Roaming in Wyoming
I headed back towards town then south under the I-80. I stopped at the Forest Service Ranger Station to ask about the road to Piedmont. Apparently it was clear of snow but was dirt/gravel.
I was a month into my phone service so had to call their automated line for my sim card renewal. It wanted my zip code. It really wanted a zip code. It eventually realised I didn't have one and put me through to a real person who could cope with non-Americans.
I headed to Hilliard and stopped at the historic markers. To a little beyond a reservoir the road was paved but it then turned to gravel/dirt. For the next few miles the road passed between occasional buildings. It wound its way around the landscape following some of the old railroad grade - the railroad had later been shortened by 10 miles when they built two tunnels so this section had been abandoned after Stevens' time.
At Piedmont - named by two Italian women - I saw some old, broken down, buildings but wasn't sure of their age. There were three charcoal kilns and I had lunch there. Apparently Calamity Jane had lived in Piedmont and Butch Cassidy had left from here to rob a bank.
The road curved around to meet the I-80 again and I saw the only sheep I'd seen in America. They didn't seem to know what to do with a cyclist. I baaed at them but they may not have recognised my British vowel sounds.
I stayed on frontage road (marked with the Old Lincoln Highway "L") along the side of the freeway up a steep, long hill onto the top of a flat mountain. Most of the hills around here look like they've had the tops sliced off. It seems to be that the tops were originally a flat plain that has slowly eroded away. Up on this particular flat-topped hill was a huge wind farm and my road went between the turbines.
I stopped for a rest (and some more Swedish Fish) at the interstate services. A man asked me if I was from California! All through California people thought I was Australian and now someone thought my accent was from California. People seem really bad at placing accents here.
Leaving the services I failed to find the frontage road marked on Open Street Map - the first time it had failed me. At the next intersection I did find a frontage road but it then headed off in the wrong direction leaving me separated from the freeway by a huge carpark and a five foot tall barbed wire fence. I wasn't going backwards so I scaled the fence with my bike. I wasn't sure what the carpark was doing in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure Wyoming folk have their reasons.
There was a fine road into Fort Bridger where I paid the $4 to visit the old trading post where Stevens had stayed. I had a chat with the young woman on the desk who had done a degree in history and was being an intern for the summer. I bought a "sasparilla" mostly because it was something I'd always heard mentioned in cowboy films so wanted to know what it tasted like. It was a tiny bit like a Dandelion & Burdock. I found a house built in 1884 and asked the lady there if she knew which month it was built in as Stevens may have seen it. She wasn't sure but we then talked about my trip.
Leaving the museum at closing time I headed up to Lyman, through the town and to the KOA ("Kampground of America") where I booked in. I asked the guy at the desk - Reagan - about my next stop (Carter) but he wasn't from Wyoming so didn't know. Later his boss came over and said there were only a few houses there.
Checking my GPS I saw I'd climbed back up to an altitude of 6548 ft which is 1.5 times that of Ben Nevis. I was going to be higher than the entire British Isles throughout Wyoming.