Day 6: Wyoming Adventures
Today marked our second consecutive 500+ mile day, but the trip through Wyoming marked a significant improvement over yesterday’s boring ride across Kansas and eastern Colorado. About half the ride today was off the interstate and on much more interesting state and U.S. highways.
We tried to get an early start out of Denver, but by 7 a.m. rush hour traffic had begun and we crawled along the interstate for nearly half an hour before the highway congestion cleared and we could twist the throttles more aggressively. 100 miles to Wyoming then another 150 miles to Casper on the long concrete slab, but at least for the Wyoming leg we were going 80 mph, which happens to be the speed limit on Wyoming interstates.
A gas stop in Casper and lunch at the Parkway Cafe made a good halfway point, especially the lunch, where Tiffany, the only server in the entire place, was running, literally, to provide service to all the customers. I don’t know why she was solo today, but every business should have an employee like her. Despite the workload, she was friendly and attentive to everyone, and delivered me a hot slice of strawberry pie. I had never had strawberry pie hot before; it was flavorsome and satisfied my pie craving for the day.
Going west out of Casper, we finally left the interstate behind, and followed a two-lane road to Shoshone where our direction took us north. A dozen or so antelope and my anecdotes from my Wyoming past crackling over the CB offered the occasional distraction from the road which seemed to be constantly under construction. 70 mph, 45 mph, 70 mph, 45 mph, 70 mph, 45 mph, and on and on. There can’t be any unemployment in Wyoming–everyone’s busy tearing up the roads or lining up orange construction zone cones.
I had expected today to be at least a little cooler than yesterday, but the temperature on the sign at Shonshoni High School dashed my expectations. Maybe tomorrow we’ll cool off as we climb to 10,000+ feet on the Beartooth Highway between Wyoming and Montana.
The best part of today’s ride was the run down the Wind River Canyon. Some challenging twists and turns and beautiful views to interrupt one’s focus on the road made this the best ride since we left the Arkansas mountains. I told Mark to hang back at the beginning of the canyon while I rode ahead looking for a good photo op. I pulled over at a wide place in the road and decided that an even better view the intrepid traveller could be had by scalingthe canyon wall, so I scrambled a short way up and just as I got to my perch Mark came roaring by. I got three shots off as he sped down the canyon. Then came the hard part. I had to climb down, which was considerably more difficult than the ascent. I slowly descended to the roadway without falling and without smashing my camera which dangled precariously in front of me, loaded myself back on the bike and chased after Mark. He had stopped at the next pull out so it turned out to be a short chase. He noted that he was about to come back to look for me to make sure I made it back down to the bottom in one piece.
Several construction zones later we rolled into Cody, checked in, relaxed briefly then had dinner at the restaurant at the historic Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill Cody and named for his wife.
Tomorrow we’re off to Montana and a couple of great riding roads to add to this year’s Adventure.