Friday, July 6 Casper, WY to Luck, WY 109.56 mi. 8:48:17 Saddle Time 12.1 Avg 31.0 max 2,300 climb
The day off yesterday was great because it gave me a whole lot of new energy today. With those days of pedaling into the wind, all the resistance was actually beneficial because it built muscle, strength and endurance. I knew there had to be a positive element about the wind, but just couldn’t see it at the time.
A new gal joined the tour today. I met her last night and Marilyn and I had dinner together. She was really nervous about getting started. It isn’t easy joining after we all have been doing this for near three weeks now. She is coming in at a time when we’ll have some more serious climbing to do. We climbed 2,300 feet overall today, but it was long and gradual. Anyway, back to Marilyn. I said I would start out with her this morning.
I was pretty anxious to get on the road since we had over a century of miles today. I had so much power going into the morning hours I was whipping along at 20 – 23 mph lots of times. I got in on a “train” a couple of times and drafted, but then I had to drop back on the first long hill. I can go real steady up the hills, but my lungs sometimes just don’t have the capacity to do the hard pushing. But really, I have improved a lot since beginning the trip. The mountain pass climbing really, really helped make me stronger. So I was doing super all through the morning. The wind was nothing like it had been – tailwind most of the time. The terrain remained pretty much like it has been – grasses, low sagebrush, and ranches. The hills out in the land are rolling here and there. To the south (we were headed east) off in the distance we could see the line of mountains that come out of Casper – the Laramie range that runs down the Laramie, WY. The temperatures were probably 15-20 degrees cooler most all day, until about 3 pm when it got up to maybe 90.
By 11:30 I was in Douglas, WY and most everyone stopped for lunch at either the Subway or the Arby’s. I had a roast beef and lemonade at Arby’s. When I left there I had just gone about a mile and crossed over the bridge that spanned the Platte River and I seemed to sense I wasn’t going very fast. Felt a “drag” on the bike. Oops, I saw I had a flat tire on the rear wheel. No shade to pull off to while I got out the tools and new tube to change the flat. I got it all back on and was pumping it up with my hand pump when one of the guys stopped and helped get it back on the bike. Everyone is so helpful, we watch over each other when we’re out there biking along. I thought the SAG van was only back about ¼ mile. I wanted to go back and use the big tire pump to get my air pressure topped off at 130 psi. It was a longer back track than I figured on, so I went 4 extra miles. That’s good, I have a few to make-up for from Wednesday’s ride.
We rode on Interstate 25 for 14 miles. The berm was wide, smooth and clean. Long, rolling road surface. Those miles went by real fast. About 20 miles from Lusk, the railroad tracks ran next to the road we were on. Lots and lots of trains coming and going on the double tracks. They were Union Pacific Railway trains – one was Southern Pacific. The cars went on for, I bet, a mile and a half. Most cars were filled with coal (looked like to me, anyway). So, we were entertained by this. The engineers would blow their whistles and wave to us as we waved to them, too.
Colleen’s husband is visiting her and was driving a car on the route. He was pulled over at one spot and had his tailgate open and was serving up cold watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. That was so refreshing and an energy boost.
Today I saw only one rattlesnake on the road. Other road kill: 1 red fox. I like hearing the pretty meadowlark bird out here. It has yellow on it and it is the state bird. Can’t think of the correct name right now.
We are heading towards South Dakota and, guess what! I saw the first WALL DRUG store road signs today. I saw 3 of those signs. You can imagine there will be lots more of those the closer we come to Wall, SD.
The last 19 miles today, I sort of lost momentum and took frequent one-minute stops to stretch my arms, neck and shoulders. It was pretty hot and I doused myself a few times with water to keep cool. But I finally arrived here at the Wagon Wheel Inn in the little town of Lusk, WY at 5 pm.
Quick shower, pool, whirlpool and off to the dinner. It was about a half-mile walk to the café where we were served. This was the first time these cooks and servers have encountered 65 hungry cyclists. It is a stampede to the chow line. You can just see the shock on their faces. They are really unprepared for how FAST the food disappears.
92 miles to Hot Spring, SD. Saying goodbye to Wyoming (big cheers went up for that at route rap).