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May 14th, 2016
Sorry I haven't been able to add photos to the last few posts. I get no cell reception in Wyoming. The times I've had wifi it hasn't been strong enough to upload pictures. Also, the bike shop in Rawlins is closed. Next closest bike shop is 125 miles away.
May 04th, 2016
We woke up to another beautiful day. We went to the store for dog food, eggs and bacon. Back at the cabin I made us some breakfast burritos and coffee. We leisurely enjoyed the morning and took our time packing up. We were only going 18 miles. A short day because we had to stop in Saratoga for the hot springs.
When we finally left the campground it was around noon. Less than a 1/2 mile down the road we hit a construction zone. We can only hope that it is brief. We waited until the pilot car returned and asked the driver: how far? She said it was only a mile and a half. No big deal, we'll be through this in no time. We left the pilot car a mile and a half into the construction zone. We then realized that's the only section currently being worked on. However, for 10 miles the road has been ripped up. Riding on it was like ridding on a rumble strip. The shoulder was worse, it was the ripped up road with rocks and gravel and rumble strip. Long story short, Zandon's front rack and front fender fell off. My rear wheel rim cracked and I lost tension in a spoke. It was a miserable 10 miles. If you're currently on the Trans American Trail this construction project is slated to be completed October 2016. The first 10 miles on 230 leaving Riverside headed towards Saratoga.
We reached Saratoga and the grocery store is the first thing you hit coming into town. We stopped for chips and salsa and a root beer. We then headed to the campground at Saratoga Lake. The road headed to the lake was in terrible shape, not one smooth surface to ride on. This with my already cracked rim. What a day. We set up the tent and stuffed Brown inside. We then took off for the hot springs. It's a pretty nice set up. The hot springs are next to the pool which was closed for the season. However, the hot springs and showers are always open. The showers have hot water! There are two hot spring pools. One was scorching and the other more jacuzzi like. Zandon and I split up because I couldn't even get a foot into the super hot one.
After the jacuzzi we grabbed a pizza in town. Then headed back to the campground. There's a few RVs in the campground. I'm going to try to solicit a ride to Rawlins in the morning. It's 42 miles from here but it's the closest town with a bike shop. I'm worried about riding that far with a cracked rim.
Another beautiful day expected for tomorrow, with a high of 65.
May 04th, 2016
It was amazing to wake up to sunshine and not frigid, freezing rain. We were ready for some good riding weather. We packed up and left camp. The dirt road had hardened in the sun and we were able to ride our bikes out of the campground and back to the main road.
It was a little bit windy today. The kind of wind that makes you peddle on the downhill. Relatively easy day, one 7% grade hill. Temps in the mid 50's and only a 24 mile day. Scenery is still valley paralleled by mountains on either side, covered entirely by ranch land.
I didn't get too many pictures because we were finally able to use our solar panel and I had my phone plugged in, charging.
When we reached the town of Riverside we pulled into Lazy Acres RV Park. The sweetest woman stopped mowing the lawn and greeted us on our way up the driveway. She explained that they were still closed for the season but we could stay anyway. However, she said since she feels bad not being able to offer us showers and a laundry room, she let us stay in the camper cabin for free. It's right on the river and so beautiful plus there's wifi.
She said that they love when cyclists come through and stay there. So please if you're on the Transam stay at this awesome place.
Unfortunately the town is still on off season hours. The grocery store closes at 6pm and the Bear Trap Cafe and Bar is only open Wed-Sat. However, the Trading Post was still open. We got a pizza and they heated it up there for us. This place also has a lot of camping gear if you find yourself in need.
We headed back to our cabin, scarffed down the pizza and caught up on our shows (Game of Thrones!). The sky was clear, the night dark and the stars were incredible.
Tomorrow's high is 58 with only 5mph winds. It's finally warming up. Great weather really is a moral booster. Just gotta remember to wear sunscreen.
When we left Walden it was 34 degrees and we headed into 20 mph winds and freezing rain. We headed north pushing against the wind and getting slapped in the face with freezing rain. A miserable day for riding but we had already taken two days off in Walden because of the weather.
The best part of the day was when the road briefly turned west and the wind was at our back. The second best part: we reached Wyoming!
Before reaching Wyoming we passed through Cowdrey. There's nothing but a post office there. It's only open two hours a day but has a front room that was open. We warmed up in there briefly before continuing on.
