WY to Rawlins, WY

An Early start, breakfast at the Truck Stop and we were under way by 9:30. It is still over 6000 feet and will be for the next two or three days. I continue to struggle a little bit. It is more arid here. The grass is thin. Most of the green comes from sage brush.

Wild Wyoming Ponies It is 40 miles of desert, under scattered clouds between Wamsutter and Rawlins today. There are lots of Pronged Horn Antelope and we saw a herd of wild horses.

About 5 miles out we crossed our second Continental divide.

The slight tail wind pushed us along. No major obstacles in our way like hills or construction so we really rolled. The scattered clouds clumped together and got pretty dark and we caught a few drops of rain on the way into Rawlins.

The main street of Rawlins is littered with old Motels in various states of disrepair. One of them had billboards our along the highway indicating it was “American owned since 1939.” Easy to calculate it’s age since I was born in ‘39’. Easy too, to get the sort of racist message. Lots of these small town, old Motels have been bought by people from India. Mostly Sheikh people, I think, who by tradition wear turbans to cover their hair because part of their custom, for men is to never cut their hair. At any rate, the once proud American, not knowing that most of the recent immigrants were citizens, had closed his doors and the place was for sale. He will be fortunate to find an American of Indian decent to buy the place. It was age dated, just like me.

Leaning against the wall of the Best Western were two touring bikes. One was a recumbent with a trailer. We leaned ours near them. Two brothers, Mike and Andrew came across the parking lot and introduced themselves. We exchange a few tales of the trail then hustled in to get out of the rain.

Cat at the PenOld Wyoming PenRawlins was home to Wyoming’s Frontier Prison from 1901 to 1981. The brothers had taken the tour and thought it was worth while. We walked down the hill and into the interesting old neighborhoods. One great old house that we had seen listed as a B&B, wasn’t. We walked up onto the porch before seeing the sign, “Private Residence, Not a Bed & Breakfast.”

The Penitentiary is seen only on guided tours. Our Guide, Bridgette, was a college student at Humbolt State in California. She has been giving the tour for 3 years. She had an amazing way of walking backward and telling us the story as we toured.

The main cell block looked familiar. If you have toured Alcatraz, you would see the similarity. It was designed by the same architects. Bridgette started the tour with a demonstration of the hanging gallows. A system that allowed the condemned to kill themselves. When they stepped onto the trap door it released a stream of water that eventually caused the door to swing open and the prisoner to drop. Unfortunately the Julien Gallows as the contraption was called, didn’t drop the person far enough to break their neck so they just dangled and suffocated. The Gallows was designed not for the purpose of humane treatment of the punished but to allow the punishers not to feel guilt at having to pull the lever on the trap door. (Movie: Julien Gallows 1:23)

Just Hangin’ AroundCat’s a Real GasserThat inhumane system was replaced with a Gas Chamber in 1936. Of course I had to stick my head through the noose and Cat took a seat in the metal chamber where they always tested on a pig before putting it to work on a human. Not very humane treatment for either the pig or the prisoner.

Prison ArtIt began to pour down rain as we toured so we used the cab, Rawlins only cab to get back to the motel. The car was an old Chevy. The driver was an old guy. He had no meter and we were surprised when he told us the ride we had walked earlier was $9.00.

Marilyn & Tom DauThe bar beckoned, we had a glass of wine and chatted with other guests and locals. Tom and Marilyn Dau were great characters. They were going fishing. She had a scratchy voice from years of smoking Salems and serving drinks in her bar, The Alamo, the oldest bar in North Platte, Nebraska. She and were almost exactly the same age. She paid me the compliment of saying that I looked pretty good for my age. As they left us she turned to Cat and said, “Take care of the old fossil!”

Cyclists Mike & AndrewWe dined with the Brothers and had a great time swapping stories. Andrew had set out, earlier, to ride across America. On the way, he got food poisoning in West Virginia. That ended the effort but he was able to connect with Mike who lives in Colorado and they started from there, headed toward Montana via Yellowstone.

That was the end of a nice day. We wouldn’t let a little rain dampen our spirits and Lord knows, they need the rain in Wyoming.

