Day 18 - Riverton to Casper WY
Mileage: 120 miles
Weather: Low 60s to start. Upper 80s to end. Sunny. Windy. Thunderstorm to end it.
Highlights of the day:
Today was the longest ride of the trip, and the last of a nine-day leg, so everyone was a bit apprehensive. All of the riders were on the road by 6:45. This was another challenging cue sheet day: Turn right out of the motel, ride 116 miles, and turn onto a bike path that leads right to the next motel. The reason for the 120-mile day is that there is nothing between Riverton and Casper but some cattle, antelope, a few oil wells, and a couple of tiny towns, complete with defunct stores. The road stretches out over the plains to the horizon.
The long ride was made even more challenging with an unrelenting headwind. It was relatively calm as we rolled out of the hotel but by about mile 15, it was readily apparent that we were in for a long one. All the weather apps said it was “only” 10-11 mph. Ask any of the riders and they’ll add at least 5 mph to that. Plain and simple, it was a slog. Riders worked together to share the burden and give each other a bit of a break. For those still on the road at 4:30, Mother Nature tossed in dark clouds, high winds and lightning. Those still on the road quickly found themselves safely inside a van with their bike secured in a trailer. Kudos to Rob, Robin, and Karen for their decisive and coordinated actions. Kudos to the riders for understanding that this was all about their safety.
SAG stops were primarily in dirt lots with, um, primitive facilities. The ladies in the group found privacy where they could with the help of other riders. The men in the group? They are guys, no special requirements necessary. 🙃 Our second SAG was in the tiny town of Hiland, right next to its one store and motel. It is a town with a posted population of 10. We increased the population by over fourfold. This was probably one of the busiest days of the year for that little store.
Hell’s Half Acre provided a strikingly different vista for those who made the quick stop. It’s a misnomer as it actually encompasses over 300 acres. It got its name from some lost cowboy who thought he was in Hell’s Half Acre, an alkali and bog area southwest of Casper. Confusing this place, that is northwest of Casper and a depression in the earth filled with sharp craggy rocks, with a bog? Not sure why. Perhaps a saloon or two were involved. Or perhaps the story was completely made up?? We did read the sign that indicated this site was used by Native Americas for hunting buffalo. That, I can say with a little more confidence, was not made up.
After the third SAG stop, it was 30 miles into the hotel. Time for the riders to spend a day off the bike and prepping for our next leg. We said goodbye to 2 of our riders tonight. We tried to convince them to call in well to work and just stay on the tour. Didn’t work. They said it was something about family, friends and other adult responsibilities. Geesh!