I left Casper on Wednesday morning, looking forward to a nice little ride along through the Shirley Basin. For a while, it was great. At about mile 35, I ran into construction. They gave me a ride in a pilot truck that knocked about 12 miles off the ride and also took away my biggest climb of the day. I really appreciated that.
After being dropped off, I had a little lunch I packed and then got to riding. The wind had picked up and the terrain was very hilly. Riding got hard. Very hard. Then I noticed the rear flat. Shoot! I patched the flat (though no especially well) and pulled out two small pieces of wire that caused the puncture. The rest of the ride was fighting wind and sun.
I was pretty exhausted when I got to Medicine Bow. I went into Dips and had cold cokes and a milkshake. It's a place I recommend if you are ever in Medicine Bow. The owner, Bill Bennett, who still works there everyday, has his mark all over the place. He has hand painted the ceiling and floor and all the tables. His trademark is woodcarving and all around are these gorgeous and intricate woodcarvings depicting scenes of the American West. I didn't snap photos inside, so you'll have to go take a look.
While I was sitting there trying to motivate myself to go to the Virginian (a cool and historic hotel based on Owen Wister's novel), I get a call from Al Drake in Laramie. The Drakes are the parents of Wendi Kirkpatrick, who is the wife of one of my best friends-- Ryan. He asked, "Are you ready to be rescued yet?" My plan was to stay in Medicine Bow and ride to Laramie on Thursday to stay with the Drakes. Mr Drake had decided that I should not be left in a 'terrible' place like Medicine Bow and that it was too windy for me to ride on Thursday. If he came to get me, I could sleep in my own bed and have a full day to enjoy Laramie. After days of 105, 106 and 85 miles, I was happy to be 'rescued'.
The Drakes are great. On the way in, I got a tour of the countryside and was introduced to the tallest building in Wyoming (a dorm at the University of Wyoming). I got my own suite downstairs, had access to a hot tub and met Woodrow, their somewhat spoiled sheepdog.
Mr Drake is a huge Wyoming fan. First thing that he did when he came to pick me up was hand me a Wyoming hat. Told me I had to fit in. He's got a Pete Gosar, a former Wyoming linebacker, for governor sign in his yard because as he says, "Anyone who's made two or three hundred tackles for Wyoming has my vote."
Mrs. Drake works in the office of the President of the University so she did not get to join us in adventures on Thursday. Mr Drake took me up to Vedauwoo, these cool rock formations above Laramie. We also went by the Ames Monument, which marked the highest point of the original Transcontinental railroad. He took me on a mini tour of the University where I had to disagree and say that Elon had much better groomed grounds than Wyoming. Then we went to the President's office to see Mrs. Drake.
After visiting the Pedal Shop-- his bike got stolen last Saturday-- and a coffee shop in very neat downtown Laramie, we headed up towards the Snowy Range. Just past the town of Centennial (population 100), we climbed to nearly 10,000 feet. There was an overlook there that offered views into Colorado. We also visited a favorite spot of the Drakes, Lake Marie.
Laramie is a great place. Fun little town. Nice people like the Drakes. Cool university. And a very much needed day out of the sun, wind and off the bike.