Wyoming; the least populated state in the nation, I think? Next to Alaska? I overheard someone say in Dayton, (population 600) that the state has about 300,000 people total. Towns are spread out and very small, besides Cody, Sheridan, Gillette, and a few others. The "large" towns are not the best places to be here. They don't posses any character; only serving as a hub for Walmarts, fast food joints, hospitals, car lots, etc. The small traditional towns here have a uniqueness to each of them that I can appreciate. Besides towns there's a lot of farmlands, pronghorn, hills, ford trucks, rodeos, cowboy hats, and roadkill.
After we came out of the East entrance from Yellowstone we made it to Cody pretty quickly. The ride along hwy. 14 was fairly easy and downhill for miles. Wyoming is not as flat as it looks to be on a map between the Rockies and the Bighorns. It's still hilly in between. Near Cody we ran across the Buffalo Bill Dam and stopped by to take a look. From there we made our way to Lovelle, WY. We spent three days resting there. This was the nicest small town on our route with a free campers park that had showers. It was a classic main street town with one grocery store, movie theater, (only open Friday and Saturday) Drug store, library, and a few more businesses. It was a scenic town too, in that unreal American storybook sense. Perfect grass in every yard, gardens, kids on bicycles cruising the streets.........
Once we began on our Eastward bound route again, we understood from the locals how bad hwy. 14 was going over the Bighorn Mountains. It has steeper grades than the Rockies. Knowing this we caught a ride in the back of a pick-up with a couple on they're way to go camping past the top of the pass. If we had attempted the ride up we would have spent at least two days, easily, trying to get to the top. The roads were also rough from continuous work since winter. The ride down was fast and the highway put us right into the town of Dayton, which was having a three day festival, Dayton Days, intended to be a great excuse for excessive drinking and bar-b-que rib consumption. We saw that the whole town was out partying, so we hopped off our bikes and joined in for the evening. There were two bars in the town, each with live music and dancing. Townspeople wandered between the two all night, as did we. The last day was 24 hours of partying. The bars were allowed to stay open 24 hours for the event and many people stayed up all night until they finally couldn't take it anymore. I think we passed out at 1:00am. One of the bar owners let us camp in his yard.
The people in Wyoming are incredibly thoughtful and trusting. We have met nothing but people more then willing to help us without a second thought. Ryan and I decided to continue on hwy. 14 off of a short ride on hwy.90 to get to Gillette thinking that we would be coming across small towns with services, instead of 100 miles without them along 90 to get there. Yeah right! The whole time we came across one gas station. There, we met a BLM worker named Allen who spent most days going through the government land out that way to check on gas meters. The next day, he drove by us on another section of the highway, stopped, and surprised us with a supply of sodas and water. He knew he would run into us again he said, and decided he would bring us a care package to get us through the day. It was one of the kindest things that we have encountered so far. Thank you Allen!
We also owe a big thank you to Brandon and his room mates from Gillette who let us stay with them for a night. The dinner you made was a feast! It was amazing and nice to not be eating instant pasta in the rain for another night.
Thus far we have spent a night at Devil's Tower. Its one of those many attractions that we decided to bike out of the way for. It is more impressive then I imagined it to be. Down a mile from our campsite at the KOA, the movie Encounters of The Third Kind was showing as a tribute to Devil's Tower, so we road down for the free showing last night. It was fun to sit right next to the monument and watch scenes of the alien space ship hovering over the tower.
Today is cold, windy, and dark; it looks like it will rain any minute; probably the moment that we get on our bikes. The weather here has been unusually cool with rain almost every day for the last three days. The high here is not even 70 degrees currently. Where did the summer go? We know Portland is hotter than it has been in years. But I shouldn't complain, for the most part biking in the rain is easier then 100 degree weather.
More to come next time we finally find Internet.
Ryan and Allegra
Canyon by Devil's Tower.
Weird space bug we saw on the side of the road.
Pronghorn. They are all over Wyoming.
Making breakfast with four dogs in the yard of a local bar owner in Dayton, WY.
Live music during Dayton Days.
View from the Bighorn Mountains.
Pile of antlers in Wapiti, WY.
Another photo from the Bighorns. A lot of roads are paved with this incredibly red rock from the area. They looks like veins across the landscape out here.
Photo of a moose in the Bighorns.
Power generator house at the Buffalo Bill Dam.
Buffalo Bill Dam outside of Cody, WY.