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.

1 comment:

  1. yeah I drove through Wyoming a few years ago and I'm surprised you're finding a place to get online at all! I'm glad you're making it; it should start getting beautiful soon and that will help pass the time. While you're there, maybe you could do a bullriding contest or something--that will make the bike feel like a luxury car :)