Monday, August 31, 2009

I'd like to apologize to everyone for the ridiculous trouble I've had updating this thing. It's not easy to get my hands on internet such that my time isn't strictly limited.

This is going to be a quick attempt to catch up, with a lot less detail than what you're used to if you've been reading this.


From Cody, I headed up the highway into the mountains.

I followed Shoshoni canyon,

constantly warned by everyone, as well as signs, to watch for bears and have my spray ready.

I pitched my tent by the river, and the sight of a tent without a car attracted a group of bikers (the motorcycle type), of whom a couple asked me to have dinner with them. The husband and I then went fly-fishing. The Rockies weren't looking so bad. I slept decently and though I couldn't see the sunrise, I could see some of its effects.

I was told the campgrounds in Yellowstone fill up by 8 AM. Once I got there, I found they actually filled up by 7 AM. This was obnoxious, so I made a straight shot through Yellowstone in one day. Morning in Yellowstone was below freezing, so pools of boiling water helped.

If dense fog that smells like rotten eggs is your thing, Yellowstone is for you.

Admittedly, geysers are pretty cool, especially if you've never seen that sort of thing.

Since I'd decided to jet through Yellowstone, I went ahead and crossed a couple of state lines in one day.

I ended up in Idaho Falls, where I met Arnie and Joy, who owned and lived on a pig farm. I couldn't eat the pigs myself, but I could unload and stack bales of hay, or, if there wasn't any heavy labor to do, pick pea pods.


At the table, Arnie picked up a pork chop and took a bite.

"Yeah, Lady. I remember Lady." He took another bite. "She was a good one, Lady."

I just sat there and smiled.

"It's one thing to know your food," said Arnie. "It's another thing to know your food."

"Is it hard to slaughter them?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's hard. But the way I look at it, somebody's got to suffer. Modern technology makes it too easy to kill. People nowadays don't want to know."

"I don't even know if that's a good thing or a bad thing," said Joy.


OK, this place is locking up, so it looks like I'm still not going to catch up all the way.

Monday, August 17, 2009

North Along the Mountain Range

Circumstances in Wyoming kept forcing me to splurge. As I arrived in Thermopolis, it became clear that there was yet another hail storm headed my way. It had now been over a week of getting at least one storm every single day. I got a motel room. The towels in the bathroom hung on antlers. The bed was made of crooked wood, with a gun tossed in.

Just outside the room was a man bandaging his leg. I walked over.

"How are you?"

He looked up. "How're you doing?"

"What did you do to yourself?"

"Went roller-blading."

"Wow. Rough sport."

"Yeah, I was going down that street over there, and there's this sharp downhill. And I just started roller-blading, you know? And braking is really tough on roller-blades, you have to put this foot this way and this foot sideways like this. So I was going pretty fast. And this pickup truck. I don't think he even noticed me, he was making a left turn and looking at oncoming traffic. So I had to jump into the middle of the street to dodge him, and I fell on this wrist, and then on this leg. Man, I'm used to it though. I hurt myself all the time. Once, when I was younger, I tried to chainsaw these wooden beams that were lying around awkwardly, and apparently when I sawed one of them, the end jumped out and jolted the one I was standing on. Anyway, next thing I know, I wake up and my face is all bloody and I can taste diesel fuel. Turned out I'd stepped into a puddle of diesel, and then my foot got kicked up and into my face when I was thrown back. Wasn't feeling good after that for a while."

"You're a logger?"

"That's what I am. Run my own truck. Used to go 1,000 miles a day, but I couldn't take it anymore. Not to mention it's illegal. So now I don't live at home, I stay at this place, that way I only have to do 750 miles a day. It saves me a good bit of money, and I feel better. We've had a lot of work lately. They've been having forest fires around Jackson, so in the last few years, the Sierra club has had a complete turn-around, they now want to pay us to cut down trees to prevent more fire. For decades they did everything they could to prevent fire AND to prevent logging, and now they're getting it, and they're starting to see their mistake. Don't know how it'll be with this new administration though. They don't like us entrepreneurs. We think for ourselves. They want us to get in line for the dole like everybody else, and that's just not in us."

"I haven't heard of any new policies on logging."

He was about to respond, but a woman walked by with her dog, and his dog jumped up and ran at her, and he had to go manage the situation.


The next day I rode to Meeteetse. There was not a soul on the road, and no sign of civilization save for an unmanned rest area and a ghost town.

