Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Cycling in support of Limbs For Life
Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Detour called Hiatus

Hello from California! No, I didn't give up and go home. I find myself more and more in love with life on a bicycle every day. Speaking of which, My bike is out in Laramie Wyoming, stored safely in a garage, thanks to the Henne Family. I took this side trip back here to see and help my ever fantastic neighbor Kelly Marie get a bicycle together, so as to ride with me later on. There are also some other random bits I need to hammer out but I won't bore us with the details.

It had been a few years since I had ridden any considerable distance by train. But when I walked down to the small train yard I was instantly enveloped in that old familiar microcosm. The smell of the creosote and the squealing of wheel flanges hooked up with my brain like old pals. New and old excitement galloped around with my eagerness to ride as I searched out a place to hide and wait. I built a little pallace of pallets behind some wearhouse by the mainline and
settled in. More sentiment than expected came to visit me there. I perused back over the years, of lazily lounging track side waiting for fleeting opportunities to swipe rides on these iron monsters. My thoughts were of old friends, the cities, train trips and good times had. Landscape hurled in front of my eyes while miles of singing rails poured out the back of my head and coiled on the ground like invisible rope.
Lost in time and trains I sat in those pallets partially debilitated and stewing in my mulligan of memories. This ride was dedicated to The C.C.R, The N.P.A , N.C. Crew and the shittastic bunch of humans I'v traveled with and come to know as friends and family.

Laramie sits between two busier yards in Cheyenne and Rawlins, so I sat for about 40 hours watching trains rocket past me. Finally just before dawn on my second night in the pallets a Junker stopped and I climbed into a boxcar.
In Green River, WY I made a dash across the yard and dove into a hotshot. It had just pulled in and was stacked up nice with a lot of power at the front. After the right amount of time for a routine crew change that beast pulled through the yard and plowed out over the dry, sage brush hills.
I peeped out some time later and caught sight of a sign that said "Utah's finest cheese". Well, this ment I could rule out Idaho and Oregon and was bound for Ogden and probably Salt Lake City.
In Ogden we got a new crew and banged out across the Great Salt Lake, bypassing Salt lake city. A huge smile spread across my face when I realized this one train was gonna get me all the way to California. As much as I love the cat and mouse games of negotiating large yards, its sure nice when you get dragged half way across the country on one gamble.
I hopped off in Portola, CA and went searching for the cup of coffee with my name on it. I hadn't slept or moved very much in the few day on the train, so it felt exceptionally nice to walk in the Sierra Nevada sunshine. Along with that was the whimsical slaphappy feeling of walking away, red handed after stealing a little adventure- one of the things that makes train riding so good and so addicting.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Nomadic Equestrians

It was dark when I pedaled into Medicine Bow. When I was passing the Virginian hotel/ bar when this woman yells out "wow, you gotta let me ride that thing". I said "OK" So this really drunk, short woman rode off on my bike. When she came weaving back, Blake was walking up and she asked him if he wanted to ride it but he said "No, I stick to ridin horses".
We started talking and sure enough Him and his partner Adam were riding horses cross country. They shared there hotel room with me and in the morning over coffee we talked about car free societies, just horses and bikes, it could work? They have 7 horses, 3 for packing gear and the other 4 they rotate riding. They started out in Colorado and are heading now for Montana. These were, hands down, the nicest Cowboys I'v ever met! The best of green pastures to you guys.

A.K.A: An Agoraphobic's Nightmare

I was miles out from anything, following a double track that twist and wound through sage brush to the horizon. I'd been able to filter water from cattle ponds so I just pressed on and on into the beautiful nothingness of Wyoming's Great Basin. The storms swirled around me and I knew if one of them hit me I could be in for a long slogging, mud fest.
My luck with the weather held. The track stayed solid and I had the breeze at my back.
Out there to be found is a sweet, soft spoken solitude that is a bit hard to find in the world these days. The territorial immencity was incredible and a feeling of settling traquility seemed to blow in the wind.

Cold beer and a random meeting can change everything.

It was a rough afternoon and I was dragging. I just kept thinking of setting up my hammock for a nap. It was hot and the miles of washboarded dirt road were grinding on my nerves.
I rolled into Atlantic city WY (population 57) The market/cafe had picnic tables out front and seated at one of them was Greg Hansen. Greg had hiked the Appalachian trail in 1978 but not hiked much since. This summer he decided to hike across Wyoming along the continental divide.
He was drinking cold Coors and still rocking his original gear from the 70's when I walked up. We ended up sipping beer, having some great conversations and hanging out for hours. He was funny as hell and made me wish that I could even come close to being such a charater at 53.
When I rode on I was half drunk, chatting up the passing cows and smiling at my desolate surroundings. (Dont worry Greg I still have the oatmeal packet with your adress on it and will stop by if I'm ever in Nebraska)

Aspen meadows

The hail came down the size of marbles as I rode through the Tetons national park. The 3 teets were covered over with clowds making me even happier that I had infiltrated yet another National park with out paying the fee. (that makes 5 so far)
On the other side of the Togwotee pass Dave and Jo-An have a great "cyclist only" hostel called: The Aspen meadow bike hostel. These two are such nice people and for the small amount that they ask you really do get the whole 9 1/2 yards. (dinner, breakfast, excellent thick, strong coffee and a cot in a warm, dry lodge) I broke my own rule of not paying for lodging and really enjoyed my stay. Its super great a place like theirs exists for the long distance cycling comunity!

Mosy squadrons, RVs and big trucks

Richard rode up while I was having tea in lakeview. He had the new Salsa Fargo (a bike designed for racing this route) He was running super light a laying down 100 miles on a bad day. We chatted for the afternoon, crossed into Idaho in a rain storm and then he rode on at his pace. safe travels man.

I set up camp on the edge of Yellowstone at a beautiful spot on Grassy lake. The swarms of mosqitos had chased me into my tent. I was lying back watching Loons divebomb after fish and chipmunks scurry around, When suddenly this big ass truck comes roaring down into my campspot. The dude drives up practically on top of me and yells "You seen any wildlife?" "Were looking for Wildlife" I look up at him and irritatedly just say "No"; too stunned by his retardedness to say anything more. Then he backs up and drivews away. Yep, unfortunatly these kind of people are alive, well and flock to Yellowstone.

The real shit show

I rode down into Butte with a broken front rack bracket. After some brutally rugged, back country hammering I was quite happy that thats all that broke.
Rob Leipheimer (levi the pro cyclist's brother) owns a bike shop in Butte and is seriously a very nice guy. He opened up his shop to me to do any repairs and cleaning I needed to do. But best yet I was able to catch up on The Tour de France in grand big screen style. I stayed in Butte a few days running errands but mostly hanging around watching Tour highlites.

About 10 miles south of Butte I met Tyler. He was also heading south on the Divide Route. He is from Canada and also heading into Latin America. We pedaled over the Fleecer pass together. A part of the route that is notoriously steep and rough. At one point on the decent it was such a steep rock garden that I had to run along side my bike through the brush, skidding and sliding trying to stay upright. Tyler comes down after me winded and says "Well, that was a real shit show". Indeed it was and I'd gladly do it again. We rode together for another bit through Montana's back country. Late one afternoon, He peeled off to take a nap, Said he'd catch up to me later. I havn't him since, I hope he didn't get eatin.