Day 20 - Casper to Lusk WY
<<Words are up. Pictures will follow later today.>>
Mileage: 106 miles
Weather: Sunny. Low 60s to start. Mid 80s to end. Winds seemed favorable early on in the day. Became mostly in our face by the 1st SAG, although they did help keep us keep a little cooler on the bike.
Highlights of the day:
The morning started with a ride through downtown Casper. Once out of town, we were treated to views of buttes and hills and the North Platte River. Winds were light & favorable. Riders made quick work of the miles into the first SAG stop. Refueled, they made their way to I-25 for a short bit of interstate riding into Douglas and on to a frontage road. A sidebar about the interstate: We’ve been shuttling riders through various sections of this 14-mile stretch over the past couple of years. It was finally completed in early 2019. The result is a wide, newly paved shoulder with very little debris. It was enjoyed by all. We made out way onto the frontage road after Douglas and enjoyed more high dessert vistas on our way into SAG . We’re definitely in cowboy country!
After the 2nd SAG, we turned on to Rte 18/20 East towards Lusk. It’s a two-lane highway that heads east as the name implies. This highway runs right along side a railroad that primarily carries coal cars. Union Pacific trains laden with coal head east and empty ones head back west towards Casper. Cyclists wave as they go by and signal for the engineers to blow the horn. Why? ‘Cuz it’s there and it’s fun. Oh, and if the engineer does indeed blow the horn? You win! Um, absolutely nothing except bragging rights. I haven’t heard if anyone was able to get an engineer to “honk” at them. We heard the horns but it was because a locomotive train pulling a long line of fully loaded coal cars was rolling through a crossing.
The last 20 miles from the 3rd SAG is mostly downhill, sorta. But before town, there must be pie. Three Sisters truck is situated 10 miles out of town and had a list of pies to make just about any mouth water. Rhubarb was a big seller and it came with a story about where the rhubarb was grown. Other fruit flavors came with questions about where we’ve been and why the heck we’re riding across the country. Cream-based pies came with talk about the history of the place. Everyone left fed and informed with a warm feeling about how the locals love to talk & listen.
Most riders rolled into town in time to watch the Legend of Rawhide parade. The Legend of Rawhide, per the website, is “an annual celebration of the history, legend and Western heritage of Niobrara County.” It seems that just about everyone in town is involved. The cyclists enjoyed watching the pageantry pass by and even grabbing for a piece of candy or two that were thrown from the floats and wagons.
We have a pizza party this evening and then it’s time to rest up. It’s been a long day today. We have another long day tomorrow. Need to catch some quick Zzzzzzz’s.