June 4, 2002
Rawlins, WY to Independence Rock, WY

The ground was wet when we peeked out. The sky looked threatening but we decided to go for it. Cappy’s, purported to be the best restaurant in town by the overpriced cabby and a couple of others was a great place for breakfast. It was Tuesday and the place was packed. As our order arrived a guy came through the door and immediately asked how far we were going. He was, of course, a cyclist.

Randy Adams works at Cornell University. He is also an entrepreneur and has owned restaurants and a construction business. He is on a strange vacation. His bikes, two of them, are resting in his pickup truck. A friend was going to sag for him and he had planned to ride 150-200 miles a day, across the USA. The friend cancelled so he set off looking for someone to drive. So far, no luck but then he had already driven from New York to San Francisco. He hadn’t given up hope but the possibilities were diminishing . He joined us and we talked bike and business talk while we ate. The cabby and others were right, it was very good.

Randy pulled away and honked as we mounted up and headed toward the grocery store. It was at the far west end of town. Fearing that we had passed it we stopped a service station for comfort and direction. The nice lady pointed to it, we were just above the only grocery store in Rawlins.

While Cat shopped for bananas and a few other essentials I talked with a lady who came out of the store and sat at the table where I had leaned the bikes. She puffed on her cigarette as she told me her tale of woe. She wasn’t a local. She and her husband had been driving truck but weren’t getting along. When they stopped here she walked. She laughed when she told me that she had lost 150 pounds.

“How?” I asked.

“Walking” she said, “I walked on him then I walked the fat off. I walk 8 miles every day.”

On top of all that, she was almost blind. I told her that she was doing something that millions wished they could do. She shrugged and said, “I should give these damn cigarettes up but I don’t want to quit everything at once, but I will someday.”

As we talked a homeless looking guy approached and listened then jumped in to ask where we were going. He was wearing a baseball cap with lots of Olympic Medals and a brass medallion with some strange symbols on it. When I asked he told me that he had had it made while he was in Viet Nam. He had that hollow look like so many of that era. Nice guy, he sort of lives on a bike pulling a trailer up and down the roadways looking for cans, bottles and anything else of value.

I asked his advice on the best way out of town toward Casper. He suggested a bike trail. We took it but soon gave up and hit the highway. This would be our first day off of I-80 since May 8th when we headed out from Reno.

Highway 287 would take us from Rawlins to Muddy Gap. It was a two lane and virtually void of traffic when compared with I-80. We started with an uphill pull to our next Continental Divide crossing then lots of ups and downs.

Cat in the Sage BrushAfter a small downhill run we were a long flat ride in miles of sage brush and rolling hills or rocky cliffs on both sides of the road. Somewhere out there, I pulled up lame, a flat tire. Randy had mentioned that Mr. Tuffys sometimes pinch the tube. I pumped and it hissed a little then seemed to stop. We rode on for 5 miles. The tire felt mushy so we stopped and I pumped while Cat visited a bush.

Lamont is 33 miles out. We expected a small town. What we got was a sign showing population 3, elevation 6,764. Well, we did get Grandma’s Café, too. It was run by Grandma and two other gals. They were seated, eating when we walked in. Nice ladies, good food. Grandpa was in a chair sleeping when we entered and he was in the same position when we left.

The Water Flows EastThe next 5 miles were up, up to our final Continental Divide crossing at 7,174 feet above sea level. (Movie: The Water Flows East 0:36) From there it was mostly down to Muddy Gap which turned out to be a gas station mini mart. We used their toilet and bought a Gatorade. There was a guy, a big guy, talking with the not too friendly gal who ran the place. He was really on a soap box. A young boy and girl stood and listened as he railed. His topic seemed to be how bad the schools were, how much drugs and alcohol affected families and how family values had gone down the drain. When he left I asked if he was a local. “No, he’s running for Governor.”

“Really,” I asked, “Will he win?”

“No,” she responded, “He hadn’t got a chance.”

“Why not?”

“He hasn’t got enough money, he’d probably be a good Governor but he can’t win.”

The wind had been pushing on our left temples. Out of Muddy Gap we turned to the east and with the wind on Highway 220. A fellow that we met several days ago told us to be sure to see the Mormon Village. It was about 15 miles from Muddy Gap and he thought we could camp there.

We passed a Mormon ranch where we could see lots of motor homes but the sign told us that the Village was still 7.2 miles ahead. It was getting late by the time we pulled in to Martin’s Cove.