I saw yet another storm heading toward me (not a surprise—like I said, at least one a day), but there was nothing I could do about it, so I helplessly pedaled onward. Strong headwinds prevented me from pedaling past and away from it, so I let it pass ahead of me. Part of me was glad I hadn't tried to go faster, because when I passed the section of the road it crossed, the brush around it was torn up to a point where I was glad I hadn't been there to see it.

I started climbing to higher and higher passes, and the wind on the passes was strong enough that once I'd cross, I would have to pedal in low gear to go downward. It was only 52 miles to Meeteetse, but I was worn out when I got there.

Unlike in prior small towns, I didn't get any particular welcome here. I was getting too close to Yellowstone. In one section where the breakdown lane had debris that I was afraid might puncture the tire, I swung into the street for a bit, and a car going in the opposite direction, on the opposite side of the road, started honking at me. This drives me crazy in tourist-heavy places. You try to avoid a flat, you get honked at. You ride on the street, drivers yell at you to go on the sidewalk. You ride on the sidewalk, pedestrians yell at you to go in the street. You exist, you get honked at.

I had no phone signal out there, so I stopped by a gas station, got an egg salad sandwich, and asked what the forecast was.

"More storms moving in. I wouldn't be surprised to see big hailstones. You can try pitching your tent, but I wouldn't do it."

A destroyed tent would be more costly than a motel room. I got a motel room. And since I'd gotten one, I decided to make use of it. I took a shower, changed my clothes, headed to the bar.

"You guys get a lot of tourists passing through here?"

I got an emphatic nod. "Lots of foreign people. Lots of French this year, for some reason."

I noticed a flag that looked like an American flag on the wall. It had only three stripes. In the blue section, there was a circle of seven stars.

"What's that flag?" I asked.

"Looks like an old American flag."

"Can't be. There are only seven stars, and there were 13 original colonies."

"Hm. D__n. Let me ask the big man."

Pretty soon, a bald, white-bearded, bespectacled man sitting at a table turned around. "That's the original confederate flag. I got it for this bar last year. The stars are the seven original states that seceded from the Union. When they say stars and bars, this flag is what they mean. People think of the one with the blue X, but that's not it." He turned back to the people at the table. "So anyway, as I was saying. We bring the cannon into this bar. And I put his ashes in the cannon, and she runs home and brings some of her mother's ashes and we put them in the cannon. And she's saying 'this is the most excitement ma ever had, when she was alive she never got to be on top.' And so we load in the ashes and light the fuse, and everyone gets the hell out of the bar. Except me, because I'm an idiot and I'm trying to take a picture. And that thing goes off. It's a tiny cannon, yay high. But man, those things are POWERFUL. All those cans fell off the wall, and the thing rolled back and through the doorway. And it was a few minutes before I could hear again."


The next morning, I went to the gas station to get another egg salad sandwich for breakfast, and found a little blonde girl stocking the refrigerated shelves.

"You got an egg salad sandwich for me?"

She looked around and smiled. "Sure." She started getting it out and the sliding door went off the track.

"So you're the one who breaks everything around here?"

She laughed. "I always break stuff."

I stood around and talked to her for a while. Why couldn't she have been there last night? I bet she would have offered a couch. I went to the guy at the counter, trying to recall whether the woman last night had mentioned who will be working in the morning; she had.

"Hey, Vince."

He looked up, trying in vain to figure out where he knew me from.

"Mind if I grab some water?"

He still looked confused. "Go ahead..."

I filled up a couple of water bottles. "How's the road to Cody, is it all downhill?"

"You'll have about three miles of some pretty bad uphill first. Then, yeah."

I laughed. "Well, that sounds a little better than the road here from Thermop." I'd realized none of the locals say the entire mouthful of "Thermopolis."

"Oh, no, definitely nothing like that. Geez, I can't even remember where you're from. Getting older faster than I thought I would. Here, have some candy for the road."


It was a quick ride, besides the fact that I got into two involved conversations with construction workers and then another involved conversation with the people making my sandwich at the Subway on the outskirts of Cody.

I then swooped down into the city.

"You know the forecast for tonight?"

"Boy, what do you think?"


"You got that d__n right!"