The landscape is a valley between mountains on the east and west. It is pretty much all ranch land, covered in snow.
When we reached six mile gap. We were happy because we were pretty cold and anxious to crawl in the tent to get warm. However, the campground is 2 miles up hill from the main road. This road is not paved, it's not even gravel. It is a dirt road that in current conditions was a mud road. We couldn't ride on it, our bikes are too heavy. We had to push them the final two miles.
We found one of the sites that wasn't buried under snow and fought the wind to set up camp. We ate and went to bed before dark.
The wind and the cold are relentless. This week is supposed to bring warmer temperatures and I'm very excited for that.
The next morning the tent was being pelted with freezing rain. We opened our eyes and said eff that, rolled over and went back to bed. Around one the clouds broke and for the first time in a week we saw the sun. An hour later the wind stopped. It was a glorious feeling and a complete mood changer. We probably could have gotten some riding in but had already decided to take the day off. We collected water from the Platte River, made some dinner, played cards and went to bed. Looking forward to finally riding under a clear sky tomorrow.
We woke up to the same conditions that stalled us the day prior. Heavy snow flurries. However, we were determined not to let the weather delay us any further.
From the reservoir we immediately began climbing. The first twenty one miles of our ride would take us to the top of Willow Creek Pass. The first and last five miles were steeper grades. The middle part was relatively gradual and not too challenging.
After ten miles we reached Sawtooth Gulch Campground. It's closed indefinitely due to a flood. However, there are still usable campsites and vault toilets, no water. We stopped here for a rest. Another three miles up the road is Denver Creek Campground. Large campground, it was still under snow though.
Eight miles later, exhausted, we reached the top. There were no campgrounds up here and much of the ground still has a good amount of snow. So we decide to push on to Walden, thirty three miles away. Our reward for the climb and motivation to push on was the thought of a hotel room and pizza.
After we reached the top, it was time to head down the pass. There were a few steep descents and most more gradual. It's mostly ranches and farmland on the opposite side of the mountain. I need to reduce the weight in my front panniers because as I was going downhill my handlebars/front rack was pretty shakey.
Definitely a long and challenging first day. We traveled fifty-three miles and climbed almost 2,000 feet. In a diverse mix of weather; snow, sun, rain, headwinds.
Taking an extra day to rest up in the hotel. Enjoying the jacuzzi and local food. The next couple days we're going to reduce our miles to increase our leg strength. Especially since we didn't have much time to train prior to our departure date.
Day 1 Windy Gap Reservoir
We had intented to drive up to Silverthorne on Sunday and begin our ride Monday morning. However, packing and cleaning took a little longer than anticipated. So we decided to drive up on Monday instead. Thank you Kyla for the ride!
Since we were behind a day we skipped Silverthorne and drove a little bit further from where our second night would have been. We camped under a pavilion at Windy Gap Reservoir. In true Colorado fashion we found a pre-roll in the pavilion and enjoyed the view of the reservoir.
In the morning the sun peeked out, encouraging us to get moving, so we got up and made some coffee. We discovered that it had snowed over night. We debated if we should climb up Willow Creek Pass, how much snow would be on the ground up there, how much colder would it be. Then the sun disappeared and flurries bagan to fall. We decided to wait until tomorrow, when the weather is expected to be clear.
Much of the day was a mix of rain, snow and sunshine; sometimes all at once. We're looking forward to heading out tomorrow.
I can't believe that we embark on our journey in just seven days. I never imagined that I would have stayed in Denver for so long when I got here a year and a half ago. We've gotten rid of all the furniture and our household possessions are dwindling. This is my last week at work and we're anxious to get going.
We start our trip with short millage days. Partially because the weather is calling for afternoon storms. Mostly because we only got one practice run in before the start of the trip. However, we don't own a car so we bike everywhere we need to go currently, so our legs are mildly prepared. We anticipate a challenging first week, but we're prepared and ready to take it on.
The weather doesn't seem to be on our side with late April storms rolling in. We will probably be riding through rain/snow the first week. Luckily there's two hot springs on the first weeks route and we may just have to take advantage of them.
I've added new Post Office drops if anyone would like to send us some treats!
Check back in a week for the start of the journey.
Thank you for following along!