Thursday July 7, 2005, 73 miles (118 km) – Total so far: 2,796 miles (4,499 km)
5:54 pedal time
I woke up at 6am and crawled outta the tent at 6:15. Mark was packed and ready to take off for the day. We chatted briefly and I snapped a picture of him and his bike before he left for the day. I was having a hard time making it happen this morning. Eventually I just gave up trying to get packed and I rode my bike into town to find breakfast. After breakfast I quickly packed up.
On the way out of town I stopped at the grocery store and bought some peanut butter and jelly for lunch. I spent a lot of time getting distracted at the grocery store and didn’t get on the road until 8:30. At 10am I had 15 miles done.
At mile 22 I crossed into Wyoming. There was no wind and I was riding down such a slight downhill I was able to crank out a lot of mileage pretty quick. At noon I had ridden 40 miles.
I ran into 4 young guys riding east. I was flying down a hill but decided to stop and talk for a few minutes. I chatted with them for a while. About 30 minutes after I saw them I was stopped in the middle of a steep uphill and I met an older guy who was also riding east. I talked to him for a while. He wasn’t riding the Transam the whole way but was considering it and he asked me a lot of questions about the Ozarks and the Appalachians.
Around 1:30ish I rolled into a town called Riverside. My average speed was at around 14 mph. Riverside was actually my destination for the day but I got here so fast I decided I was going to ride to the next town that was 18 miles.
I sat in front of the grocery store in Riverside and ate 4 peanut butter and jelly on hamburger bun sandwiches. I washed it down with chocolate milk and a Coke. Leaving Riverside I felt like I was going to puke. The wind wasn’t really blowing in my direction for the last 18 miles so I rode pretty slowly.
When I got to Saratoga I went straight for the library. All the computers in the library were being used so the librarian told me ‘You’ll have to wait.’ I asked her where the architecture books where and she showed me the only architecture book in the whole library, it was about Frank Lloyd Wright. I sat on the floor reading my book, while I was reading a giant bug fell out of my hair onto the book. Then the librarian came over and told me ‘It’s your turn to use the computer.’ So I closed the book with the bug inside and put it back on the shelf.
CGOAB is still down, I hope everything is alright; I’m starting to get worried. I wrote a few emails to people and got caught up on some friends’ online journals. The librarian gave me a map of town and showed me where to get a free shower at the ‘hot pool’ whatever that is.
Some high school kid showed me where the hot pool was. It a pool built around a hot spring. It’s also called the ‘Hobo pool’. When I rolled up there was a 400 pound man with barely any clothes on lying on the side of the pool. The hobo pool smelled horrendous. I walked into the showers and some kid in the locker room told me I looked exhausted. I said ‘Yeah.’ And didn’t really feel like talking to him. I took my shower and got the hell outta there.
I stopped at a convenience store and bought some pasta for dinner. When I was riding towards the campground I saw another cyclist in front of a coffee shop. I went over to say hi. It was a British woman named Karen and she was riding east. We talked for about 45 minutes in the parking lot. I was having a lot of fun sharing tips about the trail and talking about how great it is traveling solo. Eventually we decided to go grab something to eat. Karen was averaging about 40 miles a day. She was taking her time with the trail and isn’t flying back to the UK until the middle of October so she has a lot of time. The exchange rate is really working in her favor, so she isn’t carrying any cooking equipment and a motel room for her is dirt cheap. I’m very jealous.
Karen told me about the bombings this morning in the London subway. While we were eating her father text messaged her and said that all her family members are ok. She was anxious to get into a motel room and in front of the news so she could hear about what happened. Before we parted ways we took pictures of each other with our bikes.
I rode out of town and found the campsite it’s on a beautiful lake. Bike camping is free. The mosquitos are crazy tonight. I quickly setup my tent during the sunset. I set it up next to an electrical outlet and I’m typing out journal entries from inside the tent for the first time. I’m slightly backed up on my journal.
I saw a lot of animals today. Shortly before I entered riverside I saw some antelope. A few minutes later I saw a baby deer. There were a lot of prairie dogs all day long and they are out of the minds. The little guys like to run into the middle of the street, stand up on 2 legs and then run back into their holes. There are lots of dead prairie dogs all over the road. During my mid-day bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee break, I watched a prairie dog try to run across a metal grate and stumble. He stood there for a while then a gust of wind knocked him over and he fell into the hole. It was really funny.