I stayed over a day in Pinedale after the boys left. It was really getting cold out. I ran into Sarah and Jesse who I had met on day two of my ride. They were doing their own route and following the Divide here and there. It was nice to see them again and to swap stories about our experiences the last few weeks. I also ended up meeting Cheryl, who was out for a few weeks on her bike. The weather was getting colder by the hour and the snowstorms were coming. I bought mittens, stocked up on food, and bought a few foot and hand warmers. I was getting restless on my second day off in Pinedale and I decided to ride the easy 12 miles into Boulder, WY so I wouldn’t feel stuck and I would feel like I was making some progress. 12 miles seems easy, especially on pavement, but, NO, it was NOT easy. The headwind was insane for the entire ride into Boulder and little did I know that was just the first of the psychotic winds that I would face along the Divide. When I arrived in Boulder; I went into the bar/motel and got a room for the night. Some of the guys in the bar looked exactly like Woody from Toy Story, it was definitely a scene in there 🙂 I was worried about the weather for the next few days, but, I enjoyed my evening inside out of the wind and cold.
The next morning, I left Boulder and was planning to ride about 46 miles or so. I ran into Cheryl about 12 miles into the day and we started riding together. We had a fun time that day, breaking a lot, chatting and eventually making camp near Little Sandy Creek surrounded by cow patties. The riding was pretty easy however, the constant little up and downs become frustrating after while and I was happy to be done for the day. The next day, we planned to ride into Atlantic City. The wind the wind was insane once again, we fought it all day. We struggled to make miles fighting the wind each pedal stroke, but, we enjoyed the random snow patches by making snow angels and laughing about how ridiculous the wind was. Though it was not that funny at the moment. I hate wind. My buddy Brent met us in his truck along highway 28, he had Swedish Fish and my favorite drinks and was planning on camping with me for the next few nights until I got into Rawlins. We told him we would see him in a few hours in Atlantic City and continued riding/fighting the wind. We turned off highway 28 and onto a nice gravel road that lead to South Pass City, the little steep climbs along the way sucked, but, the downhills were fun. We took a short break in South Pass City to get out of the wind and go potty. I was exhausted from the wind. It was just awful. Ugh!! I hate wind. It did not let up at all.. It was relentless. The ups and downs continued out of South Pass City and the temps dropped, the air became colder and just as we rode down the last hill into Atlantic City it began to snow. The three of us stayed at Wild Bills Cabins and enjoyed hot food and warm place to stay for the night. It was a nice place to stop for the night, we had absolutely no idea what was waiting for us in the coming two days.
Cheryl and I left Wild Bills with Brent, he drove ahead and we planned to meet at the Sweetwater River. The hill leaving Atlantic City was a good warm up for the day. As we reached the top of the climb, we could see the amount of snow that fell from the storm. We enjoyed the riding for 10 miles down to the Sweetwater River. It was beautiful out and the riding was great. Once we arrived at the River Brent was there reading, we agreed to meet up again in a few miles and continued riding. A few miles later we saw Brent’s truck stopped in the road, when we got up to it we could see that the road was impassable. The snow drifts were huge and the road was not safe for Brent to keep driving on. Brent decided to head back and Cheryl and I decided to continue on our bikes, knowing the going was going to be difficult, slow and cold. We couldn’t pedal through that stuff, we had to walk our bikes through the snow drifts and mud. It took us until the end of the day just to get 10 more miles in because of the snow. My feet were soaked, they were freezing, my bike was covered in mud and I was frustrated by the challenge of dealing with all of the snow. We camped in a random field and hunkered down for the night. We discussed what we were going to do because the going was extremely slow and we couldn’t do that for days on end without running out of food. We both felt exhausted and defeated.
We were ready for the next day when the sun came up, we knew we would have to navigate more snow drifts and we were right. The beginning of the day it was walking our bikes through snow drifts, after snow drifts, puddles after puddles and then more snow. We would push through a snow drift, get back on the route, ride a few feet of dry gravel, then back off our bikes to navigate more snow drifts. It did not end. Some of the snow drifts and sections were so deep that we had to walk way around the route with our bikes and then come back to it only to post hole through the snow with our bikes. I was not in a good mental place. I wanted to quit. This was crazy and it was not fun. By late morning, the snow was melting fast and then the MUD came. The mud was like clay, it stuck to my bike, clogged up my fork and chain. It caused my chain to fall off multiple times. My bike would get clogged and I would stop and scrap the mud off, then I would push my bike a few hundred feet through more snow and mud and it would get clogged up again and my bike would not move. This battle went on all day and it was very rough. I wanted to leave my bike and just hike out. I was really struggling mentally and it was exhausting on every level. By the early evening, after two days of dealing with snow drifts and mud the road started to clear up. I could actually ride my bike and though I had to get off every once and while and push through snow and mud, it was not nearly has awful as it had been. About an hour before dark after 12 hours of moving we got to A and M reservoir and made camp for the night. There was a group of hunters there that invited us into their camp for dinner. That was a rewarding dinner after everything we had dealt with. We ate a lot, chatted with the hunters for an hour or so and then headed to bed pretty early.
The sunrise woke me up, I packed up, enjoyed a burrito from one of the hunters and was ready to ride the 57 miles into Rawlins and get away from the Great Basin. As I rode; I could see the wild horses in the distance, they ran on both sides of me. It was amazing, there is nothing so beautiful as watching wild horses run. I kept getting off my bike to watch them and take pictures. I find peace in watching and being around horses and out there it was an unbelievable setting to watch them. I couldn’t get enough of them. There were so many of them. Once I turned onto County Road 63 I was happy to see pavement. I could finally cruise and enjoy the riding. I enjoyed the riding and easy climbs for the next 25 miles or so. I stopped at the turn for highway 287 to wait for Cheryl to catch up. Cheryl caught up about an hour later and we ate a snack and talked about what we were going to eat in Rawlins, another 17 miles away. When we finished our snacks, we started the 6 mile climb to the top of the Continental Divide. At the top we took a few pictures and then it was downhill time 🙂 all the way into Rawlins. I was beyond excited to get into Rawlins. Everything was covered in mud and I needed a day off. I felt like I really wanted to quit and go home. I was at the end of my rope with that huge hunk of metal with tires. I wondered what the hell had possessed me to buy a bike and ride from Canada to Mexico. I was questioning my intentions and really struggling inside to stay out there.