Cody was not only the "gateway to Yellowstone," but a tourist attraction in its own right, devoted to Buffalo Bill Cody. As such, it had tourist-style prices. I started calling motels. Most simply had no rooms available. The EconoLodge was $200 a night. (No, that's not an extra 0.) I went to a campground.

"What's the forecast for tonight?"

"Storms. Pitch at your own risk."

"OK. How much will it run me?"


"$20 to pitch my tent in a storm?"

"Feel free to just use the parking spot and sleep in your vehicle."

"I'm on a bicycle."




I felt a little depressed that night. Not only did I not like being in my tent during a storm (that was the least of it—it held up like a trooper), but I didn't like being in places overrun by tourists. Suddenly, no one was particularly friendly, beyond smiling and rattling off all the local attractions. Suddenly, no one really wanted to talk to me. I didn't have phone signal either, so I just lay there, with no communication from the outside world, trying to sleep.

My phone's alarm woke me up at 5 AM. I hopped out of the tent, got on my bike, and zipped across the dark town to Mentock Park. I noticed several pickups with trailers like Neil's, and went over there. There was a large group of people standing around.

"Pieball!" someone yelled and let go of a small helium balloon. It went up, up, up into the air, blown slightly west by the wind.

"How are you doing?" I said.

"Good, how are you?"

"Beautiful morning! My name is Greg."

"I'm Jim."

"You think you'll need any help, Jim?"

"Oh, nice. Yeah, I definitely will."

Suddenly, I had a circle of people around me asking where I came from and what I was doing.

"Neil's a good friend," said one guy. "No matter what happens, we'll have a job for you here."

That very morning, I took a balloon up into the air for an inspection flight.


The one thing that happened that I hadn't particularly wanted was that my story was passed on to reporters covering the balloon festival, and a story about me was written up for the Cody Enterprise. But I couldn't complain. Staff from the Enterprise took me to the Irma (originally Buffalo Bill's hotel, named after his daughter) to eat. The next day, the reporter who was writing my story invited me out for a trip through the mountains with her and a friend who was visiting. People started inviting me to stay at their places so I don't have to stay in my tent (I accepted one of these invitations). I was invited to every party that was being held. When I walked into the tent where Dave was selling shirts, pins, and other balloon festival memorabilia, he immediately picked out a bunch and simply handed it to me. "This is to thank you for coming to Cody."

I expressed interest in the rodeo, and was immediately not only taken there, but also put on a horse. Borderline ridiculous photographs of me appeared (props to Sara the photographer, though!).

I still think it ruins my experiment to be covered by the press. Before the article ever comes out, the situation suddenly becomes wholly unnatural. I feel like I should be investigating what kinds of things I myself, as a normal person and not any sort of celebrity, can achieve. However, the balloon job is one thing I can safely say I achieved simply by arriving at the scene.

Photos from that job can be found here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Start of the Rockies

I'd like to apologize for the lack of updates. It's been REALLY hard to get online, and once I'd get access, there would be so much stuff I would need to do that I'd never manage to get around to everything. So let me try to continue the story for a bit. It will likely be drier with fewer details, as I'm trying to catch up here.


When I left off, I'd just about entered the Rockies. So the next thing that happened was that I entered them.

Eventually, I descended into the Wind River Canyon and rode along the river for a bit.

I saw a sign for a roadside table and pulled over to take a break and eat some cookies. But there were two tables, one of which was occupied, and when I leaned my bike against the empty one, I heard a yell.

"Hey, man, where are you going?"


"Come sit over here!"

Never hurts to have some companionship. The guy shook my hand.

"I'm Ed, she's Penny."

"Nice to meet you both."

"Where did you start today?"


"S__t, so you've been trekking through the desert! You probably need a sandwich. Turkey OK?"

This stuff almost doesn't even catch me off-guard anymore. "Sure."

"Mayo? Here, here's the turkey, here's some roast beef, here's some bread, make it yourself."


"Penny, do we have anything for him to drink?"

"Don't worry about it," I said. "You can't imagine how many water bottles I carry."

"Want to play a game of bones?"

"Sure, if you teach me."

It was just a game of dominoes with more complicated rules. I played one game that I completely lost because I didn't know the rules yet, then another game where I figured it out and started figuring out strategy.

"It's so beautiful out here," said Penny. "As soon as I got out of jail, I decided to head out here for a taste of freedom."

A storm was coming and the tables were sheltered, so I stayed with Ed and Penny until it passed. I figured out more strategy and started winning.

