July 16, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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July 16, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Wyoming

Jeffrey City to Lander, Wyoming. (59 mi.) Mile 2820

Headwinds and road rash

The Jeffrey City Motel is deceiving. It looks like a ghost motel, but inside, rooms are clean and adequate, a welcome retreat from the wind. The proprietors have been running the motel since the town's uranium mining days. We're finding that we have actually been sleeping better in our tent than in motels, but it was hard to get out of bed this morning.

Coat's Motel in Jeffrey City

When we went to breakfast at the town cafe, we discovered 3 other cycle tourists (2 Brits and a retired Syracuse teacher) doing the same. The five of us were the only customers. The other cyclists, traveling east, had camped in an abandoned shelter in town last night. TransAm cyclists make up a large part of Jeffrey City's summer business because of the town's location miles from other services on the route.

The Split Rock Cafe, Jeffrey City

The wind had howled all night long and was still blowing strong when we headed west again after breakfast. This was the worst wind all trip, coming from the SW at 20-25 mph with gusts to 30. It reduced our progress to a discouraging crawl. At times, it was a struggle to keep the wind from knocking us off the road. When we reached a 5 mile 6% downhill grade, we had to pedal hard just to go 5 mph. I contemplated whether or not I was the type of person who would feel cheated because the wind had spoiled what would be an easy, fast descent, or grateful for the downhill, feeling lucky it was there because without it, we wouldn't have progressed at all. Temperatures the last few days have started in the 50s in the morning, and peaked in the 80s later in the day. Scenery: more of the same, stark, arid sagebrush rangeland.

We stopped and chatted with 7 other cycle tourists today going east, who were sharing the same challenges (a French couple; an American couple, a Scot [Geoff], and a retired couple who started in N. Carolina in Feb., had already crossed the continent from Florida to San Diego, and were riding home). They all had the side wind too, but were going uphill instead of down. These people may be strangers, but we all share a bond. We want to be doing this. Despite the hardship, everyone we talked to was full of philosophical musings that can only be generated by grinding away crossing a continent by bicycle. And everyone was still in good spirits, with an intact sense of humor. I suppose if that wasn't the case, they would have already abandoned the adventure in a U-Haul truck. Not everything worth doing is easy. Don't our kids wish they hadn't heard this from us a million times!

  Geoff Gardner from Scotland, one of many eastbound bicyclists whom we met, hammed it up for the camera. Bicycling across Wyoming against the wind requires a certain crazy spirit.

Wyoming campground

Fighting headwinds east of Lander

Ten miles out of Lander, we turned with the wind to our back, and I thought we were home free as our speed went from 5 mph to 28 mph. Suddenly, a freak side gust knocked my bicycle out from under me and I went down, landing hard on my left hip and scraping up my arm and leg. Mike was ahead of me and said it felt like a small twister, hitting him hard, first from behind, then from the front. I suddenly lost all interest in pushing beyond Lander to camp, thinking it best that my road rash receive the TLC of a nurse practitioner (me) in the comfort of a motel, maybe with some ice cream therapy too.

Mike had his rear wheel checked out at the very helpful Lander bike shop (still OK), while I cleaned the gravel out of my road rash and applied ointment, ice, and Band-Aids. Maybe the calcium in all those milkshakes helped prevent a hip fracture. I 'd better keep up the habit just in case.

The wind knocks me over, I crash on my bike, and lose some skin.

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