A greeting party of 3 Mormon volunteers swooped toward us. Each introduced themselves and asked if we wanted a tour. I did, Cat wanted to move on but relented. The first Elder who spoke with us turned us over to Linda Boyce. She was in awe of our trip and asked a lot of questions. Cat began to feel better about stopping. We asked about camping and they invited us to ride back 8 miles to their Missionary Camp. We told them we wouldn’t go back, it would take too long.

De Verl and Linda at Martin’s Cove A very tan grey haired fellow named De Verl Byington was to be our Guide. He was very likeable and wanted to know all about our Odyssey. He said, “I feel like I’m talking with celebrities.

The tour was more than interesting. This place was known as Devils Gate. It was a confluence of the Mormon, California and Oregon Trails as well as the Pony Express route. You could feel the history oozing from the rocks and the sandy soil.

Members of the Latter Day Saints place great value on places and events that were significant in their early struggle to establish Salt Lake City. This was one of those places.

A group of Mormons and converts came by ship to the US back in 1856. De Verl explained that the ship was late so the group of about 1000 arrived in Iowa City late in the fall. They were to set off with hand carts to cross the plains and mountains. The carts were specifically designed for Mormon groups. It was a plan dreamed up by Brigham Young. A fast, efficient, inexpensive way to get lots of people across to Salt Lake City. The carts were designed to haul enough food and the possessions for five people. The wheels were about 6 feet tall and wrapped in raw hide.

The group found that most carts were gone already and they suffered another set-back waiting for more carts to be built. When they finally set out it was very late in the season. By the time they reached Casper it was snowing. When they crossed the North Platte River 56 died that night of cholera, exposure and other weather related illnesses. Forward scouts alerted SLC and they sent wagons and supplies. The two columns met there at Martins Cove. In all only about 700 survived the ordeal.

We decided to ride on through Devil's Gate and camp at Independence Rock. There was just a rest area there but De Verl felt positive that we wouldn’t have a problem. The pioneer spirit, you know.

There was a Devil of a hill on the little road through Devil’s Gate. It would be the first time se had pushed in several weeks. We were tiring, it was 6:00 PM.

The landscape had been going through a metamorphosis. We were now in green, grassy land. Rolling down toward the rock was very impressive. From a distance it shone in the evening sun. The sign at the entrance said, “No Overnight Camping.” We had come 64 miles and weren’t going any further.

The rest area and toilets were great. Plush grass surrounded the picnic areas. We started to choose a site when we realized that the sprinklers were running on the far side of the building. Mike and Andrew had told us of one night when they camped in a park and the sprinklers came on in the middle of the night. Wanting to avoid the same plight we choose a large site where we could get the tent on the concrete slab.

Independence RockP.B. on a WrenchMost of the other sites had lots of dead or dying worms on the slabs. We left the bikes parked in our choice for the evening and dined in one that was still sunny. The view was parking lot with half a dozen big rigs idling as we ate. Cat wanted to keep it simple so we limited our selves to peanut butter and bread. It was a meal rounded our with oatmeal raisin cookies.

People on the RocksBy 8:00 we had the tent up and the bikes covered. The Rock was even more impressive as the sun set. We marveled at the crazy people who climbed up to the top, almost 150 feet above the field that surrounds it.

036 Cat in the Sack 037 Camp Independence Rock

Cat in the SackWe sat in the tent, waiting for dark and reading about Independence Rock. It was named on July 4, 1830 to honor the birthday of our nation. Many pioneers scratched their names, dates and sometimes little stories on it.

As I sat, I felt a burning pain under my ribs, below my heart. It had been there for the past 2 days but really intensified as we sat and read. I thought of my son, Ron. At age 19, back in 1979, he had experienced a pain, like heart burn, for a couple of days then fell on the floor and died. It was an aneurism.

The darkness that we waited for was not to be. Once the sun set sufficiently, lights came on and would stay on all night.

Camp Independence RockI didn’t want to worry Cat so I lay and contemplated the possibilities. If it was an aneurism and it blew, my life would be gone in just minutes. In this remote area there would be no chance of rescue in that short amount of time. I reasoned that several other things, like the altitude, or perhaps a strain from lifting and pushing the bikes around could have caused it, too. I remembered how devastating it was to our family and I didn’t want to devastate them again. Also, we have too far to go to have to end it all, now. I also wondered how Cat would handle something like that.