"OK," said Ed. "I think it's time you head on. Keep the score sheet as a souvenir."

I kept it.


Another seven miles down there was another roadside table, and I pulled over again. I checked if I had signal, and I did. I had a message, which I listened to. It was my friend Shaya wondering if I was OK, and saying that if I need it, he'll mail me stuff, or come out and pick me up. I called him back to say I appreciate it and tell him I'm OK. With the new armor, the bike was behaving beautifully, and I was feeling good.

As I talked, a man pulled up in a pickup with a trailer. He walked back and forth along the river, and I could tell he heard the conversation, which I didn't mind. As soon as I hung up, he walked over and said hi.

"You look like you're coming a long way. Want a Gatorade?"


We went over to his truck and I downed the Gatorade. "Thanks!"

He asked lots of questions. This wasn't unusual, because people get curious.

"Man," he said, "today would have been a perfect fly fishing day. You fly fish?"


"Shame. It would have been an easy food source for you. Look, see those bugs on the water? There's going to be trout coming up to feed on them. Perfect time, right now."

It really was pretty cool, but I couldn't imagine carrying a fishing rod on the bike. Not to mention I had nothing to cook with.

"I'm Greg, by the way," I said.

He shook my hand. "Neil."

"So what's your story, Neil?"

"I'm going up to Cody. I work with a hot-air balloon crew. Ever been on a hot-air balloon?"


"It's really quiet and peaceful. I don't know if you're headed up that way, but we're all getting there by Thursday and a lot of crews could use some help. I know ours can."

"Oh, yeah?"


"Because I actually am headed up that way."

"Well, then, you should just come. We launch from Mentock Park. Will you remember that?"

"Montauck Park?"

"That's it."

The fact that I misheard was going to cause me a bit of trouble later.

"But the balloonists get there around 5:30."

"So I guess I'd want to be there around the same time."


"That's cool, I can probably do that."

"All right. Well, I don't know if you accept rides, but I could probably load your bike in the back and take you all the way to Cody."

I'd heard Cody got some VERY heavy tourist traffic and was very expensive, and it was only Tuesday, so I'd be doing nothing for a couple of days there, probably spending ridiculous money on lodging.

"I really appreciate it," I said, "but I think I'll just ride to Thermopolis today."

"That's cool. Take another Gatorade for the road."


"It's nothing, you'll sweat it right out."

It was only a few miles to Thermopolis by then, and the wind had picked up mightily, so I walked into town, thinking about hot-air balloons.

Friday, August 7, 2009

At the campground in Casper, I saw a campfire, and started wondering whether or not to crash it like I crashed the one at Fort Robinson back in Nebraska. But coming closer, I realized that wasn't an issue because the fire was on my site.

"You're welcome to have a fire here," were the first words out of my mouth as I walked up. "Mind if I pitch my tent though, before it gets dark?"

"Oh," the woman looked disapppointed. "Is that your site?"

"Yeah, but it's cool," I said. "Seriously, have your fire here."

"Oh, it's no big deal. I work here. We just sometimes light fires on empty sites, but I figured someone would show up. It's all right. You're welcome to have the fire, just see that it doesn't get out of control."

"Thanks...." I said.

She left and I started pitching the tent. Pretty soon, a man walked up.

"How are you doing?"

"Good!" I said, assuming he was a neighbor saying hi.

"I see you've got a fire going. You know you're welcome to use those logs over there too, right?"

"Oh, really? Thanks!" Darn. He worked there too.

I was about to continue working with the tent when a car pulled up and an older man got out. He was hunched over, with a scraggly beard, but he walked around nimbly and his voice was shrill.

"Hello there, mate!"


"Mind if we join you at your fire?"

I made a big gesture. "Come on over!"

"I got ya some BEER!" he lifted a six-pack of bottles.

"Come on in!" I said with an even bigger gesture, making him laugh loudly.

Then he stopped and pointed at the bike. "You on THAT thing?"

"Yes, sir!"

"Here in Wyoming?"

"Yes, sir!"

He paused for a bit. "Ya got BALLS, buddy. Ya got BALLS. I could never do that. Now let's help you set up this tent."

We worked on it together and talked.

"So where do you carry your map?"

"Don't have one."

"WHAT! You don't carry no MAP?"


"Who goes biking without a map?"

"A complete idiot, for one," I offered.

