Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bike Trip Tuesday#8-Wild Wyoming

Last week we left our sun weary bicyclists as they entered Black Hills National Forest after a week on the treeless prairie. From there we crossed into Wyoming and a whole new state full of natural wonders and interesting people.









The first distinctive landmark we enjoyed was Devil's Tower. Yes, THAT Devil's Tower from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.' There was a movie theater that always played the film and some schlocky alien inspired tourist shops. I can attest to the fact that there is NO airstrip behind the Tower. Mostly it was just a really beautiful place to camp and rock climb. We camped there for a couple of nights and enjoyed some terrifically fun and musical 'neighbors' who jammed with Pete and his mandolin.



The Tower itself is thought to be the core of a volcano which long ago eroded away. The top of it is roughly the size of an American football field. Native American legend explains the formation as the Great Spirit's means of protecting two young girls who were being chased by a grizzly bear. In their distress they cried out and the Great Spirit raised the rock up from the earth carrying the girls safely out of reach of the bear which clawed all along the sides trying to get at them.







In Wyoming we really had time to relax together as a group. We took a somewhat slower pace since South Dakota had been so grueling and we even picked up a new member along the way. Mark was from Michigan and had started his bicycle journey west from there. He had been biking alone the whole time and didn't hesitate in the least to accept the invitation to bike along with us. It was clear he'd spent 1000 miles or so alone and was glad for some company because he talked, and talked, and talked...and then talked some more. Still he was a fun addition to our rag tag band and seemed to fit in just fine.

I mean if we can accommodate people who sing into bike tire pumps, build wash lines on the back of their bikes, and a guy who wears bike shorts, a pleather wrap jacket and penny loafers we can certainly accommodate a talkative Michigander. And yes, Greg really wore that very outfit into a biker (motorcycle) bar late at night and ordered a soda and lived to tell the story.









Wyoming is also where we finally had our first mail drop of the trip. We were all so excited to get some mail from friends and family. We'd been gone over a month and letters and treats were a delight. One of the letters I got included a check from my dad requesting that I get him a 'unique' souvenir and use the rest for myself. I must say Wyoming had no lack of opportunities for unique souvenir shopping. I was tempted to buy Dad one of the ubiquitous Turd Birds made from the ever present buffalo chips but I resisted and instead got him a set of canned 'wild meats.'




Other firsts in Wyoming included our first serious encounter with altitude. When planning our course now we had to factor in where the best (read lowest) mountain passes were. It was important to be able to start and complete the climb in one day because it would be far too demoralizing to end a day mid-mountain knowing you had to start the day at that point. We noticed in Wyoming that signs at the town limit tended to include the local altitude and the local population AND that those numbers were inverse of what we were accustomed to thinking of. Here in Emblem, WY we noticed that if Del (second from left) and his family of 19 moved in the town would virtually triple in population.



Tune in next week for a Close Encounter with bison and some big changes for our group.

25 comments:

Balou said...

I love this story! Can't wait for the next episode. I never thought about Devil's Tower being the core of a volcano. You've edumacated me. ;)

Charles said...

How do those mail drops work? Do you address it to the Post Office and the person for pickup somehow?

Devils Tower is amazing. Amazing its still there, that's a lot of high dollar granite kitchen counter tops.

Hypersonic said...

I wanna turd bird!!!!!!

lime said...

balou, glad you're enjoying

charles, we had people address mail as joe biker, general delivery, cody wyoming 12345

hypersonic, i'll look for one just for youthe next time i am in WY

Logophile said...

Very cool, I am so enjoying this story and the pics to go along are great as well.
Did you keep a journal or what, how are you remembering all these details?

lime said...

logo, glad you are enjoying. i kept a very brief log of where we stayed each night and who provided out lodging, maybe a few jotted notes. nothing formal other than that. i am meticulous about labelling pictures once they are developed though and have been working on a 'scrapbooked' photo album of the trip the last 4 years (yeah it has been going slowly). looking at the picutres just brings back the specific memories mostly.

KFarmer said...

I'll be tuned in, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise~ Great chapter :)

Seamus said...

Some serious biking here! Must've taken a little getting used to the high elevations.

lime said...

kfarmer, amen sister and thanks

seamus, made me glad to be driving the support vehicle ;)

MyUtopia said...

I would love to see Devils Tower

lecram sinun said...

No aliens? No annoying 5 musical notes played on a mystical moog in the sky? lol! I watched my DVD of Close Encounters.. the other day and, ya know... it still stands up today.

Totally enjoying this ride with you. Cheers!

lime said...

myutopia, i highly recommend it!

lecram, sorry to ruin the mystique. does it help if i tell you all the limelets carve their mashed potatoes into little towers every time i make that for dinner?

Crabby said...

Yeegads! Devil's Tower really does look like a heap of mashed potatoes!

A town with a population of 10. I bet those folks can't burp without the whole town knowing about it. LOL!

Paul Champagne said...

A town with a population of 10 ... being on the neighborhood watch must be easy.

Did you know that the largest privately held building in Wyoming is the 4-Seasons Spa and Resort just outside Jackson Hole? Won a trip there last year in a sales contest ... the scenery was mind blowing.

cindra said...

I love when you share your stories...and pics, too!

M said...

I am amazed by how many photos you have from that time period. Someone was thinking ahead....maybe even having a premonition about the scrapbooking craze which would hit in the early 21st century. (hm...i can hear the internal conversation from all those years ago: "if I take all these photos, maybe I can paste them in a book with pretty construction paper and stickers? or maybe someday there will be a thing called a blog and I will post them on the internet...")

Anyway, great story and great pics!(-:

Beach Bum said...

Awesome story and pictures. How are the stars at night away from all the city lights?

SignGurl said...

I'm sure that Mark from Michigan's shirt is going to kill G-Man. How odd to find someone taking the same trip as your group along the way.

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lime said...

crabby, LOL @ the burp comment

paul, i did not know that. i've heard the jackson hole area is stunning though.

cindra, sooooo good to see youafter a long absence.:)

m, i have always been a picture snapping fool and i've always had fairly organized photo albums. i gotta say i liek other people's scarpbooks and mine will be nice if i ever finihs it, but it's kind of a pain in the rump making it. photo albums are easier.

beach bum, oooooh, the stars were magnificent!

signgurl, i had that same thoguth about gman, hehehe

Shari said...

That must have been cool to bike across the country like that. A chance to really enjoy the scenery, too.

Waiting for the next installment...

MONA said...

Wow! the devil tower is awesome!!!
& I love the accompanying bear story...made me look closely at the 'marks'

TorAa said...

I had not heard about Devil's Tower until last year, when my DIL's best friends showed me some pictures from there.

It looks like you have a great time.

Thank's for sharing this journey.

G-Man said...

Hmmmmmm....
Michigan State?
Pity.....

But your pics are Great Limey!!
I've been there many times, but it is best viewed on a Hog!!!
xoxox

Craig said...

Well yer buddy Mark at least has good taste in T-shirts. . . ( :P @ G-Man)

So. . . do you regret not getting yer Pops a Turd Bird?

;)