It was a fairly sleepless night for me. Cat, too had a problem staying asleep. Later she would say that she sensed something was wrong with me. I decided that I would go directly to the Emergency Room when we got into Casper tomorrow afternoon.

I awoke every hour on the hour and felt the pain. It was uncomfortable to lie on my side so I had to concentrate on staying on my back. Finally at 4:00 I awoke and just rested, looking at the tent and waiting for the daylight.

June 5, 2002
Independence Rock, WY to Casper, WY

Sunrise on “The Rock”The sun was rising over Independence Rock so I crawled out and took a picture. It was a beautiful morning and a great day to be alive. What a beautiful place.

Pat & Cat & The RockBreaking down camp is time consuming. We did decide to cook Oatmeal and have some coffee and bread. By the time we had the tent rolled up the workers were rolling in to clean up after yesterdays visitors. We walked out to the Rock and took a few pictures then loaded up and headed for Casper.

It was a 23 mile up and down ride to Alcova. Much of it was up in rolling waves. It was warm too which added to the strain. Linda at Martin’s Cove had suggested that we have lunch on the deck overlooking the marina at Alcova Lake. The sign said Marina 4.5 miles. The arrow pointed down. We would not be enjoying a romantic lunch on the water. It would only take 20 minutes to get down there but an hour to pull back out on full stomachs.

Alcova Lake Alcova was just a little store and lots of mobile homes. The sign boasted, “Population, 100 in winter and 35,000 in summer.” A real summer retreat. The gal in the store talked with several customers about how and where they were catching fish. They all spoke of how low the water was. They have suffered drought for 3 years. She also told us that there was a place just a quarter mile further down the road where we could have lunch.

It was more a Bar than Grill, The Sunrise Bar and Grill. There were a couple of guys talking about their experiences working on the oil rigs. One was dressed in leather with chaps and riding a Harley. When he left the other turned to Cat and began asking about our adventure. A new character entered, a big guy wearing shorts and boots. He too was on a motorcycle and looked the part. His leather vest had patches testifying to his past rides and he had an American flag bandana tied on his head.

As he listened, he got my attention and told us of a short cut to Lusk. Turned out to be a high school teacher, science and technology. Very soft spoken. Also, he wore a patch that told of his days in Viet Nam.

A gal came in and joined the guy cat was talking with. They were on a rendezvous, celebrating a year since they had been here at Sunrise. The place is plastered with dollar bills. That reminded us of Al the Wops back in Locke, CA except these weren’t just on the ceiling and they had writing on them. We of course had to donate one. I wrote www.WorldRiders2.com and Pat & Cat on it and we left it with our card to be displayed by the cook/waitress/bartender/liquor sales person. (They had a drive through window where they sold carry out booze.)

The couple told us that there was a little pull up away from the restaurant then it was mostly flat or small rolling hills. Another example of folks who drive cars and their knowledge of the topography. It was fairly hilly and a lit of it was up.

We came upon a large male Prong Horned Antelope who was trapped on the Highway side of the fence. When he saw our bright yellow shirts he took off in a panic running ahead of us. He would stop, see us gaining on him and run again. Once in a while he would look for a place to slip back under or try to jump over the fence, to no avail. He stayed with us or just slightly ahead of us for 2 miles. Finally he tired and stood his ground. He seemed amazed that we just passed by. We could see the fear in his big brown eyes. He had no reason to fear us but the highway could very well be his bitter end. We had seen and smelled several carcasses along the road these past several days.

Hay fields, real working ranches, sprinklers wetting the green alfalfa and houses. Soon it was gentlemen’s farms along the banks of the North Platte. We were nearing civilization. Finally stop signs, lights and congestion. We were in Casper, a town of 60,000. The largest place we have visited since Salt Lake City.

Kool Aid in CasperAs we rolled along CY Street we passed a group of kids selling Kool Aid. “Just 10 cents a glass,” they sang out as we passed. I felt compelled to stop and buy. I remembered those days in my life and how much it meant when adults actually stopped and bought. We took a picture, I drank fully from their cup then we paid $1.25. A fool and his money? It felt worth it.