He laughed that shrill laugh again. "You're right, a complete idiot! I'll look and see if I can give you a—now, now, come around and push, you know better than to pull those—so what do you do, pay people to give you directions?"

That just opened perfectly. "Maybe I would have, but I don't have much money on me."

"What! You don't carry no MONEY?"

"Well, I have a little. I stop every so often to work."

"....ya got BALLS, buddy, is all I can say. Here, let's get some chairs around this fire."

We got some chairs out of his trunk.

"You mind if I call my sweetheart and have her join us?"

"By all means; the more, the merrier."

He took out his phone and dialed. "There, sweetheart, he said we're welcome to join! See how it works? All you have to do is ask!" He hung up. "She'll be here in a bit. Now, I don't think I caught your name."

"Greg." I put out my hand.

"SWAMP!" He shook it.

"Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet ME? I've been dying to meet a crazy bastard like you!"

His sweetheart was the woman who had built my fire in the first place. We sat for only a short while before she went back to their RV (in which they lived pretty much year-round) to relax. Swamp and I sat and talked for a while more.

"Ya got plans for dinner?"

"Got a few pop tarts at the gas station, they'll tide me over tonight."

Again that shrill laugh that could probably be heard from a mile away in the night. "You bike and don't eat proper? Now that ain't BALLS, mate, that's just..."

I laughed. "Don't worry about it. I know what I can live on."

"Well, sure, but we got a lot of leftovers, and we didn't know what to do wit'em! Now this will work nicely!"

As always, I don't refuse.


The road from Casper to Shoshoni was almost as desolate as everybody had warned. It was 100 miles (right about exactly) from the middle of Casper to the middle of Shoshoni, with about 6 miles of non-empty road on either end. The remaining 88 miles were desert, with only one lonely store strategically placed right about in the middle. I zipped through it as fast as I could, which still took a big chunk of the day. Thankfully, it was pretty flat. Nowhere on that road would have been good for camping.

With the storms that were coming in, I got a room at the Desert Inn, unloaded my luggage, and headed over to the Shoshoni Public Library

where I attempted to use the internet for a while, but found that there was only one computer with internet, and as soon as I sat down, people came and started waiting for me. So I let them go.

I walked outside just as another bout of rain and hail came in from the north. I jumped on my bike and zipped away, possibly reaching 40 MPH, but that thing was fast and I got hit a couple of times before running into the inn and slamming the door.

I waited for the storm to pass and went down the street to the Desert Cafe to get dinner before going to sleep. When I woke up, the first place I headed was the Desert Cafe for breakfast. That's how these towns are. One inn, one cafe. Two gas stations, though.


After breakfast, I continued up route 20. Shoshoni quickly disappeared, and I was back in the desert.

But now I could see the Great Plains coming to an end up close ahead, and the mountains beginning. As I rode onward, with every few miles, I could actually see that end getting closer. There was a very distinct boundary.


That'll be it for now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My aplogies for the rare posting; I rarely can get internet, and when I do, my time is limited SEVERELY.


I sat at the bar with Jay, talking to whoever came along. I don't usually talk about my trip until and unless prompted, but Jay would jump right into it and tell people about me. Some guy named Tom had a girlfriend who started asking questions, which seemed to make him really upset. He seemed extremely tense around her in general. I made a few mental notes so I could later give Jay my complete psychoanalytical breakdown.

"Getting some armor, huh?" said Tom. "Too p__sy to fix flat tires?"

"Too lazy," I said.

"When you're done with this and ready to do some real biking, you should call me up."

"When I'm done with this," I said, "I'll be pretty sick of biking."

"You need to go south from here, into Colorado," said Tom. "Don't be a sissy. Cross some real mountains."

He seemed a little drunk, and I didn't really want to engage him, but I can't help loving these kinds of jousts—especially losing them and figuring out how and why I lost.

"Generally speaking," I said with a slight smile, "adults tend to achieve things the easiest way possible."

That made his girlfriend laugh. S__t. That was not what I had been trying for. I could see the wheels in his head turning, looking for a way to put me into an awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing situation.

"So," he said after a bit. "Have you been sleeping with a lot of women on this trip?"

I have to give it to him; that was the way to do it.

"Come on, man. Look at me. What do you think? I tried everything. Tried acting insane, tried batting them off with brooms. Nothing works." I sighed loudly. "I guess that's just my lot in life."

