Day 83: August 24: Rawlins to Jeffrey City

I had breakfast at a local cheap restaurant, eating as many carbohydrates as I could. At the one bicycle shop in town, I bought a new water bottle cage (though I don't think this one would survive 20 miles of dirt road). Then a trip to the supermarket for bagels, peanut butter and bananas (and Raspberry Newtons), and I was gone up route 287.

Route 287 goes northwest through fenced desert. I think most of the land is public, though people are grazing some cows on it. From Rawlins, the road goes generally mildly downhill most of the way to Muddy Gap. Interestingly (or not), I crossed the Continental Divide twice today and would not have noticed it if it weren't for the signs.

This route is part of the Adventure Cycling Trans-America bike route. Today I met three cyclists headed south (I'd met one yesterday). Contrast this with meeting only two cycle tourists in 2000 miles off the Trans-Am bike route prior to this, and you can get a feel for how few people are touring "off the map".

Damon is going to school at Drexel in Philadelphia, and is headed all the way to Virginia.
I met another couple from Portland headed south, and stopped to talk with one. We did the usual exchange of details about camping, food, and roads.

There was only one place in over 65 miles to get water -- at a cafe in the middle of nowhere named "Grandma's". Now, normally I don't eat at places named "Mom's" or "Grandma's", but this was the only place I could refill my empty water bottles. I did succumb to temptation and order a berry pie a la mode, which was pretty good.

Finally I got to Muddy Gap, where the road forks and there are a few buildings. There is free camping there, but I didn't relish the idea of having to ride 80 miles tomorrow. So I decided to continue to Jeffrey City.

Along the way, I passed the Split Rock historical site. This is the site of the pass through the Rockies where the Overland Trail and the Pony Express used to run.

The last five miles I had a very strong quartering headwind, of the type that makes it hard to breathe. I was in some of my lowest gears and my knees were hurting.

At last I got to Jeffrey City, where I stopped at the only motel (which looks like a very long double-wide trailer), and rented a room for $23. Then I went to the bar/cafe, where I had a fried chicken and potato meal that was pretty good.