This City riding was frustrating. Had we grown used to the serenity of the high plains? We rode toward the Hospital signs until they pointed up a hill. I didn’t want to go in dirty and smelly from 2 days on the road. We tried to find the Chamber of Commerce. Hot and tired we finally gave up and used the phone as we sipped a cool drink at a Sandwich Shop. There was only one B&B in Casper. The girl on the phone told me that they were fully booked. I couldn’t believe it? She suggested calling but their info said, “No Vacancies.”

When I called The Ivy House Inn, Innkeeper Kathy Johnson said, “Gosh, I wonder where they got that? We have lots of room. We are booked nest week because of the Rodeo, not this week.”

Great news for us. It was a real find. The Johnson family, Tom, Kathy, daughter Heidi and son Eric live upstairs. We talked about a suite but when we arrived she let us have a room. The rate was just $65.00 and included breakfast. It would become so much more to us than just a place to stay.

I watched the bikes while Cat looked and booked us in. Eric came out and offered a bottle of cold water. What a gentleman for a guy not quite 12 years old. Heidi is 17 and works at Old Navy, a clothing store. Tom is Pastor if the Episcopalian Church.

Kathy had no other visitors, bad for them, great for us. She let us park the bikes in the room nest to ours. Just like in Locke, we had the whole wing of the house to ourselves. The shared bath and kitchen with stocked fridge was all ours.

Feeling much better and not having the burning pain, I was ready to forget the Hospital visit but as I showered and bent to wash my feet, it flared up and scared me. We took a cab to the Emergency Room of Wyoming Medical Center. The place was much less hectic than we had experienced at LDS in Salt Lake.

We almost stalled out on the paper work but once they heard my symptoms and story about Ron, they whisked me back to a room and Dr. Lehmann was soon by my side. She listened and decided to do a complete check including a CAT Scan. I mean she did every thing including blood, urine, even a rectal check. (My first by a woman Doctor.) She was very bright, thorough and professional. I felt quite at ease and confident in her ability.

EKG and BariumPat in a Cat-ScanIt was to be my first ever CAT Scan, too. Quite an experience. Melody told me exactly what to expect and Jamie sat behind the glass and did his work on the computer. When we finished she asked if I felt like I had had a hot flash when the dye was sent through my veins. When I told her that my rear end and lower area had felt warm she laughed and said, “Most women say it feels like they are wetting their pants. We had a big gal in last week and when we finished she said that was the most exciting feeling she had had down there in years.” It was easy to laugh. Somehow I sensed that I was okay or would be in those capable hands. The Good Dr. Lehmann

All the tests were negative. The scan was normal, no sign of an aneurism. Blood and urine were well within the normal range and the EKG showed no sign of recent heart problems. Dr. Lehmann spent time discussing the pain and probing my stomach then we came to a conclusion that my less scary diagnosis was probably the case. Strained abdominal muscles. (Movie: CAT Scan 1:27)  (Movie: Pat Lays Around 0:30)

It was 8:00 PM and we were starving. We had something to celebrate, too. It took 30 minutes for the Cab to get there. I called to make sure the Botticelle Ristorante Italiano would still serve us. They close at 9:00.

Fine Wine, Final Release We finally had a Cab and were at their front door by 8:45. Dinner was very good, the wine was extraordinary, our favorite, Ferrari Carrano Chardonnay. We had reason to celebrate and we had good reason to eat, eat, and eat. Justin, our waiter did a terrific job. Every time we said something he would say, “Right on” with a slight mid west accent. It was a very good night.

June 6, 2002
Casper, WY

Since health was not an issue, I decided that the health of the bikes should be attended to. Cat’s bike has been shifting slowly, especially when we start up hill. She was more concerned about mine. It was jumping gears on the rear sprocket. I thought it just needed to be cleaned up. I took Cat’s bike out back and started to work on it. I readily admit that I know nothing about mechanical things. I ride, I don’t work on bikes.

After two and a half hours I gave up. We walked into town for lunch. The sandwich shop recommended by Kathy, our house Mom, was great. The best thing about it was that Jaimie, my CAT Scan man came in with his wife and baby. He came right over and said hello. After we finished we went to his table and he introduced us to his family. A girl who liked almost identical to his wife wasn’t her Sister as we had surmised. It was her cousin. They were a very nice family. He appreciated us stopping, I appreciated his work in giving me confidence so that we could cycle on.