His girlfriend jumped in. I wished she hadn't been there. "Where are you staying in Douglas?"

I nodded at Jay. "With Jay."

"Oh, cool! When'd you guys meet?"


She raised her eyebrows, but smiled wider. "Do you ever meet really creepy people?"

I gave my standard response. "Haven't met a single person I didn't like." I figured Tom was going to try to change that.

"Isn't it dangerous?" she asked.

"I dunno, I've felt pretty safe. There's only been one occasion when someone tried to kill me, and even then I felt like I was never in any real danger."

Suddenly a large portion of the bar was looking at me, including all the women (all two of them). This seemed to drive Tom crazy, so he spoke up again.

"How did you know he wanted to kill you?"

"You can generally tell."

"What did he want to do? Strangle you? Stab you?"

I shrugged. "Dunno, don't care."

"He tried to kill you and you don't know how?"

"He never got to me." I retold the story—a shorter version than ever before.

Tom didn't seem very pleased and went off in another direction. "Don't you have a job or something?"

"I just take whatever I can right now. Just enough to keep me going after taxes."

Mentioning taxes made him even angrier. "You know why that is? Because thanks to p__sies from states like yours, we have a N___ER in office!"

Jay and I bailed out, with Jay apologizing. I still don't understand how it had anything to do with him, or why an apology was necessary.

"I like those kinds of guys," said Jay. "They're honest. Some people who don't like him [Obama] for the same reason come up with bulls__t excuses about his policies. This guy just goes right ahead and says it."


I biked to Casper along the North Platte river.

You can always tell where there's a river, because there are actual trees. And then, in a slightly wider swath, there's actual grass. But you can tell you're still in the desert, if by nothing else, then by the roadkill.

I tried to stay on small roads. The pavement quickly disappeared, and I alternated riding and walking based on how loose the gravel was. Then I saw what looked like a huge animal on a hill up ahead. It seemed to stand calmly, right in the middle of the road, looking at me. I stopped too and looked back. After a while, the animal turned and moved off the road. But it did it too smoothly. There was none of the bobbing up and down that comes from alternating paws or hooves. I figured it must have been a small vehicle.

I rode to the next hill, and, sure enough, saw two men working on an ATV. As I walked over, one of them walked up to me with a puzzled expression on his face.

"What's going on?"

"Do you know how long this road will remain unpaved?"

He looked even more puzzled. "....probably forever."

Thinking he was joking, I smiled. "So all the way to Casper?"

"Oh, in that sense! It won't take you to Casper. Might take you as far as Inez. Hey, will he get to Inez on this road?"

"Yeah, you can take it to Inez or Natural Bridge," said the second man. "Where are you from?"


He chuckled. "I've heard of such a place."

I smiled. "Never been?"


"I've been gone so long, I think I've forgotten it myself."

"On that thing, I'm not surprised."

I braced myself for yet another "you need a motor on that bike," but it didn't come.

"You should move here, where you're actually free."


Sure enough, the road didn't go past Inez, and, for the first time, I got on the interstate. There was in fact an unpaved road parallelling it, but it was closed off with a gate through which I couldn't get the bike. I went ten miles or so and got off at the Glenrock exit. From there it was four miles to Glenrock.

I'd thought of stopping there because they were having a festival called Deer Creek Days, but during the day, it's a relatively boring family affair, and there's nothing to do for someone who comes alone. Plus the headwind was getting nasty again, so I rode onward.

Another cyclist caught up to me and for a while we rode together and talked. But I was carrying a heavy backpack, and, after a bit, needed to take a break, because the weight of the backpack pushes me into my seat, hard, and, as you can imagine, that begins to hurt after a while. I told him I'm going to get off the bike and walk a couple hundred feet. He said "see you later." That was when I realized there's no sense in me finding a group to cycle with, especially if they have a support van carrying their luggage.


I spent about $200 on armor for the bike at the shop in Casper.

"Are you doing this by yourself?"


"Completely independently?"


"All right! I've been waiting for years to see someone do that. All the tours going through here are either big, or have a van carrying all their luggage. Sissies."


This was all a long time ago now, but my time on the computer is running out. Not only have I not been able to get real internet in Wyoming, but I've had an exceptionally hard time getting signal—at least, signal consistent enough to upload anything. It's been an exceptionally difficult state to maneuver in, and I've spent more money surviving here than anywhere else so far, even though everything is cheaper here.