On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Riding like the wind

By Stuart Lowe on

Rick, my host, was leaving for work at 7:45 so I was up early to leave with him. I went to Walmart to get some mandarins, camping food, a power adapter for my MP3 player and a high calorie breakfast. I also got some better sunscreen that had UVA/B and wasn't supposed to run into your eyes. After all of that my start from Rock Springs wasn't all that early. I headed through town and eventually hit the interstate when other roads ran out.

A few miles along the I-80 I found a service road that ran parallel so took that for a good number of miles to Point of Rocks where I got lunch at the services/gas station. I found more frontage road to the north of the interstate and followed it until I had to rejoin the I-80 to climb a big hill. At the top was a rest stop at "mile 144". It seems states like to tell you how far across them you are. I was congratulated by a truck driver who'd come past me on the hill and was mightily impressed that I'd got up it. After making use of the facilities (and filling up my water bottles at the water fountain) I saw a big dark cloud in the direction I'd come from. There was a bolt of lightning. I jumped on my bike and decided I needed to high-tail it out of there as it was coming towards me. This was the sort of storm that rolls around the wilds of Wyoming building up its anger. I have never pedalled so fast. Every time a few spots of rain hit me I pedalled faster to keep ahead of the leading edge of the storm.

I reached Continental Divide - the place where the waters on one side reach the Pacific and on the other the Atlantic - and had a brief stop to catch my breath and a quick snack to keep my energy going.

Continental Divide

Over Continental Divide (7109 ft!) it was downhill into the Great Basin. I reached speeds of over 30 mph. The storm was still chasing me and I more or less maintained speeds of over 15 mph for the 30 miles to Wamsutter. At the small settlement of Wamsutter I went to the I-80 services and not a moment too soon. As I was getting a sandwich the storm hit. There was rain. There was intense hail. There was lightning and it knocked out the power to the services twice. I was so glad I wasn't out on the road in it.

When I left the services the roads were streaming with water so I wimped out of camping. I'd seen on Google Maps that there were two motels. One had had bad reviews so I went to the other. Despite a "vacancy" sign the owners were away until the 26th so I went to the other. There was a sign outside it saying:

"Have you been born again?"

Inside was a rather gruff lady who'd been smoking and had an aggressive little dog. The room was $55 and I had to "fill in the form" I was told curtly. Her mood lightened up a little once I'd paid her. The room had seen better days but had a remarkably new flatscreen TV although that stopped working when the power for the town went out.

A damp Wamsutter after the storm

Miles today: 74.3