7/3/12 Hiland (“The Bright Spot” in the middle of nowhere) to Casper, Wy – 57 miles
Mary fixed us breakfast, and we got on the road towards Casper by 7:45 am. I was a little apprehensive about what to expect after slogging through yesterday’s headwind, but tried to keep an open mind. The past week or so has been some of the most difficult riding of the trip and my legs are feeling a little tired. Rest day in Casper will be a welcome relief.
Happily, the day’s ride started with a very nice tailwind – YEA – and I sailed along between 15-20 mph for the first hour or so, in a rather contemplative mood and listening to some nice music. As you can imagine, when you are on a bike for 6-8 hours each day and sometimes riding through rather desolate areas, your mind wanders through all sorts of thoughts. I have thought a lot about what a gift this journey is, and feel so grateful. I have also reminisced a lot about my life in detail and how grateful I am for family, friends, and colleagues that have made my life so rich in so many ways. At times, it even brings tears – happy tears of gratitude for the many blessings in my life. I am determined to never take these things for granted. For anyone out there reading this journal who has been or is a personal friend, I have probably said a few specific prayers for you at some time or other along the way.
Okay – back to the ride. I caught up with Frank, Roger, Muhammad and “M” about 25 miles from Casper resting on a guard rail. (We now call him “M” because none of us can seem to get the pronunciation of his name right.)
About this time a headwind came up; I silently cursed and simultaneously prayed that it was a passing fluke. The good news is that it was a relatively weaker headwind than yesterday. However, it did last a good hour or so, and it was pretty hot. I took it mile by mile, stopping frequently to drink water and snack. Randy caught up with me about 10 miles from Casper, and indicated that he was tired and struggling a bit as well. Definitely no camping for Randy in Casper. He looked hot and tired.
About 5 miles out, we stopped to check out the motel situation and found a couple of possibilities close to each other that we could check out. We ended up at a very reasonable locally owned motel with great amenities and an even greater price that we negotiated. Very happy – Randy was especially happy with the high speed internet. We re-grouped and met up later to walk to town and do a little shopping. I bought a new biking shirt because after 5 weeks I am definitely tired of seeing myself in the same outfits and want a new color. So, be on the lookout.
Randy received an e-mail from Andrew, who is now on his way to Colorado. This is the first we had heard from him since last seeing Andrew in Yellowstone. So, he is still on the TRANSAMERICA route. No word from McKinley and Patrice.
I had an early dinner, then retired to my room to try and get this journal done. I am really amazed and gratified by the responses to the journal that have found their way to me on occasion. Keep the thoughts and prayers coming.