Across the street was a store called Mountain Sports. We almost walked on looking for the bicycle shop but I saw a part of the sign that said Bicycles. What a find. Jim Halsey’s card say’s “Bike Guy”. He was that and so much more. We fast walked back to The Ivy House Inn and rode the bikes back. He took us in and really spent loving time on them.

Master Mechanic, Jim Halsey Jim had owned a bike shop but divorce and slow business finally got him. He now works by the hour. I met the owner, Bruce, but Jim was The Bike Guy. He took special interest because he wanted to know how the autoshift worked. He personally oiled each link of our chains. I tested the bikes but the real test would be loaded and out on the road.

Cat shopped groceries while I enjoyed Jim, his enthusiasm and knowledge of bicycles. While there another guy came in. Jim introduced us, he plays guitar and Jim is bass player in a local band. That was another thing we had in common. When I test rode I went back to our room and got one of our Acadiana CDs for him.

When Cat walked back in to the shop she was shocked to hear the music. Jim was almost embarrassed to bill us. He deducted $5.00 for the CD but I insisted that he put it back in. He had already undercharged for his work. I loved the entire experience.

Back in our room, I suggested that we take tomorrow off. I was so sweaty from struggling with Cat’s bike and I wanted to rest. The fear of health problems had been very stressful and it had taken a toll, too. It was a tough decision. We both know that we need to keep moving. Our goal is to get to southern Europe by late fall and hang around there for the winter.

Salad by the Bucket We picked up a bottle of wine and enjoyed it at our wonderful house in Casper. We sat and talked with Tom and Kathy and enjoyed the moment. I started a look in the phone book for a restaurant. He said that “Poor Boy’s” was a good place. He even gave us a ride to the place. It was pretty cool, salad served in a bucket, Cat even had a pork loin. Wow, how our lives have changed.

June 7, 2002
Casper, WY

Most of the day would be spent on the computers. We were intent on catching up. I even spent time with Terry Tintorri on the cell phone while at the computer, trying to learn how to reduce the size of our photos for e-mailing.

We took a break and walked to Sanford’s Pub for a sandwich. Pretty fun place. It reminded us of the original Bobby McGee’s chain. Lots of fun stuff on the walls and ceiling. Eric had said that we should go to the bathroom and look up. They had one of several TV screens there, on the ceiling.

Cat had been asking about a good hairdresser. Right after lunch, Kathy asked if we would like to ride with Heidi, her daughter, to Fantastic Sams. It is a franchise, walk in chain for hair care. We decided that it couldn’t be all that bad so we went. My haircut was pretty good. The stylist, Andrea, was a single Mom. Nice girl. Cat’s gal took her at her word and really cut it short. She say’s she is reall ready for helmet hair.

More of the same, computer work all afternoon then dinner at an Italian place called Bosco’s Italian Restaurant. We called ahead and they told us no problem at 8:00. The place was jammed. We stood, then got a glass of wine. A couple, we think on a date, came in and we got into conversation. Cat suggested that we could be a party of 4 if we could get seated sooner, they agreed. The waitress came to us and said our table was ready and theirs would be, soon. They seemed almost disappointed.

Ivy House InnBack at The Ivy House Inn, we had a great discussion about small towns, big towns and the world of a Pastor. Tom likes funerals better than weddings. He is in the midst of preparing for a wedding and is immersed in the detail. He is such a nice person. Kathy is a hard working preacher’s wife. They make enough to pay the mortgage and taxes by running the Inn. He must get extra when he attends weddings and funerals. It still has to be a tough life. Heidi is interested in getting and education and finding work that pays. She wants to make some money and have a few things. She can’t decide on a career as a Doctor or an Architect. Either way, she is a bright girl and we think she will do well.

Lights out, the Moths are beginning to thin, only a few in our room. We are going to miss our home and our little family, in Casper.


Cat & Pat hope you enjoy the journal of their travels and will keep in touch via e-mail. Your messages are very inspiring. If you have suggestions of things missing from the writing or changes you would like to see, let us know. I’m not sure our egos will allow much change but part of this Odyssey is learning to keep an open mind, observe and report in a non-judgmental way.

STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT
Casper, Wyoming to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Until then, we’ll see you in the WORLD or on the WORLD WIDE WEB!